CriticalDance Forum

is choreography passe?
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Author:  kinodance [ Sun Apr 22, 2007 12:32 am ]
Post subject:  is choreography passe?

In Johannes Birringer's keynote he made a pretty incredible statement -- that he thought perhaps choreography is already passe. He then went on to say that he imagines the future of performance using interactive technologies will be more about INTERFACING. I wanted to comment on this.

The idea of interfacing is clearly about relationship. We must build relationships with the tools we use. Probing the relationship of a dancer(s) to an intelligent environment or an immersive landscape inherently requires new modes of movement generation that develops in process. The classical notion of "choreography" becomes destabilized if you follow my thinking here -- and yet we can go even one step further and begin talking about the "choreography of the elements" at hand in this developmental situation. This is how Kinodance Company theorizes our collaborations with light, image, sound, body and objects.

I also was interested by Johannes statement that there is an increase in the interest in the human/animal hybrid that keeps popping up in contemporary media and performance work - I keep thinking back to shamanism and early ritualistic beliefs --- the mythic idea of "shape shifting" - technology is a means of attempting to transcend the human condition. Butoh dancers didn't need it -- they just had their bodies and they dug into them with image and mind power.

Author:  AzlanE [ Sun Apr 22, 2007 1:57 am ]
Post subject: 

Whoa ho... Choreography is passe? To me, interfacing sounds more like "programming" and solving connections between bodies and elements, i.e. a subset of choreography? Or am I misunderstanding the point?

Author:  edrouse [ Sun Apr 22, 2007 6:57 am ]
Post subject:  A new character

After Birringer's comments, I started to really think about technology as a new character in the work--in the sense of someone(thing) to interact with, as in contact improv. The idea, then, of having a truly give and take relationship between the peformers and environment, I don't think necessarily has to take us away from the way we have previously made and seen dance. It just pushes us further from the notion of fixed choreography.

Author:  Guest [ Sun Apr 22, 2007 7:48 am ]
Post subject: 

I agree that the idea of interfacing is something that is a already at the root of our classic notions of choreographic process. Choreographers explore the interaction of elements in the studio, and then how these elements interact with the living, perceiving, feeling assemblage of audience members.

What I got from Johannes' provocative comment, which he tempered later in his talk, was that technologies that create responsive environments on the stage require an update of this classic notion of choreography. I think for many, the term choreography paints a picture of a person or creative team who develop a set path upon which performers can travel to obtain a specific visual/theatrical aesthetic effect. If a computer is capturing your movement as a dancer, interpreting it, and projecting its interpretation on a screen for you to interact with, your environment is no longer fixed. If this is the case, the role of the choreographer sitting in the wings becomes, in some ways, obsolete as the the performer creates the work in the present by intelligently interacting with this technology-mediated, intelligent environment.

Many post-modern dance makers have been pushing in the direction of training to interact responsively to a set of unknowns in the performance environment for quite some time. I think Butoh is a great example of this. My next question is always "how and when does the observer learn the inherent logic of the 'system' through the work they are watching?" For instance, with Butoh, how much of the performer's thought processes does the audience read from the work and how much do they need to know in order for them to have a meaningful experience?

- Karl Cronin

Author:  kinodance [ Mon Apr 23, 2007 7:50 am ]
Post subject: 

For instance, with Butoh, how much of the performer's thought processes does the audience read from the work and how much do they need to know in order for them to have a meaningful experience?

- Karl Cronin[/quote]

i think the less they "read" and the more the audience experiences the better -- i think that is why so much of dance/tech pieces fail is that you are too caught up in seeing the technology and not just experiencing a work of art

the technology should be in the service of ideas and not the other way around -- this issue came up in the closing discussion and it seemed many present agreed that in fact wouldn't it be great if (and Johannes used the word EMBEDDED to talk about this) dancers/performers were not seen as embedded in a technological space but that the technology be transparent in such a way that you are not distracted (Noah Riskin also talked about this in the Physical Intelligence panel)

what the technology can do however -- is potentially aid in the creation of a richer, more visceral space that then gives you more potent access to the work, more opportunity to be touched by it.

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