Messy collective

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‘Before I decide’ (Leeds, 2011)

During supervision meetings, discussions have centred on ownership and authorship, as repeating themes underlying the research. Can I call the work ‘my work’? Or is this a notion of authorship/ownership that shifts due to the underlying principles of the work? By defining the work as an ‘open work’ (Rubidge, 2002) and relating to the idea of work being the nexus of all strands involved (Sanchez-Colberg and Preston-Dunlop, 2002), the ‘visible choreographer becomes one strand of the work, along with the dancers and the material. Similar to Martin’s exploration of the making of a dance (Martin, 1992), Before I decide (2011-13) has a clear artistic direction throughout the rehearsal process, which influences the performance process. However, it also has a strong collaborative element throughout the rehearsals and the performance process.

Does it remain important to identify myself as the author of the work?

Since I started working as a professional choreographer in 2001 I have worked in different collaborative settings either with other dance artists or with artists from other art forms (music, theatre, poetry, visual arts). Each collaborative setting was different in the way we worked together, shared responsibilities and defined authorship. In 2006 I worked with the musician Richard Ormrod on the piece called Noises for the leg (performed in Leeds, Hull, London, Derby), a 15 min stage performance for three dancers and three saxophonists. Our main aim was to experiment with a collaborative setting that shared all responsibilities, artistic direction and authorship evenly between the two directors. The result was a creative process with a complex range of skill sharing but also many discussions, disagreements and artistic compromises.

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Rehearsals of ‘Noises for the leg’ (Leeds, 2006)

Reflecting on this approach I wonder if we used each other’s skills and expertise to the work’s best advantage and that in ensuring an equal input for all decision making resulted in a work, which was neither musically nor choreographically complex and strong. Rudi Learmans highlights the current product orientation within collaborative work in contemporary dance and the difficulty for collaborative work as it forces decisions onto a process, which needs time to unfold.

He refers to Nancy by quoting,

How can we think about society, government, law, not with the aim of achieving (…) the common, but only in the hope of letting it come and taking its own chance, its own possibility of making sense? (Nancy in Learmans, 2012, p. 102)

Referring to Noises for the leg (2006) the process and skill exchange was highly valuable but with the aim to produce a product the collaboration lost parts of its value. Since this experience I have taken care at the beginning of each project to clearly outline my definition of collaboration in relation to authorship/ownership, responsibilities and leadership. At times when I have been able to offer professional employment for all performers, there has also been a range of influences on the sense of authorship/ownership framing more management responsibilities to my role and in return a higher expectation for what the dancers could deliver.

I am still interested in collaborative settings and I choose to work with specific performers due to their expertise and skills, their engagement in the conceptual ideas of the work and the ability to challenge my ideas. Furthermore, working interdisciplinary means that the work benefits from the performers’ knowledge, which lies outside my expertise and skills within dance. Looking at current professional dance development shows that more creative input is required from the dancers/performers and the number of choreographers who prescribe each step, like for example Mark Morris, is relatively small. At times it is mentioned in programme notes that the work had been created in collaboration with the dancers but this does not seem to affect the choreographer being perceived as the author of the work.

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‘Before I decide’ (Leeds, 2011)

Adding improvisation to the performance process increases the input of the dancers/performers. Improvisation collectives such as Mathilde, a Leeds-based collective of five improvisers who integrate movement and sound (Mathilde, 2011), work on the basis of equal authorship and artistic direction. One could argue that there should be a similar agreement for Before I decide (2011-13) but the addition of power adds a layer of artistic direction of the ‘visible chorographer’. This raises the question of the difference between artistic direction and authorship and how I define artistic direction. I initiate the work, set the framework for it. I am the one who connects all ideas and elements, for example the conceptual ideas, the selection of performers and the performance venue. Cvejic questions,

Is authorship always already assigned to the one who initiates a project? How can an initiative to invite authors for research reassure an egalitarian basis of      collaboration, a frame of collectivity without central leadership? (Cvejic, 2005)

 

Hand schiebt Stein in Linie

In regards to Cvejic my own role includes more than inviting other performers. There is a clear outline and direction for the rehearsal process and a decision of approach. When working on Before I decide (2011, Leeds) the dancers requested a clearer artistic direction to provide a framework to work within. We discussed the definition of the artistic framework in relation to the range of unexpected responses by the dancers. The dancers felt more empowered by knowing the framework whereas I was afraid that this would limit the range of possibilities the dancers could offer.

When working on Before I decide (2013, New York) I was surprised that these questions were not raised by the dancers. In reflection I understand that the taught improvisation class at the beginning of each rehearsal, which I did not offer in 2011 combined with my rehearsal feedback set a framework for the movement language/material, which introduced my artistic direction in a more subtle way and left space for a greater range of unexpected responses to my instructions. One of the dancers explains how it introduced my interest in movement studies, which gave her a frame to work within.

Linking the set up of Before I decide (2011-13) to Martin’s investigation of the conditions of authority there are some differences but also similarities between the rehearsal and the performance process (Martin, 1992). My direction throughout the rehearsal process is clear not only in relation to the movement language/material but also in the feedback I give throughout the shared explorations. This sets the framework for the performance; however, I am not in control of the unfolding of the material throughout the performance process. Does this give me authorship of the performance work? Or is my authorship too dependent on the dancers’ contribution?

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‘White Bouncy Castle’ (1997) by William Forsythe

Comparing this idea to Forsythe’s White Bouncy Castle (1997) and his work with choreographic objects his authorship lies in the selection of the object and the set up he creates. Forsythe explains,

The choreographic object [is] a model of potential transition from one state to another in any space imaginable (Forsythe in Manning, 2009, npn).

The interaction of the audience with the objects, described as

The potential transition from one state to another (Forsythe in Manning, 2009, npn),

becomes the material, which is not in his control. However, the authorship still stays with him.

In Before I decide (2011-13) the material becomes the improvised responses to my instructions and interaction between all performers. Similar to Forsythe’s positioning to his work White Bouncy Castle (1997), I could not claim authorship for the material. However, the material is not the main focus of the work but the social dynamics within the group when developing the material, the shift of control between all participants as well as the visibility of the choreographer as the social subject (Bel, 1999). In reference to White Bouncy Castle (1997), it is not about the movement created by the audience when jumping/playing on the bouncy castle but the decisions they make and the social interactions that can arise. Manning explains,

Choreography sets the stage for an ecology of movement events. It delimits the infinity of movement, subtracting from the realm of opportunity to create a singular vocabulary for change (Manning, 2009).

