Quarantine chronicles

March 17th

Three days ago, I have returned from Graz. Although everything that was intended to be done got cancelled already one week ago, together with my two beautiful colleagues, I have decided to stay in Graz for the initially set period of time. At first, I was questioning that decision, but soon the dilemma disappeared and the experience of that trip turned out to be very valuable for me on many levels. Again, gratefulness.

The weather there was beautiful, very sunny and very warm. We walked around the whole city with the wooden box from our university, filming some dance videos. Every moment was filled with inspiring conversations and many ideas for future artistic creations. We created a small world for ourselves, another reality that only for some brief moments got encountered with the huge global changes happening for the rest of the world.

Time to go back to Linz came. The trip from Graz to Linz was like a moment of waking up from a dream. With stepping out of the train the real reality chough us. No questions asked we came back. We came back but things were not the same as we left them a week ago. In one week, the real reality changed. To be honest, it does not feel like reality at all. These past days in Linz feel more like I woke up from one dream into another one, and much more nightmarish one.

I have been walking around the house like a zombie… What shall I do? What should I do? What do I want to do?

And then in just one moment clarity appears.

I stopped myself in front of my book shelf. Without much thinking I took a book from Aldous Huxley. I started to read ‘Door of perception’. After just few pages I started to feel so calm, clear and focused. “We live together, we act on, and react to, one another; but always and in all circumstances, we are by ourselves. (…) By its very nature every embodied spirit is doomed to suffer and enjoy in solitude. (…) From family to nation, every human group is a society of island universes.” (page 3)

This is something I can truly identify myself with in this moment – an island universe!

And so, this text begins in a solitary retreat. In contrast to many retreats I have voluntary called upon myself, this one found me. The violent and confusing separation from outside real world this time did not present itself as a choice, at least not as my personal one.

An island universe!

A sensation of something potentially very beautiful started to fulfil me. Closed in my own little world that I have built in the space restricted by four walls, many worlds and realities finally have the chance to reveille themselves to me. Simplicity of pure being with nothing that has to be done, and finally complete freedom to choose what shall be done. Gratefulness. Acceptance. An opportunity to approach things in a different way!

In this moment I open the first link that was proposed – Kunst historisches museum Wien. I scroll the page and I read: “The greatest emotions are triggered at the decisive turning point of an action: the moment in which the main character ‘s luck is changing.”

Turning point.

What a wonderful synchronicity!

Instead of falling into the desperation of this global heaviness humanity has faced, as a main character in my island universe I can chose an artist’s way.

And all of the sudden, it all makes sense again.

March 18th

Today, the feeling of synchronicity continues.

I have opened a second part of the task – The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Reenactment edited by Mark Franko.

First thing that strike me was that I have already encountered myself with works of M. Franko when I was writing my bachelor thesis.

Secondly, when I was going to already mentioned trip to Graz ten days ago, in the train I read the text of Michel Foucault ‘What is an Author?’. And now in the given link the first thing that I read is “…, how can a movement be recognized as a quotation? And if all movements are decidedly quotations, then to whom does the choreography, let alone dance itself, belong? Who may claim it as their intellectual property?” (page 471)

I always feel a certain excitement when I recognize the connection can be made between things I am experiencing at the moment and things I already know and have experienced; a feeling that all my knowledge can be brought together if only I can find the way how to express it in words.

To the topic of author, I will come back, because reading the chapter about affect has now taken me in another direction.

The way the example of Nachbar’s reconstruction of Hoyer’s dances is represented by pointing out the differences in the bodies and how one body affects the other has intrigued me.

In order to better understand what is meant by the term ‘affect’ and what by the term ‘affection’, I start my research.

Although in the text the origin of the terms is referred to Spinoza, a Dutch philosopher from the 17th century, for the pure reason of the time span, I found it more accessible and understandable through the words of Deleuze.

I found a transcript of Deleuze’s lecture on Spinoza’s concept of affect.

March 19th

In the beginning of the transcript that I have found yesterday, Deleuze makes a clear distinction between three terms: idea, affect and affection.

Deleuze explains Spinoza’s concept of an idea as a mode of thought that represents something. And since the idea has a representational character, it has an objective reality. In contrast to the idea, an affect does not represent anything, it is non-representational. Deleuze proposes the example in order to comprehend the relation-difference between two terms – what one wills is given in an idea, but the act of willing is an affect. Furthermore, we can take for the example love, love itself is an affect and the loved thing is an idea. Through these examples we are coming to the conclusion that idea precedes the affect. In order to love or will one have to have an idea of what love is or what it is that one wills. These two terms imply to different kinds of modes of thought with a sense of a certain chronological and logical relation between them, that affect presupposes the idea, or the idea precedes the affect.

