Design And Performance Lab

(Moveable World)


HammerWoman (Helenna Ren) at Mixed Reality Lab, Keio University (c) DAP Lab

Further Writings: Birringer Blog


UKIYO: 2010 Rehearsals


Notes on Sound Theatre

The commentaries Caroline sent us [see below] regarding some of narrative subtexts from the novel on the long revolution ("I shall be here in the sunshine and in the shadow") are all very interesting, and we would need to dedicate some time in our next workshops to trying out some suggestions made. The relationship of movement (choreographies & movement characters) to sound performances (live voice / recorded voice) and to the projected visual worlds would have to be carefully tested. The passages in the novel about the "smoke langiage" were precisely the passages i had translated for Olu and Mamen for the filming of the silent movie Entra'acte.

I was fascinated by this conversation about a plastic 3D language or communications system, and we can use some more references ot this, and the yellow code (lemon) as object or the claves / swords, rhythm sticks, hammer, microphones,. etc.

On the whole, i would think that the use of voice requires a much expertise ; but already in Tokyo some of you began to enjoy it more to express breath/voice and the listening (in space) and relating, here we dig deeper. If someone likes to have the translation file (for the passage on the smoke language) let me know. I did not pass it out to the whole group as in late 2008 we thought we'd work from improvised physical languages and the design elements first, i didn;t think we'd use any real language. I saw the "smoke" as a metaphor for the virtual (a kind of floating that is three or four-dimensional). zaum i understood to be a poetic language or surreal language (non logical), here again we can apply our creativities... (silent open mouth to projected "words" and amplified sounds, also coming from other location in space or from the small speakers inside dresses, armes, spines, pelvis -- this is good. what if one performer could "move" the sound emissions (from speakers) of another? can we prepare some voice work for the January 31 lab?


Caroline Wilkins Notes

! having finally read the novel by Christian Kracht, that served as a starting point for Ukiyo I've come up with some ideas regarding the sound theatre aspect of our work. There are some very interesting statements made about the method of wireless communication in the book, some of which I'd like to quote:

' Thoughts are spoken then observed, we go around the spoken, move it, send it, receive it.' The word / sentence is placed directly in space. Open-mouthed: no sound, the will to transmit a thought. Speaking with mouth closed. The answer comes from an 'inside room'. Speech becomes an object: colourful, aromatic, full of emotion and intensity. Words, sentences, thoughts are pushed/projected into the space. The written language has been replaced by oral speech, a collection of symbolic sounds'.


It seems to me that these ideas could serve as the base for much of the sound theatre material, regarding the voice, in the work. This through a multiple use of real and virtual spaces, and through a dialogue of 'sending and receiving' between live voices, pre-recorded voices , & electronic voices, using loudspeakers of different sizes, (even portable), placed in different areas of the room. Here are some preliminary thoughts: Voices pre-recorded on to loudspeakers and played back at some point in desynchronisation with a live voice or subtitle seen on one of the projection screens. Performers focus on and move around a loudspeaker from which a voice issues. Dislocate the live act of speech from the sound: expressionless, open-mouthed performer, no sound. The words come from another sound source close to / behind / above the performer. The content is emotional,full of colour, intensity. Two performers, mouths closed, faces expressionless (Yiorgos and Olu?) Their pre-recorded 'conversation' is transmitted via speakers that have a very different acoustic to the actual space. ( the 'inside room') Speech as an object - a lemon? - 'played' / passed between the performers? We could try two preliminary exercises to explore this:

1. passing a vocal sound and placing it in an imaginary space, following the eye focus of the vocalist to that spot where the voice and gesture has sent the sound. Recuperating it from that spot and sending it elsewhere in the space, etc.

2. The same actions eyes closed, following the acoustic direction of the voice in the space. There are many connections between this 'fog language' of Kracht and that of the Russian futurists 'zaum' poetry, zaum meaning literally 'beyond mind'. warm regards, Caroline.


>> <<

Notes on Extractions

Anne-Laure wrote down her reflections and suggestions in the UKIYO blog (below). And after my brief series of responses, i will just re-post her post to keep it at the forefront, the performers obviously are driving the work (and I am including everyone here, also Yiorgos, Olu, Mamen), and i want to thank Anne-Laure for - the silent video studies of the butoh improvisations at maison d'artaud (i wish to see them all at the same time, running on blog, yes, this is indeed fascinating -- really good ). Unlike Helenna, i really prefer them silently. - the silence and slow duration gives me much to think (relating to image movement and then, appearance and disappearances, cadences of sound). Please do respond to Anne-Laure's questions, they are all very pertinent.

I think Ukiyo-e is precisely about these contradictions or pradoxes you mention, Anne Laure. The idea of "extraction" (of sound, leaves, objects out of a body came to me after listening to Maki). I recommend that you prepare a box and a soundemitting task for the next lab. II):

Oded's sounds ("Audio Visual demos") are on : - very very interesting, thank you. I am playing katsura silent. I am playing sound only (to listen). I then play them together. (this will also ve very valuable for all of you, to re-rember your work in the Tokyo lab, katsura and everyone !!) Oded's second filmsound / sound film example made me think a lot about composition. and - what Slovenian filmmaker Andrej Zdravic calls "sound vision of the world."

