[dance-tech] Re: repertory worlds

  • From: "Johannes Birringer" <Johannes.Birringer@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <dance-tech@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Mon, 21 Jan 2008 09:31:56 -0000

hello all:

A very good reply has appeared on the dancetech-ning forum site, to my last 
post, and i should repost it here, if you wish (a response by Matt Gough, 
addressing the issue of history/historicizing and collectively writing on dance 
and technology and its repertoire).  

Is there a repertoire in our art form?  

which performance works are kept in repertory and can be seen repeatedly, over 
the years, perhaps also performed by different performers (as we have all seen 
different performed-versions of Balanchine's choreographies,  or Pina Bausch's 
Rite of Spring or Kontakthof, for example............., or of In the Middle, 
Somewhat Elevated... ).  I was thinking about history and the role of repertory 
when i read a rather interesting review of New York City Ballet?s new program 
?Balanchine?s World"  (including the 1975 ?Le Tombeau de Couperin,? ......... 

is there a repertory of works created in digital performance,  a repertory of 
computational dance works, and are the core ideas, new compositional 
(interactive, real-time) approaches to making such works, the specific 
performer and design techniques, software applications or live coding 
practices, spatial / projective architectures and scenographies , etc, passed 
on from generation to generation?   we might think, no, not really ( with a few 
exceptions, such as in Cunningham's company case,  Trisha Brown's case, or 
maybe Forsythe's company case whose members are now making their own work or 
are directing works, or in the case of numerous other artists who have worked 
collaboratively with others,  but generally, such collaborative ad-hoc work, or 
specific group-identified work, say, by Dumb Type, Troika Ranch, kondiiton 
pluriel, Ventura dance company, etc etc, is not re-created in most cases (since 
dancers often are pick up and the group changes casts from case to case....), 
and this is one of the weaknesses of the "genre" or the artform, it as yet 
lacks the sustained and consistent signature work over decades - driven by 
ensemble practice and rehearsal  and growth ---    that we see in numerous 
cases in the visual art, or in cases of performance directors (Robert Wilson, 
Richard Foreman, Meredith Monk. Tim Etchells, Jan Fabre, Jan Lauwers, etc) and 
groups (Wooster Group, Builders Association, Theatre Complicite, etc) 
articulating their work consistently with an intermedial dramaturgy. 

 There are numerous artists (digital artists and designers) working close to 
our/in our field, however, who have built work over one, two decades, or more,  
and some video artists, film artists (like Toni Dove)   or conceptual artists 
have walked the pathways (of installation art, video art, participatory & 
interactional art, audio art & electronic music, light art, kinetic 
art/robotics)  that now computational performance or peformance-tech works 
tread,  but how do we speak of repertory here?  i would love to hear some 
comments from you.

Finally, i mentioned the Forsythe Company, partly because i find an 
experimenting and risk taking company of that stature, not unlike the 
tremendous impact Pina Bausch has had on tanztheater, quite significant as a 
"school" (of training, of ideas, or methods, and of perceptions)  --- since 
there will have been dancers over the years who are now choreographers and 
teachers  (as we see the strong school and research model also of P.A.R.T.S -- 
even though the latter does not seem to generate much work in dance technology 
---yet for its pedagocial and artistic influence, please see:   de Belder, 
Steven and Theo van Rompay, eds., P.A.R.T.S ? Documenting Ten Years of   
Contemporary Dance Education, Brussels: P.A.R.T.S., 2006) and who pass on their 
knowledge or take their knowledge down new and modified roads.

case in point:   Richard Siegal:    ------ did anyone see his concert in New 
York?  i would love to hear some comments and reactions here on our list, do 
you know his work?
The NY Times reported:  (Saturday, same issue as the Balanchine review):  

 "A Leaf Spinning, Darting and Falling in an Electronic Tempest of Light and 
Video"  -- reading this review, one could get excited and wishes to have been 
there,  and i believe for all of us that such interest (as it is aroused here) 
would be good:

an interest in understanding and contextualizing how dance technology (a clumsy 
term), i.e. how digital performance and computational & networked/distributed 
compositions have evolved and are being deployed/situated in dance, in 
installation, in locative mediaworks, in networked performances, in multimedia 
theatre, in screen based media works and other hybrids.  Oliver Grau and Popper 
speak of "virtual art" (perhaps another odd name intended as overarching 
category), and again most  often they describe (and chronologize) signature 
work of artists with name recognition, some more, some less,  and seldom do 
such books address performance art and performativities, training and 
recompositions yielding repertory and sustainable/expandable performer 
knowledge and designer knowledge.

with regards
Johannes Birringer
Houston, TX

(A few other publications come to mind here, in this context:
Brouwer, Joke, with  Arjen Mulder, Anne Nigten, Laura Martz, eds.,  aRt&D: 
Artistic Research and Development, Rotterdam: V2_Publishing/NAi Publishers, 
2005.Walker Arts Center.  Art Performs Life: Merce Cunningham/ Meredith Monk/ 
Bill T. Jones. Minneapolis: Print Craft, Inc., 1998
Doherty. Claire (ed.):  Contemporary Art from Studio to Situation.  London: 
Black Dog Publishing, 2004.
Lipp, Nele,  Körper, Leib, Raum:  Eine Ausstellung.  Essen,: Art Print 
Publishers, 2005.
Dinkla, Söke and Martina Leeker, eds., Dance and Technology/ Tanz und 
Technologie: Moving towards Media Productions - Auf dem Weg zu medialen 
Inszenierungen (Berlin:     Alexander Verlag, 2002). 
Dixon, Steve, Digital Performance: A History of New Media in Theater, Dance, 
Performance Art, and Installation (Cambridge, MA.: MIT Press, 2007)
Popper, Frank,   From Technological to Virtual Art,  Cambridge: MIT Press, 2006
Buskirk,  Martha,     The Contingent Object of Contemporary Art ,   Cambridge: 
MIT Press, 2006
Hansen, Mark B., Bodies in Code: Interfaces with Digital Media,  London:  
Routledge, 2006
Chapple, Freda & Kattenbelt, Chiel, eds., Intermediality in Theatre and 
Performance.  Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2006
Grau, Oliver,  Virtual Art:  From Illusion to Immersion, Cambridge: MIT Press, 

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