3RS Reading Diary: Elena Marchevska


Gesture, Theatricality, and Protest: J.Hughes and S.Parry

The simplicity of gestures makes them effective. The collectivity and scale of gestures gives them force.

Mimesis is the first reactive protocol. I see this, I replicate it, and I therefore point towards it in some sort of commentary. What’s the commentary? What’s the contextual fame that makes these gestures readable? They all require some sort of information bubble, or the inclusion of knowledge. How is this delivered?

Sometimes repetition is about horn blowing: ‘Didn’t you hear this? Didn’t you see this? If not I’ll show you again, and again.’

The body is the first site of activism. What makes its gestures more potent? Immediacy, timing, and the techniques of organization. How many people? Where? When? Who are they? What are they saying?

The paradox of the Michael Brown protest gesture of 'arms up, torso revealed' makes me think of the protestor’s acceptance of revealing the vulnerability of his/her body. I am here, exposing my torso, vulnerably, in order to question your restraint. Jesus said it first, or whoever documented Jesus-isms: ‘let he who has not sinned cast the first stone’. You have an obligation to restraint, especially if you’re a cop. I’m thinking about 'Tank Man' who stopped the Tiananmen Square tanks. It wasn’t necessarily his gesture that was effective, but his position, his timing, his vulnerability, and the documentation of his action. It’s this combination of things that enhances potency, not only the gesture (I think). Theatricality has to include a broader narrative.

I’m thinking about when protestors get it wrong. Recently a tenor singing the Canadian National anthem at an MLB all-star game went solo and changed his tune, holding a sign marked ‘all lives matter’ and ‘united we stand’, a sentiment that is viewed as diluting the Black Lives Matter movement, and trivializing its cause.

I’m also thinking about when you’re too sick to place your body in the scene of protest. When you can’t show up and throw a brick, what do you do? I’m thinking about Sick Woman Theory.

Occupy Wall Street: Carnival Against Capital? C. Tancons

Carnival and Carnivalesque protests are subversive acts with non-violent and artfully expressive tactics. Their strategy is to invert power structures, to play-out the inversion of oppression, and re-imagine a society that elevates the poor, equalizes capital, and provides a platform for the disenfranchised to express their right to live a decent life. Their characters disparage tyrannical figureheads, their messages challenge greed, and their movements are large scale, bombastic, and collective. They use the arresting power of humour, snide puns on placards, costumes, and gestures that are reflective of an immediate context or subject of opposition.

I remember the most activist person I knew told me that 'the most activist thing a person can do is live the way he/she wants to live'. I’m remembering this now and thinking about all the debilitating possibilities that can pin a person down. In what ways are hands tied? Who makes the knots?

The re-imagining of society, and its interstice with art, is reminding me of Tarrantino’s historic revenge fantasy films (Django Unchained, Inglourious Basterds). He is also notorious for recently stating that he utterly rejects the argument that only some cops are bad. Is Tarrantino using his celebrity to amplify the reach of his opinion and support ongoing activism, or to benefit his career, and his commoditization of oppressive stories? Or both? It’s problematic…

In terms of commoditization, and the $2500 bikini made in China brought up in this article, I wonder how long it takes for capitalism to exploit a movement? Like how long after OWS did JayZ make those ‘occupy all streets’ t-shirts? Capitalism is the master absorber of all movements. It is insidious, and profits from hip subjectivities, especially those with a cause, because it can move $ freely and without bad conscience. The best way to make a buck is to align with an ideology, especially a current, youthful, and antagonistic one.

So how do you determine the enemy? I like this question. Your subjectivity is your most important commodity, and the things you support, say, do, and believe are attached to your identity. Who am I? I am the 99%.

Selfie Culture in the age of Corporate and State Surveillance

The thing is, my subjectivity is my most valuable commodity, and my decision to perform it for my own consumption is a voluntary act. It doesn’t feel voluntary, it feels fun, but it is for the spectatorship of the most critical observer: me. The selfie is only ever for me.

The perfect Neoliberal subject willfully participates in providing surveillance material for her own pleasure, and to satiate a need for connectivity, but through a device that is swarmed by ambiguity, and projections of self-aggrandizement. Reflected back onto itself, selfie-culture is self aware, and its expressions therefore become ironic, apathetic, and cynical. Suddenly my value, or my worth in society (the worth of my subjectivity), goes down. So if I express myself, and it is commoditized/given societal value, and then this value is denigrated, I feel like shit. To get over it, I reach for my source for connectivity and fun endorphins: my iphone. The loop continues.

So, then, it’s not about the device, but what you do with it, right?


There was this trend of ugly selfies by women going around. To take back control of your own image by explicitly refuting beauty standards. But what if you can’t control the way your face looks? What if labeling it ‘ugly’ upholds the word, the category, of ugly?

I feel so manipulated, and hate that I enjoy it.

So changing intention… I often feel that the right tactic is to get into the centre of a trend, and then distort it. To hijack it somehow, as opposed to staying on the outer margin of divisive categories, like ‘feminist selfies’ for example will only ever be ‘feminist selfies’. How can I defy the category, and avoid buying one of its t-shirts, and just be a person first?

Blurring my identity, even to myself... Perhaps ambiguity is key to thwarting surveillance. Can we disconnect selfies from facebook, email addresses, and websites? What if I take the performance of myself to a characterization?

Not only are we losing privacy and private space, but selfie culture and experiencing life through our own devices makes me fear the loss of public space. Where is there offline conviviality?

The feeling of not belonging in the world is terrible. The feeling of not belonging in a world of your own construction is worse. I don’t recognize myself in my own selfie. I don’t know this facebook persona. I am dissociated. I am an alien inhabiting my own body.

I think the only way out is compassion. Start taking portraits of other people and things. Turn the camera around.

I still possess privacy with my notebook.

I am suspicious that selfie-culture is a big distraction away from Donald Trump, et al. I am fearful that the disenfranchised will not stand to be placated forever.

Performing Illness by Angela Ellsworth

Just because a person is sick doesn’t mean she looks sick.

Just because a person is healthy doesn’t mean she looks healthy.

What is it to look a certain way? What images of sick and healthy have I absorbed that uphold this perception?

Performance is in the business of representation. It provides an opportunity to change representation and to challenge assumptions.

Sometimes the tropes are all wrong.

How can the space of the inner body become the subject in a performance? How does the inner body speak? What are the metaphors?

I took a workshop once on fake rituals. The acceptance of exploring the fake, or fictional, allowed for an untethering from reality, or the learned codes of reality, and to have differently ‘real’ experiences.

We faked our own deaths and improvised a ceremony. It was the most profound connection to inner body I’ve had, and it was under the context of imagining its lifelessness.

Tactics of Resistance by E. Karaba

To hijack the archive and re-purpose it is a site for activism and performance that I hadn’t thought of. Re-enactment, through the archive. How can you change a perspective by changing its history? How deeply can you go back and rework the inception process?

I love this idea.

It’s kind of like Gestalt psychotherapy. You go back to the first time something happened and understand your reaction. Then the next time that thing happens you can recognize it and process more rationally. This is a kind of cognitive interruption, even under the umbrella of ‘performance’. Fiction can be transformative.

I’m remembering how Canadian history is taught a bit differently in English schools and French schools… Cognitive psychology would say they’re both right.

Memory is so subjective sometimes.

Who owns the facts?

Judith Butler: On Never Having Learned How to Live

… means never having learned how to die. To affirm one’s existence is to accept that despite not having learned to live or die, there is a spectrum of possibility embedded in survival. I have been born into a language. It is bigger than me. It will surpass me, but how I do not know. I cannot know. I do not choose the words that inspire me.  They are ‘seized upon me’. What is the allure of this navigation? When something seizes me it also affirms my existence, and the existence of the origin of those words.

Bell Hooks: Talking Back: On Self Recovery

Feminism needs to create adequate models for transformation. How do I change, inclusively, with other women?

It’s all about the techniques, I think. What’s the transformation technique?

Community, ritual, intimacy…

Community begets ritual, which begets intimacy, which begets community… etc.

Ritual produces transformation. So what are our rituals?

I think this is a good place to start.

3RS Reading Diary: Ruth Novaczek


I Remember

There are so many particulars that don’t overtly describe a culture, time, and place, but form a picture that is vividly ‘of’ a culture, time and place.

This is all so intimate, but surprisingly candid.

Personal, but not awkward, like too much purple, or Bryan Adams.

