PART B – Second Year MFA Proposal Outline
01 – Title of project
Choreographing Vibe, Embodying Space
02 – Name of student and any collaborators and their roles
Andrea Spaziani (student)
Alicia Grant (collaborator and dance artist)
Julia Male (collaborator and dance artist)
03 – Suggested advisors for studio and for research element (first, second, third choices, if any). Explain your choices.
Morgan O'Hara (studio) and Simon Pope (research)
04 – Description of proposed project or body of work – practical element
On a recent rip to Hydra, Greece, to study social choreography at the Ricean School of Dance, a local resident told me “This rock will show you who you really are.” As a person accustomed to making work from within the studio, and then planting it in a theatrical/performance space, this statement has inspired me to do the opposite. I’d like to find spaces that ‘show me who I really am’, that push me around, and produce a kind of collaborative, improvised choreography. How does space affect me, and how do I affect space? How can I attune myself to noticing this affect?
For the practical element of my project, I’ll be using my body to explore the affect, and possible definitions, of space. By space, I mean something to be entered, or a temporal containment field, not necessarily organized by hard physical objects, but outlined by multiple modes of perceptive information. This initial definition is very open, and I will work towards its specificity throughout the year. I will consider abstract space, imaginary space, sonic space, the materiality of social space, and any other systems that may come through. I will start with my improvisation dance practice, and use other media such as film, sound, and documentation and produce proximal works. I will consider the editing of this material as choreographic.
1) PRACTICE: The listening body, the sensorial map
My daily practice will include developing a technique for translating space into a physical experience – of listening, and moving, or not, and communing with space as I understand it with my body. This is a continuation of my practice from last year, where I worked with ‘hyper-empathy’ as a strategy to extend, even by imagination, the possible stimulus for movement, and activate a version of my body that absorbs information beyond the physical boundaries of my skin. This mode of ‘fielding’ is inspired by the writing of Arakawa and Gins in Architectural Body. I will engage in this practice over a cross-section of physical spaces in and around Toronto, and elsewhere depending on my travel itinerary, working over long durations of 4-5 hours. I will allow myself to wander, and improvise, and I will document this practice using audio recordings, video, and writing, with the goal of producing a series of ‘sensorial maps’ that depict my perceptive experiences. I will experiment with these maps as choreographic scores, and bring them into the studio where I will transmit them to other collaborators.
I will explore improvised dancing as a modality of being in the world differently, and listening to my surroundings differently. I will consider dancing as a mode of ‘attention’ or ‘attunement’.
2) PERFORMANCE: the self as collection site, and performative body mapping.
In-studio, I will engage in my meditative practice from last year on exiting (familiar) perception, and activating projection. This meditation mines the subconscious, and in my experience with it, it has brought out deeply personal material. I’d like to use this material to produce a character, a version of myself as generated from my internal ‘space’, the space of my personal history, memories, and imagination. I want to wear and activate my subconscious, and bring my projections into a physical manifestation, or convey them as physical data.
Also, continuing from last year’s attempt to ‘inhabit the body differently’, I will engage in personal territories that I don’t typically visit, but I receive information about via my surroundings/media/culture. These territories may include extreme emotions, aggression, humour, trauma, egomaniacal behavior, or any combination that surfaces. Once this character/ ‘anti-hero’ has been established, I will engage him/her in dialogue, interviews, and self-reflexive conversation. The space between myself and an incarnation of myself will be explored. I’m guessing it will reveal something about how my imagination has been co-opted by western capitalist ideologies (the space in which I live), and/or imprinted upon by the social space in which I receive, and have received, information over my lifetime. It is a personal excavation of the affect of social space. I use the word ‘excavation’ in reference to the work of Michael Klien. I will research artist interviews as material for the Q and A sessions I will engage in with this character, and I will research artists who disrupt social space, and/or produce new kinds of social space in their work (ie/ Marten Spangberg, Jerome Bel, Maria Jerez, Pussy Riot).
I will capture this character’s behavior on film, shooting as if a documentary, or an egregious ‘selfie’. I may also produce some short scenes, depending on how it goes, and experiment with performance. I’ve been invited to perform in Toronto at Flowchart curated by Amelia Earhardt next spring, so I will consider performing this character study at that time.
