On Saturday the 28th of May, I led a movement Lab aimed at sharing and developing my MAP research series practice with interested participants. Thank you to all who attended, your participation and insight were invaluable.
• We went through the entire sounding process from basic sounds to ‘human Radio’ as described in previous blogs.
After having described ‘human radio’ as a failure, OMG, the Lab participants made it really interesting again. I realise now how that I tend to make arbitrary rules in order to maintain a sense of cohesion in the tasks as if I need to be able to visually identify all the individual parts of an improvisation in order to qualify them. Folly! Megalomania! A general finding is that it is usually a subversion of a rule that I have created that brings a task to life, or provides a way forward. The
key thing with the h.r. is that sliding between different uses of voice needs to be practiced, yes, but not restricted to only three arbitrary components. To slide or to leap between two ways of vocalising, to work discordantly or harmoniously, to compliment or ignore other performers are just six of many, many possibilities as demonstrated by the Lab participants in this improvisation.
• We looked at Audience design and code switching.
We talked about the role that our audience play in the way we speak and how that is often related to a spatial relationship. We then constructed some short scenarios between speaker and audience and explored how tone, vocabulary and space could significantly alter the meaning of this relationship.
This short film captures a particularly clear code shift really sweetly.
• We looked at the Vocal Prosthesis and expanded its potential
In some ways, I think that this is my favorite thing that I have found, not just forits sound carrying qualities but also for its zoomorphic kinetic possibilities, and its ability to extend and contract in the space. It also rolls, vibrates and is quite wearable. We will look at how some of these qualities can be exploited on Friday.
It's quite heady stuff , this work, and not having solidified or set anything leads to anxiety over how to present my findings in a way that is useful to me and engages an audience. What is particularly difficult is negotiating the tendency and temptation to move big, obviously and virtuosically, to do something that is seen to be good dance, and by good I mean curated in some way, perhaps highly
skilled, perhaps beautiful.
After all, what is the point if anyone can do it right ? What do you think Yvonne Rainer ?
In a facebook post pertaining to her research into the possibility of Queering space, Artist Val Smith said “…I am more interested in drawing attention to small and imprecise attitudes, rather than to a whole-being attitudinal force, though that is interesting too with the contestable existence of a ;whole, but perhaps more obvious in terms of performance material. These minuscule attitudes of the body reveal themselves as vague gestures, often inter-relational, often fleeting, through interactions and situations... but how to choreograph insignificance,vaguenesses, and inexactnesses???"
I replied “Yes how? Actually isn't choreography (meaning conventional choreography ) kind of the antithesis of these ideas - perhaps you are looking for a way of being - experiencing being - observing and responding to just the fact of being in a particular measure of time- yikes “
Val’s response: “Yeah, trying to expand what we think choreography is, including all those things we think it isn't. ..”
What I have had to remind myself of is the value of taking time, and not necessarily ‘nailing it’. Economic factors seem to be slowly squeezing dance practice into ever shorter time periods for ever higher stakes, therefore, shaping the way we make, watch and value art. The average length for my last few projects has been a week. This research series is of similar duration but being
spread over five weeks makes all the difference. Time to reflect, plan and ponder, not to mention the compulsory blog has given me time to entertain some tangents and then let them go, and to come at my ideas from another angle.
I remember, as a student, Charles Koroneho telling me about his process for performing, and I misquote badly due to the effect of the mists of time “Think, think, think, think, think, then DO“. I think that in the context of this conversation (a project which I forget) he was challenging me to know my subject better, to be authentic, to learn by doing, to edit differently. Perhaps he was questioning the need for highly choreographed structure and recognising that the choreographic
research exists on a continuum which absorbs and outlives the performance.
I have often had that feeling that production and performance hijacks and corrupts a fascinating period of research and discovery and must thank MAP for promoting practice as a legitimate endeavour in itself.
I look forward to sharing my research with you on Friday at 7pm – Wellesley Studios.
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