Design And Performance Lab




"for the time being"

NOTES on movement research


CRITICAL MOTION (from online soft_skinned discussion in 2009) Part 1 Part 2

From: on behalf of Norah Zuniga Shaw Sent: Tue 5/12/2009 6:58 PM Joining In


Joining in to the critical motion practice conversation by first offering up my work as a frame of reference for my subsequent comments.

We created

from the initial concept of a generative motion trace.

Creating a trace not for preservation, not for repertory or reconstruction, not as an etymological, archaeological, historical exercise, not to recreate the experience of the piece or its genesis but to create a trace/traces of choreographic principles or what we started calling a choreographic object.

Bill wrote an essay on this that might be of interest: The interactive moving animations reflect on, work on, re-invent the choreographic structures in a dance. They were generated at the intersection of choreography, animation art, geography, architecture, theory (maybe) and even I suppose a form of activism in that they are reaching out to invite folks in to the dance and into some ways that we see patterns in complexity. Are they a technological approach to movement? A critical one? They are a mix of analytical and creative. They seek to generate new creativity while representing a form of it (namely counterpoint in William Forsythe's One Flat Thing Reproduced).

They seek to invite a certain kind of "dance readership." Counterpoint itself suggests some pretty radical ideas about ways to relate and find agreement in motion that don't require unison (or unity). The work is created in a complex community of practice that requires both interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary practices for creation...

That's enough for getting started.



From: on behalf of Johannes Birringer Sent: Wed 5/13/2009 7:23 PM To: Subject: [-empyre-] critical motion nowhere and everywhere at some time


hello all:

thanks Norah for drawing attention to a question that perhaps might like to see itself addressed in this month's discussion, namely what would constitute "critical motion" and what such a term or concept implies for us here, to address, and why. Your brief reference to work (and dissemination of research) which, admittedly, I was able to experience first-hand (and i am thus partial) in London during the recent Forsythe festival, was refreshing in its questions...can you say more about "counterpoint"? (I love Forsythe's worktitles: "Nowhere and Everywhere at the Same Time").......

<<<< NorahZuniga Shaw wrote:

The interactive moving animations reflect on, work on, re-invent the choreographic structures in a dance. They were generated at the intersection of choreography, animation art, geography, architecture, theory (maybe) and even I suppose a form of activism in that they are reaching out to invite folks in to the dance and into some ways that we see patterns in complexity. Are they a technological approach to movement? A critical one? They are a mix of analytical and creative. They seek to generate new creativity while representing a form of it (namely counterpoint in William Forsythe's One Flat Thing Reproduced). They seek to invite a certain kind of "dance readership." Counterpoint itself suggests some pretty radical ideas about ways to relate and find agreement in motion that don't require unison (or unity). The work is created in a complex community of practice that requires both interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary practices for creation... >>>

I was in a production workshop over the last 10 days and am barely able to shift energies now from physical work and computing/editing and designing to the reading of such a highly complex and philosophical debate that we have had here. I could not read the debate in a linear way, as it began, with Stamatia and Ashley lighting out, and Erin following. Then i got to a point where i did not want to read further. Did anyone else have this sensation? The discourse, I began so sense, was becoming less than particpatory, but i could be wrong. ??

I am sorry if I misunderstood.

What readership, Norah, was invited, in your work?

with many regards



From: on behalf of Renate Ferro Sent: Wed 5/13/2009 8:46 PM To: soft_skinned_space Subject: Re: [-empyre-] critical motion nowhere and everywhere at some time >

Johannes, We are very pleased that you are raising the question of "critical motion," which we anticipate that you'll address when you join us as featured guest next weeks. We have to say that we share your concern about the potential downside of "closed discourse" and have been very happy by the broad participation of the first week, which included posts from many -empyre- members from whom we haven't heard in a while, as well as very engaged posts by newly featured guests, Stamatia, Ashley, and Erin.