3) DISSEMINATION DANCE: appropriating and embodying virtual space (in response to Marten Spangberg’s lecture on Hijacking as a Proactive Strategy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1P6spiZS8UY )
In continuation of my Lone Dancer trial in 2014, I’ll be appropriating internet dance memes (ie/ Harlem Shake, US troops Call me Maybe parody, etc) to perform/deliver 30 days of choreographic prompts, and produce a space for proliferating dance, pushing it into the familiar spaces of the participant, and inviting the participant into the experience of the performance by initiating his/her body. This does not have to include actual movement, or production on part of the participant. I think the prompts are enough, and the words can carry the dance into the imagination of the doer (I will reference the active/passive spectator argument in participatory art from Claire Bishop’s Artificial Hells). I will initiate this trial over 30 days in November, 2015. I will disseminate prompts over email, twitter, instagram, and facebook. I consider this dissemination ‘the performance’ in and of itself, and will test how the web interface can be used to produce social space. I will make the scores in immediate response to my daily internet observations, my ‘Google bubble’, and I will respond to how the space of the web affects me, and its information moves me to improvise. I will condense this improv into a directive/prompt of one or two sentences, and send it out to the Lone Dancer list daily. The scores will be collected and published on a website. For an example of the 2014 trial, please see www.lonedancer.ca
05 – Description of project report or thesis – written element
I will be writing a project report for my final assignment. It will continue from my previous research on Event, according to Alain Badiou’s definition in The Handbook of Inaesthetics, chapter six: Dance as a Metaphor for Thought. In this text, he describes six principles that inform the link between dance and thought. With the first principle, “The obligation of space” (63), Badiou discusses how dance is intrinsically tied to space, and it “…symbolizes the very spacing of thought.” (63). This is a more specific territory of Event, in that it is localized, it is ‘of the here’, and therefore necessitates space. I’m interested in how dance and space might operate together to produce an Event, or produce thought, and what these emergences could reveal if I can find ways to use dance as “…the event before naming…” (63).
I am currently researching Gilles Deleuze, Brain Massumi, and Erin Manning (of Montreal’s SenseLab http://senselab.ca/wp2/ ) specifically in relation to concepts of ‘immanence’ and ‘differential attunement’ which I’d like to bring into my understanding of affect, space, and performance in relation to my studio project. Others of that lineage include Baruch Spinoza, Henri Bergson, and Alfred North Whitehead, who I may also reference this year, or in future research.
It is my understanding that ‘immanence’ is a mode of organization that comes from within the process, which is essentially a process of perpetual change and differentiation on part of all things. It is not a unification of all things or ‘oneness’, but that all things are unified in their continual process of differentiation. This concept is opposed to ‘transcendence’, which maintains the existence of the ‘other’, or duality, as something that affects from outside the subject, and upholds the existence of the singular, separate, subject. The immanent entanglement and relational affect between all things is what I’m curious about, and the starting point for my research is in ‘how’ I experience this entanglement, and how I might witness my own change in conjunction with another changing agent. I consider this kind of witnessing, attunement, or deep level of attention as ‘dancing’, and it is therefore dancing that I will deploy as a methodology for this project. And if dance is obligated to space, according to Badiou, then I will try to uncover the flows of information and change that connect dance and space through a trajectory of affect. The ‘in between-ness’ of dance, space, and affect that produce an entanglement of change. This idea is still obviously fuzzy, but it’s a start.
To bring this theoretical research into the here and now, I’m interested in initially situating my project in Toronto in order to understand what that dances I make could reveal about the spaces, social constraints, and cultural atmospheres in which I presently live. If I can unlock a connection, then how might choreography enable an ability to affect, or imprint, upon other surroundings? I will look at artists who engage in observations of, and interactions within, social space such as Diane Borsato, Maria Jerez, John Cage, Michael Klien, Janet Cardiff, Jenny Holtzer, Francis Alÿs, Fluxus, William Forsythe, Pina Bausch, Kazuo Ohno, Pussy Riot, Pauline Oliveros, Guy Debord, Bruce Nauman, Steve Paxton, Simone Forti, Vito Acconci, Kazuo Ohno, KG Guttman, Jess Cutis, and Keith Hennessey. I’m sure this list will change as my research progresses.
06 – Project results, e.g. documentation, performance, script, intervention, website, exhibition, book, journal
1) Sensorial Maps as Choreographic scores
2) A space that performs (I’d like to install this at Uferstudios next year)
3) Lone Dancer virtual performance website
4) Character performance, film documentation, and interviews (included in Uferstudios presentation)
07 – Brief description of research method
I insert myself into studio experiments, and I deploy dance improvisation as an investigative methodology. Concurrently, I write scores and use technology to capture surveillance-type material, to witness my activities, and help consolidate emergent ideas. I then look for research materials that support what has been generated. I often start with a huge scope, and work my way toward specificity. I consider the editing of material as the choreographic process when producing finished work.
I work with attention, and I’m aware of what it is to ‘notice’, or place attention on an action in order to produce a shift in how I experience that action, and affect the action itself. To me, this is dancing, and improvisation at work.
Once I have a grasp of my entry point, I invite interdisciplinary collaborators to bring other considerations into the process, to intentionally undermine my vision, and help me understand how my process may or may not be disseminated.
