Dance Collaboration: Inititial Meeting

Today myself and Patrick met up with Emma from the Dance MA course to discuss working together on her practice thesis, the documented process of which I would also use for my Creative Interactions lecture demo (which we agreed could make for a useful feedback session for Emma too).

The conversation was very encouraging, as Emma has initial ideas for the form and tone of the piece – an installation space, minimalist music, atmospheric video projection, possible live spoken-word/singing – which fit well with my own desire to experiment with repetition, minimalist composition and semi-abstracted video projection, mixing live and ‘fixed’ media in order to create an emphasised, spirited looping installation space. These ideas come from my research within Key Concepts and Emma seems open to what Manoli Moriaty deemed a ‘mutually’ collaborative approach, whereby I can make suggestions and improvise ideas. However, I am also aware – and have made this awareness clear to Emma – that it is her final thesis project that we are working on and that I can therefore accept direction and honest feedback. I see this project as a chance to lend and develop my experience in music and filmmaking to a project and discipline that I have little preconceptions about, therefore resulting in what will hopefully be the unpredictable and otherwise unachievable outcome that interdisciplinarity has the potential to give.

My current aim then is to make some tester music recordings and film-shoots/edits this weekend in order to share next Monday and play with in a studio the following Friday, using projectors and sound projection to help Emma start to devise the dance and installation ideas. It’s important for us to get going on trialling actual practice, as none of us are experienced in installation-building, in which there are undoubtedly many unforeseeable considerations, and will therefore need to embrace play, trial and error as a method.

In the meantime we will be sharing reference material via email, with Patrick supporting the project with the input of feedback and possibly performance in spoken word and live piano come the outcomes.

Emma originally suggested the idea of water/sea, in terms of a tone for the space. I like this idea as a starting point very much, as it gives a sense of ambience and movement that we can build upon. My response was to suggest the equally hypnotic movement of birds/flocks, which I can readily film from the park/lake near my home in Moss Side. We agreed this too could work in the same semi-abstracted way that ‘water’ could, as a bedrock, and the more I think about it, the more I can relate to the idea of composing a looping, recorded minimal piano score that is at times dense and frantic, like a flock, but at moments coalescing into melody/harmony/rhythm, as perhaps live piano is added to the performance to give the repetition insistence, as Stein defined it.

The idea of the potential for flocks of birds to be chaotic when perceived one way (on mass) and flow-inducing when perceived another (when the movement of a single bird is followed, or when the flock is viewed as one rather than many), chimes with Bergman’s idea of temporal synthesis, derived from spirited repetition, and my own desire to play at making a performance/performing space that creates the conditions for a mindful affect to be had upon an audience. The ultimate aim, as concluded in my Key Contexts research, of a repetitive space that mirrors its form in subject is possible, but I’m excited for the unknowns that come with working with dance practitioner.

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