This supports the idea that the material becomes a shared language for changes to happen, both when playing with the material but also within the social dynamics between all dancers.

I now appreciate that my role changes from the rehearsal process to the performance event and I am starting to question if the term ‘visible choreographer’ is still appropriate for my role within the performance process. Do I become a performer within the collective of performers with a slightly different set of rules and directive responsibilities?What possibilities would it offer when I let go of the term ‘choreographer’ – could the ‘visible choreographer’ become the ‘choreformer’? As I set the framework for the material during the rehearsal process could I trust this set up more and share the authorship with all performers to allow the work to unfold in unexpected directions? Could letting go of the ‘visible choreographer’ liberate me of the responsibilities of singular authorship?

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References

Cvejic, B. 2005. Collectivity? You mean collaboration. [online]. [Accessed 18.05.2014]. Available from: http://www.mobileacademy-berlin.com/englisch/2006/texte/cvejic02.html

Laermans, R. 2012. Being in common: Theorizing artistic collaboration. Performance Research: A Journal of the Performing Arts, 17 (6), pp. 94-102

Manning, E. 2009. Propositions for the Verge William Forsythe’s Choreographic Objects. INFLeXions (2), pp. 1-33

Martin, R. 1992. Dance as a Social Movement. Writings on Dance: Living Dancing (8), pp. 8-21

Preston Dunlop, V. and Sanchez-Colberg, A. eds. 2002. Dance and the performative. London: Verve Publishing

Rubidge, S. 2002. Identity in flux: a practice-based interrogation of the ontology of the open dance work. In: Preston Dunlop, V. and Sanchez-Colberg, A. eds. Dance and the performative. London: Verve Publishing, pp. 135-163

Photos: Petter Frost Fadnes, Josh Hawkins, Ulrike Heuer, Andy Wood

http://www.hellerau.org/spielplan/white-bouncy-castle/

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Live Negotiating

 

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‘Before I decide’ (2011), photo: Ulrike Heuer

When I was working in Berlin in 2001-03 at the Theater am Halleschen Ufer (now called Hebbel am Ufer) I’ve met the German writer/journalist Gerald Siegmund. Siegmund, who is meanwhile a professor at the renowned Institute for Applied Theatre Studies at the University of Giessen (Germany), has observed, commented on and analysed the European and American dance scene for years as a journalist and expert. I very much enjoyed reading his writings and I try to get hold of most of his work.

Maybe there is a familiarity with the German way of writing and the different experience I have when reading academic work in German (I can see another blog post here), but I very much enjoy his highly analytical/reflective writing combined with word-plays and a more philosophical/poetic approach to language.

Cramer states,

He has not only a profound knowledge of artistic and choreographic working methods but also a systematic knowledge with which he confronts the realities of contemporary dance. (Cramer, 2009)

Not all of his work is translated into English yet but do keep an eye out for it!

In relation to my work of the ‘visible choreographer’ I keep referring back to his book Absence, the performative aesthetics of dance (2006). A great book where he investigates about the notion of absence in relation to work by William Forsythe, Jerome Bel, Xavier Le Roy and Meg Stuart.

 

In his article Negotiating Choreography, letter, and law in William Forsythe (2012) Siegmund highlights the absence between the body and movement, and the law and choreography and the dancer’s and choreographer’s struggle to connect these opponent poles. He states,

[Choreography] must not be understood one-dimensionally as suppressing ‘the body’ or the freedom of moment, but as the very act of making subjectivity possible. It creates and produces (…) because it always involves resistance and friction through the unbridgeable gap between body and law. (Siegmund, 2012, pp. 212-213)

By negotiating these two poles, the dancer connects to a system of signifiers, the choreography, and by presenting it in front of an audience, or as Siegmund calls it

the symbolic body of a community-to-be (Siegmund, 2012, pp. 212)

the dancer becomes a social subject. The existence of a company is social before an audience and the dancer becomes a social subject in that the work is presented to be read. One could argue that the dancer is holistically part of the signifier and not outside it but the negotiating process is still present. Usually the process of negotiating between these two poles happens in the studio. The dancer learns the choreographic text or realises/authors it and negotiates both opponent poles of body/movement and law/choreography. Even though Siegmund argues that there is a constant gap between both oppositions, when it comes to the performance the audience only sees one possible result of the negotiating process.

When working with the ‘visible choreographer’ these negotiating processes happen in front of an audience, highlighting the negotiating processes of embodying ideas as well as realising choreographic concepts. Listening to the choreographer’s instructions to the dancer, the audience can witness the struggle of the dancer trying to connect both poles. By witnessing the individual decision-making process, the subjectivity/individuality of each dancer becomes visible.

The question might be – what is it about deconstruction in this manner that an increasing number of choreographers seem to be interested in? Is dance still catching up with other art forms that reveal the guts of process?

Having the choreographer as an active member of the performance process and working with improvisation means that the choreographic text is not set but unfolds throughout the performance. Whilst the dancer negotiates between body and law, the ‘visible choreographer’ negotiates between law and body by selecting, rearranging and structuring the dancers’ responses and translating it into choreographic text, to become again realised by the dancers. Siegmund emphasizes that the negotiating does not only apply to law and body but also includes gaining an image of oneself, the social subject (Siegmund, 2012). As the work of the ‘visible choreographer’ plays with shifting dynamics within the groups of performers and therefore with identities in flux, the constant adjustment to these changes and the process of identifying ‘me’ (social subject) and the ‘other’ becomes even more visible to the audience.

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‘Gleichzeitig 3′ (2009), photo: Ulrike Heuer

Here the negotiating between body and law becomes visible as an opposite process described by Siegmund. How can I write a choreographic text in response to the dancers’ movement? How can I enter the absence between both poles? By negotiating between these two poles my subjectivity/individuality becomes visible. This refers back to the ‘social subject’ (Bel in Lepecki, 2006), which I wrote about in my last blog post (March 2014). I would now argue not only is this process in front of an audience a process of becoming a social subject, it also challenges what might be thought of as the conventional identities of choreographer and dancer.

By having the audience in the space, it enables ‘me’ to not only imagine ‘myself’ with a view toward the ‘other’, but also with a view to the expected role of the choreographer. Reflecting on my work there seems to be a twist within my intention and responsibility. At the same time as I am creating a work for the audience with a choreographic logic I am also challenging the dancers to make their thinking and struggling visible to the audience. Both do not always coincide – on the contrary my decision of not following the choreographic logic often challenges the dancers the most.

The audience becomes a witness as well as a receiving ‘other’.

