[dance-tech] Re: repertory worlds and remixing

  • From: "Matt Gough" <mpgough@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: Johannes.Birringer@xxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 15 Feb 2008 19:49:19 +0000

hello all

johannes said:

"Matt's points, and what Josephine and other added, is very helpful
here, and maybe requires us to slow down to parse out the critical
references made here, to dance (as an aesthetic category, or form of
work), to context  (e.g. technology, or postmodermism, or contemporary
or historical), to scenography (as context and as concept).  If i
understand this (and context does not mean "aura", in Benjamin's
sense, yes?),  then technologies are contextualizing, which is a
puzzling but interesting idea [...]"  http://tinyurl.com/2zn4hr

marlon recently posted a video on the dance-tech network that i
consider to be a good example of 'technology as context'. i have also
attempted to parse out some of the critical thinking in the text below
using the video, and the work (glow) as an example.

the video can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/2dy73y

the title is «digital expressionsim/part 1: Interview with Gideon
Obarzanek». all quotes below are from gideon within the video.

lets begin ...

with the title «digital expressionism», marlon is suggesting that «the
medium is the message» (mcluhan). that the use of digital technologies
has resulted new type of expressionism.

expressionism is not defined by the medium, but conceptual principles.
in simple terms, expressionism is the subjective representation of
internal feelings/emotion.

marlon's use of the digital prefix is an attempt to move expressionism
beyond modernism. using «glow» to try and demonstrate this (alleged)
progression is a bad idea.

the projections used in «glow» are examples of figurative and symbolic
expressionism. the constant referring back to the dancers body
prevents any notion of abstract expressionism. all these features are
indicative of modernist expressionism.

for example, the geometric shapes are body frames, symbolic

it is tempting to think of the shifting styles of projection as
non-narrative abstraction. that would be a mistake, they are

"we use [the projections] as a visual metaphor of what may be going on
inside, both visually and kinetically. it can reinforce and amplify
kintetic movement and also have this visualization of what may be
within. its almost turning the body inside out."

the dancer is a constant within the projection, the background may be
black or white, and there is a variety of content. the relationships
between these elements points to neo-structuralist metaphors.

in a (structuralist) metaphor the meaning is found in the paired
structure. it is a fixed entity. neo-structuralist metaphors are
dynamic, meaning is found in the structure of intertexts. change a
single node at the metaphor shifts too.

neo-structuralism is a reclaiming of authorship through and
intentional writing of intertexts. the resulting metaphor points the
reader to particular meanings.

"i chose elements that i felt were meaningful, that i could create
some element of expression [with,] beyond just the visual effect"

the use of real-time tracking and graphics is to «free the dancer in
time and space». this is not a «no fixed points in time and space»
freedom (einstein / cunningham), the freedom lies only within the
projected frame:

"the dancer is mostly lying down so she kinda floats in the frame
rather than having a bottom and a top […]"

"[i wanted] to free the body in the frame, it was an easy thing to lay
the frame on the floor so that the body is free to move around."

«glow» indicates a return to the renaissance perspective. works that
use single camera tracking and projection often exhibit this classical
presentation. the result is that space and time have a fixed point.

symbolic and figurative expressionism, authoring meaning via
metaphors, a fixed front … these principles / features are not reliant
on technology. they are contexualised and implemented by technology.

"[I] wanted to work with video projection mostly as a form of lighting
and actually using it from the top looking down"

«glow» uses performance technologies to contextualise (post)modernist
concerns. it is not the use of technologies as concept or for their
own sake.

the projection allows gideon to «keep [the] human form» but also show
the «otherness of ones self». this is not a tension between body and
technology, the tech is simply a tool for representation.

i hope this example provides some additional context to the issues i
have raised in other posts.



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