8.30.19

Progression:
Attention, Space, Geometry, Frame, Multiple Frames, Sequencing, Adding Frames

What does it mean to frame something? Physically? Psychologically? Intentionally? Can you unintentionally frame? How? Bias?

What happens to our bodies when we purposefully avoid the frame?
The word capture was resonating
put myself there, take charge of this frame
My eyes stayed in my body (I did not cyborg, connnecting my vision with the camera’s)

What are things that cameras do? From The Camera by the Life Library of Photography*
-preserve something
-people’s stories
-prioritize
-create a sense, sensation, a feeling
-create illusion
-translation
-portray emotion, relay emotion
-tell stories
-just aesthetics
-a search for beauty
-composition (place in space)
-personality, character
-abstraction
-extension of vision
-visible time, crystallized motion, traces
-proximity, zoom

4_E_1: Search for Beauty:
looking for the camera, looking for the viewfinder reflections? what was beautiful? what were you searching for?

4_E_2: Personality:
Were you showing personality? were you searching for others’ personalities? how did your personality come out? how did you see others’ personalities come out?

4_E_3: Relaying Emotion:
What happened with texture? what happened with effort? how were you making shapes? how were you distinguishing and translating to body your own emotions? were they ‘clear’?

4_E_4: Visible Time/Traces
repetition? quality? shape? camera movement? swoopy

who is the capturer?

How did you find yourself seeing and being seen in each of these scenarios?
-movement personalities? does that feel like a clear and personal thing to you? does exhaustion play in? how?
-how were you making decisions about HOW to hold the camera and WHERE to point it?
-can we start to do this stuff not just for the camera but for our own vision frame and the vision frames of everyone else in the room?
-what kinds of body things were you doing to make these things visible?
-interaction of camera? when does this happen? (i feel like save it for a very special moment in time)
-if you are attempting to record your vision, what you see, does it need to be ‘smooth’?

How does your movement vocabulary translate to the camera? what is the vocabulary of camera movement?

Maybe this is an attempt at creating our own gaze. Camera gaze? Multiple Gaze?

Camera Movement Vocabulary:
Camera slides across the floor
Flipping the perspective
Stillness- setting it down
Bird’s eye view
Rotating
Leaving the space
Shakiness
Smooth Movement
Camera tracing dancing motion
Level Change
Speed (variety of speeds)
Rocking
Proximity

Camera Compositions:
-cameras facing each other
-cameras recording other camera’s viewfinder
-cameras turned to face self (selfie)
-revealing yourself as the camera person

What is the body language of the camera person?
What is the quality of the camera movement?
When are you foregrounding the body and when are you foregrounding the camera work- can it be both? Do you have to choose?

 

*The Camera. Amsterdam: Time-Life Books, 1984.

8.25.19

Runthrough:
Attention, Space, Geometry, Frame, Multiple Frames, Sequence, Adding Frames

play with some camera relationships: camera as subservient, curting your image…

movement explorations: what it feels like to hold/be in front of the camera

“i’m drawn to answer to its gaze” -Yildiz

I’m thinking about communicating with someone else who is not the camera person
Trying to care aoubt posture
Playing with my frame, looking at the actual person
Sense of the camera, even when I don’t see it or face it, my attention is going back and forth

4_D_1:
-what feels good/restrictive about working with a partner instead of the whole grou?
-what happened with camera relationships this time? how did it feel to be able to pick it up and set it down?
-how was it to do more moving with the camera?

I see lots of feet this time, lots of kicking
i see fun being had
i see performative bodies composed with intentional weight, space, shape, time, effort
i wasn’t afraid to look at the camera, less tension
trying to avoid the camera and performing for it too
-facing your own truth/how you look

8/23/19 [Poetically Presented Rehearsal Notes]

Looking Practice: Attention, Space, Geometry, Frame
Camera Eyes Practice

What is your relationship to the camera while you’re dancing?

