[dance-tech] Re: post / choreographic

  • From: "Jeannette Ginslov" <ginslov@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <mpgough@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 2 Apr 2008 11:29:34 +0200

dear matt, johannes and list

at the risk of repeating what other dance practitioners may have already said and whether anyone is interested or not, i wish to share the following after matt's encouragement - "if the dancer(s) are co-authors at the moment of performance we need to hear from them ... directly." and "the 'freedom' is in perception (of the performer) not the underlying code or content." and "the tendency is to use technology to 're-mediate' the space. this leaves the performers with casual and patterned responses. this conditioning remains even when the code/content/outcomes change."

in my experience during performance with interactive sites, a heightened & amplified sense of focus, perception and seeing, is perhaps what occurs for me at the moment, the gap, or place of interaction.

the irony is that the more one narrows and quietens the focus on that locus of interaction, the more it amplifies the sense of awareness of perception - the five senses and awareness of self, become heightened and allows for a discursive interaction within the self, between the many selves, feelings and ideas, that come alive during performance. it gets a bit 'noisy' at times if you do not concentrate, as they tend to happen simultaneously.

for this to come alive during such performances, a sense of quietness is necessary for intense focus and listening to occur at these loci of interactivity. it is as if you have to walk through a door, squeeze and squash the mind/body binary together, so they merge, and then you are through the door into another sense of perceiving the present, real-time, perceiving and acknowledging it, all at the same time, in your entire body and being.

then during performance i am amazed at how my senses are awakened and how my body memory, that includes habit and the questioning of it, comes forward in my consciousness for the moment of negotiation or choice, to respond. as part author, should i use this or that? milliseconds float by.

an added advantage of being the performer/"enfleshed machine" immersed in the constellation of possible interactions, whether they are causal or not, is that we have an added awareness of audience. the real 'electronic' machine does not.

the "enfleshed machine" is aware of mind and perceptual flow, seeing in real-time but also seeing shifts in perceptual flow and shifts in perspective, as if there is a constant dialogue within the performer between the different 'performative selves' - one is aware of the structure and responds accordingly, one is aware of the shifts and slight differences that occur at each performance, so cause and effect vary slightly at each performance, one is aware of mistakes and therefore new ideas and possibilities, one that is aware of audience and the desire to evoke an empathetic response in them, (if only they were you) making them as kinetically or emotionally engaged and in an excited/aware state, in that moment of connection, one that is always judging the performance as a whole within a cultural context aware of place in time and history, one that is the personal - body aches, pains, tiredness, energy levels etc, one that is aware of other interferences - extraneous noises etc

it begs the question - for whom and what is this work for? at the moment of co-authorship, it seems to be intensely personal, not for the consumption of an audience, that seems extraneous, outside of 'the moment of choice', unless the result is for the more spectacular. specularity then comes into play and alters the performer's choices.

the need to share what has actually happened at the interface between the highly skilled dancer and the machine, the myriad of different narratives that the "enfleshed machine" can elicit is what interests me...perhaps (dare i say it), at this synaptic space, no longer an empty space but a place of transition. an-other place. it is not an empty gap that must be leapt over, as in the underground from train to platform, but a substantial place filled and alive with history, memory, energy, electricity, spontaneity and a new life form. the space between is no longer 'between' but a place, an environment to be.

can we make these places unique? are these places the result of call and response? can there be innovation and origination in these places? how can the dancer give another response to alter an encoded response? can it challenge the machine with unexpected input, rather than "casual and patterned" responses?

the "enfleshed machine" has more to offer from its embodied data base, i think, than the metallic - how do we access that and what will the choreographic structures and outcomes be and will there be more freedom of choice, or will it just be the same but more complex?

----- Original Message ----- From: "Matt Gough" <mpgough@xxxxxxxxx>
To: <Johannes.Birringer@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: <dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2008 2:10 AM
Subject: [dance-tech] Re: post / choreographic

why do i keep returning to this issue of choreography and structure?

because if we want to talk about the experience of interacting we need
to know what the interactions and their phenomena are. without
structure, there is nothing to interact with.

if real-time composition is our new focus are there 'trends'
(patterns) we can observe in the outcomes, or is it all 'unique'.

if the dancer(s) are co-authors at the moment of performance we need
to hear from them ... directly.

we also need to know what technologies they are interacting with, and
how they operate / communicate. not for the sake of the 'new' but to
read alongside the dancer(s) reports.

jeanette also identifies a potential issue. if 'professionals' find it
hard to report their 'decisions' within interactive settings, the
public/audience will (possibly) find it harder.

"no time for reflection and thought" ... perhaps there is a
subconscious following of 'choreographic habit'. following 'first'
impulse / memories is also considered a choreographic structure by
many improvisation practitioners.

we also need to discuss how effect/affect is experienced. the
'interfaces' (themselves structures) offer a limited number of
options. the 'freedom' is in perception (of the performer) not the
underlying code or content.

we have yet to see a discussion of how to help dance-tech performers
'see/experience' differently. the tendency is to use technology to
're-mediate' the space. this leaves the performers with casual and
patterned responses.  this conditioning remains even when the
code/content/outcomes change.


the concept of 'interaction' is regularly brought up on this list. and
always without a 'reasonable' definition. new-media theory is often
used to point at definitions, but (never?) improvisation practice.

i'm wondering why we choose to exclude the extensive experiential, and
conceptual knowledge this practice offers. interaction and perception
are at the heart of improv & real-time composition.

if we took more time to understand, and model some of its findings,
our interactive 'technologies' would be richer.

On Tue, Apr 1, 2008 at 11:04 PM, Johannes Birringer
<Johannes.Birringer@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

dear Jeanette, list:

thanks for taking the time to elaborate your experience and your
thinking on "en/traced", it was very helpful,  I feel I understand
what you are saying quite well, and you are using a manner of
describing the interaction and connectedness (in this real time
performance) that is very evocative (and probably coming from the
thinking you have done about embodiment and the
physical/phenomenological, but also the sense of the "machinic" in the
physical interaction with the machine (technical,  virtual, computer
generated) environment  [...]

Other related posts: