The Supercompensation Cycle, 2022


The Supercompensation Cycle is a large-scale holographic film installation, sound work and performance that champions our right to choose for ourselves what is suitable for our bodies, inspired by the history of women’s football. The Supercompensation Cycle brings together everyday movements from residents across the 10 host cities of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 as a warm-up for going beyond what we are told is possible.

The work takes as its starting point abstract warm-up moves captured in archival footage of women’s football and celebrates the players who sustained the women’s game during the ’50 year ban’.  Women were not allowed to play on football league grounds from 1921 – 1971 when it was declared football was “quite unsuitable for females”.

The work speaks to the experience of being told or made to feel something is not for you, be that to do with sexism, racism, classism and all other forms of prejudice and societal norms and expectations that frame spaces in which there is unequal opportunity. Inspired by the triumph over adversity that women’s football represents, The Supercompensation Cycle shares unrecognised expertise in action contributed from people of any gender identity and ability and celebrates everyone as expert in their own movement.

The work is presented as 11 holographic films in reference to an ’11 a side’ team staged within sculptural structures abstracted from the form of a football. A live performance created with choreographer Lorena Randi, weaves movements from across the country together as a participatory warm-up where dancers have agency over their actions and movement, working together to share and pass knowledge on. The installation and performance are accompanied by an immersive sound work created in collaboration with YaYa Bones.

The title of the work comes from sports theory and a process of training and rest that allows an athlete to transcend their previous limits.


Artist and Director: Emma Smith

Choreographer: Lorena Randi

Musician: YaYa Bones

Guest Flautist: Carla Rees

Sound Engineer & Technical Consultant: Daniel Halford

Filming: Foreign Body Film

Artist Assistant: Abbie Doran

Artist Assistant: Georgie Grace

Assistant Choreographer: Amy Holly

Producer: Aldo Rinaldi

Architects: vPPR

Structural Engineers: Foster Engineering

Fabricators: Stage One

Installation: Jayhawk

Photography: Installation images courtesy of the artist. Performance images courtesy of Rachel Adams.

The Supercompensation Cycle was commissioned as part of the arts & heritage programme to celebrate the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 funded by Arts Council England, thanks to National Lottery Players, and the Host Cities.