[dance-tech] Re: repertory worlds and remixing

  • From: "Matt Gough" <mpgough@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: josephine@xxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 23 Jan 2008 18:17:59 +0000

hello all,

it is interesting to note the desire to return to 'dance' and drop the
focus on 'tech'. much of the discussion about 'dance-tech' rep has
centered on emulating, replicating, or updating the technological
tools. what has been missing are the requirements for re-staging

- do we have suitable documentation of the concept and process(es).
- are there choreographic notes?
- what improvisation methodologies / approaches were used?
- what physical skills did the performers require?

... and so on. documentation and reconstruction of was hotly debated
in the 1990's. from recovering 'lost' or 'seminal' (but over-adapted)
works, to securing 'our' generations work for the future.

the challenges millicent hodgson faced when reconstructing nijinsky's
'rite of spring' should have been a lesson to us all. works that have
new / novel features and 'challenging' contexts (in that instance the
technique and the music) need properly documenting.

to leave our work as 'once and once only' is akin to cultural self
vandalism. we should be documenting works thoroughly. that also
extends to the process / concept / method we use to make work. imagine
100 years from now trying to re-stage kammer/kammer but no one knows
'limb theory' (improvisation technologies).

the example of lucier is pertinent. the concept/principle of the work
are more significant than the technology. in fact the principles are
embedded into the text spoken. most dance-tech works lack that clarity
of intention or documentation.

sure, few people want to see 'older technologies' wheeled out. what
they want to see is good choreography. most of the 'seminal'
dance-tech works are valued because of the choreography, not the
novelty or quality of the tech. this points to technologies as context
(rather than concept) being more successful (to date).

as nick alludes, technologies on context is postmodern. and you only
have to glance at us, uk and european culture (music, fashion etc) so
see postmodernism is alive and kicking. however, re the 'par cans':
scenography as context and scenography as concept are two different

dominique boivin and the digger dance strikes me as constructivist
realism. is it real objects/material in real space. two rhythmic
structures (man and machine) stimulating the imaginative and
spiritual. is it dance-tech? ... no. the digger provides context
rather than concept.



