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…..
‘The Fall’ video by Nikki Heywood and Heidrun Lohr had both strong and clear content and aesthetic, underlining the kinaesthetic feel of the fall. (courtesy to Heidrun Lohr for the 3 last photos in this gallery). I still keep images in mind of the floor/screen moving and blurring at the same time with this impression of giving way under the feet, as well as the screen (later in the piece) being the surface/membrane between the indoor and outdoor worlds. I also liked the screen work R.U.N. shown at the end of the symposium by Paul Gazolla, playing on visual illusion of the body being suspended somehow in time or space with camera taking only 1 or few frames per second, while audiowise we were going through the physical breathe of the run!
2 screens were positioned in a right angle on the second day screening evening. It was used twice: for Sam James’ and Gretel Taylor’s works. Sam uses 2 images side by side in each screen which makes it 4 frames within the space, where performers are jumping from real to 3D sets through editing transitions, which I liked, allowing each frame to rotate and made me think about a Rubik’s cube, like the screen surface hides other facets… I was wondering why the work wasn’t presented for 4 screens? with a possibility for audience to maybe enter a space or walk around it?
After listening to the paper of Physical TV, promising an interesting interaction and use of Second Life (SL=3d world on internet) with real space and dancers, I was disappointed for several reasons. First, to see that SL was just used as a set (projected behind the dancers, like in ancient theater painted flat backdrop but, yes, changing thanks to the animation), second that there wasn’t possibility for audience to be online, third the use of narrative as a need for linking real to virtual (in the tradition of Disney cartoon!). On the other side, I was impressed by the programming of the SL avatars’ gestures, obviously they had a bigger range of movements than usual avatars, mirroring the movements of the real dancers. But I couldn’t stop wondering for which purpose? I will write more about SL in further posts in the Networked Performance section of the blog, as I am interested to see how platforms on internet can be used for active performance.
Maybe I missed a possibility of extending the dialogue/questioning during SEAM about the interests people have in using virtual world(s), mixing real and virtual bodies. What can be the interactions of these bodies as performers but also with proximal and online audience? What is the leap in screendance between 1 screen, multiscreens, screens creating fixed/movable spaces acknowledging depth of the projections? How do content and form(s) interact, grow together or not?