MIRAGE at Nuit Blanche in Toronto last week-end, presented by Abilities Arts Festival. We got 545 people through the black space and more than 1000 in the white space.
2 great reviews: NOW magazine: ‘…sensational…spectacular movement performance, accompanied by compelling electronic music. 45 minutes of jaw-dropping beauty. For free. A perfect example of why Nuit Blanche rocks.’ by Susan G.Cole
BLOGTO: ‘ My favorite for the night….intense and unforgettable. Personal, immediate, complex: it was the only Nuit Blanche installation I would have paid money to see.’ by Matthew Harris.
some photos of the preparation
This video is the first ‘camera/tripod’ duet improv that
James Cunningham did.
Thanks to people who pointed out a few e-lists to find sublet accommodation which made this trip possible! James Cunningham and I first stayed on 42nd street, right next to Times Square, perfect place to feel the beat of the city and also to go to conference venues but not so good for the sleeping cycle already quite challenged by the jetlag and the heat! Cats were sleeping beside the fan! photos on flickr!
What I got the most from the WDA conference was: interesting meetings and contacts, afternoon studio showings (some innovative works), amazing Taiwanese performers and choreographers in their technique and quirkiness.
The evening showings were laborious at times, as I had to fight my body clock trying to put me asleep in a cosy dark place, and struggling with lots of ‘modern dance’, except for the Isadora Duncan Dance Company which was retracing some pieces. Screendancewise, if there were videos in pieces, they were all projected as backdrops, behind performers, without using depth of stage, multiscreens or/and direct movements interaction (except for ‘States of Gravity & Light #2′ by Merian Soto who played with her shadow casted on video projection of water).
WAAPA dance students seemed to have had a great opportunity participating in the University Wisconsin-Madison Summer Dance Institute, for 3 weeks before the conference, ‘worked on’ by various choreographers. Some great performers coming up!
The Australian contingent had interesting approaches in education with the multidisciplinary techlabs (Avril Huddy and Madonna Ellaby, QUT), practical transitions from studies to employment in the performing arts (Robyn Torney, WAAPA/ECU) and seeding interests for and participation in arts from early childhood with nice process (Jeff Meiners, UniSA). Great to share time with Leah Shelton, Tammi Gissell, Matthew Day and Sarah-Mace Dennis.
I was surprised to hear people talking about:
- ‘vertical hierarchy’ with ‘bottom up and top down’ ways of thinking, while I feel we strongly need to address laterality in order to embrace rapid and important changes in technology influencing our daily lives!
- the use of video in classrooms as if it’s a new tool, replacing the mirror. I remember using it already in the late 70ies – hmm, more than 30 years ago!
- the use of podcasting, posting videos for students to revise their class, seems to be a good and sensible way of using internet, but on the other hand – I still don’t understand why YouTube seemed to be considered by some teachers like a bad spell for education!
- ‘the natural way for dancer to film/cut/edit/move the camera, as ”the dancer’s eye knows the dance!’, a statement from a moderator which could have been discussed a bit more.
These points triggered personal reflections about elitism versus accessibility, and technique versus expression, which to me, ultimately are diversions from the primordial aspect of art: the content!
I got food for thoughts from the sessions: ‘Intercultural Aesthetics’; ‘Movement and Meaning’ with Michael Parmentier’s (NZ) duet vocabulary (piloting, tacting and zooming) and the performative presentation by Eduardo Oramas (Columbia- translation of his paper); ‘Tension in Time: Endure, Relate, Disrupt, Flex and Web’ a rich session with a particular focus for me on the skype presentation by Valerie Alpert; and the writing workshop with Marcia Siegel: ‘Looking at Dance – Writing Dance’. Marcia’s workshop happened over 2 sessions, gave some tips and hints about: writing ‘things as they are’, more detailed observations, making a personal lexicon with basic choreographic elements, finding the structure, questioning the relationship between performers, the space…. Marcia took the screendance ‘Arms’ by Susan Marshall as a starting point for exercises. She didn’t acknowledge it as a screendance but as a pure dance, with video being a means to watch it. While for me, its black and white aesthetic, the camera view points and editing were entirely part of the work we watched, a screendance.