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‘Gleichzeitig 1′ (2007), photo: Philippa Thomas

 

References:

Cramer, F. A. 2009. Absence: Gerald Siegmund’s study on the ‘performative aesthetics of dance’. [online]. [27.04.2014]. Available from: http://www.goethe.de/kue/tut/fab/but/en4690715.htm

Lepecki, A. 2006. Exhausting dance, Performance and the politics of movement. New York: Routledge

Siegmund, G. 2012. Negotiating Choreography, Letter, and Law in Wiliam Forsythe.In: S. Manning and L. Ruprecht, eds. New German Dance Studies. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, pp. 200-216

Siegmund, G. 2006. Abwesenheit: Eine performative Ästhetik des Tanzes. William Forsythe, Jérôme Bel, Xavier Le Roy, Meg Stuart. Bielefeld: Transcript Verlag

Photos: Ulrike Heuer, Philippa Thomas

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What bodies do I carry with me?

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Isle of Skye (April 2013), photo: Jo Denison

We had a great research presentation at the University of Leeds (PCI) on the 5th March 2014 and I believe we have found a good way to present our practice-led research. The space looked beautiful and intriguing with the big kitchen table covered with books, photos and a selection of our research objects. There was even a reoccurrence of the ‘resting corners’ from my previous performance (Before I decide, 2011), with two tables where Louise and I displayed our notebooks and other objects in relation to our identity as researchers – on my table were among others traces from my performances, a photo of Pina Bausch and my small music box from Berlin.

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‘Kitchen talk’ – Research Seminar at the University of Leeds (2014), photo: George Rodosthenous

Together with the dance practitioner Louise McDowall, I investigated the identity of researcher and research and how both influence each other. Our intention was to explore where researcher and research are interconnected and influencing each other – acknowledging that the complexity of our lives and identity is reflected in our research, akin to the rhizomic body of researcher and research.

This idea of interconnectivity links well to Paul Schilder’s idea of the body image and Jerome Bel’s idea of the social subject. The position that I have reached at the moment is that the ‘visible choreographer’ reveals the inside out. Bel and Schilder expand this thought by linking the inside to the interconnectivity of each individual. When writing the text for the Ballet International yearbook in 1999 (p. 36), Bel lists all the thirty-three bodies that he was

from Gilles Deleuzes to Myuriam van Imschoot, from Samuel Beckett to ‘unknown individuals in the megalopolis where I live’, from Peggy Phelan to ‘Claude Ramet (an invented name, maybe real)’, from Hegel to Xavier Le Roy. (Bel cited in Lepecki, 2006, p. 50)

What bodies do I carry with me when being the ‘visible choreographer’ in the performance event?

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‘Before I decide’ (2011), Performer: Daliah Toure, photo: Andy Wood

Schilder’s idea of the body image and Bel’s view of the subject develop my idea of the ‘visible choreographer’ further, highlighting the interconnectivity of the subject to its environment. Lepecki states,

For the Austrian psychoanalyst [Paul Schilder] one’s body-image does not simply coincide with the visible presence of one’s body. Rather one’s body-image extends itself to any place any particle of one’s body has reached across space and across time. (Lepecki, 2006, p. 50)

Bel explains this idea of the body image as being more than its representation. Lepecki states,

The subjectivity and the body Bel proposes are clearly not nomads or self-mirroring singularities but packs, open collectives, continuous processes of unfolding multiplicities. (Lepecki, 2006, p. 50)

Bel refers to the body without organs theorized by Deleuzes and Guattari when he questions ways of representation and our concepts of presence, body and being here (Lepecki, 2006). Bel’s work proposes the following questions:

How can an exploration of choreography’s conditions of possibility reveal its participation in the production of subjectivity in the space of representation? (Lepecki, 2006, p. 46)

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‘Jerome Bel’ by Jerome Bel (1995)

In my previous writing about making the choreographer’s ‘human side visible’ this was exactly what I was searching for, exemplified as I understand it by Klien who decribes choreography as,

A work practice that allows me to be human. (Klien, 2008, p.13)

The complexity of Bel’s idea of the subject and how by bringing the choreographer into the performance event she, as a subject and a rhizomatic body, after Deleuzes and Guattari, becomes present, her ‘visibility’ giving a glimpse of the

Continuous processes of unfolding multiplicities. (Lepecki, 2006, p. 50)

Throughout the performance process the ‘visible choreographer’ commentates on her thinking, refers to her reading and other influences of her decision-making, being of this rhizomic body of different ideas, people, concepts, places etc.

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‘Before I decide’ (2011), photo: Andy Wood

Whilst this revisits Lepecki’s questioning of singular choreographic authorship I am more interested in the complexity it allows by not only presenting the chosen ideas but also mapping out the rejected ones, the failed attempts, the dead ends, or as Siegmund calls it, the negotiating between both opponent poles of body/movement and law/choreography (Siegmund, 2012). People sometimes describe my work as presenting the making as part of the performance so that the audience can get a better understanding of choreographic processes. Reading Lepecki helps me understand that it is this and more in that it highlights the complexity of the subject and the interconnectivity of the subject. In reference to the rhizomatic body Gormley captures the idea succinctly when he recognises this as

A choreography that reveals the continuity between thoughts, our actions and the world around us. (Gormley in Klien, 2008, p.17)

Linking Bel’s idea of the social subject to Rubidge’s idea of the open work shows the interconnectivity of the subject not only within its rhizomic structure but it also shifts the viewpoint of the subject in relation to the other elements – choreographer, company and work. The fluidity of the open work and identity in flux of each element allows a different viewpoint of the rhizomic structure to come into focus throughout the performance process, allowing the audience to witness the complexity of these interconnected structures and the shifts within it.

Look out for future events of our research presentation! We’ve just received an invite to the upcoming conference at Leeds Metropolitan University (July 2014).

More information to come soon!

 

References: 

Bel, J. 1999. I am the (W)hole between two apartments. Ballet International/Tanz, Yearbook, p. 36-37

Klien, M. et al. 2008. Framemakers, choreography as an aesthetics of change. Limerick: Daghdha Dance Company Ltd

Lepecki, A. 2006. Exhausting dance, Performance and the politics of movement. New York: Routledge

Siegmund, G. 2012. Negotiating Choreography, Letter, and Law in Wiliam Forsythe. In: S. Manning and L. Ruprecht, eds. New German Dance Studies. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, pp. 200-216

 

Photos: Jo Denison, George Rodosthenous, Andy Wood

http://artactmagazine.ro/falling-out-of-motion-the-post-performance-body.html

 

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Kitchen talk

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Photo: Fiona Bannon

For the last few weeks I have been preparing, together with the dance practitioner Louise McDowall and Dr Fiona Bannon, our research seminar for the School of Performance and Cultural Industries (University of Leeds), which will happen on the 3rd March 2014 at 6pm (Alec Clegg Studio, PCI).

