maya_photo_4_1.png

10/27/19

Still Learning to be okay with what’s not got by the cameras because that is central to the work: the actualization of limits means much is not included. Everything is not framed. Existence is collectively realized. Accept it, accept it, accept it.

1 Looking Practice Progression:
Attention, Space, Geometry, Frame, Multiple Frames, Sequencing, Adding Frames

Visible Time Vignette:

Body Vocabulary Includes:
-Bodily Sensing of Time Passing
-Sweeping Actions
-Suddenness

Score Includes:
-Stillness for One Camera and One Dancer
-Dancer Movement and Camera Movement Match
-Stillness

Camera Movement Vocabulary Includes:
-Sweeping Actions
-Suddenness

4_M_VisibleTime_1
4_M_VisibleTime_2

Personality Vignette:

Body Vocabulary Includes:
-Playfulness
-Care/Thoughtfulness
-RISK
-Following aesthetic urges: Planning Ahead

Score Includes:
-Everybody’s Feet in 2 Frames
-Shaky Shaky, FACE
-Cameras Looking at Each Other

Camera Movement Vocabulary Includes:
-Reveals
-Selfies
-Following Aesthetic Urges: Planning Ahead

Run: 4_M_Personality_1
Run: 4_M_Personality_2

“the stakes of negotiation are higher” – Davianna
“playfulness makes an act of cyborging different- I don’t want to cyborg in the same kind of way” -Dian

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.

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.

I dub this project ‘Maya’, hoping for the influences of Mayas Angelou, Deren, and Lin, in honor of poetry, frame, and landscape.

Maya is an investigation of improvisational filmmaking and the demystification of the making of dance films and the camera lens by incorporating the concept of the camera frame into the creative process from the very beginning. We ask questions about the philosophical nature of having the camera in the room. What does it feel like for something you’re doing to be recorded? Can we learn to use the camera frame as only a choreographic tool, demystifying any psychology we personally have attached to it, turning it into a frame, an opportunity, and not a matter of pretend? Can we train to compose within this frame immediately, the same way that we compose immediately through improvisation on a stage? Can we come to know this digital frame so well that it is just another form of space? What is it to bring forth our knowledge (make immediate choices from our embodied histories) through movement in the moment in the interest of the future (the film)? Can we consider all of this time in our bodies at once? What happens if we try?

This concept is becoming. We are developing it each minute and many of these ideas are wrong or bad or won’t work. I’m looking very much forward to the neurons we’ll gain by the failures we’ll experience.

“Indeed- you might ask yourself what it is that makes good improvisation.”
“Eschewing “product-hood” and resisting commodifications, improvisation emphasized presence and change.” (Vida Midgelow)

We calculate distances as if they referred to our own bodies”
“Any tool and its precise manipulation presupposes the space of the body.” (José Gil)

“The direction we take excludes things for us before we even get there.”
“Lines are both created by being followed and followed by being created.” (Sara Ahmed)

“When you see what you want, you’ll recognize it, but it won’t be entirely yours. It will belong to the material you’ve trusted.”
“Try breaking the rules on a ‘need to break the rules’ basis.”
“Nothing is ever wasted.”
“Choose people and trust them implicitly.” (Jonathan Burrows)

Rehearsal 1_ 1.17.18

Cameras are in the space from the start. We bring awareness to them. One only is running.

We name the cameras ‘Aye’ and ‘Bea’.

We four dancers take time to re-discuss the concept, hopes, and goals of this project. We sit in our bodies, breathe and notice ourselves in space. We open our eyes and consider how much room we take up. We walk and consider our relationship to space, our size, the distance between us and the walls, floor, ceiling, other bodies. This develops into a movement improvisation. We reflect on our improvisation, the feel of the camera frame on us: the yucks and the yums of this opening.

We do several more timed improvisations, relating to one another, considering the frame of the camera. We move the cameras to different parts of the space. We reflect on the difference between the feel of one camera and many and what it feels like when they are in different parts of the space.

What happens when we have the agency to move the cameras?

What happens when a camera is moved to focus on what we are doing?

From whence comes the instinct to make the decision to change the camera frame?

How much do you consider what you’re doing and how much do you consider what you are seeing?

Is the camera “downstage?”

What can we do that the camera can’t?

What can the camera do that we can’t?

What can we all do?