While it is true that the work and approach of the first week's guests tends to be philosophical, we have designed the month around four weeks of featured guests, all of whom work in very different ways and with very different discourses. Our hope is that their layerings will accrue an exciting "critical motion" of its own. (One of this week's featured guests, Stelarc, ends up being in global transit which will delay his presence a bit). Because we recognize that many empyreans aren't always going to have focused time to digest particiularly detailed posts, we continue to archive -empyre- for future consultation.

The archive URL is:

We're now designing a better homepage that will make the archives more readily accessible. We've been delighted to read not only about our guests' philosophical approaches to motion but also about the very concrete artistic practices and interventions discussed, from Erin and Ashley's practices to those by Sally Jane, Alan, etc. Like you, we will welcome further reflection on the "criticality" of motion as the month progresses, and we look forward to how you'll be articulating this next week.

Best, Renate and Tim


From: on behalf of Norah Zuniga Shaw Sent: Wed 5/13/2009 11:56

Subject: Re: [-empyre-] out of range

Hello all.

Thanks Johannes, this is a good message to get me going a bit more. Without my other half I needed some instigation (am enjoying imagining our friend Stelarc on a boat in south pacific or deep under the ocean at a deep sea diving station because how else could he manage to be out of touch of the incessant emails arriving on our phones, laptops, and in our dreams...what kind of traveling motion takes him out of range, I need to know the secret to that!). I too have felt a bit off kilter in the flurry of rich theorizing that came rushing into my normally quite mundane and logistically oriented email inbox last week. I wondered if perhaps that was because of my tendency to read only short missives in email (and on screens in general) and save my deeper philosophical meanderings for my paper-based textual experiences. What is it that Hayles says about "how information lost its body"?

That may explain why Erin's contribution lit up in my inbox and captured my seemingly fleeting attention. I saw her recently and am deep into reading her new work on relationscapes so then the email had a different embodied context.

But the other residue of last week is this thinking that they brought about failure and gaps and the spaces in between the knowing and the doing. I want to try moving that idea. Is it something like the space between the sliding joints of the foot? Or is it more like when you try to do a perfectly relaxed fall in the most postmodern sense of the word and find yourself tensing up near the floor and therefore landing harder? What kinds of failure are we talking about here really. And how does it move? But that's not actually the subject of my thinking. My theorizing of late has been manifesting much more within the practice of making. Critical making my friend Matt Ratto would call it. And communicating visually. I invite readers to go sample the making so that it can be part of our exchange. I'll stop there to keep these brief and then respond to your other very much appreciated prompts in separate emails, to allow for grazing.



From: on behalf of Erin Manning Sent: Thu 5/14/2009

Subject: Re: [-empyre-] out of range

I like this concept, Norah, of critical making.

For the past 5 years, the SenseLab has been working out a vocabulary for the concept of research-creation, building on a terminology that gained currency in Canada when university-based Fine Arts departments started being eligible for government-based research grants (SSHRC). For me, research-creation suggests that concepts are borne through the practice of making. These concepts are not necessarily articulated (or directly articulable) in language. Their technicity - as concepts in the making - is first and foremost articulated in whatever medium they activate. Philosophy is, for me, also a medium open for creative articulation, and one that tends to express itself in writing. At its best, it links up with concepts in the making, assisting them in their passage toward individuation in language.

This is a co-creative practice that goes far beyond standard ideas of interpretation or description. When philosophy creates concepts, it is always also proposing new modes of thought that are in conversation with and in excess to art-based concepts-in-the-making. It is in excess to the degree that, articulated in a new medium (language) philosophical concepts create a new ground, a new set of relations. This is not to suggest that concepts need to be articulated in language (or that philosophy is always sensitive to concepts in the making). It is to begin to underscore the idea that 1) artists are immanently articulating concepts through the techniques and textured articulations in practice 2) philosophy can be a playground for fielding a creative interplay between artistic concepts in the making and new modes of thought.



From: on behalf of Sally Jane Norman Sent: Wed 5/13/2009

Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Joining In

Hi Norah, great to see you in this mix of movements, body and concept. I'm still trying - very happily - to integrate the intense dose of work gleaned from the Sadler's Wells panel session on the choreographic object, and was delighted by Stamatia's posting on Monday (reproduced below) about Bernard Cache's "Earth Moves", which seems to offer a fantastic evocation of One Flat Thing. Wondering whether you'd followed this and whether you could be lured to rebound (fully tracked in 3D of course)?

very best sjn

ps - Alan, your contre plongée avatar tandem brought to mind another of those weird "period" dances, the Jitterbug, maybe because I (fortunately) can't forget the joy of seeing Forsythe dance the Mashed Potato... wondering when we'll come up with specific, sufficiently lagful, juddering terms for these deportmental/ comportmental cinematic gesticulations of our second lives - which background words endow with a scary poignance...


From: on behalf of Stamatia Portanova Sent: 12 May 2009 03:57

In "Earth Moves", Bernard Cache defines the point of inflection as an intrinsic singularity which is not yet related to a particular development of coordinates and, like every 'solid' work of art for Deleuze and Guattari, is neither high nor low, neither on the right nor on the left, neither in progression nor regression, because it is in absence of gravity. Inflection is the pure event of a line or a point, a virtuality, an ideality to be actualised into a well-defined curve. In this case, the virtual inflection point of the videos appears as the idea of playing with the malleable folds of time, in more than two simultaneous directions at once.

A whole choreographic and causal geometry of sensations is consequently developed, or folded, after the idea, when the constructivism of drawing, of the camera or of the technology transforms the point of inflection of a gesture into a fully formed curve. By following the formation of the movements in their continuing-forward from past to present and vice versa, and by revealing the serpentine line of these movements as a vector of symmetric exchanges, technology here seems to transform bodily movements into two-fold or circular structures. And it is surprising to see the artist's own transformation into a reverse-performer, together with objects and movements folding into a continuously renewed dance. I wish I could see this piece.




From: on behalf of Erin Manning Sent: Thu 5/14/2009 3:28 AM

Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Joining In

For those who haven't had the pleasure of participating in one of Forsythe's choreographic objects, something on the choreographic object as inspired by Bill's work (a few extracts from a longer paper published in Inflexions: A Journal for Research-Creation “The choreographic object: a model of potential transition from one state to another in any space imaginable” (Forsythe 2008) Like his choreographies, Forsythe’s choreographic objects are created with very precise immanent conditions for movement: they insist on the precision of parameters for movement without divesting the movement of its potential for eventness. They are unforeseeable in their effects yet carefully crafted toward participation. They are objectiles thrown into the world, invitations to move-with.

Forsythe speaks of seeking physical solutions to dramaturgic propositions. The choreographic objects are designed to provoke physical solutions that tend toward habit even as they divert toward the contrast of the new. This new emerges relationally, activated by propositions embedded into the choreographic objects’ potential deployment. These act not on individual will: they move the relation. Forsythe is interested more in the folding of space than the form-taking of bodies. His choreographic propositions begin with this folding, activating a creative tension between the virtual extensity of a durational rhythm and the actual intensity of a moving in time. From creating environmental conditions for performance to creating propositions for relational movement, Forsythe’s work remains an activity that folds forward into a complex ecological nexus.

As a choreographer of missiles of movement, Forsythe’s work makes felt movement’s relationality as a force of matter itself. “You don’t need a choreographer to dance." (Forsythe) What you need is a proposition. Propositions are ontogenetic: they emerge as the germ of the occasion and persist on the nexus of experience to take hold once more through new occasions of experience. Forsythe’s choreographic objects are propositions in just this sense.

From: on behalf of stamatia portanova Sent: Thu 5/14/2009 5:09 AM

Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Joining In

As a 'gravitating satellite', or a 'member-at-geographical-distance' of the Sense Lab, I have alway been inspired by one of its main creative parameters, that is: "what begins as a movement ends as a movement of thought". Without ever taking this important affirmation at metaphorical value, I have therefore been very much influenced by the suggestion that motion can actually express itself as a movement of the body, but also as a movement of thought, of the mind, of the soul or however we might want to call it. It is the reason why I would not hesitate in sending articulated conceptualizations to this list, always being encouraged by the feeling that philosophy, in its own articulation, as Erin reminds us, is a particular example of movement in itself. I would therefore like to echo a question that has already been raised several times, being obviously the main subject of this discussion: what do we really mean by 'critical motion practice'? Do we mean the mere physical displacement of an anatomical apparatus? Do we mean the abstract lingering of writing in a closed transcendental realm?

