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.

I need to make a decision about camera and lighting for the shoot.

Looking forward….

Maya_H_1 from Logan Company on Vimeo.

 

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 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.

maya_pic_6_SP18.png

Rehearsal 3_2.7.18

Two weeks of thinking and review went into this rehearsal, as we did not hold rehearsal last week due to conflicts.

The same will be true of the coming week. I will be filthy rich and boiling over with ideas by the time our next rehearsal comes round.

We began today walking through the room, again concentrating on space: the shape of space, the shape of ourselves in space, proximity to each other, the walls, the floor, the ceiling, and the like.

I brought into the room the image of google maps in Virtual Reality. This brought up discussion about
-points in space,
-sensors in space and on our bodies,
-backspace: what we see and what we sense,
-the concept of “tech-ify-ing” the space with our minds
THIS idea about tech and our minds brought more conversation about our relationship with technology and what it does to our bodies, which is much of what is curious to me about this process with the cameras. How interesting for it to show up from another angle!

We moved into some deep and physical improvisations focusing on this image of the room as a Virtual Reality space, and it brought really different kinds of movement out of our bodies. Initiations were coming from parts of the body and taking on qualities that were unusual and exciting.

Moving on from this idea, but keeping the knowledge of it in the space, we moved into duets with the cameras: both people moving but one person in charge of holding the camera: switching back and forth between who was holding the camera.

After a few rounds of this, we moved into this same exercise, improvising as a quartet. This started to happen anyway pretty quickly.

We started just improvising with the cameras on, not worried too much about considering the frame of the camera.
Then we tried making more conscious choices with the frame of the camera.

Some reflections from this rehearsal:
-Who is in charge and what do they see? (KL)
-Is this a sextet or a quartet? (KL)
-How much space do cameras take up? see? (KL)
-Heightened awareness- activating the space. We started to make some distinct choices about composition toward the end. (KL)
-I was a bit taken by being a moving frame and wanted to see it right away. (CM)
-What happens to a face when it meets a camera or looks past a camera to someone else’s face (CM)
-When there was a clear or mutually known relationship between subject and camera it was exciting to find that in moments of doing without prior planning. (CM)
-There is a specific intimacy to filming one person (CM)
-Surprised at how this version makes me think more about how I’m seen than camera in place even though both are specific and not human sight. (CM)
-reaching out and in at the same time (KM)
-Alive (KM)
-Split attention to outer and inner (KM)
-Red light beaming (KM)
-How can we connect beyond making moving lines in space? (KM)
-Something happens in a human’s body and while the actual thing wasn’t caught on camera, the movement of it was. I could be holding the camera and see someone else with my eyes, the catching of that shake in my body makes the footage shake. (BRJ)
-It’s a long game of telephone. (BRJ)
-I felt very aware of Beatrice because of her light (BRJ) (Regarding Camera B)
-I thought for a moment that all my cells were cameras, and the camera was another cell. (BRJ)

It is hard, HARD, right now to hold the camera and move. It’s too early yet in this process for us to know exactly how to compose and be moving at the same time. I am not interested at the moment as much in what kind of accidental footage we get while we are moving. I am more interested in how we can be constant fluctuating partitioners in this process of seeing what is happening in the space. I am interested in how our ideas of framing the space can be improvisational with our movement, without thinking of ourselves as “in” or “out” for moments. Can this all be a cohesive, ambiguous space of viewing and doing?

I am editing together a tiny clip from this rehearsal to be posted upon completion.

Onward.

Rehearsal 2_1.24.18

We set up two cameras to record from the beginning. We repeat what may be a ritual of sitting, breathing, finding ourselves in the space, slowly evolving into walking, and then into improvisation.

We focus our attention again, and more avidly, on space, distance, and pathway.

I think that enhancing our understanding of ourselves in space, how much we take up, and our distances, is one key to understanding this idea of the frame of the camera and its specific digital space.

We measure ourselves in space walking, moving, standing still.

We reflect on the cameras, on our improvisations, on our actual feelings currently in this space and time.

I think that this is also key to the process: as my interest is in removing the feeling of necessity of pretend that can be inherent in filmmaking: we pretend that we didn’t do this take 50 times in a row in order to get this shot the way we wanted it. This is a wonderful, purposeful way of filmmaking, of course, but I am interested in trying something else for this project. I am interested in the investigation of immediate craftsmanship, of momentary problem solving, and in how we can make those kinds of choices with a camera. Within this framework, it is not actually useful to do any pretending.

The camera is there. We do not pretend it isn’t. How does that feel different?

We are choreographing for the camera frame. We do not pretend that we aren’t. How does that feel different?

What possibilities are available to us when we are making ourselves available to what is actually in the room? What possibilities are not available to us for the same reasons?

We spent time considering our own vision as a frame. What are its limits? What can you see and what can’t you? We improvised, all considering our own visual frames as camera frames. We improvised with only two of us considering our visual frames as camera frames. We reflected on the differences.

Some reflections from this rehearsal process from all of us:

-Seeing with ‘camera vision’ does something distinctly different to my body. I started to make interesting choices about frame and movement and reveal. How and when did I want something to appear or disappear? How fast? At what angle? (KNL)
-With only 2 people as cameras, there was a disparity created between the group which was palpable. (KNL)
-Squares and lines (KM)
– the squareness of space?
-kinesphere
-square frame
-Is inspiration coming from inside or from visual field (KM)
-When I am being a camera, I lose sight of all other cameras (KM)
-I think using vision in this way might slow time and action. Something about the speed of processing… (KM)
-Having the two non-human cameras in the space was important as a mover. It made me feel like I was making important decisions even though the human camera didn’t catch them. (BRJ)
-I’m interested in why this switch from being a camera to being a non-camera was less satisfying. Was it because my task was missing a piece that was added? Was it the desire to be interesting? (BRJ)
-I went from all these internal shifts of memory and emotion to very concetrated present moment sight oriented awareness. (CM)
-Touch changed, it was easy but not as sensitive. (CM)
-The practice got easier and then harder. My limbs became ways of adjusting scale or perspective. (CM)

For the first few weeks, we are throwing out all of the footage. I think this will contribute to a slow accumulation of ease with the feeling of the camera. Eventually we will begin to review footage in rehearsal time to discuss what we are seeing, what seems to be ‘working’ for us, whatever that means.