Somatic Space

Ensemble Thinking is the somatic awareness of space. The idea of somatic work being limited only to the experiences of individual of itself draws the specious distinction that the individual is separate from its environment. It propagates the Cartesian body/mind divide.

Awareness of the internal experience is intertwined with spatio-temporal awareness. Ensemble Thinking trains greater awareness of the spatio-temporal awareness in a performance setting, and therefore greater awareness of the somatic experience of the individual in the moment.

If space and time had no affect on the somatic experience of the individual, no one would get nervous in the hot spot, there would be no penumbra of spatial apprehension.

Streams of Information

Just as a musician is normally spatially static and yet continually imparts information and aural stimulation to the audience, the dancer has the potential to remain spatially and kinespherically static and impart a continual stream of information and visual stimulation to the audience.

Site Specific

If we look at the possible square meters that are possible surfaces for a corporeal kinetic performative event, we determine that there is a vast, nigh infinite number of potential spaces on Earth.

If we then compare this number of spaces to the number of spaces that are designated as theaters and are used in “site specific” performances, we see that the second number is vastly smaller, basically statistically insignificant.

Therefore any space we choose is a highly specific choreography.

Therefore every performance is site specific.

On Orientations | one place after

On Orientations | one place after
An Kaler
Studio 5 Uferstudios, Berlin
A little Q & A –
Why were there the evenly space strings attached to the floor upstage and the ceiling downstage?  To create an upward trajectory from upstage to downstage for the eye, maybe.  The angle of the strings relative to the front of the stage also creates a sense of movement.
Why to horizontal fluorescent tubes upstage?  Maybe to emphasis low upstage horizontality, a strong theme in the piece.  A Flavin reference, maybe.  Or are fluorescent tubes are just the current electromagnetic trend?
Why wear pants that are the same color and tone as the floor?  An attempt to make the legs blend in with the floor to negate verticality, perhaps.
The idea of this piece and the concept of the series – to explore “different notions of orientation” is one I enjoy.  I have often wondered about dance terminology (at least in English) in relation to the human form in space.  The term floor work, for example.  Floor work tends to be when the body is not vertical and the pelvis is close to or on the floor.  But unless the dancer is levitating all dancing is floor work.  Except for jumping.  But it’s impossible to jump and land without the floor.  So maybe everything is floor work except for what happens in the air.
I also appreciate that the performer never came to standing.  What percentage of dances consist of vertical or mostly vertical dancers?  90%? 95%?  Probably more. What I found disappointing was the lack of interrogation of what the body can do in a primarily horizontal position.  She didn’t explore the body itself and how it moves through its kinesphere and through space enough to challenge the idea of verticality.  Maybe this is what the phrase in the program “…conceiving of stillness as motion/emotion.”  was referring to.   But then, here again, the performer wasn’t still enough long enough to generate an emotion in me.  Attempting something that is normally seen vertically in the horizontal plane would have more strongly challenge the normative spatial orientation of verticality.  This, though, might come across as too “compare and contrast” and not poetic/artistic enough.
One statement in the program I am curious about – “Linking spatiality with temporality On Orientations | one place after…” This piece can’t link two things that are already linked.  Space and time are inexorably linked.  Maybe that statement is meant to indicate a problematizing of the space-time relationship.  This I did not see.  The stretches of stillness and the low verticality might have been Kaler’s attempt to question the space-time relationship.  Since space and time are linked, questioning one means the other is being questioned.  But the stretches of stillness in the Berlin dance scene are standard.  Unlinking space and time would be something to see!
Granted it has been almost a year since I saw Kaler’s trio at Uferstudios last summer and a while since I saw this solo, but I think both pieces have a very similar spatial trajectory.  Both pieces started downstage left, curved upstage to stage right, came downstage, back upstage and then moved towards center stage.  Is this an intentional choreographic decision to create a spatial theme for several pieces?  Is this a somatic spatial response to performing front of an audience?  I prefer the former to the latter.  I didn’t see the third piece in the series so didn’t get that data to help me understand Kaler’s spatial proclivities.  I wish I had been able to see it.

Energetic Charge

With an acute sense for the inherent potential contained within ordinary objects and natural materials as well as for the placement of objects within a space, both artists manage to give their arrangements an energetic charge.”

The above quote is from the description of an exhibit currently at the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin.  I hope to see the exhibit.  I quite like the art in the picture.

What caught my eye in the text is “inherent potential” and “both artists manage”.  I do not dispute that ordinary objects have inherent potential.  Some more than others. (a fully charged capacitor, for example.  Or a tub of water atop a large hill.  ha!)

Funnin’ aside, I understand that phrase and the drama of space – placement of objects.  What I don’t understand is pairing that phrase with “both artists manage to give their arrangements an energetic charge”. 

If the objects have inherent potential, then it should be impossible to not give their arrangements an energetic charge.  Just throw them out there, and boom! you’re done.  The problem lies with the word “managed”.  To me it signals some kind of skill, or ability that imbued the arrangements with energetic charge.  Maybe it’s a translation issue.  Maybe the artists unleashed the potential energy creating a static, yet kinetic, arrangement.

It would be more impressive if the artists had used objects and space that have no potential and managed to create energetic charge.  

But…what spaces have no potential?
What objects have no potential?

Or maybe used objects and spaces of great potential and created arrangements of absolutely no charge.

I’d go see that!