[dance-tech] Re: March-April Discussion forum on dance/performance and participation

  • From: Johannes Birringer <Johannes.Birringer@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: Alexandre Achour <a.achour@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>, "dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx" <dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 13 Apr 2015 22:16:04 +0000

you trouble me by raising some very thoughtful questions that I may not be able
to answer ---- my reference to audience-participatory events as ostensibly
"democratic" was a play of words or references to the presumptions, I gathered,
built into the arguments on social content and relevance and concern
(relational aesthetics, as proposed by Nicolas Bourriaud), and also to the many
discussions overheard regarding the "emancipated spectator" (Rancière). last
year, everyone I knew kept mentioning this Rancière; while my visits to the
theatre or the galleries did not seem to produce any new awareness of my
democratic awareness or agency, as an actor/interactor. (and did not the
Judson Dance Theatre era got a tag, called "democracy's body"? hmm ? really?)
(Even Rauschenberg/Klüver's amazing "9 Evenings of Theatre and Engineering"
only included 2 participatory sensory installations; the rest was spectacle).

Spectacle, anybody?

what then do we mean by thinking (designing) of the experience of our audience?
of course we think of them, to an extent.

When I used to choreograph for the stage, less so. Now that I am exploring
"immersive installation-performances" and atmosphere, more so. I worry where
they will walk and what they will not do.

As I mentioned very briefly, in the last public installation we extended an
invitation to our audience to come "inside" the piece:

"Metakimosphere no.1",

Welcome to Metakimosphere – We invite you to experience this environment:
to walk , to sit, or lie down as and where you please, and to explore both
outside and inside the circular architecture-structure.
The performance will last approximately 25 minutes.....:

Most of our audience members did not come inside the sphere but looked on from
outside, sat down, walked around, but did not "enter" until the last 5 or 10
minutes, when they slowly felt more relaxed or encouraged or ready
to wear, touch, come closer, etc. The prohibition to touch, in western art
culture: amazing; the etiquette in music concerts, amazing. Abilities and
disabilities of engagement, what a long story. And what makes
engagement real and meaningful? -- Alexandre I do not know (you say "
performance creates conditions in which audience have no choice but to imagine
the stories"- yes, and what does this mean, do we strive for
cognitive reaction, Brechtian techniques? or for "sensory affect" or the
multitudinous enervations and resonations that Alan Sondheim mentioned in his
performance concert in the 3D Cave?)

how far can a "choreographic object" be expanded?

Is ISIS a choreographic expansion? OCCUPY? Anonymous? Hacking? Charlie

where does design enter into this series of reflections (following what Michèle
suggested)? (or, imaging Sarah Jane Pell climbing mountains, how do we read her
data from extreme habitat endurance?), the biophysiological sublime?
the "inhuman" post?

Johannes Birringer

[Alexandre schreibt]

Yes you are right the term "artificial hells" comes from André Breton, and here
is a short article on participation which is extremely interesting to read, one
of the most exciting texts that I read on participation actually, it’s also
from Claire Bishop, but she has more of an overview on participation to ask the
question where are we now? (which is actually the title of the essay) :
Ana Vujanovic also has very interesting texts, not directly about participation
but about politics in art and art in politics : Vita Performactiva

There is also a book by Ana Vujanovic and Bojana Cvejic , public sphere by
performance, which also talks a lot about the expanded field of choreography
and how to understand it nowadays in our scene.

I am glad that you found the concept of our performance interesting, I think
that our performance creates conditions in which audience have no choice but to
imagine the stories, in this way it is quite intrusive, but I also think that
any kind of performance participatory or not will always think of the
experience of its audience. Some would then talk about manipulation, but then
we might arrive to a dead end with this thought, concluding that all
performances are manipulative, when in fact it just is the nature of performing
arts to do work to be experienced live, and therefore to set the best
conditions for this experience. I don’t know how you discussed in your previous
conversations "democratic modes of participation" and in relation to which
works or contexts, but in the example that I studied in the research, when
dealing with democracy it always is addressing a very specific aspect, I am
thinking for example :

Democracy in America by Annie Dorsen, where she had people buying elements of
the performance before hand online, as a way to address capital in seemingly
democratic procedures.
On trial together by Sasa Asentic and Ana Vujanovic, where they wanted to
create conditions for direct democracy, I explain it in a very simple way, but
this performance is great : I recommend to watch the link :
City Council Meeting by Aaron Landsman, where he reproduced a city council
meeting based on real scripts from real city council meetings, and audience
would choose the role they want to play, and read / improvise the scripts.

I understand that when you say « democratic modes of participation », you don’t
talk about a performance, which content wise addresses democracy, but it has to
do with the social and political frame that the performance creates for its
audience, regardless of the content. I would be interested Johannes to read
more of your thoughts about this and what works do you have in mind when you
say this?

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