Thinking laterally and vertically and conjuring new realities

TEST

This post also appears as an entry on The Red LineSouth East Dance‘s blog exploring dramaturgical thinking.

conjuring-new-realities

A desire to learn more about dramaturgical approaches and to test them out on the germ of an idea for a new work led me to this workshop organised by South East Dance. Through group activities we explored “the potential of language as a generative form” and I left Martin Hargreave’s workshop with many strategies for getting outside my own ‘natural’ processes, and for approaching my research in both a more frivolous, and voluminous way. Do lots. Discard later.

Richard Serra’s Verb List 1967-68 – which we employed (see photograph in Adrienne Hart’s blog post) – provides a useful metaphor for some of the tasks and approaches we undertook. You can think across the list both horizontally and vertically, or randomly, exploring the connections and contradictions between words and ideas, following fruitful correspondences, discarding others (for now).

A collaborative manifesto-writing task produced something for the idea I am researching. I find it fascinating that the words of others could help me to draw together, tease out and name some of the principles behind a work that is, for now, a rough muddle in my head. Especially since, up to now it has existed as a kind of out-of-focus image‑gallery.

Adding to the manifestos accumulating on The Red Line, here is the current iteration:

 

Manifesto for (Preparing to) Making Art with Guests 1

Be a Host (ess).

Take care of the space. Make it inviting.

Bring sustenance for you and your guests.

Create a convivial environment in which connections can emerge, listening can take place and the impossible can be imagined.

Imagine the impossible.

 

Collect and assemble starting points or puzzles for your guests.

Guide your guests through mapping, describing and articulating.

Assemble and use ordinary objects that excite you/them.

Make your guests Protagonists.

Do what you want.

Do what they want.

 

Listen to The Smiths.

 

Take things apart and remake them.

Make visible your Guests chameleon-like nature – their thick-and-thin skinned-ness.

Make a record of the record.

 

Give meaning and hope to frustration and suffering.

Louise Bourgeois

 

Reading through the first few entries about this workshop on The Red Line I would also like to steal (borrow/try for size) from a fellow artist who attended the Test workshop. I adopt a second set of principles for this work from Re‑Manifesto.

 

Manifesto for (Preparing to) Making Art with Guests 1.1

I am an acrobat of time.

Space has no meaning.

I’m a healer.

 

Professional Development supported through South East Dance and Jerwood Charitable Foundation Dramaturg in Residence Programme 2016/17.

Published!

IJSC vol 4 cover

The International Journal of Screendance Volume 4 is now online, including my essay

“Cutting across the century: an investigation of the close up and the long-shot in “cine-choreography” since the invention of the camera.”

Really looking forward to some fascinating reading material!

Do have a look and let me know your thoughts.

 

“Pressed against the inside of the celluloid.”

(Thank you Ryan M. McKelvey).

With one week to go until my first performance of Portrait, there is still much to do. I am working on honing the content/ movement material for the second part of the performance.

A preview of the work yesterday at a feedback session brought up some exciting and rich references, including Yvonne Rainer’s Hand Movie of 1966, and Kate Chopin’s novel, The Awakening.

One of the ideas that has created the form for the second part of the performance is the reflection that in our current lives we are constantly trying to get into screens – to become the image inside the device. I find it interesting that early on in its history – before its role as a PR tool was really discovered – the photograph was considered an objective document and was used ‘scientifically’ for categorisation and cataloguing. Now, whilst we talk about ‘documenting’ our lives and our work, it is almost as if we are in a state of constant becoming inside of our devices, rather than living outside them. Perhaps, in this second part of Portrait, I am inside the device, trying to find out its limits, as Ryan suggested “pressed against the inside of the celluloid.”

Which brought up Jenny Saville’s wonderful work…

Closed Contact #8 1995-1996

Closed Contact #14

And the idea of the camera as a lifeline, as in the film 127 Hours.

“In short, landscape is the link between our outer and inner selves”.

Images of Bill Viola, The Dreamers, 2013

Title quote from Bill Viola, Reasons for Knocking at an Empty House, Writings, p.253

Bill Viola’s words have crystallised something for me.  They connect many of the strands that seem to crop up in my work…  the experience of the body, of time, of the landscape as a physical thing.  The body as conduit of the experience (simultaneously) of time and landscape, the body as a landscape in the frame.

Or rather, I don’t know if these things are apparent in my work, however, they are things which inform the choices I make.

As well as the sight of landscape, the sound of landscape enters the works.  The sound of the rain and the wind in Snöplog.  And Figure(s) became a sound piece – a “sculpting of time” (Viola again) through sound, object and body – falling beans alluding to waves, pebbles and the time of landscape, of the body, not of the mind.

“If you look at landscape in historical terms, you realize that most of the time we have been on Earth as a species, what has fallen on our retina is landscape, not images of buildings and cars and street lights.”  Bill Viola

Cited here: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/b/bill_viola.html#DzmPS0ioD0Puf5Fw.99