David and I spent the morning filming in the large gallery in PICA. Interesting. We wanted to, quite simply, make a dance film. For the task of it. To consider the camera.  No narrative, no cataclysmic events…just dancing. Stark or empty environments. Nice wooden floors though. Dance pants (with holes) and an old t – shirt.

The score was focused on history, since this has been a point of interest for me in these weeks. Memory, history, body. My sense of what that means as a dancer who is a bit eager to always be moving through so many different ‘kinds’ of movements. I undertook a sort of turbid dancing out of as many histories as I could process. Am I looking for the most applicable to me, or just trying really hard to be good at everything (impossible)?!

Discussions about newness returned to me. I found qualities and almost exact movements (of a me of before, of someone else entirely) resurface. Though I knew the terrain of many shifts in quality, and though familiar, I felt newness. Perhaps it had something to do with context and the immediate ackowledgement of the multiple existence of histories INSIDE of my own umbrella quality. It was movement without looking for it. I enjoyed the rigour and the pace I set for myself.

We have begun to splice these images together. What is emerging is a series of sections of dancing, a lot of it viewed from above – as the camera hovers over a large space that I move through. My body seems to be engaged in an important task. I appear like an ant scurrying across a wide floor. Busy.

I am both interested in the rigour of dancing for the camera and the task of choreographing slippages.

A full day. Another day.

Sitting in Sydney airport.


My taxi driver on the way here started talking (out of the blue) about time. In his thick Indian accent he wondered outloud about why he didn’t have enough of it … “finishing work at 5pm ready to start again at 3am” … “it’s not good for my health”. I commented how much I enjoyed airports – they always make me feel like I have a lot of time – something to do with the state of relaxation they provoke in me.

It also made me think about our 2 second flips (micro50s) and how they – with my tongue firmly in cheek – might be considered to be cultural antidotes for a fast world.

“Time to catch some art”

“Films for a busy world”

“Never too long”

“Make time for art”

Or maybe it is not that they are antidotes but rather are a direct expression of a perceived (cultural) compression in time.
Not quite sure where this post is heading. But there is something for me about how I experience time when I am watching them – it is compressed and expanded at the same time. As if there is much more in those 2 seconds than there ought to be – or more than that time deserves.

this is just for Simon.  who by now is on a plane going to Sydney.

another 2 secs.

trying to strengthen the sense of narrative over such a small timeframe.

icon for podpress  three makes a couple [0:02m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

another motion50 / flip

finally got some footage of simon to be able to add him to the growing archive of 2 second films.  in cutting the film i was keen to see what effect adding audio could have – based on the effectiveness of the audio in the last one i made.  so i went for something a little funny – funny ha ha not funny odd.

on watching this i then thought about inserting blank frames again.  this time i added them into every second frame.  it creates a flicker that gives the impression of a celluloid flicker – ar at least hints at it.  so the effect seems to make the still frames even more like a dance, more continuous even in their abruption. for me it also shifts the way the audio works – it’s much less funny.  or maybe that’s because it was a one time gag – the subsequent viewings perhaps don’t sustain the joke.
have a look and see what you think. the first is the original and the second is the flicker version.

also, to view all the mirco50s to date you can use the category listing on the right -> or click here

icon for podpress  the first edit [0:02m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download
icon for podpress  the second edit [0:02m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

another. sound. narrative. white and black frames.

icon for podpress  second duo flip [0:02m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

yet more influence. inserted “long” visual silences within the material.

icon for podpress  four acts flip [0:02m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

so, just because i can’t help but be influenced by these two… here’s my next 2 sec flips that also moves away from the single frame or 2 frame rule. the thing i started playing with here though is the use of blank frames. will try to get back to my own more rigid experiments as soon as i can.

icon for podpress  flip duet [0:02m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Trialling my first 2 sec flip. With audio and (embedded) text. And like Paea, I did not limit myself to 2 frame grabs, but unlike Paea, I kept it to 2 seconds total.

icon for podpress  folding [0:02m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

simon really is able to pump out those posts, eh? *grin*

this morning paea and played with a simple dance task in improvisation. we looked at the terms initiate and respond. this began as an alternating solo task – with the each of us responding to the previous. after four 5 minute solos we stopped and discussed the situation. the structure we established allowed an accumulation, so that in each succeeding solo there were traces and remenants of the previous solos. one of the words i wrote while watching paea dance was repurpose. in responding there is, amongst other things, a range from the simple mimetic to the complex reinterpret – the word repurpose seemed to fit somewhere in between those two end points. the idea being that to repurpose a movement or phrase was to retain the essence of the material but imbue it with the interest or influence of your own dance. in watching it seemed clear to both paea and i how there were threads coming through from each subsequent solo.