The idea is to take Louise’s and my conversations about our research journeys as part of our shared living – our ‘kitchen talk’ – and present them to other academics and people interested in dance practice/research.

The seminar shares emerging relational knowledge realised in the often messy and sometimes irrational search for ideas. Aligning the research journey with the aesthetic experiences that frame the complex realm of our engagements we offer glimpses of alternate ways of rehearsing knowing, improvising, and choreography. (Bannon, 2014)

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Image: Louise McDowall

 

We are interested in keeping the informality, the warmth and intimacy of being in our kitchen and finding a way to share this with the audience, working with all senses and having different images/videos/audio recordings as well as some knitting and the smell of Louise’s hot tea cakes and my coffee in the room. We would like to capture the conversation between researcher and research and how one is influencing the other, how one cannot be seen without the other.

To give you a taste of our long lunch breaks with much food for the mind, please find below two audio abstracts from our kitchen talks.

 

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Image: Louise McDowall

 

 

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Finally Foucault

‘Warhol-Panopticon’

The seeing machine was once a sort of dark room into which individuals spied; it has become a transparent building in which the exercise of power may be supervised by society as a whole. (Foucault, 1995, p. 200)

Talking about power in relation to the ‘visible choreographer’, I cannot not refer to Foucault and his writing on Betham’s Panopticon. Semple explains,

The Panopticon is a type of institutional building designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. The concept of the design is to allow a single watchman to observe (-opticon) all (pan-) inmates of an institution without them being able to tell whether they are being watched or not. (…) The name is also a reference to Panoptes from Greek mythology; he was a giant with a hundred eyes and thus was known to be a very effective watchman. (Semple, 1993, p.152)

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Comparing the set up of the Panopticon to my work of the ‘visible choreographer’, there is a clear difference in regards to power and the individual. Foucault states,

The Panopticon is a machine for dissociating the see/being seen dyad: in the peripheric ring, one is totally seen, without ever seeing; in the central tower, one sees everything without ever being seen. It is an important mechanism, for it automatizes and disindividualizes power. (Foucault, 1995, p. 198)

Here it is about the visibility of the one to be controlled and the invisibility of the one in power. It is not about the individual in control as he/she is replaceable. Power gets disindividualized, as Foucault calls it, and the increase of power relays on the invisibility of the one in control.

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The idea of the ‘visible choreographer’ works with the opposite – it is about the individual in control and making her visible. Being visible therefore weakens her power and highlights aspects of vulnerability and doubt. Reading Foucault makes me understand that not only the unpredictable aspect of working with improvisation weakens the power position of the ‘visible choreographer’ but also the ‘individualization’ of power. The subjectivity of the creative process within dance, which is never linear and made of personal decisions and social interactions, emphasizes the ‘individualization’ of power.

Looking at the architectural set up of the Panopticon highlights another difference to my work. With the Panopticon the person in control is located in the center of the building whereas my spatial position is variable and each position changes my position of power. My desk on one side of the performance space where I sit and direct from increases my power. Here is a clear division between dancers and ‘visible choreographer’ and I am less visible – the dancers and audience can hear my voice of giving instructions but can read less through my body language.

Since 2012 I am varying my position in the space and do not only stay at the desk. The change of my power depending on where I place myself becomes tangible and there is a clear shift of power towards the dancers the more I move into the center of the performance space. When working in New York with the dancers of Lindsey Drury we discovered a main difference between our works. Drury stays on the outside of the performance space and sits in the dark and only her ‘demanding’ instructions are audible to the dancers and the audience. The frame of her work is constant; all the focus is on the dancers and their vulnerability when responding to the tasks but she stays invisible, retaining control.

One similarity to the Panopticon is the visibility of the one being controlled. When given a specific task their thought processes and their dealing with the task become visible to the audience. This varies depending on the instruction method I use, ranging from verbal instruction amplified by the microphone being, which makes the thinking most visible/audible and the whispering into the performers’ ears as least visible/audible. The difference here is that by working with improvisation their position can change to being in control. They can change the direction of the creative process and take control over it. The use of ‘wild cards’ inspired by John Zorn (1984) increases these opportunities, offering the dancers the opportunity to initiate ideas without having to wait for an instruction by the ‘visible choreographer’.

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Goldman refers to the later Focault by stating,

Still interested in the wide range of power relations present in human relationships, ranging from politics to family life to romantic affairs to pedagogical situations, Foucault argued that power relations are ‘mobile, reversible, and unstable’. This glimpse of mobility is where Foucault’s thinking applies to improvised dance. (Goldman, 2010, p. 143)

This describes well the work of the ‘visible choreographer’ and the instability when working with improvisation and live direction.

When I was working on Before I decide (2011) I saw the shift of power/control between the company and I as a

binary segmentations of the social field (as for instance in dualism of dominant and dominated). (Fuglsang and Soerensen, 2006, p. 5)

A year later during our R&D weekend (June 2012) I realised that there are much more facets than the two. Depending on where I place myself in the space and how much vulnerability I show there are moments where the company and I have equal power, where the power shifts between different company members or where the shift of control is not the main focus of the performance.

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‘Before I decide’ (Leeds, 2012)

The work in New York (2013) offered even more facets of power due to the dancers’ ability to take control. At one point one dancer even commented her concern of them taking over so much that they were possibly bullying me. Fuglsang and Soerensen describe this as

the multiplicity of the social, (…) the process of the becoming of the social itself. (Fuglsang and Soerensen, 2006, p. 6)

Another similar aspect of the Panopticon and the ‘visible choreographer’ is the position of the observer, or audience. Foucault explains,

This Panopticon, subtly arranged so that an observer may observe, at a glance, so many different individuals, also enables everyone to come and observe any of the observers. (Foucault, 1995, p. 200)

Here the observer can see the one being controlled but also the one in control. The ‘visible choreographer’ can be observed by the audience how she instructs/controls/plays with the creative process and the responses by the dancers. Whereas with the Panopticon the division between the person(s) in control and the observer(s) can become blurry, with the ‘visible choreographer’ the audience always is just the observer. However, in New York I asked an audience member to play the jukebox for a dancer and therefore gave him some control over her movement but one could argue that he therefore became a performer and was not part of the audience anymore.