Make a list and embody these relationships:
-What kinds of relationships do we have with the camera?
-What does it feel like to point the camera?
-Your point of view includes your comrades…

4_C_1: Adding to Sequence:
Attention, Space, Geometry, Frame, Multiple Frames, Sequence, Adding Frames

What other things come up?
Does it start to break at some point?
What happens when (if) it does?
Adding cameras would do what?
what does seeing like a camera do?
Frame vs. Focus
Become a stranger to your own body – Yildiz
I felt like a camera- Davianna
Accidental in-camera editing – Yildiz
Staring felt more calm (why?) – Davianna
Hair is not hair, it’s a line – Dian
Touch is a reminder of humanity -Dian
Eye contact takes me out of the frame – Dian
I just wanted it to be my eyes- didn’t want my body to be in it – Laura
I craved something happening in the frame – Laura

What starts to arise?
-frustration in seeking symbiotic relationships
-distance becomes significant
-duration/editing/is there a time constraint?
liberates my body because i’m so focused on vision-disassociation from my body

Selfies:
for self: “i want a picture of myself, i think i look attractive
for world: different social media pictures, just responding to social media connection
people have different importance of the outcome
haphazard selfies
“who do i think i am”
social media curation
posting a selfie is a loaded thing
expose yoursef to critique
expose but also hide yourself
curating yourself
manipulating images
“There is how you want to look, how you think you look, and how you actually look” – Yildiz
branding, marketing, what am I portraying?
emotionally loaded
afraid of becoming or coming off as egotistical, or some other certain thing.
most of what we are worried about is what other people think.
confidence, jealousy, critical, judgemental, wish i was more supportive, men don’t have the same rules.

how do you use the camera?
exhibition, empowerment, doing your bidding

what is the difference between what happens with a still photo and a video?
what kinds of movement vocabularies come up in each of these person to camera relationships?

The camera as:
-subservient to me, doing my bidding, exhibition

-a channel to share my image (curated) to the world
-a tool to pass a quick note
-a tool to show how I see myself
-a tool to show how I want to be seen
-a tool to show how I actually look
-a tool to contribute to my brand
-a tool through which to be misunderstood

male gaze, female gaze, matrixial gaze, queer gaze? multiple gaze? complex gaze? camera gaze? how does a camera see and can we mimic it?

All of these perspectives are correct. What does that mean? It means we must listen to one another. 

similar things happen when we look at each other or think about being seen
we get slow and small
is it hard to do this with other people in the room? how do you really feel?

[When do we start talking about light?]

“algorithm of what you need to do to look the way you want to look, thinking about face as selfies, shifty, ungrounded, uncomfortable” -Laura

“camera as a tool toward empowerment as opposed to showing you as already empowered.” -Yildiz

“what are the standards? why should i use them?” -Davianna

“selfies are head neck and upper chest. my face looks the same, my chest, my posture. I have criteria for myself in a selfie.” -Laura

how does it become your criteria?I’m influenced by culture and society as I build my criteria. Struggling with myself- back and forth.

8.16.19

Regular Practice group rehearsal of The Maya Project work. Contemporary dance improvisation work with cameras. Getting to know the frame so well that we may consider regarding and disregarding the frame of the camera as a compositional tool. Conflating the past, present, and future by using a tool of archive to compose for an ephemeral moment.

Collaborating with Davianna Green, Yildiz Guventurk, Dian Jing, and Laura Patterson.

Seeing and Feeling.

Just begin with an Attention improvisation, active tuning (Lisa Nelson) of the senses and one another

The power of purposefully putting yourself in front of the camera.

“Emergence notices the way small actions and connections create complex systems, patterns that become ecosystems and societies” – adrienne maree brown

We are creating a little cyborg ecosystem. Visual/Kinesthetic.

4_A_1 : On mirroring the visual personal frame, lots of hands in the air describing windows and lines- what does your vision dictating your movements do? What does it mean? Is it hard to look at others’ bodies here? How will you choose a quality? Did you embody? Describe a line? How did you choose body parts? What about locomotion? When did you feel limited? We felt separate somehow to me. What does looking as a guide predict?

4_A_2: On composing based on sensation and impulse- this was more curly- I found texture. What’s it worth to feel vs. see? Is this about believing peoples’ subjective experiences? Listened more. Wasn’t often sure what to do with my sensation but then, sometimes was. What does it mean for it to resonate in the body, and what does that show?

“even when eyes are closed, I’m sensing shapes in the space.” -Dian
“What shapes do our bodies like to go to… the second time i focused on sound. how did it connect to my other senses” -Davianna
“inner voice distraction- because the space is big- it’s harder to focus. my head changing perspective is also a movement.” -Yildiz

 

8/18/19 [Poetically presented rehearsal notes]

What is holding the camera?
What is being in front of the camera?
Focus on emergence
Duets (AKA Trios)
Pointing the camera, Listening to Sensation, Creating Movement
Camera Eyes practice

What are the benefits of utilizing the camera?

