[dance-tech] Re: post / choreographic

  • From: mpgough@xxxxxxxxx
  • To: Johannes.Birringer@xxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 21 Feb 2008 01:41:59 +0000

hello all,

apologies for missing off the 'welcome' in my last email. this is the
second part of my reply to johannes thoughts ...

" imagine performing in duet with live coding, how do you assess this
choreologically, and would that be very meaningful? "

live coding is real-time coding of audio/visuals in a performative
context. ('wired' magazine has an article here -
http://tinyurl.com/355y76 )

lets give the duet some some context to make it a 'meaningful' thought

dancer - improvisation
livecoder visuals - 'fluxus'  http://tinyurl.com/3d8jp2
livecoder audio - 'chuck' http://tinyurl.com/ywavfa

the work will last 40 mins, and the visuals and code will be projected
onto screens that the dancer and audience can see. the theme will be
'folding' and each performance starts from zero, no pre-prepared code
or movement. (we will have practiced the 'structure').

as we are going to 'assess' the work we will also document the
visuals, music code and dance (video, text and audio).

a choreological analysis looks at the movement, and the contexts the
movement occurs (costume, visuals, sound, culture etc) in to find
patterns. within and between these patterns the 'reader' can look for
meanings. the two 'bibles' (in the uk) for such an approach are:

- Dance Analysis, Theory and Practice (adshead-lansdale)
- Dance and the Performative: A Choreological Perspective (preton-dunlop)

the analysis is relatively simple, if a little time consuming,
especially if you make a chronological chart of all the events.

the analysis would help you solve (in reverse) the links between the
improvised dancing, visuals and audio. e.g. patterns of: call and
response, re-represntation, development and modification etc, etc.

yes this is specific to a particular performance, but it gives some
insight into 'how' the structure leads to the emergent (sub-)forms and

this is a meaningful analysis. it gives context to what the 'audience'
experiences. improvisation is real-time creation and editing, it is
more than 'play', it requires an understanding of 'events, options,
and responses'. an analysis can help show these things.

seeing the simple rules (strategies / structures) helps you understand
the complex (emergent) whole of an improvised work. for example,
flocking birds position themselves via 'n'- nearest neighbor searches
(~7 for starlings). and whilst we can't ask, the birds, analysis and
simulation support the hypothesis. (more info and video -
http://tinyurl.com/2bce4g )

the same is true with improvisation (emergent performance), the
performer is often unable to explain why they did things.
choreological analysis can show how they did them and suggest options

to simply say 'the performance exposed the existential crisis between
(wo)man and technologies' is not very meaningful. nor is 'it was the
confluence of the real and virtual'. meaning is context:

- bark (?)
- tree bark
- dog bark

or try saying these aloud:

- carat 
- caret 
- carrot
- karat

(apologies to non english speakers). my point is simply that
'movement' and performance is like homonyms, homophones, homographs,
hetronyms / hetrophones ( see here - http://tinyurl.com/zlt5b ).

this brings is nicely to meaning.

"is content not intended and incipient on choices made?  or does it
also emerge by happenstance? an accident of the reading/writing

here it seems you are implying fixed meaning (structuralism), or
meaning via intertexts (post-structuralism). i do not agree that the
latter is accidental which is what 'neo-structuralism' points to.

i can author an intertext (e.g. '2b /not 2b' ) to point you towards a
meaning. in dance the trend has been to do this with (movement)
metaphors. as long as i use enough nodes (the metaphors) the
intertexts between them will lead you to my 'intended' meaning.

the replication of emotional, expressive, tactile, visual and auditory
elements (nodes) in «suna no onna»  is a good example of this. the
reason for using multiple nodes (and some replication) is because not
everyone will recognize all intertexts.

selective use of nodes can also navigate (improvising) performers in a
particular direction (i addressed this in the first part of this
reply). a performer is also author and audience, they interpret, write
and read in an ongoing loop.

this is not happenstance, we have biases a strategies for perceiving
meaning and making 'sense' of what we experience. gestalt psychology
offers some useful descriptions of such processes (
http://tinyurl.com/24awo6 ).

"I'd have thought that 'emergent' cannot be dramaturgically
intended/rehearsed unless your dramaturgy is based on such an
understanding of nervous systems, self-organising, intelligent and
automomous systems in relationship to physical, moving and enacting

here i feel you are talking about representations of emergence, and
ones that are overly complex. emergent patterns come from simple rules
/ structures. the dramaturgy is your scenario, and scenography for
«suna no onna». they are 'rich' and clearly defined, performing within
this dramaturlogical structure leads to emergent outcomes.

emergence is not random, it is the product of multiple interactions
within a system / structure.

re-creating/mounting 'interactive' performance works (that do not have
'set content') requires detailed documentation of the structure
(choreography). this structure provides the 'conditions' and regulates
the 'interactions' that makes the emergent content (the work)

you can't step into the 'same' river twice. but you can still goto
'the river'. (after  heraclitus)

as i said before, practicing an improvisation (real-time creation,
editing, interaction) is about understanding the structure (and how to
navigate it), not recalling content (per se).

" 'interactional' performance skills/techniques [...] are very
different  and need to adapt to emergencies, data streams,
transmission systems (in wearable
sensors scenarios), 3D words, game engines, algorithmic languages and live
coding [...] "

this is little different from improvisation without technologies, it
is an issue of perception, skills and adaptation. you may need to
learn how to read a display (e.g. ultrasound) or 'trigger' a sensor
(what rate is the sensor sampling to register a 'flow'), but these
issues are not the 'work', they are (infra)structure.

in many ways, set content (steps phrases) within a interactive context
would be more challenging to re-stage.

loose ends ...

in the tripwire example the content is generative, we can think of the
rules as 'under/over' depending of the hight of the wire. (in this
case, form leads to content).

the courpus site is interesting, and shows why i'm using such open,
but defined definitions of dance and choreography. 'choreographer' has
become a 'political' term, but that does not mean it is not valid.
many dictators have contested they are such. (and no, i'm not
suggesting that choreography is dictatorial).

all sensors are 'triggered', sensors report the presence of
'something', if they do not report we assume is is absent. the sensor
is an interface, it is not the entire system, or the system output.
triggering a sensor is different from directly mapping that sensor to
a binary/analogue output.



p.s.  i am recovering some basics here as i know students read this
list and may not be aware of practitioners, concepts etc. i also use
'tiny-url' to prevent long urls (which are sometimes broken in
emails). i would be great to hear more perspectives on the basic
theory we are discussing (e.g. improvisation, post-structuralism,
sensor function. etc)

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