On Jan 23, 2008 1:59 AM, Josephine Dorado <josephine@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Hallo all --
> Firstly, I love how active the list has been lately! And all the ning
> action - w00t! It's good to see the community so engaged. I too, find
> it challenging to keep up with all the discussions but wow - how very
> cool.
> Johannes said:
> > -- well, as far as transfers go,  our older stuff  with antique
> > softwares (say, done in 1995 with BigEye) could probably be
> > recreated (with newer software, like Isadora); older live dance/
> > live projection work (in 1992 i used only 3/4 U-matic tapes in an
> > opera treatment of Orfeo & Eurydike) could be re-done using digital
> > formats.
> yes! indeed -why not examine how the older pieces can be translated
> with newer tech. For example, in 1969, composer Alvin Lucier
> performed "I Am Sitting in a Room" in which he "records himself
> narrating a text, and then plays the recording back into the room, re-
> recording it. The new recording is then played back and re-recorded,
> and this process is repeated... eventually the words become
> unintelligible, replaced by the pure resonant harmonies and tones of
> the room itself." (wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/
> Alvin_Lucier#I_Am_Sitting_in_a_Room ). In the original recording, he
> used tape.
> Here's the original recording:
> http://www.ubu.com/sound/lucier.html
> A couple of years ago, Lucier performed it again at the New School
> and I was lucky enough to catch it. I had a look at the set up
> afterward and guess what he was using? the ubiquitous Max/MSP
> and as Dawn mentioned:
> > The above comment makes me think of the Limon company, which is now
> > a sort of Rep company. They perform the historical works of Jose
> > Limon, which are decades old,  along side contemporary works by
> > Limon alum or other nearly related young choreographers. I like
> > this concept. While it keeps the history of a founder in the
> > present, the company dancers can still grow and be challenged by
> > new work.
> why not take it one step further in the spirit of the "mashup"  and
> take original rep mashed up / remixed for a fresh perspective? The VJ/
> DJ culture is all over this, and it's a wonder that the dance culture
> hasn't taken to it too. "Accumulations" practically screams to be
> "scratched".
> and here I'll sample Paul Miller's text on remixing:
> "The 'fold' is about involution - it's about taking multiple
> perspectives on an event - just like the "break" in hip-hop, it's the
> break beat, the broken fragment of time recorded on the sample that
> gives the 'flow' of discourse its meaning in this
> context."  (nettime: http://www.nettime.org/Lists-Archives/nettime-
> l-0511/msg00076.html )
> It's that break beat - a moment in time sampled into "urban sprawl"
> and back again - that I think gives a remix its richness. Involution,
> evolution, (re)volution...
> cheers,
> ~Josephine
> On Jan 22, 2008, at 7:26 PM, Johannes Birringer wrote:
> >
> > [parallel discussion happening at http://dancetech.ning.com/forum/
> > topic/show?id=1462368%3ATopic%3A5961&page=3 ]
> >
> >
> > hallo:
> >
> > the back and forth debate here  on "repertory"  & transfers of
> > (digital) choreographies  (while Matt refers to the "map" and the
> > "traces" of the danc e and technology movement or genre) -- truly
> > fascinates me, as i can't recall us ever having had such a
> > discussion here, not even when a few years ago we looked at "our"
> > history and the evolution of the practices that Nick so clearly and
> > specifically explains as relying on a "language" (not yet a lingua
> > franca],  specific hardware or softtware, designs, and interactions
> > between such designs and performers who know how to use them in a
> > performance or choreographed work.
> >
> > I keep the previous dialogue (below), just add a few thoughts:
> >
> > - for a history of these last decades that produced new works in
> > dance and technology (or the parallel field of music and technology
> > --  and that intersection, as an example, can be traced to the Cage
> > "Variations V" (with Cunningham, Tudor, Paik, et al) in the mid 60s
> > so often mentioned as a precursor piece.............,and perhaps
> > even further back of course),  a reviewing of substantive pieces,
> > in my opinion , is paramount.  it would be unavoidable.
> >
> > To see how such works stand the test of time and how they (as a
> > particular category of artistic works using a form, such as real
> > time synthesis or performance/projections or choreography/sound/
> > video/robotics interaction) evolve and are re-adaptable -- this
> > would be precisely of significant interest for our critical
> > understanding of how such dance or such performance positions
> > itself, how it involves, how it activates its audience receptions
> > and challenges its own assumptions, how it is interpreted and
> > critiqued, and remembered.
> >
> > - after all, Konzepttanz did much to challenge itself (its/dance's
> > form, its conventions, modes and assumptions of capture &
> > choreogaphy, the theatre as framework, the work-audience
> > relationship, the notion of product/production, etc etc), as many
> > disciplines have challenged themselves after postmodernism liked to
> > think of the end of the masternarratives.
> >
> > --  Marina Abramovich did a brilliant unexpected move [Easy Pieces,
> > 2006] when she re-performed earlier performance pieces of the 70s
> > (by Vito Accconci, valie Export, Joseph Beuys, etc) which we had
> > assumed were written on the original creator bodies as unrepeatable
> > signatures.....
> >
> > -- you may recall Baryshnikov's attempt to restage the 60s Judson
> > works in "Past Forward"......   It was criticized of course, but