Looking at the role of power in both concepts shows that for both it is not about the execution of power itself. Foucault states,

The Panopticon […] has a role of amplification; although it arranges power, although it is intended to make it more economic and more effective, it does so not for power itself, nor for the immediate salvation of a threatened society: its aim is to strengthen the social forces – to increase production, to develop the economy, spread education, raise the level of public morality; to increase and multiply. (Foucault, 1995, p. 201)

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Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

Here lies a great difference between both concepts. Whereas the aim of the Panopticon is to increase production within economy, the ‘visible choreographer’ highlights the cracks, the not so smooth and functional process when being in the position of power. It offers a view inside the choreographer’s and dancers’ mind and illustrates the non-linearity of creative thinking, highlighting the vulnerability on both sides within creative decision making processes. These ‘cracks’ then also highlight the individuality, the personality of the choreographer, of me. How do I struggle when not being in control? How do I cope with the challenge? How can I find a playful sense of being in the present moment, reacting to changes without holding on to my pre-planned decisions? (blog post from April 2013: ‘Yoga and the visible choreographer’)

Looking at the shift of control/power within Before I decide (2011-13) in relation to productivity I believe that the work (as a product) benefits of different performers taking control and influencing the creative process with their ideas/thoughts. So far I have always seen the shift of control as a challenge for the choreographer’s role, the confrontation of unpredictability and vulnerability it can cause, but I have never viewed it in relation to increasing productivity. Foucault states that

the productive increase of power can be assured only if, on the one hand, it can be exercised continuously in the very foundations of society, in the subtlest possible way, and if, on the other hand, it functions outside these sudden, violent, discontinuous forms that are bound up with the exercise of sovereignty. (Foucault, 1977, p. 201)

As I am working with the shift of power I do not keep the power in ones hand and it is therefore not exercised continuously. The shift of control can sometimes be subtle (especially when all performers know each other very well) but I am more interested in the moments of disruption – when a dancer takes control and shifts the work in a new direction, when I get confronted with unexpected changes. However, Foucault explains that the Panopticon (if successful) could be so embedded in society that it gives an illusion of being empowered to the one being controlled (Foucault, 1995, p. 202).

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‘Before I decide’ (Leeds, 2011)

This refers back to the discussion I had with my company during the R&D weekend in June 2012 when Daliah mentioned that the shift of power is only a ‘farce’ as I have the super-power (Klien, 2008) and I can always direct it back. Or were the performers not brave enough to place me in a position without control? The performers in New York (2013) showed that as dancers they can be completely in control without me being able to interfere, like for example when they directed me at one point to dance with my eyes closed. I do not think that these questions can be answered but they raise interesting discussions in relation to authorship, vulnerability and decision-making within creative/performance processes.

 

References: 

Bentham, J. 1787. Panopticon, or the inspection-house, &C. In: M. Bozovic, ed. The Panopticon Writings. 1995. London: Verso, pp. 29-95

Foucault, M. 1998. The subject and power. [online]. [14.01.2014]. Available from: http://foucault.info/documents/foucault.power.en.html

Foucault, M. 1995. Discipline & Punish: The Birth of the Prison. New York: Vintage Books, pp. 195-228

Fuglsang, M. and Meier Soerensen, B. ed. 2006. Deleuze and the social. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press

Goldman, D. 2010. I want to be ready, improvised Dance as a Practice of Freedom. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press

Klien, M. et al. 2008. Framemakers, choreography as an aesthetics of change. Limerick: Daghdha Dance Company Ltd

Semple, J. 1993. Bentham’s Prison: a Study of the Panopticon Penitentiary. Oxford: Clarendon Press, p. 152

 

Photos by Josh Hawkins and Ulrike Heuer

Images taken from:

axiomamuse.wordpress.com

www.hoodedutilitarian.com

www.adbusters.org

www.travelblog.org

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michel_Foucault

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Mapping the doing

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image: www.headstar.com

As a continuum of my last blog post about reflection ‘in’ practice, I have thought more about different forms of how to write about my doing, understanding how interlinked both, my doing and writing, are.

I like the idea of writing in form of a map, where there is no direction how to read it,

everything is laid out on the same plane (Vincs, 2007, p. 104).

I enjoy writing in my notebook where everything is presented on one page, using different colours and different ways of writing, adding images and cut outs I’ve collected. This allows a non-hierarchical way of presenting ideas, of seeing it all in one glance, of placing different textures of thinking/making next to each other. Could this be part of my PhD thesis? Could I find a writing/drawing program, which works similar to how I write in my notebook? Could this allow me to have different meanings next to each other?

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Working on an idea for a lecturer performance with more knitting (December 2013).

When writing about my work in relation to other discourses I find myself concluding too early. For some reason I do not allow questions to stay unanswered, I seem to close ideas too early, forcing the writing to a single underlying concern. This is also sometimes present when I create work; I have to force myself not to construct too early, have to let ideas float for longer, let the work lead me. This usually applies for choreographed movement material and how I place it in relation to each other. Working with improvisation challenges me even more. The work on the ‘visible choreographer’ forces me to stay in the present moment and observe where the work wants to go. Collaborating with artists who are better at dwelling helps. Deleuze and Guattari state,

The map does not reproduce an unconscious closed in on itself; it constructs the unconscious” (Deleuze and Guattari in Vincs, 2007, p. 104).

This highlights the nature of the map and how it lays out (constructs) the range of possibilities without a fixed order – without an already made decision, without being closed on itself.

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image: lifehacker.com

 

In relation to keeping different ideas on one plane, Vincs states,

(…) the dances are productive, connecting a diverse set of previously unrelated elements of meaning. There is nothing prior to the dances that the dances articulate or communicate, which means that there can be nothing for the exegesis to summarize (Vince, 2007, p. 105).

How can I reflect this in my writing? When I first started working on ideas about the ‘visible choreographer’ in 2007 as part of my final project for my MA (London Contemporary Dance School), I did not know what I wanted to say or communicate. There was a physical idea of how it would feel to do it, an artistic vision of how it might look like but more in an artistic sense – a feel for the work – than the visualisation of actual movement.

I remember I was already interested in the audience being engage in my thinking even though I did not know what the thinking was yet; but as much as I had an idea of how it would feel to do the work I had a feel of how it would be to perceive the work – I wanted the audience to be able to witness my decision making, to get an insight into the making. Looking back, I think my work is about the struggle of working with a map – to lay it all out and see how/when an order unfolds, not forcing an order upon it.