There is a certain conclusive thought that appeared regarding the idea-affect difference. If we say that idea represents something and that it also is something by itself, we can say that idea is a concrete thing. In contrast, since it is non-representational, an affect stands for abstract concepts.

There is one interesting notion on the idea-affect relation that Deleuze offers. He points out that ideas succeed each other in us, we are constantly passing from one idea to another. But then he also says: “Our everyday life is not made up solely of ideas which succeed each other. Spinoza employs the term “automaton”: we are, he says, spiritual automata, that is to say it is less we who have the ideas than the ideas which are affirmed in us.” (3) We humans are not just a succession of ideas themselves, there is something more than that. In passing from one idea to another, in this experience of ideas another process happens also, a process of continuous variation. “I would say that for Spinoza there is a continuous variation—and this is what it means to exist—of the force of existing or of the power of acting.” (3) In continuation Deleuze states that each idea about something has a certain degree of perfection. This means that, according to ideas one has about something the power of acting or the force of existing either increases or decreases. This then implies that we are in constant passage from one degree of perfection to another, a continuous variation. This passage is determined by ideas but it constitutes affect. Example would be that if we have a pleasant idea about something it will produce an affect that increases our force of existing or power of acting, and of course, vice versa something that we have an unpleasant idea about will decrease that force or power. “As such spiritual automata, within us there is the whole time of ideas which succeed one another, and in according with this succession of ideas, our power of acting or force of existing is increased or diminished in a continuous manner, on a continuous line, and this is what we call affectus, it’s what we call existing.” (page 4)

To conclude, affect is the continuous variation of one’s force of existing, and this variation is determined by the ideas one has, and all this together constitutes what one perceives as own existence.

  • Affect – continuous variation – motion!

There is one more term I feel a need to clarify for myself in this moment – an ‘affection’. According to Spinoza affection is an effect that one body has on another body, an action that one body produces on another. Example that describes it clearly is a falling sunlight on one’s body – this is an affection of one’s body, the sun effecting the body and not sun itself. “…the affection indicates the nature of the affected body much more than it does the nature of the affecting body.” (4) Affection also implies a contact, a mixture of bodies (body and soul).

Following question arose:

What is the relation between all three terms (idea, affection and affect)?

In order to understand it as clear as possible for myself, I will structure it from the first-person position.

I am a human being. I have a body. My body is constantly in contact and mixture with other bodies and that is an affection. A certain affection, together with a certain idea that I have about the body I am encountered with produces a certain affect. Finally, that affect either increases or decreases my force of existing/power of acting.

But somehow this definition does not satisfy me when it is limited to the body. I would say that I am not only the body, and by that I define body as something solely material. I as a human being also consist of something non-physical, and I am actually a unity of all physical and non-physical properties of my being. In the attempt to define this unity, I will reach for a Martin Heidegger’s concept of ‘Dasein’. Dasein in a literal translation would mean ‘being there’ of ‘presence’, but it can also be translated as ‘existence’. Moreover, Dasein refers to the experience of being characteristic for human beings. So, instead of saying I am a body-mind-soul or any other combination of physical and non-physical unity, I will define myself as an existence.

Coming back to the definition of idea, affection, affect relation, it would now sound like this:

I am an existence. My existence is in constant contact and mixture with other existences, and that is an affection. A certain affection, together with a certain idea I have about the existence I am encountered with, produces a certain affect. Finally, that affect either increases or decreases my force of existing/power of acting.

March 20th

Yesterday I got very much immersed into understanding the relation and differentiation of the terms – idea, affection an affect. This research took me deep into the field of philosophy and consequently it brought me to the point of introvert deduction of what that all means for me personally.

Today I would like to, so to say, zoom out and apply these introverted thoughts onto a phenomenon of performing arts, and dance as being so.

There is something about performing arts and dance in particular that astonishes me, has a certain overwhelming effect on me, and to use the current terminology it has an affect of increasing my force of existence and power of acting.

First of all, this sensation comes out of understanding how many aspects of human existence performing arts comprise. Somehow, I feel that everything is there – physical, psychological, philosophical, sociological, cultural, intellectual, spiritual, political, ideological aspects – all aspects coming together, and at the same time always leaving the possibility to devote the intention to only one aspect to be thoroughly examined. Beautiful! Beautiful but at the same time very challenging.