I really think that the body-mind, in its movements, can do much more and better than enclosing itself in any of these restricted points of view, and that it cannot let itself being so easily defined by one or the other 'sides'. If it does, we might end up re-playing the old Cartesian dualism, and affirm the superiority of our intelligence over our 'animal' bodily passion or, to the contrary, affirm the 'practicality' of our most concrete actions against the empty reasonings of the mind. I don't think that this is what is happening here. I simply feel overwhelmed by a lot of instigation to think, and at the same time eager to enter in more detailed conversation with the many exciting subjects that have been raised, and to ask many questions to all the interesting theorists/practitioners involved: never was 'critical motion practice' taken for granted in its parameters of 'what' or 'how', but it always stayed as a subject of exploration in-the-making. I very much like Erin's idea of a practice of conceptual making that is common to all different fields and techniques.

A concept, in this case, is an 'idea', or the articulation of an idea in whatever practice. I also very much like the idea of a co-creation, of the ideal link and assistance (rather than description) between artistic (or concrete) making and conceptual making when they are at their best. Ideally, this would be the aim of every kind of creation, in order to prevent philosophy from becoming purely descriptive, and art practices (such as dance) to become mere applications of a concept. Apart from a few, almost exceptional cases of philosophical and artistic practices developed in unison in the same person, I think that this 'aspiration' can only be the result of an attentive dedication to the fellow-discipline, be it philosophers taking the time to be with dancers and their work, or artists spending time with 'books and words'. Something, of course, must elicit our interest, in order for this to happen.

The different articulations of disciplines, their styles and their timings, is an interesting subject of discussion, since it seems that the time of philosophical articulation (or thinking motion practice) might become problematic, in the fast field of electronic information exchange. I think that every kind of work elicits a certain patience, a spending time with, that is necessary for the force and sense of the work to emerge. Time is needed for a philosophical text to be followed in its structuring, in the same way a dance performance requires its own time to be adequately grasped in its articulated detail: the in-between space of the foot joints recalled by Nora might require an awakened attention in order to be perceived, in the same way in which the connection between words and concepts as images of thought, requires our full dedication to it. I think this time and patience is something we really owe, not to ourselves, but to the expressive force of our works, in whatever medium we are dealing with, be it the live physical stage, the paper surface of a page, or the super-fast velocity of digital communication.



From: on behalf of Ashley Ferro-Murray Sent: Thu 5/14/2009 6:57 AM

Subject: [-empyre-] On layering

I would like to bring focus back to the “layer,” a concept that Renate and Tim mentioned in their description of the curatorial intentions behind this "Critical Motion Practice" topic. When I compose choreography I often instruct my dancers to "repeat" certain phrases either in a row or in different contexts throughout a composition. When I say, "repeat," though, I intend to invoke a conceptual layering of movement. In a choreographic structure, one movement could have a different effect depending on the way that the action or lack thereof is performed and where in the composition it occurs. Nora's Synchronous Objects project uncovers Forsythe's choreographic layering and makes the space in-between layers visible, or audible in multiple ways. I also layer "objects" when I program live interaction in Max.

Often, I create a sub-patch (translated into movement-based language, each object is like one movement and each sub-patch is like a phrase) where I connect different objects to perform a specific task. As I often include the sub-patch in multiple places throughout the program, it will have a unique effect depending on how and where it is placed. So, I layer objects and sub-patches to perform specific actions. In both cases the in-between surrounds and connects each layer.

Similarly, philosophical concept and argumentation can include layering. The length and the density of the text are specific to each piece. Each concept references and transforms the next. To re-introduce a concept multiple times in one argument holds specific rhetorical affect. Repetition, or multiplicity in layering (within an infinitely divisible product) produces what I think of as space for the in-between.

