24 November 2010

An Injury/A Welcome Pause for Retrospection?

24 novembre, 2010

The sun shines in Paris! A slow morning walk across Pont Louis Philippe to admire the backside of Notre Dame from all angles (I find you strongly masculine, Our Lady) and tour the interior revealed the church's stained glass mandalas at their most radiant and precious. I say a slow walk because I am nursing a back spasm from yesterday morning's rush to get to the train for our trip to Poitiers, where I was to visit my new friend, Michel, and give two presentations for his classes at the University of Poitiers.  I'd bent low to stash the printer on a low shelf and failed to keep my center of gravity under me while twisting, with straight knees: the classic no-no, stupid me. Alas, I have been mourning the event ever since. I had to cancel the trip--the first EVER presentation or performance in my entire career that I've had to cancel due to injury. I should be grateful it's taken this long. So sorry, Michel!

This pause in my usual activity and studio practice prompts me to look back and look ahead. (Also, my laptop's logic board died a few days ago so my PowerBook Pro is at the local Apple repair shop for 10 days. Editing withdrawal!) As an exercise in both directional sweeps, I take a retrospective scan of the screendances I've made so far and plot an hour-long performance/installation--to be performed at U-M Digital Media Commons and perhaps on the road) that follows the unfolding of the work over my Paris stay and the esthetic and formal issues raised in the process. Here's a rough outline:

1. I begin with a room with a view in Paris as my stage or video studio: a white wall, natural lighting, a certain distance from camera, a vertical format (necessity of the full body vertical in limited depth of space); add to those aspects or limitations the size of camera frame, the choices for the "edited" frame(s), vertical vs. horizontal, what those limitations determine or alter how I move, what I do; (excerpts from dimanche/Variations 1-10, In Memorium; La Chaise Libre)

2. I move to a screen with a view/ the editing space/stage: how to make that space come alive, expand, like an accordion with pleats, a louvered blind, revealing what? Expanding space by extending/expanding time: successional "canon", slow motion: (Double & Triple Triptychs)

3. I accumulate a palette or repertoire of compositional tools: screens, panels, deconstructions in space and time; coloration effects and distortions: TIME: (Paris Accelerations 1 & 2)

4. I re-construct the deconstruction, translating screendance from my website and YouTube into a performance/viewing space, "installing it" onto multiple screens (Les Panneaux?, Triptych moving l to r., Cluny crosses and triptych sections, other excerpts that pass from one screen to the other). Introduce Live Shoot: Shoot a brief improv captured by three cameras placed at different angles: frontal, and two side/front angles r & l-simulcast on three screens hanging in actual space). Talk about the staging of simultaneous "events" of same source and how one "sees" such formatting.

5. What is learned from all this?: experiments in discreet segments; (time limit of YouTube uploading onto website) intimacy; camera as collector of found moments for montage on canvas of screen (Paris Cut-Ups); as proscenium to frame candid moments, (Nudie Strips, Petit Bach),  or as acknowledged "eye" to be addressed, to perform at or to, as soap box, podium, lectern, or messaging system: (I Am Man Enough for You--3-screen version)

6. Visual arts and dance: museums in Paris as inspiration for subject, treatment of body, effect: (Excerpts of Studies from Cluny, Guimet; complete Patient Spider as example of more "finished" work)

7.Music as continuing inspiration, to begin with or to add later: (Bach- Companions du Devoir as prototype for live stage work; I Have Enough excerpts)

8. Learning from one's improvisations: Live vs. virtual; two spaces at once as another kind of overlay or transparency/opacity: (petite meditation sur l'espace/Handel solo danced live--learned from Paris improv version-- in front of that original version taped in "Les Noces" studio/Micadanses: the inspirational space!

9.  All comes back to a set of beliefs, or "knowns", that very much extend over a lifetime of dancing, whether live on stage or for camera and screen: (Dancer's Primer re-edited for 3 screens.)