Wednesday, 8 August 2007

ICS. Wellington Railway Station 2. July 07


Dharan said...


Yeah, really like how utterly contrasting the Railway Station Rolling was! It stops people inside when they see that. It has a shock factor because its so outside the square! Long live the dodecahedron!

nomads.hat said...

Thanks Dharan, I thought I would respond to your comment with some of my notes from earlier in the year related to my reasons for rolling through spaces:

Critiquing of ‘Slow Roll’ Explorations, Jan/March/May ’07.

This relates to a series of movement/film sessions within my practice, begun in January 2007, exploring the device of rolling, very slowly across a selected space. My rationale for introducing this device is based on the following points:

Firstly, it is a ‘way in’ for me; even though my movement will not be limited to the action of rolling, it enables me to begin to discover how I might ‘act’ out my concepts – rolling becomes a vehicle for investigatively encountering the various spatial and conceptual territories with/in which I plan to occupy and carry out my movement work. Also, the dance-in-the-body itself, requires recognition and validity.

It is, therefore, important for me that I engage with this activity holistically, in the sense that because I am using dance as a vehicle with which to investigate my concepts, I need to properly prepare my ‘self’ to do this by ‘arriving’ adequately, so that the dance is not just a means to an end.

The activity of slow-rolling relates to Nancy Stark-Smith`s ‘small dance’ within C.I. as a recognition of internal or somatic movement – a time of arriving within one`s body in a space; at first, there is often not very much evidence of outward movement at all. The ‘small dance’ relates to the inner body first – it is a manifestation of personal ownership - the process of acknowledging the layering of the body; cellular structure, internal organs, the bones and muscles, which, in the second phase expands outwards to touch the epidermal layers
of skin, (at which point, movement becomes visible. Nancy calls this the ‘Skinsesphere), which in turn, travels beyond the confines of the body (in a sense this third or last phase includes/integrates the body with the surrounding space - the 'Kinesphere', NS-Smith) to facilitate the body`s arrival within the space itself. It is a process of slowly emerging, centrifugal intention and subsequent movement, which equips the dancer to manage, interact with, articulate their presence in the wider space/place in which they find themselves. (This ‘articulation’ and subsequent description of ‘dance’, might be as minimal as the simple act of standing up and finding a place of stillness). This ‘small dance’ narrative for me, also relates kinesthetically in execution, to these lines:

Every day
Lie resting
What is needed
to be more comfortable …

… let the undersurfaces of
the body open into shadows

Let the whole body fill
and open to the breath

stretch roll yawn
dream …
… each day find a new

(Crickmay, Tuffnell.
Body, Space, Image
Dance Books Ltd, 1993)

The act of rolling also allows one to ‘map’ a dimension of the space/place which would usually go unnoticed and provides the roller (and the camera view) with a unique perspective of the space. This perspective signifies for me a rolling, ‘opening’ and ‘closing’ aspect carried out by the body; the closing, a shutting out of the space; the opening, a ‘letting in of the world’.

The addition of the small windows (see the movie clip under topic post: June. Dancing in redundant spaces) of another view, which is the roller`s eye-view, opening out and away from the ground, comes and goes. ( I have included in a DVD, a range of experimental permutations on this idea. I have changed the rhythm and interval in the relationships between the embossing and the image-mask effects to arrive at formal and informal compositions. At this stage, I am intrigued by both interpretations).

The nature and quality of the movement itself, is interventionist in the sense that it is unusual and perhaps unsettling. The body in a supine position, which has been inserted in an otherwise, vertically dominated, urban environment could be innocently at rest, but it is also associated with sickness, aberrant behaviour, or death. (Hence the reference to the poem, above).

Kinkaleri Dance Co (Perazzo, Dance Theatre Journal, 2006) has used figures falling down in public places, (The Fall of the West, 2003), as political commentary to signify ways in which the western world is in decline, bringing degeneration and death. It also signifies that we betray a cavalier attitude toward our fellow humans in urban environments.

At this time, a line of investigation for me is to focus on that degree or description of ‘suspension’ which Kinkaleri mentions which is precipitated in the viewer by encountering a strange moment in their day. That moment of thrall to the incongruous, the way that when we are involuntarily moved out of our current perspective, we perceive the world, suddenly, in all its minutiae. Indifference in the viewer, although perhaps genuine, may also be studied and recalled later. (Kinkaleri`s work can be read either as political statement or as formal experiment. Talking about the aesthetic rationale, they say: ‘as a formal sign, the fall is a change of physical position, from vertical to horizontal. Seeing this action in a context in which you don`t expect to see it modifies your perception of the space, your perspective vision. The image you have in front of you changes completely. Dropping to the ground the person swallows up all the rest and creates a sort of suspension where every little movement becomes important. It`s as if, by falling, the human figure revealed a hidden world, enabling the viewer to see things differently … so the person falls down dead and immediately a whole other life fills in the void (s)he left; people walking, cyclists speeding past, children playing, joggers running, tourists taking photographs, shoppers with their bags, business men in their suits, cars, motorbikes, trains, dogs, pigeons …’ (Perazzo, D. 12:2006)

My intention, like that of ‘WEST’ is to ‘interrogate the formats of scenic presence and the limits of social constructions by taking the enquiry out of theatrical spaces, and placing it in the real world, in busy streets, squares and corners of big modern cities’, with the specific objective of targeting what I consider to
be semi-redundant spaces using, what on a certain level, could be said to be, ‘non-dance’.

Through my dance practice, I am currently investigating how perceived 'non-dance' (I do not mean that I believe what I am doing is non-dance. I mean that what I am doing may be construed or assessed as non-dance by others and this is perfectly acceptable, given the circumstances of my investigation focussing lateral movement in liminal spaces) – or, indeed, any dance is sufficient or appropriate to the task of activating or temporarily at least, creating a sense of ownership which is missing from a given place. (This is also one of the topics posted on this blog).