This thought came to my mind many times and now once again has been crystalized while I was reading the given text about the reconstruction of dance from an affect-technique-discourse relation point of view.

What can be seen as a ‘simple’ act or recreating a certain dance, as in the example of Nachbar’s reconstruction of Hoyer’s ‘Affecto Humanus’ dances, can also become an ‘investigation’ of interconnectedness of many complex concepts that radiate from and penetrate in all aspects of artistic creation, and even more, all human existence.

Nachbar chooses a specific dance piece to recreate. That specific dance piece ‘Affecto Humanus’ already implies to some philosophical concepts such as ‘affect’. Concept of affect takes us to the term ‘idea’. This has a potential to take to more detailed research about what idea is, where the idea about something comes from, and how are the ideas about something constructed in one’s mind in the first place. That thought can then take us to a sociological, or even ideological, research of how our consciousness is constructed by external forces outside of our direct control. Furthermore, this can go so far that we can end up researching all historical and political conditions in which those dances have been created and later on recreated.

Also, instead of approaching the given example macroscopically, the opposite direction is equally prolific. This approach is the one that I somehow recognize in the given text. The approach inside of a bodily framework – how one body is affected by another, and how technique is in a way a tool and the bridge between this affection and representation. This again, can take us to think how a certain dance technique constructs the body making it capable or incapable to represent something. Also, this approach can bring us to examine this process of affection and affect through psychological-physical relation – how does one think its own body, how does one perceive other’s body, how does this effect the act of performing, act of practicing, act of inscribing the technique, and so on, an so on.

And then there is, in my opinion, one additional level that is maybe most elusive and that can never be fully externally expressed by any conventional means of human communication – a level of subjective conscious experience (of performing, of dance).

Today I will enclose my writing with the following thought:

To think dance (especially as a performing art) means to enter an infinite space of most freedom of thoughts. By freedom I am implying to all these possible approaches that have roughly been sketched above. But there is something that comes with that freedom, and that for me seems to be of utmost importance. This freedom should not be taken lightly because it also brings a certain responsibility. The responsibility to think, to cultivate this freedom by constantly and consciously indulging oneself with the act of thinking. And same as everything in this world this responsibility has to be felt as one’s own essential necessity in order to have true value.

March 21st

After many sunny and warm days, today is raining… It is interesting to notice, and this writing task gives an opportunity to express this in words as well, how new information and knowledge collected in pas few days alters the perception of a simple rainy day… Before I would probably just notice that gloomy rainy day makes me a bit more inert, but now I have a new perspective on that state… Now I would to say that the rain has an affection on me that produces an affect of decreased force of existing or power of acting… this, once again, makes me conscious of how every new knowledge, if allowed to do so, alters my own existence… when new things are embraced in a conscious and thoughtful way, they always have a potential to open new realities, they have a potential to produce change…

This brings another thought to mind that refers back to the text about reenactment…

Let’s use a concrete given example of Nachbar’s reenactment of Hoyer’s dance. What is already extensively described in the text is how the process of recreating produces a change, a double change. His body of the present in the process of retaking the dance is changed by her body from the past. But also, her body of the past in the image/representation of that dance is changed by his body of the present. Present changes the past and past changes the present. This notion brings an opportunity to rethink time and space as linear things, it in fact destroys linearity and introduces circularity as a way of thinking.

In the end of the text there is a notion about observing – process of mutual observation. The audience is observing what is being performed but that what is being performed is fundamentally connected to what has been observed. In other words, if we ‘generalize’ and say that audience is the society in which a certain performance has been created then this performance is a product of that society, it mirrors a certain fragment of it. This can of course, be extended to every art form, but the live performance makes this circularity most explicit due to the live presence of all aspects.

This circularity can be viewed as a property of certain aspects of, in our case, performative art. However, it can also be extended and become a worldview, an artistic worldview.

March 22nd

There was a pretty strong earthquake in Croatia today in the early morning… my best friend has to move out of her apartment because it is completely demolished… Very interesting… Croatia is not so endangered by the virus but our planet decided to shake the ground under its feet anyway…

Yesterday I’ve finished with the notion of circularity. At first, I have used that term intuitively as a counterpoint of linearity, but today I started to research what this term can imply and some interesting things popped out.

In a discourse of logic, this term has a certain negative connotation. It refers to ‘circular reasoning’ which is defined as a logical fallacy. In this kind of reasoning in which the premises do not provide independent ground or evidence for the conclusion; reasoning in which the premises are in need of proof as much as the conclusion is. In other words, the reasoner starts with the same thing as it tries to end with, the premises assume the truth of the conclusion. This implies that in the beginning of the argument there is a strong desire for the conclusion to be true. This kind of reasoning is logically valid but it is also unpersuasive, it fails to prove anything other than what is already assumed from the beginning.

Why I came to this point was stimulated by the examples of reenactment in the given text. I feel that sometimes, when we choose some specific examples, there is already clear assumption to which conclusion we will bring those examples. In other words, a desire for the conclusion to be true is felt through the examples we choose.

In contrast to logical reasoning where such circularity is considered a fallacy, in theorizing dance, and even art in general, I find that it can provide a valid and significant method of contextualizing and conceptualizing.

If we, for a moment, go back to the vocabulary of Spinoza. We have ideas about things, these ideas determine the affect that things would produce in us, that will consequently either increase or decrease our force of existing or power of acting. Meaning that when we choose a certain topic to theorize or debate on, we choose it because based on the idea that we have about it we feel drawn to it, there is a desire to do it, and this consequently means that the affect of that idea is stimulating, it increases our force of existing and power of acting.

Having the idea can also be understood as having a certain predetermined conclusion about what we theorize or debate on, that will then lead to the choice of examples to support it and also prove that the initial idea as an assumption was true.

It is like proving a point to yourself. From the idea about something, a inner sense of being attracted to it makes us willing to indulge ourselves in the process of research which is an external process. This external process finishes with a written text (language), and that can be taken as a proof of the initial inner idea.

March 23rd

It is very cold past two days… feels like winter changed her mind and decided to experience this quarantine state for herself… I’m going to miss winter!

I am not sure what to write today… I feel like I became very disperse and very philosophical… maybe this isolation has this effect on me, of rising up some deep existential questions and I am having a hard time to make some concreate product out of this writing task…

On the other hand, the way I am doing this seminar, or rather diary, is very satisfying and it brings so much thoughts and ideas, it does feel right… It is not circular, there is no predetermined conclusions nor assumption… It is also not linear… or maybe it is because of the day-based structure… but it sure does not feel linear… anyway… I became very personal in this writing … in the next few days I will try to get onto a more objective track again…

After all the reading and writing in the past days, certain terms stayed floating around me and some of the terms I was engaged with in the past joined them, insinuating a certain connection and relation among them that I would like to try to explicate…

List of terms:

  • Affect
  • Affection
  • Technique
  • Task and Score
  • Construction
  • Representation
  • Process
  • Virtual
  • Actual
  • Circularity

March 24th

Today… when I sat down to start writing… I firs have realized how grateful I am for all the writing tasks we had this season… I am grateful for this openminded approach to everything that this study is cultivating on every level… and it also gave me one funny thought that I feel like an inventor… trying to put different terms and concepts in different relations and deriving different ideas and conclusions that are new for me which gives me a felling of growing, maturing, expanding…

Another thing… today at 15 o’clock… the meeting with composer and dancer from Graz project is scheduled… we are continuing to work on the project which ,makes me truly happy!

Going back to the combining terms from the list…

Affect – continuous variation of one’s force of existing or power of acting

Affection – an effect that one body has on another body, an action that one body produces on another

Technique – tool of constructing the body

Task and Score – tools to democratize, impersonate and objectify the body

Construction (of the body) and (the bodily) Representation – (ideological) aspect of the dance praxis

Process – an execution of series of actions in order to achieve a certain goal (end)

Virtual – inner, not physically existing

Actual – outer, real, physically existing, materialized

Circularity – the fact of returning to the same point; a situation in which a series of causes and effects leads you back to the original cause, producing an argument that does not mean anything