> > anyway.
> >
> > I would love to do (reperform) Bruce Nauman's "Dance or Exercise on
> > the Perimeter of a Square [Square Dance], 1967-68",  alongside with
> > Trisha Brown's "Homemade" (1996), Nancy Holt's "Boomerang" (1974)
> > and my own "North by South"  (1998) or "migbot"  (1998) -- (many
> > other works by other artists i admire i would invite to such a
> > festival of repertories, alongside contemporary works that were
> > mentioned, Kammer/Kammer, Ashley Friend;s new piece, Siegal's new
> > piece, and the marvellous Margie Medlin QUARTET  (she showed the
> > duet with robot on film when visiting us in Germany at the
> > Interaktionslabor, i truly found this dance emotionally gripping,
> > just as you say, Nick).  Did not Jerome Bel perform Susanne Linke
> > as well?
> >
> > wouldn't we like to see which pieces hold up, can be bettered, can
> > actually be performed?  "Ghostcatching" holds up just fine, but it
> > is a digital installation.  Brown;'s collaboration with Kaiser,
> > Eshkar and Downie on "how long does the subject linger on the
> > egde....."  has been reperformed once, but probably is too
> > cumbersome to be done more often as the whole gear (real time
> > motion analysis/capture system) would have to be set up and
> > calibrated each day and night of a run.
> >
> > -- well, as far as transfers go,  our older stuff  with antique
> > softwares (say, done in 1995 with BigEye) could probably be
> > recreated (with newer software, like Isadora); older live dance/
> > live projection work (in 1992 i used only 3/4 U-matic tapes in an
> > opera treatment of Orfeo & Eurydike) could be re-done using digital
> > formats.
> >
> >
> >>> Perhaps a good yardstick
> > for a dance/tech piece is: will this piece still work when the
> > technology is sufficiently entrenched to not be at all interesting?>
> >
> >
> > exactly.  And it would be indeed significant to deliberate what
> > works one would recreate and with what revised/updated or new (non-
> > proprietory?) software.   Nick's references to open source media
> > platforms or adaptable programming is a vital issue for all of us,
> > and so is "'archiving", I am afraid -- all of my 3/4" and SVH S
> > tapes will have to be digitized to survive, and of course older
> > softwares don't run  in our current machines, so by necessity we'd
> > be reprogramming the work.
> >
> > But such reprogramming is a compositional necessity that i find
> > challenging in collaborative terms (same with working with sensors)
> > as the performers need to retrain or reconceive as well, or re-
> > learn (as all repertory performers would) what Forsythe;s company
> > did in Kammer/Kammer.    This brings up questions of "scores" or
> > scenarios for our works, and how we recompose, and how we make
> > arrangements  (say, if Margie Medlin offered the robot to dance
> > with you, and you'd be putting on the sensors..... and make a new
> > piece, i suppose.
> > would it be a new piece?  or part of the Medlin "Quartet"?
> >
> > The scholarship questions, raised in our parallel discussion on the
> > dancetech-ning forum, addresses precisely such dilemma, then, a
> > fortuitous dilemma, since the work under discussion here is not
> > only or always regulated/defined choreography but often a form of
> > interactional performance dramaturgy  (and in theatre and music,
> > probably coming with cues in the score) which in each instance of a
> > new (say, networked, improvisational, interactive) performance
> > would be created new, in real time.
> >
> > how do reral time pieces hold up? networked performances?   can
> > they at all hold?    Cage after all had a (beautiful) score, i saw
> > it once in The New Museum.
> >
> > participatory installations?  if you saw the Corsino & Corsino
> > "seule avec loup" in Monaco,  it was a magnificent, beautiful
> > installation, and as such can travel perhaps more easily  even if
> > here too, i would argue, its participatory form needs to be re-
> > evaluated and reinvested each time.  I felt in Moncao that its
> > interactive scenario was obscured and unclear. The digital
> > animations were not,  so i remember it as a video, not an
> > interactive dance installation.   How does Ashley Friend's piece
> > recreate itself? ("Sunshine & Dirt" involving Internet/YouTube
> > users, see also her Project for Awesome: Explanation and Humane
> > Societies),  Jamie Hewett's "Melt"?  how do others think about
> > showing their current work in conjunction with an older piece?
> >
> >
> > My point is:   dance and perforrmance works, if they were created
> > with a particular content and aesthetic form, will be recreatable
> > and could be seen again, tested again, and critiqued again in new
> > or changing contexts.  The amount of equipment (as Nick implies in
> > his references to Medlin and Forsythe's pieces) is not quite
> > relevant, nor the precise number of lighting instruments. But if
> > the work has a software platform that is necessary for the piece to
> > exist, or if the piece has particular analog or digital video
> > scenographies or needs a responsive environment, then the
> > "transfer" is inevitable.  And such transfers ought to be possible,
> > no? as it has happened in all artforms and theatre and music forms
> > for hundreds of years. You could perform "Variations V" today.  If
> > the transfer is not possible, then the particular piece will end up
> > in the dustbin or it will need to be iconographically
> > mythologized,  so "dance & technology" would strive to be body art
> > and live art, happening once and once only?
> >
> > Johannes Birringer
> > AlienNation Co.
> > www.aliennationcompany.com
> >

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