Ashley Ashley Ferro-Murray MA/PhD Student Dept. Theater, Dance & Performance Studies University of California, Berkeley



From: on behalf of NORAH ZUNIGA SHAW Sent: Thu 5/14/2009 10:18 AM

Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Joining In

Thanks Stamatia. Your gentle prods toward time, patience, and awakened attention are well received. I am meditating on just that, the nature of my own attention in this medium and the curious tension it creates. The desire to invest fully, the habit of grazing, the interest in performing the medium in a new way, the admiration for others’ fluency. Your and Ashley’s contributions were an excellent and fluid proliferation of ideas that I will enjoy returning to in the archives (and I’ll probably print them out to read them). In following you this week the question was entry point. Where do I enter into the idea of critical motions, how do I merge with the flow or veer off into other motions?

Right now, at this moment I’m just returning to theorizing ON things, writing on things. I’ve been doing a lot of theorizing IN making visual objects for choreographic ideas, writing within the visual space of these objects. As for the lurking danger of the cartesian split...for me it is always in flux, each different articulation has different qualities, shows up in the world in different ways and perhaps more importantly requires different labors. But as erin so clearly articulates this occurs in relationship. None of the “differences” need be static but they do have nice clear distinctions. I feel a certain way when I’m writing the paper theorizing on the creation. I feel a certain way when I am bringing the theories I’ve read into making decisions on how to visualize counterpoint in One Flat Thing, what kind of interface to share it in, how to make our philosophies in the making a part of the experience of receiving and so on.

I feel a certain way when I’m reflecting critically on something now manifested than when I’m reflecting within the process of creating that thing (even in written form). And so on. In each moment the relationships shift. I think of theory/practice a little like the post-hybridity folks think of identities--the performing in context of multiple points of articulation (to continue using bodily metaphor, more like a sliding and shifting surfaces of a hip joint than the hinge of the elbow). My recent labors have focused on the space of thinking critically through the creation of choreographic objects but now because I can share those objects there is the opportunity to reflect on them, on their motions in a literal sense and in how they move through the world (including the world of ideas).



From: on behalf of NORAH ZUNIGA SHAW Sent: Thu 5/14/2009 11:11 AM

Subject: [-empyre-] critical moving objects of a choreographic nature

Thanks Erin,

this is beautiful and a nice addition to bill’s essay. And of course everyone CAN participate in a choreographic object in the form of Synchronous Objects in which a proliferation of models of potential transition from one state to another exist in the form of animations, interactive Different than Bill's sculptural work of course. Wading in now to talking directly about my work as it relates to this theme...we describe Sync/O as the flow from dance to data to objects (of course it is not as neat at that and is really more of sustained engagement with a choreographic resource--Forsythe's One Flat Thing, reproduced--that involves creative analytical thinking manifested in words, pictures, animations, graphs, code and so on and these manifestations move us into new critical thinking that then makes new pictures and words and...). This critical making process required a shifting web of relationships within a group of designers, dancers, and scientists to understand, investigate and create visual traces of the organizational structures that make up William Forsythe’s One Flat Thing, reproduced.

The objects we made—animations, graphics, computer applications—are investigatory and exploratory. They are the stuff of collaboration, reflecting and embodying the intersecting and transformative disciplinary relationships we experienced making them. Our objects are not a substitute for the live stage performance of One Flat Thing, reproduced, but offer alternative sites for understanding Forsythe’s work and seeing its choreographic structures unfold. As he says, “Ideally, choreographic ideas in this form will draw an attentive diverse readership that will understand and champion the innumerable manifestations, old and new, of choreographic thinking in this dance.” This brings me to Johannes’ question about readership. Bill’s statement above is really a question we have.

Will choreographic ideas in this from draw an attentive diverse readership? Will our philosophical understanding of the multiplicity of manifestations sink in/activate/instigate/come through in what we’ve created? In our experience, viewing the dance this way has changed our perception of not only the dance but the world around us. In terms of choreographic readership we hope that our objects provide ways into noticing patterns in complex motion events (dances or otherwise), seeing the “analytical eye” as the “creative eye” and vice versa, and generating relationships that allow for agreement within a high degree of difference or what we call counterpoint.