Let’s start from the (dance) technique. We could say that the technique has two aspects – conceptualization and praxis. Conceptualization – the action or process of forming a concept or idea of something. In the context of the technique, this would mean forming a concept or the idea of a certain dance technique. Since the dance technique is always meant to be practiced, physically executed, it is necessary to externalize or translate the inner, virtual idea of it into a outer, actual tool. Therefore, from an idea technique becomes the tool. As a tool its usual purpose is the construction of the body. In order to construct a body, the technique needs to be practiced by that body (and/or bodies), without that physical execution of it the technique actually does not exist, it just a concept. But once it starts to be practiced it gets materialized, it actually starts to exist, it becomes a body. And what might be interesting to include here is the term ‘affection’. We said that affection is the effect that one body has on another body, an action that one body produces on another. Applied to the practicing the technique, this can lead to the following thought: there is a body that exists before the certain technique is inscribed in it, once that body starts to practice a certain technique it changes, it physically changes and it becomes in a way another body. While the initial body, let’s call it original body, is indulged in a process of practicing the new technique it actually gets split into two bodies existing at the same time and being constantly in the negotiation of establishing and disappearing. In other words, when a body starts to practice a new technique and how it progresses toward the perfect execution of it, it constantly variates between the original body and the new body. In some moments new body prevails because the original body is adapting according to the technique, but until the technique is perfectly adopted, a original body still exists, it’s trace is still visible and felt. This brings me to the conclusion that practicing the technique is an example of the affection of one’s own body onto one’s own body. And since even when the body completely adopts the technique, on the ontological level, we would say that it is still the same body (person) this kind of affection is in a way circular because series of causes and effects lead back to the original cause (body). In the end, after the whole process of adopting the technique where two different bodies were in the negotiable transformative relation, in the material sense there is only one body with new abilities.

To summarize…

Practicing technique is an affection of one’s own body onto one’s own body which implies circularity. Technique is a tool of constructing the body. Therefore, construction of the body is a circular affection process.

To contextualize what has been established, and also to continue on our list of terms let’s jump into history, starting with era of modern dance.

I believe we can freely say that the era of modern dance is the era of technique, even though the initial modern thought, that of the first modern dancers such as Isadora Duncan, was the ideal of the free body. Already with, so called second generation, taking Martha Graham for example, dance praxis started to gravitated towards structured and conceptualized technique that would construct the body in a specific and desired way. This emphasis on the constructing the body by establishing and practicing a certain technique makes the dance praxis of modern era hierarchical. In this constellation, choreographer had a role of the ultimate Subject. By constructing and inscribing the technique into dancers’ bodies those Subject ensured the representational outcome to be as intendent. Regarding the bodily representation it had a tendency to always be enriched with all possible means – costumes, props, make-up, lights etc.

A twist on both levels, the constructional and representational, happens once we step into a period of postmodern dance. And already with Merce Cunningham as a transitional example certain changes are noticeable. Postmodern dance brings a different ideology of the dance praxis, an ideology of depersonalization and objectivization of the role of the choreographer, of an ultimate Subject. This is achieved by introducing the concept of tasks and scores. Dance material and composition is not longer set by the choreographer but by constructed tasks and scores. With this, the aspiration to overcome unity and predictability of the technique is achieved. In the representational sense this also makes the outcome less controllable and predictive, and by this it enables the possibility of different outcomes according to one’s own physical possibilities. That is why, in the list of terms above, next to the score and task stands – tools to democratize, impersonate and objectify the body.

As I was pointed out, modern dance enriched the bodily image with all possible representational means, expressive elements and with a high level of usage and mastering the technique. In contrast, postmodern dance cleansed the bodily image of all these elements and instead of the object of construction, it made body an object of observation.

Since we are going on this historical line, it seems necessary to continue until we meet with today.

So, what happens in connection to the construction and representation of the body after defined postmodern dance period, can be viewed through the example of Pina Bausch. Based on that, and similar examples, dance starts to be treated as a ‘theater staging’ – integration of dance and theater elements. In order to stage a certain idea, a piece, all necessary representational means are used but this time the emphasis is on subjectivity and individuality. In a way, this denotes a complete change of focus in dance praxis. The aim is not the establishment of a particular technique, but rather a search for new forms that would enable the bodily expression of one’s personal and subjective experience.

March 25th

Today…no much personal words in the beginning …I will just continue on the thought from yesterday…

What has been briefly described through this historical overview can be seen as changes of ideology within the dance praxis. In other words, how did the ideology of the dance body change within the time frame of the 20th century, and within three epochs of dance. Of course, that this kind of differentiation between periods is always a bit ‘violent’ because in reality there are no true and clear borders and everything is a bit more intertwined. Nevertheless, a certain clarity of different worldviews inside of the dance praxis can be noticed once particular examples start to be compared.

