Poimintoja – thoughts for a lecture-performance in NOFOD Iceland

  1.  What do we do?

An artistic research towards an upcomming performance Poimintoja (translation: Excerpts or Differentiation) Studying our initial question: Can a body be an instrument? Yes it can!

Can we transfer the precision or preciseness of articulating movement in dance into creating sound or music? Can we transfer the proprioception and visceral experience of dance into shared audible experience?

Poimintoja_kansi

  1. How have we done it?

Rehearsal twice a week since January. Meeting with the artistic group, looking for different interfaces with technical devices to make it possible to create sound out of improvised movement.

We have done this with:

* different types of microphones that amplify the sound of movement through floor or through air.

* Sensor technology we explore how to transform data from the bodily movement into a sound creating device.  Using Sensor of pressure, Sensor of bending and stretching, sensor of heartbeat frequency altering.

  1. What have we noticed and learned so far?

With the instruments we have tested we have been studying different paradigms and states of being

a) What are the parameters of an instrument? How does it work? How do I play it?

– To learn to play the current body-sourced instrument requires some practice. In the beginning when you don’t know your current instrument one tends to evaluate the execution from skilled qualifiers. What kind of music I am producing? How is the movement connected to the sound I am producing? What tempo, volume, tone and color is the sound I am creating? This approach makes it difficult to concentrate on the improvisatory movement; movement feels mostly superficial and creates a feeling of angst. I’m asking the question: What am I moving for? In this ’learning the instrument’ stage it is helpful to have a clear and simple movement task to plunge into the improvisation task – start creating movement and just listen and observe what kind of sounds it creates.

b) What kind of movement, or movement task works with this instrument? Physical attitude and body awareness relating to the instrument

Once the mover knows the basic parameters of the instrument, one can start thinking about what kind of movement task will help generate the kind of movement this instrument benefits from. These tasks can vary greatly with different instruments.

Such as: moving with floor microphones one tends to focus on the surface of the body. How am I touching the floor? To let go of this one needs to turn the focus into the body awareness. Sense and listen carefully where I am with my body and movement today. After really listening, focusing inside and silencing ones need to execute, observe or judge the real listening and interaction with the sound can start. Later one can add focus into space and other movers and even bring in contact with others. The space for listening is a crucial step and it needs its time. After practice the time for silencing and turning the focus into inner listening gets shorter. You can plunge into the synchronism of the sound and movement quicker.

c) What is the creation and interpretation of the movement like?

In this artistic research work we changed around the presumption of sound becoming before movement. We start with movement, which creates sound. Dancer intuitively reacts with a movement to the sound/music she has just created from the movement, this creates an other sound etc, etc. Becomes a self-reflecting cycle of movement and sound, where in the end it is no longer relevant what comes first. One just needs to be open to all surfaces of listening. Try to be in an open state of awareness with all senses. One learns to trust the sound instrument as she has trough years of practice learned ones body, and let the body create its soundscape with the dance simultaniously.

What does this do to the reception of this action? When performing in work-in -progress stage and exploring different sound devices the interaction with the audience became inevitable and rouse some notes:

* Surprise how strongly we are connected to the assumption music always comes first. In many occasions the audience could not believe the sound was generated trough the dancers. Even when we have told this beforehand.

* The exact synchrony of movement and sound created a very strong experience of kinetic empathy. As the sound somehow fits the movement perfectly, sort of verify and amplify the movement in audio, the viewer seems to connect with the movement kinetically stronger than when relying only on visual sense. Even very abstract or simple pedestrian movement together with it’s sound is very gratifying to watch. Sound also emphasises the readability of movement; audience tends to read the movement trough their own kinetic experiences and memories. Audience lived trough the experience in their bodies.

d) What assumptions I have of references to dance research, movement philosophical studies and phenomenology?

This artistic study has risen up a larger question of what it is to be a dancer and experience the phenomenal consciousness, bodyawareness and being open to the world within my lived body? And what is the relevance of music to this pursuit?

What are the references Heidegger’s thinking and notion of Dasein, and his concepts of actual being/authenticity (eigentlich) and unactual being/innauthenticity (uneigentlich)?

Dasein, being-here – and in our study being here within movement – is very present.

The objection of creating sound from movement brings listening stronly present to the experience of moving. Sound verifies the act of moving without a need to step outside the subjective state of being in the body. I can focuse on bodyawareness and let go of observing, objectifying myself. As a dancer I normally need to have different states of subjectivity-objectivity to ’see’ myself when I dance The dancer-choreographer needs to objectify oneself to make analytical decisions of movement choice. I need to look at and analyze my movement, trough my inner senses, proprioception (lived body), or my real eyes (object body) to reflect the psychological and physical experiences I intend to express trough my movement. In improvisation I need to do that while I’m moving and creating the movement.

With this body-sourced and amplified sound task, I can stay in the stream of my lived body (eletty keho), hear it moving and let myself be influenced by the auditory feedback. I can listen to my horizon of experiences in a wider spectrum of senses as I use my proprioception (and visceral) and auditory senses simultaneously. These senses seem to become from the same energetic origin, the mechanism of the sensory is similar and this – I believe – is why one is able to listen within and listen the auditory stimuli simultaneously. This ’wider’ listening gives a strong experience of being-here.

Pursuing the actual being / authenticity (eigentlich)

Getting into the flow of listening ones movement and releasing from the objective of producing sound is not easy and it requires practice. Dancer needs to focus very closely into ones inner experience, listen very carefully and wait. First one needs to listen to the silence of the body to hear the music that comes from within the body, without force or compelling. Like Heidegger and Zen both talk about stillness, Letting be, releasment (silleenjättäminen) Gelassenheit zu den Dingen. How one wishes to let go of wanting and pursuing, and even be willing to letting go of not wanting. In this practice we need to also let go of making music, forget and release the sound and let it flow from the dance that rises from within. When this happen it is beautiful!

We try to go back to the original being in the body, pursue an authenticity in existence while moving. In this state we can reflect back to the open field of being in the movement. Experience the ontological cohesion with the open field of being. Maybe even get connected to the transpersonal body where dancer can let the movement reflect and remember the pre-objective body that existed before the ego-logical body.

Bibliography:

Klemola Timo: Liikunta tienä kohti varsinaista itseä, Talfit 1991

Monni Kirsi: Olemisen poeettinen liike,  Acta Scenica 15 2004

Heimonen Kirsi: Sukellus liikeeseen, Acta Scenica 24 2009

McFee Graham: The philosphical aesthetics of dance, A dance books publications 2011

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