Awkward, but not embarrassing, like trying too hard to play the French horn and blowing out your tampon.

I recognize myself in some of these memories. I feel nostalgia for someone else’s memories. Is that some kind of perversion?

I remember that humour can be subversive. It arrests a moment. It distracts the reader enough to suck them in blind. Clowns are the easiest to fall in love with, and they devastate you the most when they’re hurt. I have power empathy for clowns. I fall in love with them so quickly.

I Love Dick

As these unsendable letters accumulate I feel the paranoia of Chris and Sylvère losing their hard-on for Dick. Their desire is a compulsion that grows as the distance between them and Dick increases. The power of ‘maybe’ is palpable. How did this happen? They are accomplices in each other’s desire. It’s hard to tell if this desire has anything to do with ending their marriage, or saving it. Maybe both. That maybe.

The compulsion to eject yourself from a secure, comfortable situation, albeit passionless, is a fantasy fuelled by the possibility of things being better. But they always could be better, right? The only known is that change is the only constant. Chris and Sylvère have become infatuated by their own imaginations, and projected it all onto Dick. The projection surface is a screen, and perhaps a mirror too. They witness the artifacts of their collective fantasies play out in their obsessive writing. Risk is delicious. Fear is motivating. Desire needs a space to ignite. Mystery is a head game. Curiosity nips constantly.

David Holzman’s Diary

As soon as you turn the camera on, it is not longer reality, it becomes a part of something else, it becomes a movie. What does that reveal?

The self consciousness of being on camera is exemplified by David’s girlfriend Penny. The sudden thrust of awareness to every movement is unnatural, for the camera, and feels intentional.

What are you trying to find? What are you looking for? What is the video supposed to teach you? What is the magic of it?

Truth is unstable. This is fiction. It has to be. Right? I flip many times while watching, wondering what scenes were planned, sanctioned, who was filmed inadvertently and if they give permission.

He calls himself Bartleby the Scrivener at the end. Why? Isolation? He’s really talking to himself the whole time. Societal nonconformity?

I love the camera in the mirror at the end.

The voyeur is caught by his own eye. He is introspective and curious. Looking for something unnamable.

I love the moment he catches a woman throw something in a trash can and dusts her hand. He talks of how her gestures give her away. This changed the way I watched. I was looking for detail, looking for something.

My Childhood

I love you Eileen Myles. Don’t ever stop getting in your own way. Trip over your own twisted face and disappoint the nuns and blush at any kind of compliment because you are a ‘good girl’ and this catholic stain will thwap you at every step. Guilt is inherited and creates distance. Same with self-sacrifice and protectiveness. It’s our defenses that create friction and space between people. I dilate inward to protect my brother from knowing that I accidentally let the dog out and he ran away. Actually, my mother lied and said he ran away, but she actually gave him away to a farm and didn’t want us kids to be angry with her. I never told her of the nightmares I had thinking the dog had died cold and alone in a ditch somewhere. Meanwhile he was frolicking amongst lillypads and homemade ground chuck. 

Cindy Sherman Untitled Film Stills

I love it when false, fake, fictional renderings take on a believable narrative. I inject my own stupid narrative onto these stills. Stupid because it takes over, pops up in its own ignorance. I don’t know what this film is about, but I have a whole mental Mobius strip telling me otherwise. It is a projection of things I’ve absorbed.

The personal history comes through, not necessarily in specific details of actual events I’ve experienced, but in tone, emotion, vibe, arc, and the iconic stuff I’ve been exposed to that is specific to my life and culture. The readability of these images is an articulation of a collaborative truth made entirely of smoke and mirrors.


Random sections.

I enter this book like mouse enters a New York squat.

I immediately notice that there’s a punctuation hierarchy. The Period rules. Sometimes the comma is second in command, although rare. To write a question, then place a period, shakes the reader slightly. A nudge through improper grammar is the first clue. This is intentional. This is stream-like. Some rules will be lightly subverted.

A personal rendition of hell is delightful. I picture Eileen’s hell as restraint, but the pleasurable kind with fuzzy pink stirrups. There’s so much behind the words. She’s also so direct. The inner saint, the outer demon. The outer demon, the inner saint. She may be perceived as good, by some. She may be perceived as bad, by some. Honesty dilutes morality, and perception. Another light subversion.

“People always look like you hit them before they laugh.” It is an enjoyable jolt, achieved without violence. The humour in these poems is a gateway. I care the most about clowns. I fall in love with them.

Eileen’s burgeoning sexuality is the undirected magnetism of many of these poems. Its tension with Catholicism is delicious. Nothing feeds desire more than a space. It oxygenates.

There are self-reflective moments about being a poet. A justification, maybe to herself. “The poem was real but the job was not.” She lifts the ambiguity of her poems, and also upholds it: ““…poetry is not hard. In fact, that’s the problem. It’s like going to the beach. You don’t go: a-hem, cough-cough, in other words… you just lie down. People read in bed for a reason. Nobody needs to be so damn awake. Sleep and Poetry.”

New York is the atmosphere.

There are secrets in the alleyways.

“…a thing that was so difficult about feminism was that it didn’t contain a boy. Nobody wanted to deal with that part, so I just always felt dirty and poor, A boy was my secret part, so where should I put that? Even if I was a feminist I would still have a evil secret baby.”

I fantasize about becoming a pious icon. A saintly mother, without all the (detectable) sex. The guts of ordained chosen-ness is a beacon. You have been chosen because you are so good. Resplendent morality is a golden cape.

3RS Reading Diary: Laura Gonzalez


The Basic Tools

This excerpt of The Artists Way details two essential tools: ‘the morning pages’ and ‘the artist date’

The Morning Pages are stream of consciousness’ writing, to be undertaken daily, presumably in the morning. They are the crud filter, the splatter, the space to exhaust ‘the critic’: the voice that leans into logic, and identifies the holes, the problems, the negativity, and is held in position by fear. Over time, the exercise of the morning pages dips beyond the critic to access the ‘artist brain’: the capacity for freewheeling associations, and a wholeness that includes the body, the surroundings, and the flood that lies beyond intellectual constructs. Morning pages can be useful for answering questions, sometimes ones that are not previously identified, as you can reference them as a map of your own ‘interior’. They can help shine a light of parts of you that lie dormant, familiar to your or not. I find this process similar to my improvisation practice of exhausting the familiar senses, and moving beyond the habits of perception. Its purpose is to move beyond the predetermining outcomes of the senses. Rote ways of moving and thinking can become stretched, and some other power is accessed.

If the Morning Pages are an outward projection, the Artist Date is an inward reception. It is a courtship. It is intentional time spent (weekly) with your artist self. It is nurturing your own high needs super-celebrity. There’s no space for anyone else.

The allocation of time, and repetition (structured time, or repetitive tasks). All of this rigor requires discipline to safeguard and do because it can be uncomfortable, and bring out monstrous stuff. It also requires replenishment. The author describes a ‘creative reserve’: a well that can become dry if drawn on and not replenished. Self-nourishment is difficult, but important. ‘Art is born in attention.’ For me, attention is critical, and ignites curiosity, and tracing curiosity can help fill the well.

The formality of a contract is incredible. The agreement to pampering your artistic ego is so blatantly self-important. I love it.

Three Steps on the Ladder of Writing: Cixous

We don’t know who we are. We need to traverse the bed to reach the forest of dreams. We need to be brave. Paradise is down there, deep through our own mud.

Identity is a porous construct. I acknowledge that I do not know who I am, and that gender is fluid, and as much a part of my identity construct as any other trait. Naming is political, and helps avoid confronting the unconscious. Naming is a safety net, a navigation tool, for living within a society.

Dreaming and writing are connected to the body, movement, and ‘traversing the forest’.

‘Writing is not arriving; most of the time it’s not arriving.’

Thoughts close off access to the unconscious.

What is it to escape prohibition? To evade limitations of thought, the shackles of appropriateness, identity, and the self? How can I bypass myself? I made an alter ego to help me. She’s the embodiment of unconscious data. She gives me permission. She is the ever-expanding-ever-depth that side steps this problem. She has no cemented qualities. Sometimes she is a whisper. She takes on all forms. She is the power thrust crucible. She will never manifest, even though she takes form from time to time as the shadow, the re-presentation, a physical inscription of some hard lines that never arrive. She is unfastened. She is only a ‘she’ as it delights her to tickle the stereotype.