we also discussed how broad the term respond is. there’s such a wide variety of elements that this term could cover and how you could implement it.

we then shifted into dueting keeping a focus on the modes of initating or responding. for me this immediately opened up a whole new range of questions. the distinct modes become more and more blurred through dueting. an initiation becomes a response becomes an initiation and i think you get the idea…
we also decided to video this dueting for use in the flips. look out, there’ll be some up here later today i’m sure.

finally, there was a moment of experimenting with using a tripod as a mini crane and also as a simple steadicam. paea and i are planning on making a little dance film and, after watching Fearless on the weekend i was inspired by those sweeping overhead crane shots and wanted to find a small scale version for us to use! the clip is below, tripod angles, and is a little dark.

icon for podpress  tripod angles [0:42m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

day one. week three. moving this morning – first through yoga (some deep deep early morning backbends – regroup, try again, maybe tomorrow. Too much dance training – helping as it gets in the way!) followed up by some responding and initiating with david – considering what this means as a ‘solo’ dancer and in a duet.

David danced first and I responded. 5 minute interchanges – repeated- no discussion between each swap. The thing I find most compelling when improvising and the ‘thing’ I find hardest to find by myself – is a sense of ‘newness’. Simon and I have discussed this before. ‘Newness’ is different to what I imagine ‘authentic movement’ to be. It feels more investigative than ‘raw’. It resides in a purely physical state – in that I do not have any emotional repercussion or resonance. It is as though my pathways are being re – reouted, or, as David said, ‘re – purposed’. This ‘re – purposing’ happening beacuse of the information/history/fact of the other.

I recognise newness at once as I feel excited about information that feels like it is being fed into me from ‘another place’ – and i am aware of another kind of freedom in my body. In this case this was possible when entering a task that required a response to another (body) as the primary aim. Instead of getting in my own way (as is often the case), I am able to let my methods of idiosyncratic and habitual moving add a richness to my physical/visceral/structural experience and response toward my dancing partner.

The coversation is alive and interactive. I like that. It is rich territory for a beginning.

On another note – I am reading about Forsythe and Vera Mantero. An odd couple – but I get the sense that there are similar structural concerns, different but present incorporations of memory and emotion (I use ‘emotion’ very broadly here) and a cultivation of the democratic as works are made. I agree that there is a need for foundations based in research that includes histories – of bodies/cultures/and aesthetics – and an inquisition into how the research may bleed into and inform, support and carry the choreography. They are both proposing – on some level I think – what Andre Lepecki calls “A body ‘yet to be heard’, a body ‘yet to be thought out’….an unheard of body”.
A further thought on what part history plays through our bodies. dancing…or not?

“ to articulate the past historically does not mean to recognise it ‘the way it really was’. It means to seize hold of a memory as it flashes up at a moment of danger” – – Walter Benjamin ‘Thesis on the philosophy of history’

With this idea of history in mind I wonder how far can we go (back – informed by ourselves), what are we limited by? and can or does our history both inform and reduce us to stoppages and brick walls. How can we open up a potential that encompasses anatomical, spatial, imaginative and emotional spaces. A healthy and considered portion of each? Enough to be enough. Not so much that the task latches onto one point of investigation. How necessary is it (this may be applicable for or originally derived from living itself) that we shift between modalities or potentials to offer oursleves what James Gibson calls affordance? (I use this in a different context but am interested in how we affford ourselves potential).

Departing and resonating quotes from the week before…

“(Or) we’re trying to understand the how the body thinks about its own presence, how it reacts to the situations it can put itself in. And so what happens is really not so much the result of a conscious aesthetic attempt but really a proposal; if left to its own devices and rigorously trained enough then the thinking body is capable of quite a number of amazing things”. Forsythe : interview ABC Radio National
What makes me afraid of a space is fearing what can happen in it. In fact, this space of action is my affordance, my potential for movement. This is often limited by all I’ve spoken of before. But in fact what is also limited is my potential for action and imagination”. Bernard Hubbard – Contact Quarterly – Summer/fall 2006, Vol 31 number 2. p34.
OK. Things are shifting. How will this feed back into my dancing? Time. Distilling and patience will tell.

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