9.27.19

Progression ( 4_J_1)
5 minute review of camera tools/composition/perspectives (4_J_2)
5 minute run remembering:
“Search for Beauty”, “Personality”, “Relaying Emotion” and “Visible Time” (4_J_3)

Trying New Sequences:

Telling a Story
-How do you tell a story with and without the camera? Do you feel like the subject? What’s the story?

Preserving a Moment
-are you endeavoring to preserve a moment in your vision frame too? or just with the camera? is everyone preserving a moment? What does this bring up for you bodily?

Personality
Personality of the camera? or how does the camera contribute to your personality? What does personality DO bodily? What does it do “bodily” to the camera? Is personality being shown only in relationship to the camera, or is it happening in your bodies, between you, in each others’ frames as well? Are you “having a personality”? Are you putting on a personality? In what way is this becoming performative?

Visible Time
How and why do the cameras start to take precedent?

These are all things cameras do, or reasons cameras are used. what happens if we attempt to do these things ourselves, without cameras?

What are the people who are holding cameras doing while they are holding cameras? What does THAT mean?

What kind of moves are you doing?

Should we do many events?

What happens if one or more goes suspiciously dark? What do we do?

9.13.19

warmup, work, watch

cyborg duets
detailed score with specific actions
physicality heightens the moment, heightens the person
rapid transfer of frames
what kind of space do you feel like you’re in, or would you want to be in?

dynamic, investigation, curiosity, searching for things- the camera, looking, seeing, composing, frame, perspective, dancers’ experiences, dancers’ perspectives, always changing, can’t be duplicated, something about change, improvisation makes space for discovery and play, can be focused on the process,

stairs, something that could hide you without you leaving the space, sources of light, shadows, mirrors…

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.

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.

Wise words from the legend about dance and the camera influencing my thoughts about my work this week.

“…This mysterious and difficult-to-define phenomenon called dance leaves its source and takes on an identity, a destiny independent of its creator. I hold to dance because it is decidedly concrete in the face of a world in which ever more experiences are facsimiles, but there is no small irony in the exciting prospect of this most natural of human phenomena—the dance—being transformed through the medium of technology into a poetic parallel virtual incarnation”

from “Dancing and Camera” by Bill T. Jones

 

Mitoma, Judy, ELIZABETH ZIMMER, and Dale Ann Stieber.Envisioning Dance on Film and Video. Florence: Taylor and Francis, 2013.

Rehearsal 5_2.28.18

Meditation (ATTENTION)

Sitting/Seeing (SPACE)

Walking/Proximity/Movement (GEOMETRY)

Cameras in Play (FRAME)

We are working on addressing the issue of “in” and”out” and starting to break it down. The idea is to queer the space between being behind the camera and in front of the camera and making the entire happening a movement event worth seeing: the cameras represent a frame within a frame.

(I am also interested in queering the space of performance between us and an “audience” but that investigation comes later. Though Ariadne Mikou’s article on “Intermedial Encounters on the Screen” is beginning to inform this line of questioning for me already.)

Some ideas that are investigating which are helping us to soften the space between “in” and “out” for us are:

-What happens to bodies while holding the camera in a way that makes the shots useful for a film “product” and how do we incorporate these specific body needs into our composition instead of ignoring them? What is interesting about making these body needs a part of our score? Is it interesting? What kind of fluctuation of form, speed, and effort is needed in the room? Are the stipulations of the movement required by holding the camera inherently “out”-making? What would be required of us mentally or physically to make this designation less liminal?

-Interaction with the person holding the camera is key: not just interacting with them in reference to the camera frame, but interacting with their entire body: taking ATTENTION, SPACE, and GEOMETRY cues from them in the same way you would if they weren’t holding the camera.

-Claire brought up the concept of ‘cyborg-ing’ when holding the camera. We worked with this concept in mind which helped us to feel more connected to the camera, and helped those who were not holding the camera to sense the camera-holding-person’s body as still a part of the composition.

-Bringing back this idea of our vision as camera frames feels necessary right now. Thinking about composing GEOMETRICALLY and SPATIALLY for this many FRAMES reduces any nervousness or over-consciousness of the actual camera, as well as helps in creating this heightened state of awareness that I am hoping  to cultivate and portray.

Thinking about dancing is limiting.

The more we do this, the more I realize how important the approach to movement creation is for this project: there is a degree of cohesion that needs advancing. The word GEOMETRY is one way in, as well as the word SHAPE. Ideas brought up were thinking about grids and lanes, focusing on mirroring and complementing body angles we see with much of the creative element living within our sense of timing. 

Now that we’re getting a better idea of what this process requires, it’s time to start building a score. I think focusing on our consciousness of the “tech-y-ness” of the space is helpful, offers fodder: the connection to the cellular structure of our selves and the space creates a kind of a grid in and of itself and really affected our movement choices in an unusual way when we worked with it before.

 

 

 

2.27.18

Leading a Maya experiment:

Short Maya Description I wrote as a reminder for leading this short workshop in the techniques we are investigating in the Maya project:

Maya is an improvisational dance filmmaking project which attempts to demystify the existence of the camera frame in the room, potentially revealing it as just another compositional tool/stipulation.

We recognize that in some ways it is considered that there is an inherent power structure and politic imbued in the camera frame, its potential permanence in comparison with many dance experiences, oft ephemeral. We wonder what these things mean or how they change in a process in which we consider the frame only as a compositional tool, in a process where the cameras are a part of the exploration just as much as our other tools of improvisation: motion, time, shape, space, etc…

What happens when we approach the space that is the world created by real world images inside the camera, as just another stage?