In the Silences: Tim Etchells

This text is performative. I started out by reading the entire thing without referencing the footnotes I then re-read it with the footnotes interruptions. They are entirely disruptive, but illustrate the jumping, shifting thought process of improvisation, and the way Etchells describes rehearsing. The footnotes are the inner world of the author, and what surfaces in the silences when staring at an empty space, and attempting to construct something from nothing. Of there is no such thing as nothing, no tabula rasa, no empty room. It is full of footnotes. I’m reminded of how silence is like stillness: in the physical pause, an illumination of senses comes to the forefront. Once you notice something it becomes difficult to un-notice it.

The footnotes are also where detail live. To read the text without the footnotes is almost to not understand it. The page becomes the stage. The jumping around through the space of the page, from concept to detail, is like a lens widening and sharpening. Impersonal, to personal, and back again.

I am so distracted. The shifting is almost intolerable. This layout of language is a mental map.

The Gesture of Writing

Kafka: “A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.”

The materiality or interface of the writing ‘brick’ changes the emergent word. I can’t produce the same way on laptop and pen. The typewriter tracks your errors. It is inherently slower. The expressive tool can never express at the speed of thought. Speaking is closer, but differently limited.

Expression ‘leans’. I like this idea. It is a movement that incorporates the whole body. How does physical leaning change the thought and the emergent word and the IN-scribed thought? And vice versa, how does the emergent writing change the body. I lean into my keyboard. I squint for no reason other than to speed up, although futile.

The author is limiting this text to the inscribed word and the thought that pushes it outward, towards expression. I’m interested in how words push movement, and vise versa.

What does it mean to be motivated to write? What is all that wrestling? It’s some pressure that is unnamable until it emerges. Even so, I think once it emerges, or is ‘chipped away’ from its receptive brick, I disagree that this is an act of negation. There is never only one word. Each word that is chosen, although it is one selection, does not stay immersed in its own meaning. Each word has a charge that dips back into the moment of its original expression. Each word is one representation of an influence acting on the author, who when captures it in its moment. Although captured, its configurative possibilities are not reduced, but each word is an opening towards the next thought, and the following bursts are positively perpetual. Each word is a mighty springboard into the milky atmosphere of the next. They bear a relationship to one another in time, and the immediacy of the moment of their conception. They are endlessly self-producing, following the habitual formations of learned grammar, rules, etc. They are tiny footholds of the writer – the grounding of a thought. Each word is only one representation of a multitude of the possible – an ever differing pixilation. What is carried through the word? Not always the original, intended, thought of the author? What am I picking up on?

No matter how the author constructed his/her paradigm of writing, this article was meant to be read. It is part of the necessity of motive, expression, and communication: that someone/thing will come to meet it. To use the word necessity implies a stepping out of the self, an urgency to communicate. Writers would not write if it were only for themselves. This futility would have quashed the subversive-capabilities of the writer, and his/her power to create an opening/gap/affect. We cannot accept the possibility of futility under any other condition, I don’t think. The fact that this ‘could’ be read is the motivation to act. It is enough. It is also the implied audience, even if that audience is the author, coming back to the text at a future date. I can’t separate the idea of writing and reading in this regard.

I want to acknowledge translation. I don’t see translation as a loss, but an opportunity to gain, to add to, even in the event of misunderstanding, to the overall potential of a crystalline thought. It grows, it changes, and it is therefore alive.

What was pre-linguistic thought like? I wish I could remember

Sometimes a thought does not emerge until it has been granted the external opportunity to formulate – a course, a lecture, an intention that stimulates its genesis somehow. Like this entire reading diary. How do we position ourselves in the world? This is a useful tactic.

Writing Down the Bones

Cracking open the syntax:

First thoughts on these excerpts:

I am struck by the specificity and clarity of these writing tips, the advice, the time, the time put into it is so present. I just read that last sentence back and disliked it greatly. I am trying to silence the censor. First thoughts, if they can come quickly, can bypass the ego the censor the jerk the wishful ambition of future world changing fantasies. Don’t worry about the spelling. I am also suspicious of things that discuss what they’re ‘about’ as opposed to just being. Just being in the white tartan mink stole with uncomfortable teal boots with old laces that are rough and disintegrating over the last 8 hours of dancing at all those weddings in the countryside with wet morning dew hanging from the back eyeliner smeared under my left and right eyes. The patterns are almost symmetrical. Almost as symmetrical as the blue gizzard and the moon’s reflection through the lake of black tar and midnight perils. There is a wandering moment of saturation in every encounter with symmetry. I am instantaneously reminded of something familiar like toast with butter and something less comforting but still enticing, like acorns underfoot or lymph node power. I embody the regret of looking back and again I will continue to press forward into sleep and dreamy stillness as it unfolds into action and spite and regression and weathered leather shoes and coat and a denim shirt with 4 buttons only. The breeze comes through uninvitingly and its intrusive cold is not enough to wake me from the power sleep that encumbered my day and devoured my attention and slathered all over this pillow. The pool of drool is so droll and cool that I cannot even suck my thumb for it is too narrow for this hollow tongue on the raunchy fantasy cushy pillow of honest to goodness home cooked soft and flouncy blushing babes in the meadows of hopeful fruit and a ripe crop.

Uncreative Writing

Infallible Processes: What writing can learn from visual art?

There is so much material what nothing needs invention. Listening. Observing. Documenting. The position of the artist is something to consider…

Writing and Sol LeWitt and Andy Warhol. The word is the frame, the word is the catapult, and art is a currency of ideas. How a work is made takes precedence over its outcome, most of the time. The author is present, but less directly present in controlling elements of the production. The works become porous, and combines the opposing forces of resistance and surrender. I lift my hands and defy ‘creativity’ as a characteristic, a closed trait. However, I am still making choices, but they are subjected to biases. I lean into abandoning my signature, but these are the conditions of this abandonment. I refuse to edit hours of video footage, but I still choose where to position the camera, who the subjects are, and what to call the piece. I still produce an aesthetic that I may call mine – something that tips towards representation, or repetition.

If one were to only make instructions on how to write a text, who would write it, and how would his/her subjectivity change its design?

The balance of control and agency is very compelling. LeWitt and Warhol, and Cage, propose a tertiary element to their work: what does the body need? What does the exhaustion of the draftsman do to the wall drawing? How does his hand change? Why does he only make $3 per hour and who is he?

I think when dealing with how work is made, it’s politics jump to the forefront. Who benefits from the work? Why? I wonder what dialogue was captured by Warhol in those surveillance party-tapes that could be subjected to libel lawsuits…

What are you challenging? Is it creativity, or who owns creativity? Is it authorship, or

When challenging the HOW of making art, that artist is challenging a convention, or some historic organization of being.

Last Year

There are so many fragments, truthful, and truthful to memory. Lacan is present and delivers his research on the mirror. The mirror is the beginning of a new sight, the confrontation between self and its fractured image in an eternal moment of witnessing that verifies both the existence of the subject, and its endlessness. The cinematic notes ask me to stop piecing this text together, but accept its fragmentation as its atmosphere. This text is an image. It does not function as a text might typically function. It has its own inner logic of noisily traversing voices, details, timelines, and history. It is possessed by the affects of the mirror.

Dancing to the Tune of the Infinitive

‘Becoming’ infers an elided present – the lines of Aion go infinitely in two directions: that which has happened, and that which is yet to happen.

To land on the present is to arrest becoming, to arrest life, and to arrest infinite change.

The logic of sense and nonsense is the logic of AND. It is not a negation, like true or false. Sense exists independently of nonsense. Each are full and infinitely elongating.

Multitudinous multiplicity.

The event of the event: it is incorporeal. It is an in-folding, and has an independence. It is WILD. Its unpredictability must be accepted with COURAGE. To surrender to the affects of the pure event is to surrender to your incapacity to foresee it, control it, harness it, and predict its timing. It is a sadistic monster and a whimsical rainbow. Its rhythms are only predicable in their irregularity.

Right after an event’s event, there is a moment of inscription into meaning, into language, into actualization, and embodiment. When the fissure opens up I do not know it is a fissure at first. I do not know I am standing on a rock. I am possessed by something that materializes in language. It is grabbed by identifiers in an effort to command its upheaving force can be embodied and known.

Only known ingredients can participate in mixing.

Nothing happens in the present moment of the event. It is the ontology of the void, the elided present. Can this elided present borrw from the future? That other side of the Aion line? Like in quantum physics (Zizek on Event) how can the past borrow energy from the future to produce a mini blip into a future existence?