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image: spaceandpolitics.blogspot.com

When Vincs explains about how her thesis became a ‘dancing-writing desiring machine’, I wonder if it means choosing a form of writing for each idea/aspect of the ‘machine’, deciding to use a specific type for a reason, even if the reason is to experiment with it. To connect

stream of consciousness writing, movement description, explorations of dance history, historical narratives and philosophical arguments [and have these forms in no hierarchical order], to create a rhizomic logic on the page (Vincs, 2007, p. 107). [And] the ultimate destination of such writing isn’t as important as the territory it weaves through (Vinc, 2007, p. 108).

This now moves into the territory of researching practice – not focused on making an event but an exploration of how these things might connect. How can I link the mapping sense of writing with my mapping within my performance? What different moods of directing/writing excist and how do they correlate?

ANALYSIS IS UNDERSTOOD AS A PROCESS OF DESIRE

(Vincs, 2007, p. 108).

I agree with Vincs’ understanding of dance as

an exchange of elements of subjectivity, a kind of circulating economy of the subject (Vincs, 2007, p. 110).

If one writes about her own dances this sense of subjectivity needs to be kept. Sometimes my writing feels too stiff, like I distance myself from myself. I need to be in it more, see the writing as making, my making – viewing my writing not as an answer to the tension of its subjectivity but addressing it by particularizing the discussion (Vincs, 2007). Feedback I have received highlights my struggle with this notion of subjectivity. My supervisor (and dramaturge for my work in 2011), Fiona Bannon, stated:

It would be you allowing the ‘not-yet’ into your process, which you seem hesitant about in most cases. It is almost as if you desire to have this as an aspect of your work but are not sure or don’t trust or are scared by the idea of being ‘uncertain’ (Bannon, 2013).

Thinking about where my work could go I would like the making to be part of my writing. As thoughts and ideas get formed, links can be made to other discourses, previous findings can be re-visited and all can be placed in a rhizomic structure with the space for ideas to grow, change and interlink. This would help to unpick and reveal process – would help to start writing/mapping the doing instead of reviewing or evaluating the product and external organisation.

To be continued (as always).

 

References:

VINCS, K. 2007. Rhyzome/Myzone: A case study in studio-based dance research. In: E. BARRETT and B. BOLT, eds. Practice as research, approaches to creative arts enquiry. New York: St Martin’s Press, pp. 98-112

 

 

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Reflection – in – Practice

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Writing and knitting (New York, 2013)

I am still trying to find ways how to best write about my practice and research. How can I write from within, how can I capture the feel of reflecting ‘in’ practice?

Reflection – ‘on’ and – ‘in’ practice addresses two situations. Reflection-on-Practice tends to be after the fact and is written up later. Reflection-in-Practice tends to reference ideas, thoughts and reflections captured in the process. This is closer to ‘being in the moment’ (Fiona Bannon, 2013).

Melrose’s, Pollard’s and Butcher’s attempt in ‘Reflections on the making processes, 2001-2002’ serves as a good direction how to document process through writing (Melrose, 2005). Using different fonts to highlight thoughts by different people or thoughts at different times helps to create a reflection of the non-linearity of thinking within creative processes. There seems to be no single concern within the richness of creative processes (Vincs, 2007) but a patchwork of thoughts in no hierarchical order, some of them related to each other some of them not.

Whilst trying to reflect ‘in’ my practice I would like to cite Melrose, that,

At the same time it should be noted that we are asking the impossible here: that the ;visual artist speak her practice which, as choreographer/philosopher she has systematically preferred not to (Melrose, 2005, p. 67).

Feeling more comfortable in one form of communication than the other will always be visible in my writing, finding a way to approach my writing like I approach the making of choreographic work will hopefully help to create a similar flow of ideas.

The following is a collection drawn from different forms of documentation of my creative process in New York (2013). Reading the dancers’ journals and listening to discussions during the rehearsals as well as my talking diaries (documented on film), I have selected comments/statements/questions. Some of them read like a conversation, at other times they are less connected. I wanted to apply the methodology of using different fonts within post structuralist thinking and beyond, but unfortunately my website does not allow me this here.

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New York, 2013

Laura: The wood (studio space) has a soft light filtering through sunlight. It is still grey outside. There are birds, trains. We all sit with our yarns and needles and notebooks. We have danced together for years.

Katelyn: I feel really comfortable in Kathinka’s created world. Safe, not in a simple way, in a pleasurable way. Safe to play.

Kathinka: Building an atmosphere of trust is part of the identity of the work, ‘feeling safe to play’ allows the work to constantly unfold and challenge its boundaries. Working here in New York is showing me that my responsibility is to create an atmosphere that in the first instance allows permission for playfulness and fearlessness that settles in to a gradual familiarity with resources, thoughts and ideas so that the work can be taken to places and through intersections that may not have occurred otherwise.

Katelyn: I really appreciate the hat – it gives me a way to engage more, pick it up! (…) With the hats I feel a little like I’m losing touch with the composition, the through line. Before, I knew I was here to take part in Kathinka’s creation. With the hats I feel more vague. I can do anything. What holds it together if I can do anything?

Kathinka: Is this referring to choreographic signature? What is the difference between ‘taking part’ and ‘being a part of’? Who defines the through line?

Katelyn: When no leadership is given, there is a moment of hysteria when leadership is taken.

Kaia: I think this work shows a fearless faith that if you are practicing being in the moment, there is no lack of new meaningful experience. (…) It’s that moment of excitement when the choreographer makes a choice and the dancer finds something and everyone in the room witnesses the birth – and that’s the work! (Instead of re-creating the same moment.) (…) Kathinka came in and put herself in the front of the flocking – a different form of direction.

Kathinka: This is something I’ve explored here in New York for the first time. It gets me out of my controlling editing head and into my more fluid experimenting – suspending head/self and makes me follow my intuition more. It makes me feel closer to the dancers when sharing the same medium and working on embodying ideas.

Kaia: It was kind of a slow way of transition of taking it back because you [Kathinka] were still following Paige’s direction to do your solo but you’ve prepared – you thought ahead – you went back into the preparing mood, which I thought was beautiful because it was combined with the willingness to follow Paige’s direction but you were interested in the thinking. And by adding the audio you’ve effected our way of flocking but it was so softly and in relation to the direction you’ve received.

Kathinka: Being in and out of control, being in and out of focus. The smooth transitions please me, but the jerky ones, the juxtaposition of different ideas make the work exciting. I don’t think that’s something I’m good at.