We began this investigation with this explanation followed by a short meditation, breathing and garnering our attention.
As we honed our attention, I led us to begin thinking about the space in our bodies, the space around our bodies, and the space in the room.
We moved out into space, only walking at first, and began investigating proximity and geometry.
While this was happening, people individually walked over to investigate the way the room looked through the camera frame.
We stopped for a moment and I brought to our attention the four qualities that we are focusing on:

ATTENTION

SPACE

GEOMETRY

FRAME

With this information, we picked up moving again, starting to consider our vision as a camera frame.
Continuing this, I brought Camera A, followed by Camera B, into play for passing around and making purposeful framing choices.
We took time at the end of this to reflect on our experiences.

 

My own notes:
In our weekly Maya rehearsals, we are investigating with four people. In this experience, we were working with eight people. Composing with more people was very interesting: it gave us the opportunity to make way more spatial relationships, so each individual person could do so much less and still have a lot happening. Shape and space relationships with people holding the camera are easier because there can be so much stillness and so much motion at the same time with so many people. There is just inevitably greater variety of space and shape and speed.

Considering eyes as cameras the entire time makes the whole room feel more in play: makes it feel less like the only thing “happening” is what is happening in front of the camera: composing for your framem and other peoples’ frames and the camera frame.

Maya_pic_10.pngMaya_pic_9.pngMaya_pic_8.png

Rehearsal 4_2.21.18

We are back to opening with meditation. We realized last time around that going right into moving without meditation doesn’t create in us the same kind of attention, and attention is one of the things we are most working to build.

The ritual we are building is taking our time to meditate and cultivate a sense of awareness in the space. Then we open our awareness to concentrate on the space, in coordination with thinking about the self as space. How does this change the way we feel and the way we find ourselves in the room and in relationship to one another?

Without speaking, we transfer into walking or moving, still focusing on space and self-as-space. We investigate proximity, distance, and general spatial relationship.

From here, with one camera running, we transitioned into an improvisation considering our vision, not as cameras as we did in week 2, but as films. The real distinguishing factor here is the difference in direction of information. If your vision is the camera, then your eyes are doing the grabbing, it’s an action of reaching out, of seeking. If your vision is a film, then something is being played for you: anything you see already exists, it is headed your direction.

This difference does two things for me. First, it is simply exhausting to be grabbing information actively with your eyeballs for a long duration, which doesn’t leave as much room in our brains for making other choices: having the information come to us is more passive, giving us more space.  Second, I’m really interested in the way thinking about our vision as film changes the way I think about composition- I’m doing less seeking and more noticing. 

While part of this project is the attempt to create space where we are making purposeful decisions with the camera frame about composition and capturing, I am also very interested in feminist creative process and democratizing space, both of which seem to lean more toward noticing. These are complex and sometimes opposing ideas that I’m attempting to have exist in this process all at once, but the push and pull is good fodder.

We talked more about tech in the space and our approaches toward working with it philosophically and compositionally.

In our final few improvisations, we set up cameras A-Rod, Beatrice, and (introduced) Cecilia. A and C were on tripods, first on the edges of the space and then within it. B was available for handheld experimentation.

A big question that came up for me, for working with next time was:

What are the physical limitations that come along with maneuvering the camera?

Is there a way that we can consider these physical limitations as we would consider any other physical limitation?

Is there a way that we can consider these physical limitations as we would any other purposeful limitation of an improvisation score?

How do we maintain the identity of composer and performer at the same time? How can we break down the walls of these identities so that they are not mutually exclusive? Are there steps for this?

How do we avoid the paradox of “in” and “out”?

How can you hold a camera and be composing and still be part of the composition? Is part of this answer in the way the other participants view the person who is holding the camera?

Our main focuses are geometry, space, shape, time, and frame.

We are directors. We are DPs. We are dancers.

In Rehearsal Reflections

-How can you remain “in” while holding the camera? (KNL)

-Can we focus on these qualities of motion when we are not holding the camera? (KNL)

-This is a virtual space in a way because of how technology is involved- it is capturing the final product and we are composing for the frame of the camera so in a way, this space is already tech-fied. (KNL)

-I felt sometimes like the person holding a camera was an outsider. I would forget that they are someone to improvise with and not just for. (BRJ)

-The awkwardness of being watched didn’t seem to be there. (BRJ)

-Geometry within these relationships feels more primary than space as a whole. Maybe that has to do with proximity… (BRJ)

-Seeing was softer today, allowing focus to shift, slowing down. (CM)

-Didn’t know what to do when I had the ceiling and was actually holding Bea. What that looks like to me and what I capture on camera aren’t the same. (CM)

-The pockets and frames that come from our limbs at unexpected moments satisfy me. (CM)

-New sense of contact and touch related to the geometry (CM)

-A way of looking that is empathetic but not in an expected way (CM)

 

 

On “Accumulation with Talking plus Water Motor” and it’s connection to this Maya project.

What is it to have the cameras so a part of this?

It is about the technology. It is about our relationship with it, purposefully or not.

In Trisha Brown’s “Accumulation with Talking plus Water Motor” there is no hiding what is happening in the space: you see the cameras, you see the cables, you hear the ambulance driving by. The dancers walk in- it’s just a studio. This is just a video.

It’s jazz music rehearsed just as beautiful in this space as on the stage at Lincoln Center- the difference being the space. Not the content.

Trisha Brown makes no effort to pretend, nor do the dancers, nor do the videographers: this is just a thing they’re doing and the outcome of the editing makes it its own thing.

This was one occurrence. It is the the accumulation of effort up to ONE MOMENT IN TIME. It still only exists once. We know this film will be a different thing. We know that we are gathering material. We are self aware.

Stop. Stopping. Stopped.