‘…it is the immaterial world of incorporeal effects that makes language possible.’

I reach backwards into the experience of the experience and a word surfaces. These are the words of a monstrous writer with a diabetic leg ready for amputation, but the will to swim and frolic. The monster is full of urgency and aptitude but without the flesh of action. The monster risks its own existence by sucking on your sugar, and poisoning its system with a deepening irreversible contagion. More more more more. The monster is you, and not you. It defies oppositions. Together you forge an event, where your oppositions are absent of meaning. The neutrality of the event creates an impasse of indifference and ‘neutral splendor’. It is a blissful coma.

Memoirs for the Earth

How can human consciousness conceive of other agents, subjectivities, ontologies beyond our senses? I like to think about the relationship between empathy and evolution. What if I could stretch my senses beyond the constraints of my own subjectivity? Perhaps the earth could feel me, and I could feel it. There might be a future gill for that, or another eye I development.

Maybe its not about the content of Hawkes’ writing, but about the energy. The earth gave her an abundance, and ignited her propensity for heavily saturated material. What is it to really master HEAVILY SATURATED MATERIAL?

Hawkes’ speculation: “the textures of experience apprehended by the human psyche and intellect in the present moment were the result of biological consciousness reaching all the way back to primitive life-forms existing in deep time. By this reasoning, she could write a memoir for the earth.”

Can we imagine our way OUT of consciousness? How? It seems that we must use conscious thinking to think our way out of conscious thinking. (I think of this moment of losing ‘consciousness’ as the event’s event from the previous reading: Dancing to the Tune of the Infinitive).

Maybe consciousness is dependent on time, and the construct of time as accumulative.

John William Dunne: “…in reality all time is present, such that past, present and future actually happen contemporaneously. Human consciousness, he contended, created the illusion of linearity in our perception of time.”

How does Hawkes poke at the structures of consciousness? Words can pierce, disable, and disorient.

I can’t think my way out of experience. It has to come from some other hard labour. Pass the hacksaw, I’m going to free the salmon and unbridle the harness of time. In a little while. 

‘For Hawkes the psychic unconscious remained relatively benign, a space of refuge and adult adventure…. Out of former experience might be levered new sorts of artistic expression and creative force.’

I disagree. I believe the psychic unconscious is dangerous. If you really go there, be prepared for dissociation, chaos, and accepting the wildness of impulse.

Maybe nature provides a containment field for this kind of willy nilly.

If you’re going to lose your shit, do it in a field, a valley, a mountain top, a thunderstorm, or a cold winter night. Bring your best monologue.

Master Rock by Maria Fusco (radio play)

I like hearing the actors’ voices as conduits, or portals. I thought about how a body is a portal for energy to flow through. The voice is some extension of this exit.

I thought about the pacing and rhythm of delivery throughout this play. It was regular, and like small continuous unsmooth ripples. The words fell out almost too slowly. They fell against the timing of familiar speech. I thought about how the author might write this piece with the intention of it being spoken, and communicated aurally. I thought about the saturation of an accent, and how it creates a small pocket around the sound of each word. A pocket that has its own frequency-shape.

I couldn’t concentrate on the content for very long. I couldn’t process the meaning of the words the entire time. My attention faded out and dialed in. It undulated.

I thought about the old stereotypes of the female rock/symbol of nature, penetrated by the male auger-style, excavating laborer.

What is it to witness your own work? What is it to dig endlessly and remove debris but feel little progress? I have the urge to dig a very deep hole and watch the sediment colours change as I go down. I think about the measure of time through the materials of nature. Sometimes water cuts away and leaves a trail, sometimes a crustation fossilizes, but I will never experience this measure of time in my life. I can only guess at its undulations and thickly viscous rate of change.

This ridge felt the ice age, and that one enveloped a dinosaur.

The marks on, and in, the rock are natural, necessary, man-made, and artist usurped. The voice of the rock itself was the most coherent to me as a sound. The deep guts of time rumbling and shifting and pushing horizontality until a verticality takes form in the actor’s gargle. The rocks are masterful listeners.

Reflections on Writing

‘…what one has to tell is not nearly so important as the telling itself. It is this quality about all art which gives it a metaphysical hue, which lifts it out of time and space and centers or integrates it to the while cosmic process. It is this about art which is “therapeutic”: significance, purposelessness, infinitude.’

Richard Forman in an interview: “I guess I try to read everything to I can forget it all and move on.”

Language is something beyond words.

Decay as rich an expression as growth.

Spend enough time writing until you know it is yours.

Have one conscious thought.

Have courage, failure is an abundance.

Remove purpose from art.

There is no such thing as progress. There is only perpetual movement (forward, sideways, backwards).

Remember to spend time unlearning.

And BTW I love these photocopied body traces. WHO ARE YOU?

The Writing Artist

“An endless generation of interpretive activity is the wished for outcome of an art work, not explanation. Truth in art is by definition unstable.”

Burrowing furrowing burrowing furrowing… this dark compulsion answers to no one! Bwahahahahahaha!

An artist’s text will be judged in consideration of his/her work. Full Stop. There are so many liberties all of a sudden…


Studio Advisor Meeting - May 12th, 2016

One more meeting with Morgan, on the record.

We talked about my plan for Berlin. I want to take my practice into an unfamiliar territory, and take advantage of being away from home. Because the content of my performances are saturated by their preparation (what I do that day, what I read, what’s tainting my mental space), I’d like to experiment in situating myself in unfamiliar parts of Berlin. Maybe I sign up for a class I don’t understand (taught in German?). Whatever it is, I want to see what it does to the performance, and what language comes out.

I mentioned missing the voice when I did my editing performances in April. Morgan suggested working with a musician, and connecting my voice to a pedal to alter the sound of SCHPANDO more dramatically. I’m giving this a try. I’ll use a toggle switch to go back and forth, and maintain a dialogue between myself and SCHPANDO.

Morgan offered some editing notes on my thesis paper. She asked: ‘who is Heather?’ Heather is an audience member that came to one of the editing performances, but it’s not clear from the formatting of my document that Heather isn’t another voice of mine. I need to make this clearer, and be careful about bringing in other voices as I might mess up the narrative. Be consistent. And be careful when you’re too close to the thing (the thesis, the project, etc). Don’t overcomplicate it, don’t mess with it, use what works, and don’t throw in anything gratuitous. Try to draw clean lines in it. Remember, you’re not summarizing your entire life. Just make a piece.

Follow your intuition, and if you’re afraid, just watch it, but don’t stop, observe it.

A few references for moving forward:

- Jane Lei, Macau choreographer

- Volker Straebel: musicologist, head of electronic music department at Akademie der Kunst Berlin

- Bill Forsythe One Flat Thing video on vimeo (I drew it when it was in rehearsal and was called Tables. (Also look at his notation system and pedagogy DVD’s)

- Simone Forti – the News Series

- Danspace Project Inc

- Kelly Kivland dance curator for DIA Foundation

- Otto Rank, psychologist: Art and Artist

MCP 506: Full Studio Documentation

I initiated my research by questioning the relationship between space and affect: How do I affect space, and how does it affect me? This porousness between self and space led to an understanding that the body is not contained, and neither is an identity, but both are somewhat ‘spongy’ in their interaction with various agents, whether these agents are identifiable or not. I defined space and ‘something to be entered’, and considered three categories for exploration: personal, collective, and virtual space.

I positioned my improvisation practice at the centre of this exploration. I started with personal space, and upheld the principle of working ‘immanently’, whereby the material and content would be emergent, or of the process and its natural modes of becoming. The content was discoverable through its own generative process of improvisation of attuning to the present moment. For me, this disconnects the emergent content from the ambition of the ego, and a conscious mode of creativity. What I’m more interested in the HOW of creation itself. What influences each movement, each choice, and a way of being within the world of the work?

I started with attempting to ‘enter’ personal space. How? How can you enter yourself? I used my meditation/improvisation practice from first year on ‘emptying perception and activating projection’. The emptying process is an attempt to physically ‘leave your familiar perception’ through duration, exhaustion, and dismantling habit.  The residual projection is what shoots out from some other consideration of the body and the imagination: to project from the unconscious, or as close to it as possible.

What was the dance telling me about inner desires, influences, and absorbed affects of personal history, and cultural conditioning?