On the March 21st, I made a notion about observing:

  • process of mutual observation. The audience is observing what is being performed but that what is being performed is fundamentally connected to what has been observed. In other words, if we ‘generalize’ and say that audience is the society in which a certain performance has been created then this performance is a product of that society, it mirrors a certain fragment of it. This can of course, be extended to every art form, but the live performance makes this circularity most explicit due to the live presence of all aspects.

This ‘observation’ note, in the context of changes of ideology within the dance praxis in 20th century, can be extended to the term ‘influence’. Meaning that society influences artistic expressions (in our case dance praxis) of its time, and vice versa, which again denotes a certain circularity. If we would to continue on this thought within the vocabulary of Spinoza’s discourse, we could say that there is a mutual, circular idea-affection-affect exchange between society and artistic creation.

Going back to the context of dance praxis:

Modern dance starts its development in the world after the industrial revolution, in the world of beginnings of mechanization. It was a period of huge change on the most fundamental levels of human species. Human body gets faced with something far more superior in the sense of capabilities – the machine. This notion then makes it somehow understandable that the ideology of dance praxis at that period strived for constructed body.

I must make a small digression. Our forgotten lady Dorothee Günther just came to my mind. Just somehow intuitively (but also historically), I feel that she belongs to that world. In my, really brief, encounter with the book of pictorial representation of her exercises this ideology of constructing the body can somehow be sensed. Due to my lack of knowledge about the depth of her work, in this moment I am not able to explicate this thought much further, but it might be interesting to undertake this investigation in the near future.

Continuing on our historical review…

When it comes to the ideology of the dance body in the era of postmodern dance, what was this affection of society on the dance praxis that determined the change? We can roughly place its beginnings temporally in the period of 60’s and spatially in the United States. Considering this placement, the need to liberate the body of the constructiveness of the technique comes to be logical. It was the time of fighting for human rights on many levels, fighting for freedom on every level, fighting for emancipation on every level. In order to ‘fight’ and achieve something, a certain collective spirit seized the people. Dance praxis was no exception, if we consider the example of Judson Dance Theatre as such collective, and score and task as tools to democratize, impersonate and objectify the bodily construction and representation.

Last, previously stated, period of dance as ‘theatre staging’ we denoted as turning to corporeality as an expression of individuality and subjectivity. This also can find its initial affection point in the global social changes and states. Since I as an individual belong to this era, my subjective perspective might be hard to overcome in establishing some objective thought. Also, to addition, since it is my time, I don’t have a critical distance to some aspect of today’s society, so me writing about it might end up with a lot of pages of describing my subjective experience. In order to avoid this at the moment, I will go in another direction. Instead of describing the outside world surrounding me, and all of us at the moment, I will explicate some of my artistic tools and methods that I have been using in the projects this past semester.

March 26th

In addition to this writing tasks, I have been asked to explicate my process of creating the piece ‘To Damascus’. More precisely, how the score was established and materialized.

The score has been constructed before the physical process has started. Clear image of how the final product (piece, performance) should look and feel like was established before the choreographer-performer encounter. From the position of the choreographer, the process was approached as guiding and navigating the performers towards that same image as close as possible. In other words, by constructing the score – the frame of this particular piece is clearly established – then the methodology of the process and the tasks, are intended to serve as a tool of translating the choreographer’s idea into performer’s bodies. Furthermore, within that frame a sufficient amount of space for free interpretation of the performers is also enabled. Meaning that it is respected and observed how the performers approach and execute the tasks, and according to what is observed the choreographer allows him/her self to be influenced by it. In conclusion, even though there is a clear idea of the final product and a strict frame established by the choreographer, a chance to be influenced by how the performers are embodying the idea is also cultivated in this process.

This, what has been described, are the first important notions about this process:

  • a clear idea of the outcome is created before the actual physical process
  • a clear methodology of leading the process is created before the actual physical process
  • a role of the choreographer is to guide and navigate; to establish a position of omnipresence
  • until the certain point (first few rehearsals) these pre-established things are followed as strictly as possible
  • after a certain point (later rehearsals) all the pre-established things are always kept in mind and are reminded of, but the choreographer now also embraces what has been proposed from the performer’s side and continues to build the process and the composition of the piece accordingly

The type of SCORE used in this process I defined as: TEXT-IMAGE-TASK

TEXT:

  • Written text – the play ‘Road to Damascus’ of August Strindberg was the initial input
  • The idea of the piece starts with the text (which is an actual, material thing; actuality)

IMAGE:

  • While reading the play certain parts produced images (which is a virtual thing)
  • According to these images, scenes and characters were created