Zdravic worked (2006-2008) on a triptych film installation called "The Forest" in which he would put quiet, mediattive still-movements of shots of Slovenian forests in all four seasons, fiming for 220 hours with special camera, and also recording live sound. I saw 18 minute preview of this installation, which had (i assumed) only real live sound. (later i read in his notes that he recorded the sound separately, at other locations, but overdubbed and sometimes expanded (heightened volume).

I believe our work is neither about sound theatre specifically or dance or film, or about narrative or linearity or interactvity. I am interested in a live performance of mixed realities with a theme that emerges poetically through all our creativities ---- what interests me especially in the "choreography" (applied to all the media involved, and designs and movements) are the INTENSITIES. Intensity drives the vitality of our work and brings the audience close, and also enlivens them to think about performing in relation to worlds (environments), listening, sensing, feeling. Can they feel your fragility, Anne Laure, or the prosthetic arm, or the red leaves? We never have much humor in our work.

But at least we can achieve intensity and sensorial richness, so that our audience extracts something, to take away, remember, recall. please look at everything, and those of you not having joined the internal blog, feel free to do so ( thanks Johannes

January 2, 2010

Maison Artaud films and RE Ukiyo II home work

Hello everyone, Firstly, I would like to wish you all an Happy New Year and wish you to relish all the exciting and happy moments that are about to come. Also, I am sorry to have not contacted, reply or post any thoughts these last few weeks. I left for France and passed Xmas over there with my Grand-Mother and without actually no main technology...I felt a little bit cut out of the world but I needed to not approach any kind of technology and find myself reading a lot.

Anyway, now I am back and obviously I need to catch up with all the thoughts that have been exchanged lately. But before this I wanted to post you the film of each performer at the Maison d'Artaud. I hope you will enjoy it. I have cut out the music as I thought it was not necessary and so much more interesting to watch the dancer moving rather than also listening the music ( and the quality was not great). I hope that is ok, however if you would like the original version with music I will bring it to you at our next meeting.

I have personally had a very good experience at the Maison D'artaud and discovered a "dance" that actually means somenthing to me. I would say that I am far far away from dancing Butoh, however I discovered the beauty of subtlety and slowness which is actually quite the opposite of my personality from the outside and I have enjoyed to allow myself to be more vulnerable, which if I would connect this to my character, is actually a facet of this workerwomen. I guess, until this trip to Japan, I saw the workerwomen as someone quite strong, energetic, working all the time like a machine....

And probably that was transfered into my movements which appearred sometimes too "forced", as Johannes mentionned. When Michele, Katsura and I had our little inspirational work, I started to look at the ongoing lines of the electrical cable as well as noticing the defected structure of some the produced mainkind which seemed to be eroded by the nature and time. I then now understand the fragility of this workerwomen. It seems to me that the worker women has two anthetical poles, the strong vs the fragile, the outside/inside like in butoh dance front human, back animal, maybe here it's front women/back machine, technology(worker). The whole forms an entity, but both side have to be equal in order to balance the character.But what happens if one side take over the other one? I am intrigued by Johannes both suggestions. One being extracted information, working on a task based performance. Could we discuss this a bit more as I am not very sure here? Would it be extracted from the audience? But kind? What will do with it? How? I know I need to think to.

The other one was to interactively draw and measure with her machinism the kinds of movements that Helenna, Yiorgos or Katsura perform when they extracts the cadence of movements the other do but not every one might see. Then you suggested that the cadences translate into an animation. I thought that was very interesting however i was going to suggest that perhaps this extracted cadence could be decoded into beats which are then maybe re-transmitted as a cadence of work for the workerwomen to "perform" with. This is only a idea. Michele I like also very much your idea of the box, worker women experiencing sound within, but then it also refers to me as a island on which maybe the workerwomen go back into as feeling fragile. A little bit like a nest for a bird. I will post you my findings with sound experience. i have bought some computer speakers and going to cut one out so I can attached one to my Ipod then to my arms or hands..

If we were considering a box, could this have also another use, like being 4 walls projection screen... Yes I know this maybe too complicated, but better to go over the top and bring in down that not raising the bar. Michele I guess you have seen this pictures I took at the ICC but I thought it was interesting in term of the garment metal grid. I would also like to mention that I very very much like Doros' ideas. Each performer an island and build his/her own. If that was going to happen, will all the performer start from scratch or only Katsura as she "represents' the beginning" like the creation of the "earth", and then by creating her island, consequently, if i understood, like Darwins theory, the rest could follow but however will emerge as entirely different creature, different island from other performer??? Then could means that by this we are then all interconnected?? I guess i need to read more and reflect on what has been said.

