Tere O’Connor Dance Writing
Go to this link, go to the right drop down “#25 contents,” select “Tere O’connor” and enjoy. Thoughts on the “universal?”
Ann Hamilton, OSU Winter 2011
In my most recent meeting with Bebe regarding my MFA Project, she suggested that I look at a work by Ann Hamilton that took place in a library. I was unable to find that particular link, but stumbled upon this one and found Hamilton’s words very inspiring. I found her descriptions and explanations very human or humanizing and I could relate to the way she brought in her personal history and the way that she is taking in the world. Convergences and borders, technologies, moments between, how we pay attention, things that are seemingly simple, calling into question, taste and touch, perceptions….these are interests and questions I like to explore through dance. Since I have been pursuing my MFA, I have wanted to take a seminar course with her in the Department of Art, which she co-teaches with Michael Mercil, but unfortunately, I have not and will not have the opportunity before I graduate in June. This talk seems like some consolation.
Another interesting clip:
The theme of my life these days seems to revolve around contemplating creative process. Either through my own facilitation of creative process, being within creative process (my own, collaboratively, and others), and trying to articulate the value of this process of events. This attempting to articulate came up during the Interdisciplinary Connections class on Tuesday, as we discussed our desire to respond to being marginalized and creatively stunted by the laws related to liability that govern our university. The mission and intention of the course was to provide students from various disciplines an unrestricted space in which to co-create. It was understood that the old library would function as this space, because it is going to be completely renovated, suddenly, it has become a halfway house for the Wexner Center and other colleges on campus and when the administrators walked through with their clipboards they deemed the co-creative efforts that had come to life in the space as “not art.” This comment initiated discussion about the misunderstood nature of process and its value. It reminded me of the conversation I had with Emily, who is a design student, and her wish in collaborating with the Historiography Project was to expose the other 90 percent of the iceberg that lived beneath the final choreographic work. To me, I think of course it makes sense to explain what we are doing, why we are doing it, sharing the inherent values that reside in the evolutionary process. However, to me, it becomes something very different when we have to be on the defensive. Or reactionary. Somehow, it disallows me to just be and do. I would be happy to sit down and share this information with someone who is interested, but when I feel I have to defend what I am doing it becomes something, because it implies what I am doing is not valuable. It is a question of tone. It makes me think that as a culture we are still cultivating curiosity, I see this in myself at times; despite the fact that “embracing diversity” and cultivating an attitude of acceptance is everywhere in our language and I know this in my mind, I still struggle to be this. Last summer, Ohad Naharin spoke daily of generosity, not in the sense of giving material items, but rather with ourselves, putting ourselves at risk with the unknown the way that Lily mentioned in her post. Last week while we were sharing our processes, I felt that the space that was provided allowed me to be generous with myself (albeit quickly and not so concisely) and I sensed that the class was being generous in their listening. I am noting the difference in my response in being asked to share my process with a group, simply what it is and what I did and then feeling the need to defend why we are co-creating in the library, which led to our feeling we should write a manifesto. At first, I felt this sense of apathy, I recognize this as a defense mechanism to helplessness from my youth. Often, it is preceded the fuel of anger. In “Documented/Undocumented, I was struck by the uniting and identifying or creating identity through displacement. We discussed displacement related to our feeling the need to vacate the library and find alternative work space for I.C. I gain a sense of empowerment reading Gomez-Pena’s words, as well as a continuous fight. His comments related to his generational emotion as being one of “loss”resonated with me; I feel the tension of being between identifiable identities. I think there is great potential there, but again; it often requires a similar defense or explanation to avoid presumption or assumption. Maybe this is the plight of the post-post state that we are in–struggling to articulate our idiosynchrosies. “recontextualize.” In Ben Cameron’s keynote speech, “The Arts as Family Photographs,” I appreciated his display of biases (even though I was a little surprised by his concluding remarks). I think that he was attempting to contextualize himself. I question how to define an artist. His calling to question non-profit models reminded me of our discussions in Professional Development. Seeking a new model, made me think of Todd’s idea. I am interested in new models, I feel like I am stumbling around in the dark with my own within my rehearsal/lab process, but am also interested in this conversation on the scale that Cameron is discussing in how to engage with technology culture and yet still finding the value in the process of standing in line to buy your tickets and actually committing to see a live performance. Events like 60×60 and Ten Tiny Dances seem to be nice blips of art for people to attend and while they are fun events, for myself, I feel a loss of depth and investment. It makes me think Mara and I need to get going on creating our “center.” I think it was also this article where he mentioned people not having time–this deeply resonated with me. It made me want to reexamine how much time I spend doing what. “a conceptual emergency”- a time in which knowledge, which we once believed would set us free, now leaves us more confused…” Yes. Familiar. Bell Hooks is talking about what I want to be my education and the attitude I carry if I am facilitating. I was really struck by her questioning the need to create “safe” spaces, not being rattled if everything is not “ok” in every moment. Who’s voices are in the room. I think it is a challenge to create spaces where most students will feel compelled to take responsibility to contribute, especially their voices.