TASKS:

  • In order to materialize the images and enable the performers to embody them as certain characters, physical tasks were constructed

Type of leading the process I called – SESSIONS consisting of 5 parts:

  1. Introduction
  • In the beginning of each rehearsal a small introduction is made – verbally explaining the plan and tasks for that day
  • 10-15 minutes
  1. Immersion
  • To exclude the physical presence of the choreographer as much as possible and create a sensation of an omnipresence only by leading with the voice; to annulate the choreographer-dancer direct communication and by this those two roles as such
  • Dancers are asked to lie on the floor, close their eyes, relax and only concentrate on the voice that will instruct them what to do
  • They are also asked to really imagine that there is no other physical person present, only them and the voice, and that they execute instructions as they understand them and to suppress the desire for any additional questions
  • This part is similar to a format of ‘guided meditation’ – putting the focus to the breath, body, present moment, space, and to make a specific connection between the dancers
  • Ultimately , the way this stage is constructed and guided it should produce a feeling of performing and not rehearsing throughout the whole process; and also it should establish the feeling in which the piece will be performed in front of the audience
  • 20-30 minutes
  1. Tasks
  • Each task is given the name – trigger word
  • Each task is shortly explained
  • Dancers are given certain amount of time to experiment with each task
  • 90 minutes
  1. Fixing the material
  • Selection of the movement material and fixing small sequences
  • 30 minutes
  1. Feedback
  • In the end of each rehearsal performers are asked to verbalize the experience of the rehearsal, and the choreographer gives his/heir notions as well
  • 10-15 minutes

TASKS:

DEDUCTION

  • It is a part of the ‘immersion’ stage, meaning that is guided by the voice!
  • Aim is to sharpen visual and sensational connection between the performers – to induce the translation from the visually collected data into sensational into embodiment
  • The task is done in pairs – one is active and other one passive
  • Active is called – observer
  • Passive is called – object of observation

Description:

  • Mental process – Observer first observes the object having in mind the questions like: What do I see? Who do I see? How does it make me feel? Where does it come from? Why is it here? Can I touch it? Will it hurt me? …
  • Translation of mental into sensational – Observer becomes completely overwhelmed with the object, drawn to it but is afraid to touch it
  • Translation of sensational into embodied – observer embodies these thoughts, questions, sensations and the intention of deduction into the whole body by being asked to show with the body posture and movement what is felt, still keeping the focus on the object of the observation
  • Once body gets engaged, observer is allowed to touch the object of observation and the object of observation is allowed to react – here performers have complete freedom to develop the task; choreographer observes and is allowed to still vocally give instructions, to guide the development

(the questions, feelings and sensation inscribed in this task are based on our initial text and images, on the context of this specific piece, they can be altered within the different concept/context for a different piece)

LAYING DOWN THE HANDS

  • It is also guided by the voice
  • Goal is to connect the performers on the psychological and physical level
  • The task is done in pairs – one is active and other one passive
  • Active – is laying down the hands on the body of the passive one
  • Passive – is standing with the eyes closed, concentrated on the sensations that appear
  • Visual-sensational image behind the task / Intension behind the action – Defrosting a body; It is a live human being that was frozen and preserved for a long time and the task is to defrost it with the heat of the palms

3 stages:

  • Laying the hands – 5 cm away of the body
  • Laying the hands – 0,5 cm away of the body
  • Laying the hands – Barely touching the body

CUBE

  • Individual task and the task for a pair
  • This is based on the Laban’s cube where each point of the cube is marked and ascribed to a certain body prat which then serves as a partiture for movement
  • Connection of points of the cube and the body parts as well as the order is random

Description:

  • Looking at the picture, write all the points of the cube in a random order
  • Next to each point write some body part
  • Stand in space, imagine the cube around your body, a bit bigger that your body
  • Make a movement sequence
  • Two (or more) performers stand really close together; their cubes are merging; each does its own movement sequence – the duet variation appears

EMOTIONAL BODY PARTS

  • Individual task
  • Infuse particular emotional states into each body part
  • This task can be applied to other tasks as a sub-task (addition to the CUBE task) , and it can also be applied to certain parts of the composition towards the end of the process
  • Our list of emotional states: Cruel, Anxious, Lazy, Melancholic, Infatuated, Ecstatic, Depressed, Mischievous, Disillusioned, Vacant, Stubborn, Sassy, Goof, Exhausted, Forgetful, Furious, Devoted, Hesitant, Clumsy, Wild, Suspicious, Vulgar, Intoxicated, Elated (thrilled)