08 – Initial bibliography for written element
Augé, Marc. Non-places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity. London: Verso, 1995. Print.
Bachelard, Gaston, M. Jolas, and John R. Stilgoe. The Poetics of Space. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
Bishop, Claire. Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship. London: Verso, 2012. Kindle file.
Brennan, Teresa. The Transmission of Affect. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2004. Kindle file.
Cage, John. "Lecture on Nothing." Silence: Lectures and Writings. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan UP, 1961. N. pag. PDF.
Debord, Guy. The Society of the Spectacle. New York: Zone, 1994. Print.
Friedman, Ken. Fluxus Performance Workbook. Trondheim, Norway: Guttorm Nordø, 1990. Print.
"The GODLOVE MUSEUM - by Auriea Harvey & Michael Samyn - Entropy8Zuper!" The GODLOVE MUSEUM - by Auriea Harvey & Michael Samyn - Entropy8Zuper! N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Sept. 2015.
Hall, Stuart. Representation: Cultural Representations and Signifying Practices. London: Sage in Association with the Open U, 1997. PDF.
Hewitt, Andrew. Social Choreography: Ideology as Performance in Dance and Everyday Movement. Durham: Duke UP, 2005. Kindle file.
Hunter, Victoria. Moving Sites: Investigating Site-specific Dance Performance. London: Routledge, 2015. Print.
Kholeif, Omar. You Are Here: Art After the Internet. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
Klien, Michael. Choreography as an Aesthetics of Change. Limerick: Daghdha Dance, 2008. Print.
Kwon, Miwon. "One Place after Another: Notes on Site Specificity." October 80 (1997): 85. Web.
Lally, Sean. The Air From Other Planets: A Brief History of Architecture to Come. Zurich: Lars Muller, 2013. Print.
Latour, Bruno. We Have Never Been Modern. Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1993. PDF.
Lefebvre, Henri. The Production of Space. Oxford, OX, UK: Blackwell, 1991. PDF.
Lepecki, Andre. "From Partaking to Initiating: Leadingfollowing as Dance's (a-personal) Political Singularity." Dance, Politics & Co-immunity. By Gerald Siegmund and Stefan Hölscher. Zürich: Diaphanes, 2013. N. pag. PDF.
Lotringer, Sylvère. Schizo-culture. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2013. Print.
Lynch, David. Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2006. Kindle file.
Lynch, Kevin. The Image of the City. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1960. PDF.
Maoilearca, Laura Cull O. Theatres of Immanence. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. Print.
Massumi, .Brian. "The Autonomy of Affect." 1. THE AUTONOMY OF AFFECT (n.d.): n. pag. Web.
Massumi, Brian. Politics of Affect. Cambridge: Polity, 2015. Print.
Nancy, Jean-Luc, and Richard Rand. Corpus. New York: Fordham UP, 2008. Kindle File.
Nold, Christian. Emotional Cartography: Technologies of the Self. S.l .: S.n., 2009. Web.
Sabisch, Petra. "Choreographing Participatory Relations. Contamination and Articulation." Dance, Politics & Co-immunity. By Gerald Siegmund and Stefan Hölscher. Zürich: Diaphanes, 2013. N. pag. PDF.
Solnit, Rebecca. Wanderlust: A History of Walking. New York: Viking, 2000. Print.
Suri, Jane Fulton. Thoughtless Acts?: Observations on Intuitive Design. San Francisco: Chronicle, 2005. Kindle File.
Yee, N., J. N. Bailenson, Michael Urbanek, F. Chang, and D. Merget. "The Unbearable Lightness of Being Digital." The Nonverbal Communication Reader: Classic and Contemporary Readings. Long Grove, IL: Waveland, 2008. N. pag. Print.
NOTE: the Deleuze/Massumi/Manning lineage is somewhat new to me, so I’ll be adding more of their texts to this bibliography as I go. I will also look into journals that address themes of ‘attunement’, ‘immanence’, ‘becoming’ and ‘space’ in relation to affect and performance.
09 – Research question or hypothesis for thesis. For project report only if applicable.
How do I affect space, and how does it affect me? What does this data reflect about the spaces in which I engage/live/exist, and how can choreography capture and/or present this data?
10 – Intended audience
My project will initially be conducted for an unknown, and unknowing audience, made up of people who happen to be present in the spaces where I conduct my choreographic research.
I will perform my character profile as part of the Flowchart series in Toronto next Spring, and that audience will include a wide demographic of practitioners and supporters of experimental dance and performance.