To answer this, or get a bit closer, I had to find a way of capturing this stuff I was projecting all over the studio – this ephemeral material. Aligning with the current space of my culture, I decided to make a selfie. The character captured in this selfie was not ‘me’ in a sense of how I box in my identity, but she is a character composed of the unconscious detritus that lies dormant to my faculties of attention. She is intrinsically tied to the affects of space, including virtual space, and her online behavior, her camera work, and her audio recordings capture something of her essence. Her and I spoke to each other through the intermediary of technology.

We used a camera.

We used an audio recorder.

We used a laptop.

SCHPANDO was born.

I let her loose for a while, and tried not to subject her to judgement or analysis. Her parts were a composition of character traits both invented, exhumed, and historical.

She is a REpresentation of self, she is total reflexivity, and she is very attuned to affect, following it like a pen mark.

My practice as the performer became allowing this unconscious stuff to be witnessed. Practicing the razor’s edge between internal attention and projected performance. Once you try to access the subconscious you’re already stepping into consciousness. How could I just be in the work, and let it be seen? For me it came down to holding the space of attention with a ‘framework’ of moving and identifying the present moment. Of moving and talking. Of pointing towards a vanishing gesture with a word, and vice versa, as soon as they emerged and just before they dissolved. This practice was a distraction that consumed my entire focus, and mentality, so getting good at it was the only thing the allowed me to do it in performance, and with witnesses. I failed, and failed often.

I knew what I was trying to do: let the space affect me, as I affect it, and observe it.

I made these two videos. They are emergences of SCHPANDO. They revealed to me some of her characteristics, some of her words, and her way of pushing through my mind and body.

I attempted editing as a choreographic consideration in how to combine video clips, audio bites, and their sequence in time.

For my presentation at the Winter Residency, I let the moving and talking inform moving and typing, in a stream of text projected onto a screen. I used this technique to communicate the content of my presentation, and develop a single choreographic directive: a 1-2 sentence directive that provided a movement container for improvisation.  A point of departure. A catapult for the body.

In New York the directive was: Up to go Down, Down to go Up. Here is some video evidence of working with this directive:

At the Winter Residency I performed to a soundtrack of my own voice: thoughts from a previous movement meditation, a historical soundtrack, and the voice of SCHPANDO (the manifestation of an escaping thought). Here I am working with the overdub in-studio, which culminated in the piece This Desiring Pony. I am listening to this past voice, while participating in a present movement, and noticing the dissonance between the two. Noticing yourself, as you notice yourself.

This voice, and these text directives, informed how I would bring the work into collaboration with other artists. I made an exhibition called SPACEBODIES which included This Desiring Pony, and the work of other Transart students, faculty, and alumni dealing with space as an immaterial force. The trial run took place at the Judson Gym in New York on Sunday, January 10th, 2016, and will happen again with the addition of new artists for the Triennale on August 6th, 2016 at Uferstudios.

My exploration of the voice, the audio guide, and the choreographic directive led me to completing and presenting a trio I began last year called Rafters. It included two collaborators, Alicia Grant and Julia Male, who I worked with extensively in first year, sharing a mode of working with structured improvisation. Here’s the video:

After the New York residency, my advisors challenged me with two things:

1)   Can you talk and dance at the same time?

2)   In the writing and MFA context of your work, how can you incorporate academic research?

The answer to 1) is YES, but I hadn’t let anyone watch me do it, I’d only used audio recordings

The answer to 2) is: PREPARATION. What am I filling my head with to affect my movements and thought space? What texts am I reading just before I engage in my practice? Can this way of preparing produce an atmosphere that affects the outcome? I think yes.

So I tried talking, dancing, and academic preparation for work-in-progress showings in Toronto on February 26-28, 2016. I structured the performance in the following way: read a text related to my research, initiate my practice of talking and moving with the audio recorder on for 10 minutes, when the timer goes off declare a one sentence choreographic directive, give the audio recorder to the technician and have them play it back (in an empty room while I changed into SCHPANDO), re-enter the space as SCHPANDO, listen and activate the movement directive until the recording ends.

This took away my ability to edit the audio material before dancing to it. Instead, the work was in the preparing and the doing. The live practice itself, in relation to others, and in relation to the live witness. The space we produced collectively, became an active participant/ agent in determining the content of the performance.

I continued deploying this live-ness to moving, thinking, and writing to produce my thesis paper. The draft was an impossibly long diatribe. How could I edit the thing?

I decided to maintain the live-ness of the writing process IN the editing process itself. I set up three performances. I selected three sections of my paper that related to one choreographic directive per section. I projected a video of the scrolling text, and instructed the audience to help me edit, and appropriate the words: to induce the body into this thinking process with me. How do the words move? What do they DO?

I provided paper and pens to the audience, and invited them to come up to the laptop if they desired, to ‘troll me’, along with SCHPANDO, and edit, provoke, and question the text. I included all of their voices in my final paper. I also included the voices of my advisors, other artists, research quotes, and all three of my own: my outer voice, my inner voice, and SCHPANDO: the undercurrent.

What became apparent was that the paper was alive. The editing was not a reductive action, but a continuation of the thought process, ever-expanding and proliferating. The paper entered virtual space: an extension from reality, an inclusion of multiple agencies, an inclusion of personalities mediated by technology, and an endlessness of process, connections, nodes, and reaching outward.

The paper lives beyond its words. In the edit performances I included a looping video, an image, and an atmospheric sound loop. These other components were collected while working, and they point towards the thought space I was in while making the text.

The words in the paper are tied to the performance, the space they produce, the space that produces them, and the present space of culture. The words embody a way of being that is particular to this culture (in which I live) at this time. Because this practice is connected to a way of being, it extends into other traditions of art, including Post-Internet, and Live Art. In future research I’d like to continue into these territories, and also attempt situating the work in an alien (to me) field that is outside the my familiar culture. I want to find out if there are new languages, or ways of relating, that might emerge. In my presentation at the Summer residency, I will immerse myself in the unfamiliarity of Berlin culture before my final performance. 

PROCESS BLOG 2.6 April 15, 2016


This month I’ve been entangling my studio and writing process over three performances:

1)   Thursday, April 7th at Flowchart (produced by Amelia Erhardt at Artscape Sandbox in Toronto)

2)   Saturday, April 9th at Arcadia (in support by Coman Poon, in Toronto)

3)   Saturday, April 16th at Arcadia

Below are some images and videos from each performance. (A high res video will be provided from Flowchart, I just haven’t received it yet.)

Two more vids from the April 9th show:



For each show, I selected a chapter from my thesis paper. I picked the dubious sections – the ones that I had some questions about, and were written in the live moments of the studio so the language is personal, self-referencing, and far too overwrought for a traditional paper.

I projected my laptop onto the back wall. I then deployed Schpando to lead the editing session.

She only addressed the audience through the laptop. There was a text box with instructions for the audience:


HELLO. Thank you for coming.





We will spend 40 minutes together.






























So, the audience had the option of coming up to the laptop, or writing with paper and pens (the paper and pens option was much more connected to the physicality of the spectator – an important realization).

I made a video of the scrolling text video from the thesis paper. It took about 40 minutes to scroll, so there was lots of time to read, watch, interact, and let the focus shift without missing too much of the paper’s content.

Beside the video there was a ‘TROLL EDIT BOX’ where Schpando, and audience members, could type edits, footnotes, questions, etc. in real time, and alongside the scrolling text. Together, we appropriated the text together, and induced the body to inform our thinking processes.

The performance ‘frame’ I was working with:

- 1 section of the paper, built from 1 choreographic directive

- 1 related video (that I shot from the process while I was thinking about this stuff)

- 1 related image (that I also shot during the process)

The sections of the paper I used: "Femininity and Shame/ Slips and Iconic Poses", "Up to go down, down to go up/ Compression from above, motivation from below", and "Thrusting from vague points of leadership"

Some important things:

- position the laptop in the background so it's less intimidating for the audience to approach it

- performing the paper is one way to disseminate it, and keep it alive

- because this is a live edit, don’t worry about inundating the audience with the too-much-ness of my process. They will, and have, picked up on the things that were resonant. I’m interested in this subjective ‘filtering’

- the whole event, in its continuous slowness, has a meditative affect. It induced the body of the viewer, or the ones I spoke to anyway.

- the way I affect the viewer, and they affect me, can be captured

- Schpando is a re-presentation, and she only speaks to me, or through me. Her voice is disembodied, and when her voice is heard via the audio recordings of this past year, her body is not visible. There’s something about this disembodied voice, and silent embodied presence in performance, that is potent… more on this later…

- this could go on forever. It is a practice

- my paper is alive, so I don’t need to pin it down in complete, formed, sentences

- Schpando is like the shadow I’m trying to outrun. I need the audience to help me find the tree to sit under.