Laura: I like the instruction to memorize someone else’s movement and perform it later. It gave me freedom to put something into a new context and composition. (…) Did we bully Kathinka? She said it was weird.

Kathinka:  With ‘weird’ I mean that I was pushed in an unknown place – a place where I didn’t know the outcome. ‘Weird’ in form of being ‘un-familiar’.

Laura: She danced, we flocked. We all touched her, a sign of support – apology?

Kathinka:  It didn’t feel like that to me. It felt more like we met on a different ground – similar to what I said before – we met through touch, sharing the moment of being in our bodies. And I enjoyed your support; it made me trust you, made me feel ‘safe to play’.

Laura: I could sense the pre-run energy would encourage us to get more experimental, more free, to enact choices that were maybe stuck like lumps in our throats before.

Kathinka: I really wanted to try and see where we could take it. I wanted to see where [you] would take it. It was really exciting. And it was scary because there were times where I completely lost control. Kaia at one point asked me to close my eyes and I danced with her, [you] got very wild with all the props in the space and we listened to Janet Jackson…

So [you] did all the things I would never do. And I had this voice inside my head saying: “NO don’t do this, this is wrong!” but it was great to go with it. And I really felt that it added a very playful atmosphere and I felt that for the first time the shift of power got realized.

Laura: She is toying to do something in a situation where she can’t do it.

Paige: I felt most present as a knitter and as a ‘teammate’ in this run. (…) I woke up this morning and remembered to play it simple, don’t overthink. (…) Kathinka, we have been pushed and now we are pushing you. We will expose your weaknesses and test your boundaries. We want you to show us your limits. We want your strength and your weak spots because we share them with you. (…) Power is embedded in these deep systems that we obey to and coexist with. (…) We need to push you, how much will you trust yourself outside your plan – how much will you trust us – how much can you give to the mass – if something threatens your true, non-negotiable values you can react, resist, fight, leave…

Kathinka: I’ve enjoyed that the feeling of being judged was not present in this run, that you’ve made choices, which challenged me and my artistic choices but also my position of being in control. But I hesitated to resist and fight. Could I fight and still keep an atmosphere of trust?

Paige: That was fun (Kathinka).

Kathinka: See – fun and weird.

 

 

References:

BUTCHER, R. and POLLARD, N. with MELROSE, S. 2005. Reflections on the making processes, 2001-2002. In R. Butcher and S. Melrose. 2004. Rosemary Butcher: Choreography, collisions and collaborations. London: Middlesex University Press, pp. 66-85

VINCS, K. 2007. Rhyzome/Myzone: A case study in studio-based dance research. In: E. BARRETT and B. BOLT, eds. Practice as research, approaches to creative arts enquiry. New York: St Martin’s Press, pp. 98-112

Photos: Laura Bartczak, Kathinka Walter

 

 

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Out of Context

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Photo: Laura Bartczak, New York 2013

With autumn approaching my time in New York during the summer heat feels quite long ago now. These last two months gave me time to reflect on my project and the overall visit. I am very grateful for this opportunity and the experiences I have had, the commitment of the dancers and the support and inspiration offered from BIPAF (Brooklyn International Performance Art Festival).

Following, I will start to highlight my findings and how it affected my ideas around trust and the impact of cultural context when reflecting on my work.

I had four rehearsal days (10am-4pm) with the five dancers selected for my work and each day offered new and very different avenues for the work to go. Working with dancers from a different cultural context proved to be more enriching and exciting than expected. The work has been pushed in new directions, raised new questions/challenges, fully enriching my research/practice. I have kept a ‘Talking Diary’ throughout the week and spoke into the camera at the end of each evening to document my findings. Going through the recordings shows how each day had a different quality to it and how inspired and fulfilled I was feeling at the end of each day.

Key findings were based around ideas of working with trust and the awareness of the cultural context of my work. As trust is an important element of my work I was worried that working with new dancers for only four days would not allow the transparency and openness needed to show the vulnerability within each performer. Responding to given tasks in the moment within a performance context challenges the dancers to step into the unknown and allows this process to be transparent to the audience. My interaction with the dancers and the constant change of direction due to the use of improvisation prevents me from planning ahead, or being in control of the performance process. This means that all performers, including myself, are constantly challenged by being in a vulnerable place. To allow this to arise there needs to be a high level of trust between all performers. Building trust was always an important factor of the preparation of my performances and having worked with the same group of performers over a long period of time allowed the trust to build gradually.

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Photo: Laura Bartczak, New York 2013

However, this week surprised me with new and unexpected findings. There was a liberating feeling to work with a group of new dancers. Boundaries could be pushed easier and I was able to let go of preconceived ideas. It made me realise that knowing each other too well can also be restrictive and it can be harder to take risks and challenge each other due to the set dynamics between all performers and the overall interrelational effect it could have on the group. It felt refreshing to work in a new space, to have a different route to the studio, see different faces, hear different accents and sounds. It helped me to step out of my work, see it with new eyes, and listen with new ears. I surprised myself how open I was to new suggestions  and how I trusted the work to take on the lead. Looking back it seems that the unfamiliarity with the dancers and the whole environment helped me to approach the work with greater openness and flexibility towards changes.

I do realise that an important element for the success of this work was the dancers’ experience with live direction and that they knew each other well. Them feeling so comfortable with each other gave me a greater security to take risks and be more adventurous. There were moments were the dancers took complete control and were leading me whilst I was dancing with eyes closed. And by them taking on my role I was introduced to new decision making, which were aesthetically very different to mine (I would have never chosen to play Janet Jackson in juxtaposition to us flocking slowly through the studio). How refreshing to witness someone else in my role and what a great chance to reflect on the choices I make when giving instructions!

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Laura Bartczak, New York 2013

Another key finding was the awareness of the cultural context of my work in Leeds and the effect it has on the creative process. Even though my company in Leeds consists of mostly non-English dancers, all dancers (including myself) have lived in England for a long time and this week made me realise how much we have inhabited the English manners. Compared to my company in England the American dancers were much bolder in their approaches and less concerned about being ‘rude’ or ‘tactless’. They found more opportunities to challenge my role as the ‘visible choreographer’ by taking on the lead, they were less hesitant and had a more carefree approach of ‘ she will just tell us if this is too much’. This might also be because they were more familiar with the concept of live direction than the dancers I have worked with in England as it seems that this practice is more present in New York at the moment, like for example with artists like Yvonne Meier or Lindsey Drury.