MERGING

  • Task is in pairs; both roles equally active
  • Goal is to connect the performers even more on the physical level, consequently also on the psychological; and to produce a feeling of physical dependence

Description:

  • Connecting physically with another body, merge with another body to create a composite or reformed body, reconfigure yourself as one entity and try to locomote, dance, execute other tasks with this new body

FLUID SYMMETRY

  • Task for two (or more)
  • Goal is to connect the performers even more on the physical level, consequently also on the psychological; and to produce a feeling of physical dependence
  • It is an exploration of establishing symmetry with two different (or more) bodies and in motion
  • Symmetry in this context is not defined in regards to shape or form but rather as: harmonious and balanced motion in regards to spatial and bodily relations!

Description:

  • This task is actually a continuation of the MERGING task but the focus, awareness and intention are steered on different things – the MERGING task starts from the point of contact, multiple bodies through the specified contact point become one body; in SYMMERTY two bodies negotiate within the spatial and bodily relations with the aim of creating harmonious, balanced and continuous motion

TERMS

  • Certain terms are chosen from the text
  • Terms are then used as initial point to create physical material
  • Task is to explicate each term with the body/ to embody the idea of each term – by making a short movement sequence for each term
  • These short sequences are then put together, composing a big movement sequence
  • Our list of terms: Mother, Clock, Birth, Mirror, Pain, Fear, Tree, Lust, Love, Woman, Dying
  • This task can be incorporated into some other tasks (DEDUCTION, CUBE…)

POEM

  • Translation from (written) poem into a song/music
  • One of the performers is given the task to create music and to sing one of the Strindberg’s poem
  • Out of the song a scene is created and incorporated in the composition of the piece in different variants

There are two additional aspects of this piece – TEXT and SCENOGRAPHY – that also required tasks in order to establish ways of being dealt with. Due to some restricting circumstances these tasks were not fully developed in general way but decisions were made ‘on the spot’. So, the explication of these task can follow in some future scores.

March 27th

It is the last day of writing… today is the deadline to send our texts… it is a good opportunity to reflect on the process and the content of writing…

For this writing task, I have maybe chosen an unconventional form, a kind of a diary. There was no concrete pre-constructed idea of conclusive point which this writing should come to. We can say that writing was done in the convention of the stream of consciousness. I took the proposed material as an initial point for research and then I would let my thought to go in any direction they were taken to while reading and writing. This produced a sensation of freedom and openness of the mind that was very satisfying. It has also led me to new ways of thinking. And now, in the end, I feel that these new ways of thinking can be considered, defined as a new skill. Furthermore, this new skill now becomes my tool, sort of a mental tool. Tool is something that can be used, applied on something. And to stay in, so many times pointed out, circularity – this tool can be applied back onto what has been written these days. Meaning – I hold a believe that if I would go back and examine the initial proposed material and read my own text, it will bring me to new conclusions, new discussion and further development.

According to this last thought… the decision is made…

Today I will send what has been written up until now…

In order to stay true to the ‘stream of consciousness’ way of writing I will not even read what I wrote as a whole, solely for a reason not to be tempted to change, structure, explain… (I am aware that the citing is not correct, but even that I will intentionally leave as it is)

But I will read it as soon as it is sent… and I will go back to every material that found its way and made its trace in this diary…

I will select some notions that I believe can be further developed, and moreover those that I consider really do require further explication… – in this context I would be also very happy and grateful for feedback and for outside ideas about what is interesting in this already written text.

For the further writing a different format will be chosen… maybe a format more resembling to an academic one.

An also there are three new types scores that I am currently working on constructing and methodizing.

And a finishing thought of these ten days of continuous writing, of these ten days force of existing and the power of acting increasing affect is that…

We are establishing a new company!

Company name – FLIRTY HORSE

Company members:

  • Ariathney Coyne, Daniela Hanelová, Ivan Strelkin, Kasija Vrbanac, Simona Korošec and Milan Conić (musicians from the university), Nikolaj Klinger (actor from the university), Tura Gómez Coll and Hodei Iriarte Kaperotxipi (former dancer from the Tanzlin.z dance company)

We already bought a web page where we intend to start collecting data…

And we are also establishing different practical tasks like recording videos, writing texts, making concepts for future projects…

What a wonderful and joyful thing art is!

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