The Lone Dancer project will be disseminated to participants from the 2014 trial (approximately 75 people) including a small faction of dance artists, but mainly non- dance practitioners from a variety of backgrounds. Because it is an online work, I hope it will be passed around to a wider circle than I might not have access to initially. I will use social media channels to access wider audiences outside Toronto. I will also promote the project through local organizations with reach, such as Hub 14, Dancemakers, The Toronto Dance Community Love-In, and the Transart Collective.
11 – Short statement on your current practice
My practice mines expanded modes of perception, and the borders of consciousness through experiential choreographic projects. I work with improvised movement to deploy action in space, and call attention to the present by way of immediate response. I use choreographic scores as a way to contain improvisation, and form constraints that function to open towards unpredictability, and uphold difference and agency on behalf of participants. I use technology as a tool to capture moments that deliver information about what has happened within the practice. Sometimes the results produce other, proximal works, ie/ films, which are related to the practice, but have become something else.
I have crafted a movement meditation/technique that places attention to my actions differently, and produces an ‘open embodiment’ that transgresses the familiar. It is a way of exploring what the body could mean, and how dancing might operate to produce knowledge or new kinds of unpredictable thought.
12 – Formulate entire project in 2-3 meaningful sentences.
How do I affect space, and how does space affect me? I will deploy improvised dancing as a methodology for exploring the affect of space, and how choreography might be used to capture and share this affect. I will expand my definition of space to include any territory to be entered, such as subconscious space, abstract space, or virtual space as a way of extending perceptions and sensitivities to space, and the information that is projected through it.
The dances I make will be reflective of experiential engagements in the spaces I inhabit, and I hope to reveal the immanent interconnectivity between the live body and its present surroundings.
13 – Technical description and production process including medium, quantity, size or duration
1) Sensorial Maps as Choreographic scores: Video, text, and/or audio, as well as a studio performance and documentation with a trial group of 10-15 collaborators
2) A space that performs: to be set up at Uferstudios next year, an interactive space, or a social choreography experiment, in which participants are moved by the space somehow
3) Lone Dancer virtual performance website: text and images as a collection of prompts submitted to participants. Participant feedback will be collected as well
4) Character performance, film documentation, and interviews: I’d like to integrate this into #2 (a space that performs). A choreographic space, and intermittently, a solo performance occurring in that space. Film projection, sound, and lighting will be incorporated. I will look for a production/technical assistant in Berlin to help with the set-up and run cues.
14 – Connect past and future project
Building on my previous project, I will shift my research on identity, agency, and control to an outward territory: from exploring the body one inhabits, outward to the spaces that the body inhabits, and are inhabited by/within the body.
15 – Connect studio and research project (if separate), explain how they inform each other.
16 – Brief description of conceptual motivation
See 05) Written element, re: Deleuze, Massumi, Manning, and terms “immanence”, and “differential attunement”, and Badiou on dance as a metaphor for thought, and the obligation of space.
17 – Short description and abstract (50-100 word) of written element
How can the attention inherent in dancing provide an opening to seeing and experiencing a person’s surroundings differently? I will discuss the relationship between improvised dance, the way it is structured by choreography, and how it might operate as a tool to produce knowledge about the present time and place, or the space if its immediate action. I will discuss how dance operates as a moment of ‘attunement’ that is both productive and reflective: it produces affect and is also reflective of affect in the way it ‘receives’ information, and enacts it moments before it can be inscribed by language and meaning. Dance points towards a horizon of continually vanishing gestures, and in this seeming vacancy, this emptiness of space, what might emerge, and how can it be framed by choreography?
18 – Proportion of written/practical element
I’m not sure how to answer this.
19 – Possible location for the project
I will engage in wandering in and round Toronto, and the meditation/studio practice will take place at Hub 14 in Toronto. As I travel throughout the year, I will bring my work with me. My itinerary is not yet determined, apart from a week in Vermont in October, a week in Los Angeles in December, and 2 weeks in New York City in January 2016.
20 – Timeline for realization of project
Outdoor mapping practice
In-studio meditation and character development
Outdoor mapping practice continues, and trials with transmitting sensorial maps to collaborators
In-studio character development, including interviews and film documentation
Lone Dancer trial begins mid-November
Work on turning sensorial maps into a space that ‘choreographs’
Lone Dancer continues, and documentation continues
Edit character film
Work on character performance
Think about what to present in NYC for residency and develop that
Practice piano, French horn, and attend Muay Thai Kickboxing classes (a component of character study)
Winter/Spring 2016 timeline TBD
21 – Budget $6000
Studio space: approx. $1000 for the year
Dance artists: Julia Male and Alicia Grant. Rehearsal and performance 1 month, approx. $1000
Long Dancer Website: $200
Books and research materials: $1000
Miscellaneous rentals in Toronto and Berlin (audio recording equipment, lights, video equipment): $1500
Documentation Materials: $300
Technical Assistance in Berlin: $1000
22 – Additional supporting information