TRAVEL NOTES: NYU cafetaria has a great view on the Empire State building. A food cart across the road was selling delicious dosa.
The simultaneous Dance Critics Association conference was a plus:
- all evening shows got reviewed, and reviews were discussed the day after
- great session organised by Deirdre Towers, director of Dance on camera Festival, asking overtly what would be Dance Critics interests and fees for reviewing screendances. Nice to meet Deirdre in person, after lots of emails exchange. We had a few great discussions.
- amazing intervention by Baraka Sele, producer of the New Jersey Cultural Center, during the session about ‘Cultural Exchange in 2010′. She asked critics to take out of their vocabulary: minority, multicultural, coloured people – every body has a colour, joking about being non-white – and have a global perspective instead of talking about being ‘inclusive’, because – she said – ‘You are in control of how the world/people talk’!
I presented my fellowship work with an accent on the project emerging from my networked performance research (Virtual Fountains, title might changed) in a session called ‘Movement and/on Video’, shared with Maria Adriana Verdaasdonk, Ann Moradian and Nanette Bertschy. People from Guatemala, Columbia, New York, Chicago showed immediate interests in participating in the Virtual Fountains, and after discussion with the Chair of World Dance Alliance Americas, Jin-Wen Yu, the project might be used for next 2012 WDA conference in Taiwan, which will have a focus on dance & technology. As Igneous installation performance ‘MIRAGE’ will be shown early October at Nuit Blanche Festival in Toronto, James and I announced it to some presenters and artists who might be able to see it ‘live’. After Toronto, we will go for a week to teach and lecture at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and I got also an invitation by Jin-Wen Yu to present the ‘Virtual Fountains’ to the University of Wisconsin-Madison students, where I hope to meet Doug Rosenberg, who lectures there. We might go to Chicago before leaving (still working on the itinerary), to visit Valerie Alpert and her dancers. She is pursuing a PhD about Digital Dance at the Texas Women University.
James and I had the chance to see ‘A disappearing Number’ by La Complicite at Lincoln Center: very moving, great use of the stage and projections with multiple and moveable screens accentuating shifts between time periods, also underlined by performers physicality. Second week in NY, we moved to an apartment in Brooklyn, visited a bit our new neighborhood, Chinatown, Lower East Side, Central Park, went to see a few exhibitions ‘Haunted’ at the Guggenheim, ‘Off the Wall’ at the Whitney, tried to refrain from buying books at Strandbook Store where we met 2 performers from Melbourne Luke Hockley and Jonathan Sinatra, watched Fortier performing ’30 x 30′, 30-minute solo daily for 30 consecutive days outdoor, met Jody Oberfelder, Larry Goldhuber, went on a tech-trip in H&D megastore where it is possible to try a lot of equipment (sent to the cashiers on a long conveyor belt throughout the shop, which felt like being in ‘Brazil’ movie!). Great to see the pico/micro-projectors with LED lights, all beside each other.
End of July, we went to Amherst where we spent a few days with Wendy Woodson, talking/showing each others works, spending great time exchanging information, feedback, good food, wine, swimming in the lake and visiting Earthdance and MassMOCA. Wow! Intense and beautiful summer days!
Following the artist talk and installation performance at Tembi contemporary gallery, I gave a 2day-workshop to local artists, at MES56 Gallery, on networked creative collaboration, sharing info about internet platforms, tools and processes.
Humour, focus and motivation contributed to overcome language difficulties. Different priorities, variable accesses to internet and speed of connection (slow at times!) were interesting challenges, reinforcing the demand of being flexible to scale/re-scale/adjust schedule and content. Thanks to MES56! Sip! – photos by Wimo, Akiq, Dolly and Andre -
exhibition on gallery walls:’Contact Lens’ by Victor Zwiers
Visits to artists encouraged me to formulate better and further the concept of VIRTUAL FOUNTAINS and what networked performance means. It also showed me that if the project is based on contribution and collaboration, it needed to be done in stages.