[Relating through initiating purposefully in your body certain physical mirrorings of what your perspective shows.]

‘rhythms, energies- it depends on who is looking – i want to manifest tall and strong – became fully exposed, watched on both sides’

How does time manifest?

I want us to become experts at composing for the camera so that we can consciously and compositionally ignore it.

Number of cameras, overlap, intersection, accidental, compose a lot according to partnership dynamics.

Being with the camera takes you out, but with the second camera you are composing for both: 2 worlds. Your body in this world/your body in the digital world, being seen in both.

The Maya Project is an improvisational dance filmmaking project that attempts to equate the ephemeral experience of dance improvisation with the permanence of video. This project endeavors to demystify the existence of the camera frame in the room, potentially revealing it as just another compositional tool/stipulation. We employ a democratic process of both space and composition: we are all potential “framers” at every moment: picking up the camera is a choice available to all, and all of the space in whatever room we are in is valued, not just the space being framed by the camera.

Between January and April 2008, we experienced 10 iterations of this project, evolving deeply each time. “Maya’s A-J”.

By the fifth iteration, Maya E, we started to develop a technique and codify a score, which we continue to specify.

Every day we entered the space (eventually without speaking) and started with a meditation, connecting to our breath, harnessing our awareness to the four main points of focus for this piece:

ATTENTION (breathing, meditation, consciousness, presence, awareness)

SPACE (proximity, connecting to distance, understanding how much room we take up, relationship to the air)

GEOMETRY (personal and interpersonal body shape, spatial and body arrangement, angles, moving and static)

FRAME (our eyes as frames, the camera as a frame, the shapes in our bodies and in the room as frames)

After some active practice in evolving these concepts and finding deep understanding of them in our bodies, we would start working with our developing improvisation score.

This included stipulations such as movement vocabulary developed over time as influenced by the body language necessary to hold a camera, when to pick up or put down the camera, and designated spatial relationships to work toward making happen at certain times.

It is also important to note that we were only performing in the sense that we are fulfilling a determined score with our actions and choices. We are really ourselves, really in this room, really making shape and space and time choices in our immediate composing. This idea is not exhibiting or abstracting ideas through movement, or any suspension of disbelief, but rather the opposite: focused, attentive, immediate movement composition with tools of camera, motion, shape, proximity, etc…

Some Key Points that have guided our investigation:
-breaking down the paradigms of “in” (in front) and “out” (behind) the camera

-Approaching the space that is the world inside of the camera as just another “stage”

-Incorporating body language required to hold the camera steady or focus on the image there into our composition as just a part of movement quality designated by the score.

-The concept of “Reveal” (certainly as influenced by Maya Deren’s work) and how it is available in a different way when working with cameras

-Creating a distinct sense of the life in the space outside of the frame (the camera’s “backspace”)
To do this, we incorporated such tools as reflections in the floor and the mirror,
experimenting with and being very comfortable with bodies not being on screen for long periods of time, or camera shake when bodies are moving but not seen.

My collaborators and I consider that there is an inherent power structure and politic imbued in the camera frame, its exclusivity in its pointedness at an “object”, and its potential permanence in comparison with many dance experiences. It is an often singular and often male eye discerning what belongs in the frame and what doesn’t. As a group, we are investigating how these structures can shift inside of a process in which cameras are a part of the exploration just as much as our other tools of improvisation. We wonder about the possibilities of subverting the power of the frame by using the thing in a different way.

Much of the value in this work, I think, requires sitting with it for a period of time. I’m comfortable with that. I’m interested in how it develops as you watch it. In many ways I think it is actually about the development of each iteration in time. 

This is deeply influenced by the work of Maya Deren, early collaborations between Merce Cunningham and Charles Atlas, and may be in conversation with concepts being explored by Margaret Westby in “technofeminism” and also the “humane technology” movement.

Rehearsal 7_ 3.28.18

We’re really onto something here.

We rehearsed with a box this time to see if it would help give us options for setting the camera down. I don’t know that it made a huge difference, but we will try again. It’s hard to pay attention to new players when we’ve been building this so deeply.

Light is consuming my thoughts.