I very much look forward to our next meeting, I also think the slot time is a good idea, thus allowing more quality time and work. I have to concentrate now over the next week on essay that I have to write and then my head will feel lighter and can concentrate and focus more on other things. Johannes, Slovania is a great great news :-)

Anne-Laure Misme


Notes on Sound in UKIYO


going back a few steps, let us all reflect on Oded's questions:

>>> Is Yiorgos the Avatar or Olu? [ perhaps neither is] Shouldn't we first ask why do we have Avatars?

Similarly when we ask what kind of sound the dancers emanate (acoustically or through speakers) I think if we understand why does each make sounds it would help us understand what should those be and how do they relate. The answers will not be a simple straightforward 'because...' but at least we should think about the reasons. These would give us, and especially the performers, some ideas or metaphors to guide us. [yes, this is correct] The ideas that could guide us are a) the characters and how they imagine themselves in our real space, and with regard to the virtual (what is the virtual? why do we have virtual worlds, are these virtual worlds also metaphors for our floating environments, shifting environments?} do we need to ask questions about theatre & environment?

We are creating a very specific world (real space) of five "drawings" (drawn white hanamichis, lines in space, corridors, runways), parallel or adjacent "worlds" or "rooms" within the real world. We suspend the virtual as projection spaces (screens), windows into the plasticity of 3d synthetic words (Doros's constructs, and Second Life). First Life and Second Life, adjacent, perhaps crossing, or suspended in a constellation. The audience is invited to come inside to view and listen and sensorially experience. What we performed last June (UKIYO 1) was a sound/dance/film performance that in the second half, after the Entr'acte, becomes a duet/dialog between virtual performers (avatars) and our movement performers.

I saw the avatars that our japanese partners created as emanations, former-effects. just as Olu performed with his avatar in Tokyo, we performed with Gekitora's avatars and adopted their language. We "played" at adopting a virtual language. In dance terms, this worked quite well. If we were to create soundtheatre, then both Oded's and Caroline's questions are of course pertinent: >> and i feel we need to consider our installation perhaps not as dance but as a soundtheatre performance: Since Caroline's main concern is with sound theatre it seems to me that we should find some time to ask her if she can explain/demonstrate her thinking about what it means.

And how does one choreograph sound (or compose sound in space). >> Yes, the live composition or performance of sound requires a very particular aesthetic plan and rehearsal. Let us reflect on the important commentary made by Oded: >> Just a small aspect about the difference between sound and vision is that while visuals are juxtaposed sound is mixed. What I mean is that when different visuals are presented to us (as people) we can fairly easily divide our attention and separate different objects/aspects. When we walk into a gallery we clearly see different pictures and decided, as we wonder through a room, how to take in these. Similarly when we perform Ukiyo, Paul's photography, Michèle's garments, and the dancer's gestures are juxtaposed against each other but they are separate in the visual perception. This is not the same for sound, which is mixed. We hear Caroline's playing, the dancer's feet and vocalisation, with the electronics, the noises from the projectors and audience noises all mixed together with no defined borders. I think it's important to take this difference into account as we design the audio-visual space.>>> yes. this is good, and the distinctions need to be addressed. first, your last question, Oded, is easily answered by a yes: >>Oded quoting Johannes :>>we need to think of the temporality (how long is the total work, duration, sequences),. and as it is inevitably linear....>> Does it have to be linear?

For example can't Katsura (Helena, Anne Larue...) build her world through interactive dance twice during the performance each time resulting in a different configuration? Leading to different consequences in the dramaturgy? You are suggestion some form or repetition, loop, duplication, but this still happens in sequence. It will take time (linea temporality) to build a virtual world twice, and then the question is why. In my newly proposed structure, we might have six parts, or eight parts. So yes, there are ways to avoid a straight linear form, which I don;t think we ever had. we had two sides, and a link (Entr'acte). The other answer is that we ar trying too much, of course. It would be possible to make a clear dance piece here. it would be possible to make a screen piece. and it would be possible to make sound theatre or a sonic piece (with visuals). As we are creating a complex mixed reality installation, we have much to work on, and perhaps simplify.

My comments: What would UKIYO be like, as an audiophonic concert? [sound and vacuum of sound (non sound][ what resonates the sound, is the audience resonator?) Can we turn the lights off (close eyes). Souce / placement of sound? Emanations (how, who, where)? Sound as mass, filling space, drifting.? Can sound float around, shift, move? Can it flutter and fly like the leaves? can we hear it without seeing? Close the eyes (performers), guide audience through sound. Open the eyes, change the Audiophonic concert. regards Johannes Birringer


Notes on Marey_machines and photography


here is the transcription of the Relationsscapes essay on movement machines.


(it will take a few seconds to load) enjoy. Johannes


10. 1. 2010 Johannes Birringer


Further Writings:

Birringer Blog



This research project is funded by a PM12 Connect/British Council Grant and a grant by The Japan Foundation

dance tech network site of Ukiyo project


All photos (c) DAP-Lab





Project directors: Johannes Birringer & Michèle Danjoux

Brunel University, West London