So Scotia and I made an installation performance at Tembi contemporary Gallery, followed by an artist talk and few days later I gave a workshop (next post).
The installation performance was closely connected to the gallery’s two ponds. Beautiful art space! Plastic bags full of water hung over the ponds (people use them here for drinking). Two of them contained a goldfish. There were 2 simultaneous projections on the walls behind the ponds:
- video of village people, grouped by age, drinking, mixed with images of waterfalls (from plenty to scarcity), ending on an image of drought
- animated loop of Scotia and I drinking from plastic bottles, using internet platform Upstage, with participation of Marlena Corcoran as a remote performer in Munich, performing/responding to me in real time. When the water diminished in the other projection, a wall of plastic bottles gradually covered the frame.
A soundtrack built up, consisting of a common ‘choosing’ rhyme (‘I love him, I love him not’ in 3 languages: Bahasa Indonesian, English and French) layered in crescendo and gave rhythm to Scotia for developing a movement variation inspired by water usage and then, piercing the bags (with same idea of plucking petals from a daisy) creating waterfalls from each into the ponds. This continued until only the bags with the fish remained.
At this point, 2 fish appeared on UpStage saying ‘I love the world, I love it not’ and developed a short ‘on-line performance’. Scotia released the fish into the ponds and piled up all plastic bags.
The cartoonesque fish on UpStage then introduced my artist talk about VIRTUAL FOUNTAINS. – photos by Elly Mangunsong -
It’s been a while that Scotia Monkivitch and I wanted to take time to work on performance/movement material. So we jumped at this opportunity to have a residency in Yogyakarta to do some studio work. Training in the morning: kalaripayatt for Scotia and James who accompanied us and is working on his own project, and swimming for me as I am still recuping from my both knees arthroscopy. The first 2 weeks we visited lots of cultural places, galleries and artists and took a guided walk along the Code river.
We are staying in a traditional Javanese wooden house next to a paddy field in the South of the city, in Taman Tirto, Kasihan Bantul. Children helped us to connect with the village life. We invited the community to come on a Sunday afternoon to gather, meet us and make a video portrait, which we used in an installation performance later that week. But first, we gathered again in a former Gamelang room used a hall now, to show the edited video and get people’s feedback.
Yes, got my both knees fixed (torn menisci), and I am on the road again!
I am following Bonemap process to make their new work COVE at KickArts/COCA in Cairns.
I wanted to learn more about Isadora software for which one of the collaborators (Jason Holdsworth) programmed a patch for particles (using Freeframe + a library he found online with Star Trek particles!!!) and in exchange I am documenting. Interesting work, but as usually with projections on black scrims, a nightmare to document! The audient (only 1 person can enter the cove at a time) dives the screen, interacting at several levels: with the projected visuals initiated by Russell Milledge, the surround sound by Steven Campbell and with Rebecca Youdell the performer who takes people on a memory/dream-like journey. To be experienced more than talked about! Below, a making of/behind the scene video.
I also went to a dance meeting organised by Arts Nexus about a Dance strategy developed for Far North Queensland: interesting to see the diversity of people and cultures, always same question about how to connect with the art world and generate audience interest while so remote from capital cities.
I gave 2 presentations of my work to students from James Cook University and listen to a group of them pitching their project.
This robot has been made by Gerald Thompson in the context of the Quartet Project initiated and directed by Margie Medlin. Here performer/choreographer Bianca (from Perth) is meeting the robot in a duet, as she is going to work with the platform later next year.
Few pix of plenary session on the lawn next to The Drill Hall. Beautiful place next to the marina. Bert Bonkers projected on lots of surfaces around The Drill with his speakers in backpack and portable projector in hands, with addition of a device allowing him to change the shape of the frame and fit immediately the projection to the space.
SEAM 2009 – Spatial Phrases
the symposium was varied with keynotes, presentations of papers, performances, screenings and exhibitions – program here.