From: on behalf of Norah Zuniga Shaw Sent: Thu 5/14/2009 2:31 PM Subject: [-empyre-] Rebounding Intrinsic singularities


Thanks Sally Jane for this lovely gleaning, glad to have this nugget from last week brought into focus. I too delight in how Stamatia's description of Earth Moves could describe One Flat Thing and indeed could describe the alignment or cueing annotations in the site.

Her words also describe process, the ways in which the objects that came from a dance were transformed through the animation of "well-defined curves" and "causal geometries" and are now coming back into the studio and back into our bodily manifestations. Stamatia I wonder if you've had a chance to look at our work and if you agree that your words describing Earth Moves could relate directly to Synchronous Objects?

This sentence is a lot all on its own: "the point of inflection as an intrinsic singularity which is not yet related to a particular development of coordinates".

For us inflection is perhaps the qualitative in our objects. A way of investing and indeed foregrounding subjective/creative/interpretive/aesthetic specificities into the seeming objectivity evoked by using the word data. We play with the seeming solidity of the object by 1.creating objects that only exist online, and 2. Making an array of objects that undercut any notions of singular stable authority.

In your words "the constructivism of drawing, of the camera [and] of the technology transforms the point of inflection of a gesture into a fully formed curve... the virtual inflection point...appears as the idea of playing with the malleable folds of time, in more than two simultaneous directions at once." This describes our concept of alignments quite nicely, which brings me to writing one other post today on Alignments and Counterpoint.



From: on behalf of Norah Zuniga Shaw Sent: Thu 5/14/2009 4:14 PM Subject: [-empyre-] Agreement within difference

Our choreographic resource for our work is One Flat Thing, reproduced (OFTr), an ensemble dance that examines and reconfigures classical choreographic principles of counterpoint. In OFTr counterpoint is defined as ©Ýa field of action in which the intermittent and irregular coincidence of attributes between organizational elements produces an ordered interplay." Three structural systems interact to create the counterpoint of the dance: movement material, cueing, and alignments. These systems are detailed in our introductory essays on the site. I'd like to share more about alignments here because they are fundamental to how we conceive of, enact, and theorize counterpoint.

The visual languages we created really do express this stuff best but here are a few experts from the words we use as anchors/frames/coordinates. Bill and I evolved this vocabulary together over a few years in intensive writing sessions and in our working practices with the team at OSU in creating the visualizations. Alignments are short instances of synchronization between dancers in which their actions share some, but not necessarily all, attributes. Manifested as analogous shapes, related timings, or corresponding directional flows, alignments occur in every moment of the OFTr and are constantly shifting throughout the group.

The term alignment emerges from the working practices of the Forsythe Company. Other words the company uses to describe this phenomenon include hook-ups, agreements, and isometries. Within the thousands of alignments in the choreography, approximately 200 can be understood as a subset called sync-ups. These are moments in the choreography when a dancerŲs task is to briefly join with another individual or group. Alignments are a concrete phenomenon in the dance and also a construct that I'm finding useful in thinking about understanding complex relationships in many arenas and specifically in interdisciplinary collaboration. A great tool for interactively exploring how we think about counterpoint and alignments is the Counterpoint Tool on the site: Thoughts?


From: on behalf of Ashley Ferro-Murray Sent: Thu 5/14/2009 5:09 PM

Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Agreement within difference

Hi Nora, The fact that "alignment" comes from the working practices of the company is incredibly interesting to me. In practice, alignments and "sync-ups" in particular are important to choreographic direction, keeping time among dancers and creating a structure within a larger piece. I think this relates directly to my earlier comments on repetition, multiplicity and layering within choreography, programming and philosophical argument. Although alignments give us a practical architecture, I am curious what we lose philosophically when we direct our attention toward the alignment. OFTr is infinitely fragmented and broken down into segments, breaths, phrases, stretches etc. What I find as I watch the visualization, though, is that I begin to miss a nuance that lies in between alignment. What connects alignments seems to stand as the heart of the piece. Luckily, the user is given several ways to visualize or mark OFTr. Each one could give us a different visualization and a different way to consider what comes around the alignment.