Forsythe Project, OSU Winter 2009
During Winter Quarter I participated in the Forsythe Project. Our professor, Norah Zuniga-Shaw organized this incredible experience as part of the New Ground coursework in the department. This experience included investigations into William Forsythe’s Improvisational Technologies and participation in the construction of sculpture-like objects that he refers to as a score or a set that will be used in the modified performance of Monster Partitur at the Wexner Center in early April. Norah is also part of the team of creative directors for the Synchronous Objects collaboration between The Forsythe Company and Ohio State University/ACCAD. This project is aimed at including a broad audience in the choreographic process and creating interdisciplinary dialogue and understanding while leaving a new trace of the form of dance.
During the first segment of this class we completed readings related to the work of William Forsythe and his contributions to research in dance and multimedia explorations. Our class also viewed and discussed principles behind his Improvisational Technologies which offer innovative way of making movement choices in relation to self, other, and space. For example, we would trace a shape with an isolated body part, dance around an imagined statue of ourselves in specific position, or distort a movement we were observing. Meghan Durham-Wall led our technique class for the first six weeks of the quarter and incorporated many of these principles and exercises into our movement investigations.
The final weeks of the quarter guest artist Nik Haffner facilitated our daily technique classes. Nik was a former member of William Forsythe’s company and collaborated in the development of the Improvisational Technologies CD-Rom. He continued to lead us through these concepts and exercises, as well as sharing additional improvisational techniques. Due to his generous nature, we were fortunate enough to also participate in his ballet classes and small group meeting sessions. He presented his work on the prototypes for the Improvisational Technologies and his research with Motion Capture technologies looking into the relationship between body and media.
For details on the Collaboration between Ohio State University/The Forsythe Company:
Video footage of William Forsythe’s One Flat Thing, reproduced:
Example of Improvisational Technologies:
William Forsythe/The Forsythe Company:
Monster Partitur at the Wexner Center April 2009:
- Monster Partitur construction
- Monster Partitur construction
- Monster Partitur construction
“Lunch” with Norah Zuniga-Shaw and William Forsythe:
Two days before the Choreographic Objects Symposium, our professor Norah brought William Forsythe to the department. He had wanted to thank us for assisting in the assembling of the monsters. I appreciated his question of how we translate information. What are effective ways of sharing what we are doing, dancing about, thinking about? He mentioned an article “This Will Kill That” that stated the printing press killed visual culture. Each time we move forward, what will surface and what will fade? Then the pendulum swings. Later he asked, “How do we know something?” Is it because we feel it? If it is because we feel it, how can one translate that information to be able to articulte it to others?
Transfigurations (4/2-7/26) Choreographic Objects Symposium/Synchronous Objects (4/1):
This week we have had the opportunity to attend lectures and presentations which discuss William Forsythe’s Wexner exhibition and the launch of the media tool Synchronous Objects which fall under the umbrella of Choreographic Objects. What is most exciting to me about this project is that it is offering such a wide array of lenses through which to view or understand the choreographic mind and in turn, dance. The open source approach to sharing this research creates great potential for cross-discplinary communitcation and understanding. I am amazed at the eclectic group of researchers that were behind the creation of this innovative work. If you go to the S.O. website, you can surf around the various tools that offer different ways of looking into the Forsythe piece One Flat Thing, reproduced. The video explanations were the most helpful for me.
