[dance-tech] Re: post / choreographic

  • From: "Johannes Birringer" <Johannes.Birringer@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2008 20:31:33 -0000

Hi all:

Our recent discussion of the "post-choreographic? seems to have ended in a bit 
of an unresolved state 
 -- our attention shifted to ?Glow? and ?Silent Room? after Hélène urged us to 
look  Skoltz_Kolgen & I became interested in what S_K call ?contamination of 
the senses??? 
--  i'm afraid I did not fully answer Matt?s very cogently argued points about 
the ?technological and perceptual context of the sensors? in his February 20 
Naturally, it would nice to hear from others.

To refresh ::[Matt wrote]
in «suna no onna» there are three elements which form the
choreographic structure; scenario, scenography and sensors. using
these elements the performers engage in realtime composition and

whilst the improvisation and composition may occur after the creation
of a choreographic structure they are not 'post choreographic'. if we
were to follow your logic then all performance would be
'post-choreographic' in that it resulted 'from', rather than 'being'
the choreography.

the sensorial 'flow' in «suna no onna» may be emergent but the 'data'
itself is not. you have chosen the

- type of sensors
- location of sensors
- sensor sampling rate
- sensor sensitivity range
- sensor communication protocol
- affect sensor can have on the environment

all these things are a mix of structure and form, the 'flow' is
emergent content. this flow/content is derived from the actions of the
performers, which the sensors /garments are designed to (continuously)
sample.  the 'sensorial flow' is the outcome of the arrangement of
hardware/software. the fact that the performers can use this output as
stimulus is irrelevant. the flow is a function of your choreographic
and dramaturlogical structure. >>>

I think Matt has argued quite fervently for a sustainable notion of 
?choreography? even under conditions of real-time enactment and composition, 
emergence and complexity within the dramaturgical arrangements for ?sensorial 
flow? and thus, as I tried to suggest, within an undetermined framework for 
realization or manifestation generating a new performance each time such a 
?work? is produced. My notion of dramaturgy here is directec cleartly towards 
the sensorial and  experiential, and a kind of "design in motion". 

Even as I agree with everything Matt lists above (referring to the sensors and 
the ?design?), I still would not think of the performance techniques we work 
with as ?choreographic? ? I don't know what word to use.

I never experienced the sensors to be predictable or behaving according to 
protocol, and if you suggest that all movement  is always (Judson example) 
?adaptable? to specific and changing circumstances, thus following 
?choreographic rules?, then I am at a loss for words again, as on the one hand 
it would make the term choreographic apply to anything (thus making it less 
useful , no?), and on the other it would exclude a fluidity in the structural 
itself. For me structure is not something fixed or determined as you imply in 
your examples.  I can easily undestand STRUCTURE AS OUTCOME.  that is what I 
thought was implied by my suggestion of the post-choreographic. 

Our performers are not working in the way you suggest, are not following rules 
nor adapting, strictly speaking, even to a changing sensorial & digital 
(virtual) environment.  I was thinking  that the real time composition of the 
actions and reactions to responsive behaviors in the projected  (perceived,  
seen, heard, felt, touched?) environment creates an interfacial momentum that, 
unlike your structural argument, is much more molecular.   

>>but all 'moving' objects (physical or represented/mediated) in a performative 
>>setting are choreographed>>

well. Not really, .   You reply to my suggestions saying that ?wanting to 
explore the sensate does not exclude the choreographic,? and you may very well 
be right. All of our performance techniques and the real-time enactions were 
owed to the exploration of the tactile and sensorial garments as ?characters,? 
and we certainly did work off a  narrative structure. But this structure did 
not determine the objects.  We didn't think that the enactions and the 
sensorial processes were enframed by the choreographic as  an apparatus of 
distribution and organization. That apparatus seemed to have receded from 


I read production notes from Fahrudin Salihbegovic the other day, he had 
created a ?digital performance? in Serbia and written about their struggling 
with sensors and digital environment programming. He comes to the conclusion 
that he had wanted to transform the theatre into a new cybertheatre of 
interactivity,  but when he noticed that the sensors were not working, he 
thought they had nevertheless created a ?dramaturgy of digital performance? for 
interactivity. He says that ?it was proven to us that a performance can be 
interactive and at the same time be organized as a stable dramaturgical 
structure.  We simply created a dramaturgical space for the interactivity, a 
framework for its safe use? (they ended up using a camera interface for Isadora 
video effects in ?Waar is daar?). 

My point (regarding Suna no Onna) was exactly the opposite.  We were not 
creating a safe structure. Although i might be deluding myself, since we had a 
scenario for sure, carefully "set in motion,."  Yet  i have also, like 
Fahrudin, experienced enough situtions where we  or someone worked with brittle 
interfaces and ended up having a back up plan (plan B), to simulate the 
interactivity or play tape (as was done in the Trisha Brown touring of "how 
much......" ),    some strange cases of bad faith indeed.  

Performing with the sensorial garments to create a ?wearable space? can?t 
result in an interfacial composition in the digital sense of enaction if the 
emergent flow is not changing the environment. If it does not change the 
environment, I am afraid we end up with uninteresting choreography, at least I 
would fear so in the context of the digital and the way it is explored through 
real time enactment and interactivity.  I  could be wrong though,  Richard 
Povall has argued strongly for carefully rehearsed and well crafted 
choreography, if i understand him correctly, and Richard of course worked with 
Big Eye early on.  Those were the days, the early adapter days.  now the Royal 
Ballet does it too. ("Electric Counterpoint, Royal Ballet " : 

With regards
Johannes Birringer

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