Moving forward, improvising with lighting is going to need to be a part of our training too.

We have one more rehearsal before our shoot. We have a ritual set up now, entering the space and getting right to work. This will be how we have our next rehearsal and will be how we proceed on shoot day.

I’m feeling unattached to making decisions about costume – I think because the choices we’ve made so far have ended up being interesting each time.

We still have questions about what would be the optimal space, but that is one reason that I’ll be taking the section we get from this piece into a feedback session. Hopefully this will give me information about how to proceed with this project.

The score is settled, from here we just work to get it deeper into our bodies.

Rehearsal 7_ 3.21.18

PROCESS

Opening:

Meditation and/or attention focusing.

Taking that focused attention we’ve harnessed and applying it to the space in our bodies and the space around our bodies, we begin to concentrate on the body as spaceproximity, and a heightened connection to infinite points in space in three dimensions. 

Taking this awareness of space into the idea of geometry: the shapewe make in our bodies in space and in relationship to space, the walls, the floor, each other, the points in space to which we have just become very aware: thinking angles, arcs, direction and position.

Taking this heightened awareness of shape and relationship that is based on our focused attention to space which is based on a heightened attention of the room, ourselves, and the moment here, we begin to think about FRAME, considering our personal vision as frames, and the vision-frames of everyone in the room (including A-Rod, the camera.) We are composing immediately with our sense of geometry and space and attention with these frames in mind, as a choreographic tool. It is there, it exists, but you can choose to compose for any number of frames at any given time. Through treating this frame as just another vision-frame, we democratize the space and relieve the camera frame of some of its ‘inherent’ discerning power.

 

BUILDING A SCORE

-wall touch, drop camera

-when we are all facing the same direction, we move very quickly for 10 seconds

-when someone is holding the camera, someone is doing a duet with them

-find one moment in which we are working in long lanes in relationship to the camera, toward and away from it.

-find one moment in which we create a statue on a diagonal in the room with maximum distance between us and the camera.

-we are perpetually bringing our focused attention to:

  •  the concept of infinite points in  space (activating them, interacting with them, being them…)
  • shape (geometry of the body, angles, arcs, proximity to others and the room…)
  • frame (camera and others’ vision)
  • timing
  • the mirroring affect of the floor and the actual mirrors in space and what they might “represent” in relationship to the view of frames in the room
  • actively using the choreography that is required of our bodies when holding the camera as movement vocabulary, whether we are holding the camera or not.

 

We spent time today focused on viewing video relics of past explorations, discerning what is exciting and of interest for the future. We discussed location: where we would like to do this on our final day, what kind of concern about the visual aspects of the space we want to have: light, color, clothing, objects in space.

We are leaning toward the studio because of the nature of this project.Screen Shot 2018-03-22 at 2.12.15 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-03-22 at 2.11.57 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-03-22 at 2.09.06 PM.pngScreen Shot 2018-03-22 at 2.10.40 PM.png

 

 

 

Rehearsal 6_3.7.18

It’s Working!

Our process is streamlining. We are beginning with the cameras earlier and with greater dexterity.

The foundation of this work is strong now: our sense of motion, proximity, shape, spatial relationship within the concept of frame is really solidifying. It is becoming quite clear in the video relics of these rehearsals that our aesthetic is taking shape and our choices are becoming purposeful.

This rehearsal we started to work with improvisation rules:

  • when someone touches a wall, the person holding the camera puts it down
  • whenever someone is holding the camera, someone must be actively “duet-ing” with them: whatever that means (this could include proximity, body shape, quality, timing, or any other number of things that could be considered active duet relationship)
  • each individual had a series of camera manipulations to fulfill

We worked with many different rules which was helpful for structure and for heightening the sense of ATTENTION in the room.

There are at least two qualities that are now occurring in the film relics that I am watching of our rehearsals that excite me greatly:

  1. The distinct sense of the space outside of the frame as being alive (viewer recognition of the camera’s backspace)
  2. The prominence of the concept of reveal

The next step is working on an improvisational movement score which even further helps to underscore that which we are trying to do: democratize the space, create a state of heightened awareness, enhance the potential for a viewer’s sense of the space outside of the frame, amplify our listening and purposeful crafting for the frames of the camera(s) and the other people in space.

This week we are off. We meet again on Wednesday, March 31. Our shoot date is Wednesday, April 11.