a taste of Monster Partitur
We also had the opportunity to view Forsythe company member, Alessio Silvestrin perform a modification of the piece You Made Me a Monster, entitled Monster Partitur. The set was constructed by Marion Rossi and provided a cueing system for the performer, as well as served as an elaborate set for the solo. See the pictures above or on the Wexner website for examples of the set. As we walked into the gallery at the Wexner the wall to our left displayed a story written by William Forsythe, in one long line, about the death of his wife and their experience of her illness leading up to that point. It was difficult to hold back tears. As I understand it, this dance was created at least in part as an expression of his grief. The performer entered the space looking at the set. His face was in a distorted position and throughout the piece he would continue to contort his face. He was also making sounds throughout the piece that were linked to a computer device that was projecting and distorting his sounds. They sounded gutteral, sometimes like wailing, sometimes like they were trying to express what could not be expressed in words. The movements were quick, contorted, uncomfortable, articulate, and full of undescribable emotion. I was completely drawn into an emotional state and again, found it difficult to hold back tears. Afterward, we spoke with an audience member who stated that she did not understand why a dancer would go through technical training and perform in a piece such as this and that she wanted to see dance that was uplifting, because there was already so much suffering in the world. While I can respect her perspective, I do not think this solo could have been performed in the same manner without technical training and in terms of content I feel that an artistic platform is exactly the right venue for this type of expression, sharing, and communication. It is able to convey what we might not be able to articulate through other means, as well as offering a space to process the human experience. Maybe the act of witnessing helps to offer acknowledgement of an event or experience.
Images of Monster:
Exhibition and Performance times:
Authentic vs. Inauthentic?
I have been preparing a summarization for a powerpoint presentation in my Resources Seminar. It is based on the article, Inviting the Unconscious to Manifest: Process as a Product? Authentic Movement and Automatic Drawing Performed/Exhibited, by Inari Pesonen. Pesonen poses the question whether or not it is important or effective to share improvisational processes as performance or artistic exhibition. She describes Authentic Movement and Automatic Drawing as examples of process oriented forms that have been shared with an audience. Both of these forms focus on the generation of movement or images on paper as originating from the unconscious mind. The mover or creator is supposed to abandon making a plan or having a preconceived notion of what the movement or work should be. The movement or drawing begins within the individual and is guided by internal bodily impulses. In AM, the mover moves with his/her eyes closed to heighten the internal exploration. Within the practice of these forms is the intention of accessing the unconscious mind with the desire to unlock what may be stored beyond conscious awareness. There is the potential to discover new material through unrestricted expression that is not judged in the same manner as typical performance or showings of artistic work. Practitioners of this work have stated that by working from a more personal space we may actually be able to share more universal meaning through a collective consciousness (or perhaps that the unconscious performer/artist work may be able to speak to the unconscious within the viewer and create a deeper connection between the two). My experience of Authentic Movement has been very powerful and revealing in a non-performance setting. The criticism of Authentic Movement as performance is often that it is too private or appears to be a form of therapy on stage. As an observer in non-performance AM settings I have found that I have been moved in a very different way as a witness than I have when I go to view pieces such as, The Nutcracker. I appreciate the nature of the form bringing the unspoken to the surface. Simultaneously, I wonder about the positive or negative consequences of bringing such hidden expressions to the surface and how this new information might be processed. The article ends by stating that it is necessary to go through a creative process where conscious refinement of the unconscious material takes place before sharing it with the public.
This quarter we have been engaging in interesting discussions in our Resources Seminar and Dance and Technology Seminar. Often, the content intersects and raises questions in regard to the definition of dance, its value within societal context, and what technologies enhance or detract from a movement experience. In general, our class seems to be concerned with being able to communicate with a diverse audience, as well as staying true to personal aesthetic. One question we have been contemplating is how to broaden the accepted definition of dance so that it still includes, but can extend beyond ballet and more popularized forms. I was entertained by the statement Ann Cooper Albright (PhD in Performance Studies) made in her presentation about the fact that we will pay $10.00 to go see a movie and even if it is a terrible movie, it will not prevent us from returning to the theater. How many bad movies have you sat through? However, if we go to see a dance performance and it falls short of our expectations, we may never go to see another show. D&T has me paying more attention to intention and perspective of the artist and the audience. We have been encouraged to consider our personal biases in relation to what we are observing, as well as what other artists agendas might be and how that might inform their work. It is refreshing to think of technology as a means to enhance my expression, rather than machines that govern my life. Yet, I still question the role it plays in my life. Although I have some control over how I choose to interact with technology, it has become such a necessity in academic and professional settings for communication that I find it demanding and consuming. I am unsure how to strike a healthy balance. After viewing several Dance for Camera films, I get the sense that this medium allows the choreographer to drive more of the focus for the audience than a live performance. I am both amazed at our technological capabilities and question if it is another way in which we try to over consume or overextend our human limitations.