- I am surrendering to allowing the audience to change me. This surrender relates to the present moment, and accepting its influx. 

Committee Meeting (March 4, 2016)

with Simon and Morgan

We talked about how I’m going to write my paper, and finding the focal point of the research. There’s something about the network, the internet AS A SPACE, and the choreographic that are related. I’m trying to find this connection.

What’s my connection to this term post-internet? It now refers to a generation of artists born into the internet/ calling themselves post-internet, who have lived in its immersion (Ryan Trecartin and Lizzy Fitch for example).

Perhaps the space of the internet it perceptive, relating to intense relationships with people without touching them. It’s about a relational space, as opposed to the physicality of the internet (where its servers are, boxes of electronics, etc).

But what of expansion? I’m thinking about these forms of software and hardware as constraints – what is it to move AWAY from them, or enhance upon their lack, or expand upon their affects? This plays into control, agency, efficient use, etc. What structures, for example, stop your eye from moving off the screen, or make things pop up on it?

The mind is the model, more than the internet. Morgan reminded me of this. This is what I’m working with. The flickers of consciousness that are in operation with and beyond virtual space. How has this been capitalized on? There is a mechanistic idea of how humans work, and their cognitive constraints. One of the criteria of software is to pre-empt what any human mind might do. A pre-determined set of possibilities. But thinking is creating. This must go beyond what is predetermined…

I’m going back to Whitehead on mentality: “the capacity to exceed what is given, and bring forth a novelty or variation” which is not just the body, or just the mind, but both.

It’s really my practice that’s going to produce the thesis. The performance and written report will produce each other. I’m going to pick the most salient choreographic directives, and type and move and type and move. What is the movement of the thesis, and how does it push on its reader to move him/her? How am I communicating the directives? This could be a collaboration with the reader, or an opening, and not a closed entity/ argument.

And: Don’t make the art in service of the thesis. Full stop.


Ryan Trecartin and Lizzy Fitch: camp, reality TV aesthetic

Katie King: writing technologies

Committee Meeting (March 25, 2016)

(with Simon and Morgan)

It’s not about what you produce, but what you do with it.

I’ve written an unabridged, overly long paper. Great. This is how I work: explode and cut. In this final month, it’s all about the cutting. No, it’s all about HOW the cutting happens.

The plan: make my editing process live and visible through performance. Allow Schpando to appropriate, intervene, and disrupt the text. Perhaps there are three or four voices in the text (at least two of my own, and Schpando, and other people/ research). Relating to virtual space, and its affects, perhaps I don’t talk about it in the paper, but I DEPLOY these affects through Schpando. I will get her to troll me, live. She will ruthlessly cut and edit, type over, whisper quotes, and move with me through the paper. Through her, and this process, I now have license to play with the conventions of writing (footnotes, fonts, formatting). The document doesn’t need neat conclusions, or closed arguments, but it can be truncated, abrupt, and subjected to the movement and flow that has produced it.

Preparing for the performance is already an initiation of the editing process. I’ve been looking for this link between choreography and editing, and think I just found it. The sequencing, the approaches, the entry points, all have to be considered before the performance. The editing lays a terrain for the live-ness of the performance, and to embrace all that happens within it. The editing constructs a performance space.

Morgan had some suggestions as to how to approach the editing: work with once sentence at a time, give Schpando the personality of a very smart 12 year old, and schedule these performances. I’ve got four booked: March 29th, April 7th, April 9th, and April 16th. All will have invited guests, or witnesses, to enhance the immediacy of the work, and consider it as a performance, with all of the careful crafting involved.

Some things to remember from New York, trying this in February, and some notes from my crit group: don’t do too much/ don’t oversaturate the audience with information, everything I do on stage I am responsible for, think about how I’m addressing the audience and don’t ignore them (I need them, how do I handle this?), and think about what, exactly, I’m telling them ( be precise with what information is up on the screen, in the material, etc.). There are new things coming out now, don’t over do it. Stop exploding, this is about cutting.

General notes:

Two things that are great: 1) the studio and research have become inseparable. They are informing each other, and need each other, to continue into this next stage of the work 2) the discussion about what I’m showing in Berlin is a continuation of my practice, of this paper, and how it’s a live piece of work. It changes with each performance, the performance is the generative field. I need you to watch me, and I need you to help me prepare.

In the introduction to the paper: let the reader know the text is produced through performance, and how Schpando will have a relationship with it. This will draw attention to how the reader can access the work, as they are major characteristics.

Sort out my priorities first, and then have multiple things vying for attention. Think about how this will be displayed in the text.


Rolywholyover: A Circus (John Cage)

The SOMETHING ELSE PRESS (Dick Higgins, Fluxus)

Aldus Manutius

Crit 2, Group A RESPONSE (March 2016)

Some notes from my Crit Group Skype meeting:

The quality of my voice came up, and there were questions about whether I was conscious of how I was speaking, and the volume of my voice when I’m speaking into the iPhone (it's quiet, and not always audible). Then the playback of the audio in the second section brought up questions about how I might edit the audio before playing it back. Paolo brought up Alvin Lucier, and how on each repetition of his voice is altered. I’m interested in the subtleties of listening, and Kayoko brought up John Cage and the possibility that not hearing everything the first time around is important. I agree. To strain the ears a little initiates a closeness of the audience's attention. Speaking softly also changes my vocal tone away from theatrical projection, which is not a part of my training or practice. Theatrical projection changes the weight of each word, and its emphasis becomes linguistic, as opposed to connected to  inner churning of the body.

What’s not there? The gaps in sound. Back to John Cage, and instilling in the audience a reality of quietness vs the amplification provided by technology. I’m thinking about how listening in a room is always partial, and interrupted. I only hear small blips of things. I want to play with this idea more, it’s important. I also want to be careful about excluding the audience too much. They need to have enough of the words to maintain interest. That will bring me closer to them in space perhaps, by way of letting them hear me. I’m remembering ‘40 Person Motet’ by Janet Cardiff where singular voices can be heard among the choir by moving to different speakers.

The repetition came up in conversation as well. The sound is replayed, but the dance has changed. It is repetition with development. The audience has just witnessed the dance that produced the words, and then they witness the dance produced BY the words, or by listening to the words. This connects to Bill Evans’ album ‘Conversations with Myself’ that Paolo brought up. I need to listen to that and think about how the repetition develops.

Relationship to the audience was an important point of discussion. Sanja, and a few others agreed, that it would be great to get closer to the audience. It’s a terrifying thing, and they all sensed it, in my downward gaze, and position in the space. Now that I’ve tried this once I think I could insert myself in the audience, or play off of them more by acknowledging them through the words I’m saying.

In regard to doing my studio practice with witnesses, Kayoko brought up Authentic Movement. This was great to think about again. I've only tried it a few times, but now want to read more about it. It’s from Mary Starks Whitehouse, and I think Nina Martin and the Naropa University bubble.

The split between who can hear me, and who can see me came up. This is great. I’m excited about playing with that, and the level of information available, so the audience can piece things together from partialities, thus initiating them to fill in more gaps.

Andrea H. brought up my vulnerability. It’s very palpable. She thought up some ways for me to protect myself spatially, or play with the gaze more, to only let people in intermittently. I will try crafting this more specifically.

The movement in the beginning is continuous. In the performance I showed, it's related to the reading I had done ahead of time. The connection between the body and its preparatory, affective atmosphere is working. Keep going.  