It triggered personal thoughts about the making process going through seamed or seamless interaction between space, architecture, body and cinema (frame/screen): from articulating personal and collaborative practice to eventually presenting works in various forms including – but not only – academic papers. It left me with questions about the need of description, the practice itself of writing, and creating our own vocabulary/language, generating a code/diagrams.
Listening to some talks, I felt there were like stacks of tags which could be a shortcut to present/remember my notes. In ‘tag’ fashion, my favourite form is the cloud. Below I organise them by :
- family: module, modulation, co-modulate
- un-definition and un-determination: perceptual shift, liminality, intermediality, fluidity, blurr, fracture, in the glitch, slippage
- funny how re-, de-, un- and other suffixes are used: re-explore, dis-ruption, un-predictable, re-signal, re-inject, de-stabilise, de-fragment, un-define, un-do, etc. Is it a way to re-novate the wheel in the digital era (example: organic round photographic grains becoming digital square pixels!) ?
- physical experience : exercising, exorcising, transformative/ transformational
- internet vocabulary: platform, surfing (together as a way of being in the same movement of energy), activation, mapping
- design vocabulary: responsive with speed and scale, participatory models
- poetic license: traversing, spatial autobiographical narrative
Funny to observe, throughout the symposium, recurring quotations from Deleuze and images like Piranese Prisons!
Other questions I am pondering:
- when speaking about dramaturgy: what is the difference and complementarity of dynamic and syntax? Can it be compared with musical composition?
- is it because of a lack of depth that people question the surface? Or maybe it is a fear of the unknown of the depth? Is the surface the skin? what is under the skin? Is the weight/counter-weight of content the interface/form/look?
- Does abstraction lead towards a mysticism? If there is no narrative, is it abstract? What about the impact of analogies?
- Why am I attracted to illusion? to kinaesthetic feel and particularly via the medium of projections? Is tri-dimensionality tricking perception and consequently, something out of control? Why am I interested in using various sources of content simultaneously? Is it because of the slippage? that it will go out of synch, out of phase with time? and how thrilling to see/feel when it is happening? Food for thought…..
his performance: humor and amour! great generous moment where Marten made eye contact with each and every person of the audience (last about 10 minutes).
his presentation: surfing minds, think diagonally, interested by notion of success, big ambition is revolution! freedom as high value, change the scale! skip Deleuze, use it as something tactical, a work which works, what about thinking just now….
I love traveling. In French (which is my mother tongue), work = “travail” which has the same root as “travel”. For me, travel and work feed each other!
On this part of the blog, I will tell you about my current or past travels….
For instance, these last months, as well as Singapore (see previous post), I stopped in Paris where I went to the festival IMMATERIELLES , saw the exhibition, followed the conference/forum organised by Anne Roquigny with WJ-s and met also in real life Marin Favre, a composer whom I met on Facebook and other blogs!!!
The first 2 weeks of June, I was in Brussels (my hometown) where there was the live art festival Momentum 4. Great to meet ‘live’ some artists from around the world that I have seen the works of on video, and to meet others again. Great atmosphere of sharing and support between artists.
I spent the next 6 weeks in Munich working on visuals for the community dance project ‘Anna Tanzt’, organised by the Bayerische Staatsballett. Quite amazing to witness choreographer Lenka Flory – of Dejadonne company from Italy – working with 96 teenagers aged 13-14 who interact with about 40 elders aged 65+. Thats a lot of people on stage! Supported by James Cunningham, I collaborated with Dominik Tresowski who authored the media via the Ventuz software, managing 2 projectors seamlessly (projection was 16x7m). The show was presented at the Muffathalle, which is directed by Dietmar Lupfer, an artist/curator interested in multi-dimensional projections.
James and I were artists in residence at Villa Waldberta with views on Starnberg Lake and the Alps which we enjoyed the last week, when we didn’t have to commute to the city and had time to connect eventually with the other artists there, including Helen Varley Jamieson.