Blog 9 - A developing methodology
Photo Credit: Ed Dimsdale - Model Love, Bodies in Flight
My process is changing, both through the development and insistence upon a more self–reflexive space-time and because of the employment of certain approaches and critical frames around and alongside the work.My practice is multi-modal so I feel the need to share it as such and this is currently a significant challenge.
Not unusually, I am working from an arts based practice as research basis which encompasses a range of bodymind processes. These include the employment of methodologies borrowed from other fields such as auto-ethnography and applied within performance and dance studies (see Bacon, Lerman). I am interested in how and where space-time is given to the maker to pay attention to and acknowledge their own embodied responses to the work in part through the location of a “body-sense” (Gendlin 1981:10). This process is taking me to places that I could not have imagined before committing to this time-space; in a recent workshop I found myself writing with my left hand with my eyes closed.
My research has moved from my original proposal (June 2010) concerned with finding ‘focus’ (the draw of the single instant of focus both from a makers and audiences’ POV) to stillness. At the beginning of this year I began developing choreographies from still images, digital and printed; now I find myself searching for ‘stillness’ through and with the still-mover (both maker and spectator) and in doing so using stillness as a compositional tool.
For the recent post-graduate Practice as Research event at Northampton (June 14th) I offered four digital sketches are as part of my process, hoping to create or allow a “moment of contemplation……” (Seremetakis 1996:13), perhaps enabling a still-ing of the bodymind.
You can see 2 of the digital sketches by clicking here and then clicking onto Bodies in Flight on the menu on the left.
Around and about Model Love: Compilation DVD
My research began with building choreographies from still-images often drawn from photographic or web based digital stills. Unsurprisingly working with 2D images in this way only heightened the viscerality and ephemerality of the live, well rehearsed arguments made by Phelan (1993,1997),though it has raised new questions in relation to the elements that constitute my practice or the edges of my practice. How do and can I see, know, unknow, experience and develop the live work through and with these documents? The collection of digital images on the mobile phone and those shot on location and used in the bound books and the loose leaf A2 images all have their own narratives which were used both throughout the process of making and within the theatrical event itself. Here and now of course, they are seen and experienced “as something other than (the) performance itself” (Sofaer in Govinda and Hughes 2000). I am certainly concerned with an exploration of “the potential of performance documentation” as a “hybrid domain” as Lycouris (2000) argues for but what is also of interest is how in the live performances of the work: Model Love , the documents and the processes and techniques used to create and share these documents have led to several re-configurings of the environment for the performance in order to re-intensify the audience-spectator experience and as the Quake footage demonstrates to respond to the particular context of the event.
Through working with these documents I have realised more about what my research is not! Although I am interested in the differences between the framed stillness of the photographic and the composed stillness within the theatrical; I realise now that my real research is in the still-mover and in watching (and remembering) Graeme, whose everyday dance (that is how he dances), falls into stillness, as he is becoming still, with his eyes closed – as we/he enter(s) an interior landscape, in his choosing not to dance.
Dream – Work Compilation DVD : Moving together and dwelling alongside
From the communal, shared stillness space-time at the end of DVD One and the work with the Northampton students relating to choreographing audiences, to Leaving and my nostalgic return to Nottingham Train station where we had made Dream-Work; I arrive in a place where I want to dwell in the complexity of audience and performers both moving and becoming still amongst the weight of the architectural stillness to be found in and amongst the cities. How can stillness enable a re-configuring of an audiences role? How do the senses still an already embodied audience? I am looking back at the recent series of Dream-Walks and looking ahead to Wirksworth & Portugal in autumn 2011. I am considering where is the performance? Who is performing? Who is spectating?
1. Bodymind is used here to suggest an alternative to a Cartesian way of thinking. (See David E Shaner (1985) who moved away from a hyphenated body-mind and Antonio Damasio (1994) amongst many who speak about a bodymind environment not a bodiless brain/mind).
2. In the main the footage was not documented or shot for this specific PaR event.
3. Model Love has been a Bodies in Flight collaboration with photographer Ed Dimsdale, it has been performed most recently at Bristol Drama Department (June 9th 2011).
4. Quake is curated by Dance4 and Deda. Here the performers’ baseline/default was stillness amongst the audiences’ movement and interval chatter.
5. Bodies in Flight first made Dream-Work for Singapore Arts Festival and then for Nott dance in 2009 and Bristol’s Mayfest in 2010. I am beginning to consider how to make the next bespoke version for Wirksworth Art & Architecture trail in 2011