MCP505 DRAFT PAPER: March 15, 2016

Unbecoming Ego: The Choreography of Immanent Space

I.               Introduction

II.             Personal Space

a.     Immanence vs Transcendence

                                               i.     ‘Heat Ball’: from a position of stillness, locate a tiny perceptive point in the body, determine its pathway through space, and go

                                              ii.     ‘Thrusting from Vague Points of Leadership’: Propel the body faster than your ability to identify its point of origin

b.     Dualities: She comes up to you and whispers in your ear

                                               i.     Ride the line of active and passive, like a tensile string between two halves

                                              ii.     Up to go Down, Down to go up. Compression from above, Motivation from         Below

II.             Collective Space

a.     Academic Atmosphere: Follow the indirect pathway of light through an infinitely dense forest

b.     Reference the Image Bank, Build a Lexicon: Femininity and shame: slips and iconic poses (when you notice an iconic position or movement, stop and let it register as something absorbed)

c.     An Embodied Network: ‘Creaturing’: Project an expanded creature self onto another person, who is also doing the same thing

III.           Virtual Space

         a.     Technology as Capture

IV.            Conclusion and Future Research: Dissemination as Documentation as Archive as Pedagogy, participation in the movement of words, Dissemination: Use an online venue as a space for live performance  - hijacking as a proactive strategy, PARTICIPATION/Observation binary, social space

I. Introduction

“The human maker is not the only one doing the thinking in the creation of performance; rather, Deleuze’s definition of thought as creation allows us to suggest that everything thinks – including the nonhuman aspects of performance – because every ‘thing’ is immanent to the creativity of life, an expression of how life thinks itself in and as the creation of different ‘things’. (L.O. Maoilearca, 4)

I am moving from the body I think I have right here. I am writing from the body I think I have right now. I have only checked Facebook three times since I started writing. I am simultaneously on and off the space of this word document. If dancing is an intentional transition between points, then I am dancing in this moment. Distraction, failure, and improvisation are interconnected.

This text is a performance. It is an attempt to choreograph immanently, whereby ‘writing technologies’ as described by Katie King are used as an extension of my choreographic practice to move knowledge between seemingly disparate pools, and to allow the moving body to produce connections, or provisional scaffolding, through a reconsideration of context. The space of research becomes a territory for dancing.

The live-ness of this text is linked to my practice by way of identifying the present moment, getting as close as possible to a language that is produced by movement, and bringing consciousness to the inner world of the dance. It is an attempt to give voice to the vanishing horizon of gestures that are of the movements themselves, and not a description about them, or their characteristics.

What is apparent in this practice is the affect of space, and how it shapes the content that emerges. There is a two-way flow of affect between the body and the space it is inhabiting, signifying a porousness of the body, and space as a conduit for the transmission of affect. The link between dancing and space is intrinsic. Alain Badiou describes “The obligation of space” (63) in his essay ‘Dance as a Metaphor for Thought’.

There are three ways I am working with space: Personal (in relation to witnessing the ego, and disproving the singularity of the subject through its expansion, and the production of an alter ego), Collective (the ego in relation to Other, and disproving dualities by way of implementing them), and Virtual (the ego as expanded embodiment of technology, and online space). They all share in common the principle of immanent, self-producing, difference, in line with Giles Deleuze’s philosophy of univocity, whereby what characterizes being, and what is immanent and equivalent in all things, are their continual and autonomous differentiation. What everything shares is its immanent force for continual difference. In this definition, affect becomes a powerful material energy that flows between perpetually changing things Each change, each positive step forward, produces what Brain Massumi calls a “margin of maneuverability” (3) in terms of potential outcomes. The greater the degree of potential outcomes or maneuvrability, the greater the intensity of the ‘affected’ moment. The power within change is therefore not morally judged, but measured in its intensity, or capacity to affect and be affected. How porous can the body be? How sharply can I listen?

“Space consciousness means that in addition to being conscious of things – which always comes down to sense perceptions, thoughts, and emotions – there is an undercurrent of awareness. Awareness implies that you are not only conscious of things (objects), but you are also conscious of being conscious.” (Tolle 228)

What affects the organization of being, and what can choreography do? What affects the present moment of attention, and what can dance do? I will discuss the intersections of space, dance, attention, and language as they point towards a vanishing horizon of the present moment. I will attempt to prove that the organization of being is in the organization of space, and that refined attention to movement can counter the illusion of a contained self.

The following headings, and the body of this text, outline the choreographic directives that emerged through my practice. They reference choreographic directives that emerged through movement improvisation and meditation made immanently by A. Spaziani, and appropriated by her alter-ego: Schpando. All of the directives have been italicized, and the concurrent, idiosyncratic writing that forms the body of this paper was generated through movement improvisation and working with each directive.

I will also reference the work of Jeanine Durning, Yvonne Rainer/ The Grand Union, Maria Jerez, Merce Cunningham with OpenEndedGroup, John Cage, Jonathan Burrows, Barbara Dilly, Nancy Stark Smith, Meg Stuart, and Ame Henderson.

So, network is an expression to check how much energy, movement and specificity our own reports are able to capture. Network is a concept, not a thing out there. It is a tool to help describe something, not what is being described…a network is not what is represented in the text, but what readies the text to take the relay of actors as mediators. (B. Latour, ed. L.B Larson, 70-71)

II. Personal Space

Construct a frame in your peripheral vision. Enter into it

‘… on stage I am not so much interested in the total performer as in the “total person”, including their hidden self. How does the person rub up against the performer? How does their personality leak out? I have always kept Pina Bausch’s statement in mind that she “is not interested in how people move but what moves them.”’ (Meg Stuart, 29)

What is it to exist peripherally? Beyond the space of an enclosed singularity lies a proliferation of affective information: there is glitter in the corners of my eyes.

Becoming more peripheral has a purpose. To soften the focus away from a single point, or soften attention to something wider, can multiply detail, enhance rhythm, and stretch the perception of vision. To hold less firmly to one’s vision, and open it to the possibility of change, aliveness, precariousness, and adaptation. This morphing of vision creates a space for change, for a morphing of self. If Deleuze and Guittari discuss a concept as preceded by a percept, how can the expansion of perception produce a new territory for knowledge? ‘What can a body do?’ Spinoza trumpets in my ear.

This is my body, but in some ways its porousness makes it ours. It has absorbed an ocean of peripheral information. We will look harder at what’s there by softening the gaze. We expand to see more, simultaneous waves at one time. We design a portal: an image constructed of something unfamiliar in timing and rhythm, an all-at-once-ness, and we enter into it. We enter into the self as abyss, and an ocean of impenetrable depth. We look to the traces of the personal left behind. The personal is a scavengers delight. The personal is a reflection and production of space. My eyes are sore from this laptop screen. I stretch my sight, I then choose the next frame. I will instigate my own experience by setting this thing in motion, but I cannot know what I will find once I enter each frame. Its particularities are beyond my own preparation. I will transcend option, choice, and delight in negotiating a field of choice that expounds exponentially with each movement forward. We will go in, we will go forward into the frame.

What I see is partly mine, and partly the space around me revealing its demure angles. To continuously go through, to re-enter, only requires an initial moment of contingency – something beyond the scope of an algorithm, intention, or re-creation. I will never look from this angle again. I will ever see these details the same way again. Curiosity is a mechanism of perpetual motion, binding my movements to a taste in the room, and the desire to stretch the mechanism of the eye. The blind spots are calling us, their hidden depths might suddenly expose something juicy. We wander through the dense vastness of personal. It is void of outward detail, but strikes a certain memory here and there. If I could take a photograph I would try. There’s a family portrait on the right. There is only one person in it, but it’s a group shot. We remember Barbara Dilley as a moebius strip, “…moving through layers of awareness within the singularity of an experience…” (137)

a)    Immanence vs Transcendence

“ ‘The self is only a threshold, a door, a becoming between two multiplicities’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1988: 249)” (27)

Immanence and transcendence, as modes of producing performance work, are not mutually exclusive, but represent two opposing poles or approaches to entering into the field of improvisation, composition, collaboration, and authorship. The performer’s body offers many internal impulses, trajectories of becoming, and choices that are intimately tied to her/his modes of training, and patterning (even of thought). I fall this way because I know how to transfer force through these paths. It is not the same as how she falls, unless I go through the process of embedding, and adapting my body to learn her path. I can only recreate it within a certain degree of exactitude however. This kind of mimetic training has been embraced and rebelled against many times throughout the history of dance. Do decides how I move? Whose work is this? How am I the choreographer? If you, dancing in my work, are an ‘interpreter’, what exactly is your role in producing content? How much of you are you bringing to the process?

Improvisation provides one modality, one source of open agency that asks the performer to take responsibility for the inner process of the work, and in some instances, consider its outer image too. Improvisation can be wild, open, and formless. It can be constant movement without necessity, or a continual quest to discover what this moment is. But that questioning inevitably takes the performer out of the improvisation. It is an analysis, and distracts from attending to the necessity of the present moment. The fine line of improvisation demands both an internal and external sensibility: an immanent and transcendent authorship. A mode of navigation as well as the wild possibility to go off-course. ‘If you can imagine what an improvised event will look like, is it truly an improvisation?” (M. Stuart, 98)

But how? I believe that answering ‘how?’ is critical to my practice. It links methodology to the production of content, and leaves room for affect to transfer through the body: a damp sponge of absorption.

