Monday, 11 May 2009

'Departed' - In the Company of Strangers - Autumn 2009

A month has passed since I last posted. In late April I carried out the last phase of dance and video studies in Wellington Railway Station for this body of work. I have begun to edit the material and the video posted above this entry, 'Departed' will be the first in this series.

'Departed' represents the direction I have pursued recently in relation to introducing more emotion, more intensity of behaviour/movement and closer, more intimate filming of this movement than in previous dance exploration. In my structured improvisation, I wanted to use the entrance doors as a focal point for our movement - an interface which was both, a barrier and a bridge between us. I have been interested in the repetition of the doors for some time (as explored at the beginning and end of a previous dance study, 'Cutouts') and their glass and steel composition, indicative of a hard, unyielding yet visually accessible state. I enjoy the scratches on the glass and decided to use the smears I left behind during my initial contact with the doors as trace elements of our passage through the space, which I re-visited at the end of the study. I wanted to introduce a sense of small but strong drama - a tableau of clenched feeling which we can sometimes witness in public places; a sense of passion, of despair, of pathos at our fate which is to be swept up in this constant movement away from those places and people which sustain our sense of belonging. I placed the narrative inside a dark frame/format indicative of a train window - an image of the impending view. The work is interventionist in that it creates a moment of uncertainty for the busy commuters at rush-hour; what is taking place here? A quarrel? A passionate withdrawal? A charged parting? The event of leaving within the chosen day inexorably taking over ... the inference here for me is that during the process of my departure, a part of me has already left. Having departed, a part of me lingers ... traces left behind.

I am indebted in this video edit to Thomas Feiner, the composer/performer of 'For Now' (released on The Opiates Revised) who has kindly given me permission to integrate his sounds with my movement. I am viewing this study as a draft. I will be continuing to work on the editing; intensifying/capitalizing on certain moments/effects and re-structuring these in relation to different sound input. I am currently working with two Nelson-based composers to construct industrially-based, abrasive/diverse sound-fields to use instead of Feiner`s, 'For Now'. I very much appreciate this work of Feiner`s and think this draft is quite successful as a joint construct, but I want to develop a more abstract field of sensing around our dancing bodies. More drafts to come with this in mind.

Fiona and I moved into the station on Tuesday April 23 to reclaim our sense of presence in the cavernous space of the old ticket office. We carried out some dance work up in the large back window (owned by Victoria University) and returned the following morning to meet with Linda Savell, the Management Support Administrator of KiwiRail and the station Marketing Manager. This meeting was essential to secure permission to carry out my final installation and performance in the station space in mid-July 09. I had prepared for the meeting with a laptop containing images of my Second Life station and drawings of the installation I envisioned in the old ticket office. The meeting progressed very positively with a great deal of support from the management staff. However, I was informed that the space I had selected had just been leased by the station and that there was a very good chance that the lease would be taken up by July. This would mean that I would have to approach the new business management in this space (as well as the station management) for permission to carry out my work. The implications of this are that I will not know if I can use this space until the last minute before mid-July and that ultimately, using the space may not be possible. I will be liaising with Linda Savell through June to keep in touch with developments on the lease.

In the coming months I have an intense workload:

I will be posting the work carried out at the Independent Theatre in Nelson last November. I have a backlog of editing to do with this material.

I have three international conference events to prepare for in June and one in October of this year: PSI#15 (Performance Studies International 15th year) in Zagreb, Croatia, 'Misperformance: Misfiring, Misfitting and Misreading' and two separate commitments at Stanford University for the SDHS conference. (Society of Dance History Scholars): 'Topographies: Sites, Bodies and Technologies'. I will be presenting my own individual paper, 'In the Company of Strangers - Negotiating the parameters of (Indeterminacy; a study of the Roaming Body and and Departure) Departure in urban spaces; a study of Indeterminacy and the Roaming Body' and taking part in a roundtable discussion with Isabel Valverde and Yukihiko Yoshida on: envisioning virtual cartographies for corporeal interaction: dance and performance convergent applications of Second Life 3D Metaverse social environment. My contribution to this panel discussion is: '(The Human) Analogue in Mixed-Reality'. This, together with my conference papers requires writing/fine-tuning in good time before the events.

I have also had a proposal accepted for the conference, 'Time, Transcendence, Performance' at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, in October 2009.

I need to revisit my Second Life station and carry out further development on the composition/concepts in the virtual space there. I need to work on my exegesis in time for the various draft deadlines. I will be exploring the useage of material in my conference papers as the basis for my exegesis.

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