[dance-tech] post choreographic

  • From: mpgough@xxxxxxxxx
  • To: Johannes.Birringer@xxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2008 00:03:35 +0000

hello list(s) and johannes,

you suggested that interactive-intermedia performance was 'post
choreographic' and asked for thoughts.

i should probably begin with a definition of dance and choreography.

- 'dance' is movement presented within a performative context, where
the derived outcomes, are of equal or greater value than the movement

- 'choreography' is the making of structures in which dance occurs.

it seems important to include a definition of dance. although i am
aware of your past thoughts on 'not dance' they seem at odds with a
'post dance' (derived from your post choreographic).

your key points seem to be:

dynamic scripts, sensor interfaces, user learning (performing), no
steps/phrases. narrative, sensation, cinematic, interactional.

is the following a fair overview of your thinking? :

post choreographic works create dynamic narratives / abstractions
through multi-media and sensor based interfaces. these
'dramaturlogical' systems (and installations) are interactive and do
not require set movement phrases (choreography). the 'performers' are
users, sending and receiving 'performative' information.

prior experience of the interface not required to generate a
performance. the user learns the interface as they navigate and
experience the work. the rules and structure of the interface may also
be modified during, or between performances.

the visual and sonic contexts of these work has cinematic aesthetic
and is a clear progression from staged dance. i propose that live
intermedia works using projection, and screendance are a different
category of choreography. they are the post choreographic.

i wanted to clarify for myself the implications of what you were
suggesting. i understand why you are assuming that position, but do
not agree with it.

thinking of choreography as 'set steps' is conceptually weak. the
jusdon dance theater era demonstrated that choreography was about
structure, the content could be set or generative.

postmodern-dance also used physical structures (architecture,
sculpture etc.) to generate movement from the performers/audience. if
i set up tripwires in a corridor you will have to step over them (it
is the only exit route), your stepping is the dance, the wire is the
choreography. if the tripwires ring bells, we could consider this

we can think of interactive interfaces in the same way, they are
structures that generate movement. something must change to trigger a
sensor, the precursor to that change is usually movement.

the user might move in response to sound or visuals in a functional
(hear/see better) or interpretive manner. in all cases the arrangement
of hardware/software is the choreography. the composition and
improvisation of user/perfromer movement is emergent.

the use of post-choreographic might be an implication that the dance
is secondary. but that is already covered, « [...] the derived
outcomes, are of equal or greater value than the movement itself ».

screendance and interactive intermedia work are very different
practices. whilst it is tempting to focus on the 'screen' as the site
of difference/invention it is only the site presentation. everything
that happens before the projection is of greater importance.

i would also suggest that interactive intermedia work is not a
cinematic aesthetic, but a video art aesthetic.

i think that screendance and interactive intermedia take different
choreographic approaches. neither practice is post choreographic and
both can be (partially) assessed with existing choreological tools.

the structural (but extensible & repeatable) nature of the interfaces
with the emergent (& dramaturlogical) content points towards
neo-structuralism. these practices are not an 'after', they are a
revisionist return to existing conceptual frameworks.



p.s. when reconstructing performances we must remember that stage
performance skills/techniques are very different from those required
for screen based work.

p.p.s. it seems good to be clear in our writing and thinking about new
concepts. not only should it make the work more accessible, but also
facilitate more effective/rich theory and artistic practice.

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