This gestures toward the possibility that in each moment and even in between each moment lies a different potentiality not only for movement, but also for alignment, whether intentional or not. I am curious what happens in a piece without alignment? Or, is it possible to have one?

What about a specific rupture in aligned structure? Perhaps this is simply marked differently. Each time, though, we loose site of what happens around what is marked. Practically speaking, though, this is how we watch a piece. My eye is drawn toward something and I follow it. Then I zoom back out until something else catches my attention. Each time I focus on one particular aspect of a piece my potential experience increases. Interestingly, this seems to be the beauty of the project. As Stamatia suggested last week, the piece is infinitely divisible.

I am curious how you decided what would be marked in the visualizations and what would not. How did you philosophize what is lost in visualization?

Ashley Ashley Ferro-Murray


From: on behalf of stamatia portanova Sent: Thu 5/14/2009 5:49 PM

Subject: [-empyre-] R: Rebounding Intrinsic singularities


Thank you, Norah for giving the opportunity to look carefully at this very interesting digital project, and also for making one more step in discovering William Forsythe's choreography... One of the most intriguing aspects of this choreographic style, I think, is the perceivable combination of an almost 'scientific', mathematical and geometric approach to dance as 'designed' by the laws of physics and by choreographic propositions together.

This aspect, I think, combines elegantly with the sense of dance as a relational practice, where complex instances of dialogue, communication, affective exchange, happen not only between the dancers, but with the environment itself. This combination, I think, is what characterizes a dancing body as 'a thinking tool', as Forsythe suggested in one of his interviews. This duplicity emerges a lot in the website, I think. In fact, the parallel suggested by Sally Jane and you between Cache's concept of inflection as a singularity realized by accomplished curves, shapes, gestures, and your notion of the 'object' abstracted from the dance, a qualitative generative trace that is re-animated by the geometries of the animation programs, and by the new dances or thoughts elicited by it. The process between actualization/counter-actualization (or abstraction) of a trace is what Cache refers to, when he talks about the curved path taken by a point. This also suggests me another philosophical parallel, with Whitehead's concept of the 'eternal object', a quality taken in its generality (for example 'red', but also the speed of movement, in its general possibility of being actualized by, any shades of reds, or by many relations of velocity and slowness realized by the dancers or, as you say, all the qualitative objects emerging from (and eliciting) the 'subjective/creative/interactive/aesthetic specificities of the dance.

The association with the universality of the data is also very interesting, a set of 'pure information' flowing onto the various coordinate systems of the software or of the human diagrams, as different ways of 'aligning' objects.

I have one question, that I have actually kept thinking about since my first 'encounters' with the dance-technology 'encounter'. I have a tendency to think of the technological transposition of creative processes, as a way to actually emphasize, highlight the ordered or, as it is suggested in the site, 'clear and diagrammatic' aspects of a movement (the synchronization of the alignments, the emergence of patterns, the rhythmic system of the cues as an internal mechanical clock), in short the structure of the dance, more than the 'nuances' of the dance. I do not mean this as a kind of critical affirmation about technology, I just think that this can be an interesting way to bring to light an important aspect of creation that, otherwise, goes unnoticed 'live'. All the nuances that are so richly 'complexifying' our perceptual experience of a performance, suddenly become 'noise', when looked at with a more 'diagrammatic' eye.

What emerges, instead, from the computer screen, is a different qualitative aspect that is more associated with the 'aesthetics of code'. I really liked, for example, the description of the organizational aspects of the performance as 'felt': organization, structure, order, are of course felt as much as temporal and qualitative nuances...

I don't therefore think that the capacity to give us the 'organic', or 'living', sensation of a dance (as different from a 'readable understandability' and its related feelings), is the technology's main capacity. Perhaps this is not what we can look for in its manifestations? To relate this to Ashley's question, can we say that what is lost is lost 'organically', but not experientially (or philosophically), because it is just the 'trace' of a different way to experience dance?




(empyre / soft_skinned space: (c)

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