 

Apart from the rehearsals I have attended roundtables, discussing different aspects and challenges of the festival and its role within the performance art scene. Key points of discussions were questioning the need to define the term performance art and how we can keep openness within its terminology to not exclude other work. This was very important for me as my work sits in between dance and live art/performance art. I was nervous that my work would not be accepted and that the audience would classify it as too movement based. But throughout the discussions I realised that there were many elements within my work, which were important aspects for performance art, such as the different forms of documentation and the focus on process rather than product. The response to my concern from Esther Neff, the festival director, after my performance will always stay in my mind. She said:

If you wouldn’t have called your work dance I wouldn’t have seen it as such. I found more similarities to other work within performance art and enjoyed recognising shared interests (Esther Neff, New York 2013).

It is interesting how the responses I received from the performance art scene were much more inclusive, pointing out shared interests and similarities. My experience with the dance scene in the UK however, is much more about highlighting my work as ‘other’. This suggests that maybe the performance art scene is more suitable for my work but also questions why there is this lack of openness within the dance scene (at least in England).

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Brooklyn/New York

My performance was presented at the Grace Exhibition Space, which is a venue devoted exclusively to performance art. Grace Exhibition Space opened in 2006 and is placed in a Brooklyn loft with all events being presented on the floor, not on a stage, dissolving the boundary between artist and viewer (www.grace-exhibition-space.com, 2006).

For me this space was probably the most suited one for my work compared to all venues I have performed the work so far. It was spacious and quite plain with its grey walls and grey painted wooden floor. It did not have any conventional theatre references and with a bar in one corner it allowed a very different overall experience for the audience and performers. It offered the audience to not only sit down and watch the work but also change their focus, talk to friends, have a drink and then return back to the work. Whereas I have tried in previous performances to invite the audience to return to the work to see how the work progresses, here the audience witnessed the overall arch of the work with a greater flexibility of how to engage with it.

I divided the space so that the bar was in one corner and the main performance space in the other corner. I was surprised that the audience stayed for the whole duration of the performance and that many people sat with us for most of the time. But I also enjoyed performing in this more relaxed atmosphere – the chatter in the background, the audience drifting in and out of focus. It had a relaxed feel to it and I enjoyed not being the centre of everyone’s attention. I found myself being much braver in my decision making, more playful and more open to the audience, talking to them about my artistic/research ideas and letting them be involved in the interactions with the dancers. It felt liberating and joyful – less terrifying.

As I mentioned earlier, the audience was not only different due to the lay out of the space but also acted very differently to how I am used to audiences within dance (or is it audiences in England?). At the beginning I explained the set up of the work and invited the audience to look at the dancers’ journals, the footage on the flip cameras and my notebook. Whereas in previous performances the audience was quite hesitant and needed extra encouragement by the usher, here they fully went for it! They read the journals, watched the footage – some people even used the flip cameras to film the work – they fully engaged with my notebook, sat down at my desk, played with my radio and the juke box. At one point it was even getting too much for me and I had to tell them to give me more space, had to regain my space again. In the beginning I was slightly terrified but it was done in such a lovely manner – like children wanting to explore – that it actually offered more interaction with the audience. At one point I referred back to an audience member wanting to play with the radio and gave him the task to find a tune for the dancers. It felt like we were all sharing the work, at points the deviation between audience and performers became blurry.

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Photo: Hrag Vartanian, Hyperallergic, New York 2013

Overall, and as this writing has hopefully shown, this trip to New York has been very rich and fulfilling in its experiences and inspiration it offered and I am very grateful that I was able to experience it. For my PhD these experiences will now feed and enrich the writing of my thesis. I have made discoveries and findings I would have not found just by reading or writing about it, which again has proven that for my research the practice-led approach is the most suited one.

For myself as an artist, I feel that this trip has benefitted me in many ways and has opened up new possibilities. The model of me going to a place, working with professional dancers for a week and then performing the work, has shown to be very efficient and allows me to travel more internationally with my work. Working within different cultural contexts offers exciting opportunities and new avenues for the work to be explored. My experience at BIPAF in New York has shown that the performance art scene is a good place to present my work.

This gives me great confidence to continue with it and I am excited what the next visits will offer!

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Photo: Hrag Vartanian, Hyperallergic, New York 2013

 

References: 

Grace Exhibition Space. 2006. Home. [online]. [27.07.2013]. Available from: www.grace-exhibition-space.com

Hyperallergic. 2013. Images from first week of the brooklyn intl performance art festival. [online]. [27.07.2013]. Available from: http://hyperallergic.com/75216/images-from-the-first-week-of-the-brooklyn-intl-performance-art-festival/

Photos: Hrag Vartanian, Laura Bartczak

This project was supported by the Lisa Ullmann Travelling Scholarship Fund and the Northern School of Contemporary Dance.

 

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Back from New York!

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‘Before I decide’ at Grace Exhibition Space (Brooklyn), 7th July 2013

I’m back from New York and I’m still buzzing from this great time I had over there, feeling inspired, full of new ideas and many contacts as well as invites to other festivals for next year (New York, Mexico, Berlin). I am very grateful for this opportunity and the experiences I have had, helping me to broaden my artistic/research horizon, offering a wealth of experience and reflections.

I need more time now to reflect on it but both, for my artistic work as well as my research (PhD) it has been highly beneficial and I have made many discoveries and unexpected findings, opening up new possibilities for where the work could go from here.

As I will spend the next few weeks to reflect and write about my time in New York, I thought I post another ‘Talking Diary‘, this time filmed at the end of the third rehearsal day (3rd July 2013). Watching it back, I remember the excitement, the pure happiness of experiencing something so rich and fulfilling – the heat not only of a hot summer evening in Brooklyn but also of my mind buzzing with new ideas  and stories from the day.

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The travel cost of this project was supported by the Lisa Ullmann Travelling Scholarship Fund.

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‘Talking Diary’

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As part of my New York preparation I’ve decided to present this month’s blog post not as a written form but verbally. I’ve started recording my ‘Talking Diaries’ when working on Before I decide in 2011. Apart from writing in my notebook it is a great form of catching ideas and thoughts throughout the creative  process. I find that capturing it verbally offers more nuances to the documentation of my thinking, giving space to the in between places, the not-knowing. And listening to it makes me remember more than just the words – it captures the frame of mind I was in at that time and the emotions going along side it.

I would like to invite you to listen to my entry from the 13th June 2013. So far I’ve recorded three entries for this ‘Talking Diary’ and I will continue with it when I’m in New York. The complete ‘Talking Diary’ (New York) will then be presented as part of the performance on the 7th July 2013 at the Grace Exhibition Space (Brooklyn).

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Photo: Josh Hawkins

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