“…associating immanent authorship with improvisation comes with its own problems; in particular, the potential assumption that a call to immanent authorship is merely a return to an ‘anything goes’ attitude to making performance in which improvisation is being mistakenly associated with a kind of instant freedom or easy novelty.” (L.C. Maoilearca, 41)

I am done with judgment, but preoccupied with locating. “When one judges, one is possessed by the affects. When one discerns, one is able to detach from them, to know where one stands, to be self-possessed.” (T. Brennan, 2254).

Nancy Stark-Smith discusses the development of the Underscore through referencing a very open form of teaching: “…underneath what I was experiencing as a random selection of materials was a very consistent score operating all the time, informing my choices. What was this inner, under score?” (90). The body is in constant operation, a continuum of processes and senses, and when looking back in analysis I tend to identify the crystalline moments, and give them a name. These names inform an underscore, and offer something to grasp, discuss, and use to contain the improvisation.

I am unsure about this mode of hindsight. Deleuze and Guattari discuss how every concept begins with a percept. How are these perceptions attuned, and through what system are they processed into concepts? The transcendent container of language can be used in the form of a choreographic score. The score can provide a container for improvisation that attends to the score itself, the agency of the performer, the necessity of the moment, and the possibility for spontaneity. Its function is to deploy immanence and chance in a certain way, a manner in which to unfold towards something else, in an exactitude that can only be attended to as it is happening. This attunement to the present is where immanence and transcendence meet, and the dancer becomes an expert, in what Barbara Dilley describes as simultaneous hearing and contemplating, as though  “…moving through layers of awareness within the singularity of an experience.” (137).

Hearing and contemplating make me think about John Cage. He challenges the vacuity of silence, and the prioritization of intention, deploying chance as a way to bypass the author’s meddling, or transcendent, externalized agenda that “… ‘provides a leap out of reach of one’s own grasp of oneself’…” (L.C. Maoilearca, 49). His concept of indeterminacy, as a way around improvisation, is another example of immanence and transcendence meeting at the ‘how’ of composition.

The body contains an inner knowledge that is constantly producing, how am I listening to what’s already there? The affects are present, and speaking, churning and sputtering. They reflect and refract the outer world. There is nothing I can make up that is better than, more interesting, or superior than anything that isn’t already here. I surrender to these materials of immersion, and how I play with them becomes the artistic intervention.

                                               i.     ‘HeatBall’ or Locating the Difference Between Inner and Outer: from a position of stillness, locate a tiny perceptive point in the body, determine its pathway through space, and go

“Ready, Fire, Aim” is a directive by Deborah Hay, but in this scenario, we are working with ‘Aim, Fire’, and letting the ‘Ready’ part go. We are never ready, but we have been preparing for years.

Glimpsing at the living potential of experience, and testing the difference between paths planned and paths traversed. An experiential comparative moment, as demonstrated by the moving body, we throw ourselves into the void, and the restrictions and necessary wildness of moving along a planned and complex pattern, coupled with the desire to transcend physical laws. The harshness of nature is exposed through the hardness of the floor meeting our momentum. The momentary self-protective instincts of the body, as mediated and crafted by years of learning to fall, to roll through the soft landings, and ingraining these patterns over time, appear spontaneous, but are a result of habit and perceptive encoding. There is a physical history to the body’s muscles memory. Those patterns took time to embed but are now automatic. This is where technique can hold us, support us, and slip a bony knee out of the way for a softer landing along a tibial ramp.

We lay here, for an eternal moment of stillness. We are alive, and not completely still. Our gaze is necessarily inward, looking deeply at the cells, and forming them into a complex ball, compressing it more and more, until a hot cluster is specifically positioned. It is near the left thumb, in that gusset between the index finger, and a little bit deeper towards the fleshy part of the palm. We have never sensed this cluster of cells before, in this way. We work to compress them, to feel the smallest territory of colluding and colliding cells. We consider a vector. Where should this heatball go? In the room? Outside the room? Be as specific as possible. See the trajectory, envision the pathway. Maybe it has to go through the rest of our body somehow, maybe the pathway winds irregularly. It’s up to us. But we are so clear with it. Tasting a pathway, desiring an irruption, producing an eruption. This is the only preparation, and the limitations are vast. We can’t wind up, the surge has to come from the explosive A-bomb of heat cells we are generating. But how, but how, but how, but how will we get there? What we project is not already there, it only exists in its potentiality. There is only one option or another, confronting a decidedly physical reality based on an attempt. We can’t move that far, the imagination is fleeting, we question it. This will not work. It is an exercise in failure, but also in producing an excess. A surge, in a momentary leap through the air, and the unknown configuration of a landing. Trusting the body has never been more difficult. There are people witnessing this catastrophe. We are bracing for it. We’re in an all-out duck and cover. We don’t want to let you see this silly flail.

Do it anyway. Time and space expose the limitations of our bodies, and our imagination. They are not in synch. But what has emerged? Some exhilarating scramble that we could not have anticipated doing. A grunt. The bodies around us do the same. The grunt interrupts the moment in a comedic attention grab. It’s an involuntary song of our effort. It surprises us and traces our movement sonically, though hard smacks against the floor and forceful exhales. Our thwaps interrupt us again.

The implications, the look of this wriggling through constriction has the outward appearance of three drug-induced women fighting against some kind of outward dominance. But look closer. We are working very hard. We’re stretching our capacity to sense ‘freedom’ within this configuration of restraint. Our present fidelity to the task illuminates unpredictable intensities to a depth that can only signify the presence of life happening, forms becoming something beyond a rational calculation of outcomes.

Our personalities leak all over the floor. We are distinct in every way, and also together. It is together that we navigate uncertainty, and certain instability. I just can’t really see you right now.

“There are always constraints. When we walk, we’re dealing with the constraint of gravity. There’s also the constraint of balance, and a need for equilibrium. But, at the same time, to walk you need to throw off the equilibrium, you have to let yourself almost go into the fall, then you cut it off and regain the balance. You move forward by playing with the constraints, not avoiding them. (B. Massumi, 12-13)

                                              ii.      ‘Thrusting from Vague Points of Leadership’: Propel the body faster than your ability to identify its point of origin

“I give myself up to space like a blind man’s tears. Whose will am I, who wills in me?” (E. Cioran, 322)

This inertia is going. All I have to do is start, or just say ‘start’ because I already have, so the word is what’s needed.

This is a combination of surrender and resistance. Recovery produces the next point of initiation. I feel my body-ghosts saving me again and again. Who are they? These paths are mine in this moment on this floor, and I accept their perpetual clumsiness. Exhaustion. Breath. The vague, the Nouvelle Vague, we don’t know where the next impulse came from. Was it the Rhythmic Overlord? An approximation of desire propelling, in some other direction? A response of an unknown potential, of an unknown degree, until it is happening. The immediacy of her recovery is immanent to its action. She moves through the elided present and can only glimpse at its trace afterward. After rage. After emotion points outward. The towards-ness, but to what? To what end? I can only go on for so long. The flops of each recovery determine the crackle of each proceeding move. Fail and recover, and crack open the streamline body through a furthering of decaying movements.

A revolution formed of the detritus that fell between the cracks, between the layers of good dancing and performativity, effort and expectation, precision and surrender to weight-full-ness, the upswing of gravity, the horizontal plane where suspense, and lilt moved in. She continues like a fool pummeling through quicksand.

The floor.

It burns every now and again, it changes our relationship to it, at once a threat to the next pound, a glide to the next slide, a surface that holds us up and pulls us down. If it were softer this would be much harder. I remember when I ran on the sand, how the divots drew movement out from under my feet, the ground shifted from beneath in the opposite direction, as a counter balance, and counter weight, but on this floor we suspend. We fire the Judge. We are not acquainted anymore. She’s a menace with an unknown agenda. Don’t look her in the eye. She might make some decision that hurts. The floor stings but you still protect yourself. Where did that elbow come from? Stepping too far, too much, an effort to change, to dislodge, towards discomfort that is not necessarily hard to do, but hard to conceive of doing. To stretch my thoughts beyond the next step, to overstay my visit in this terrain of vectors that both confine and reveal a lasting bruise and imprint of an organization I cannot name. A flow I cannot pinpoint the origin of. The excess that swarms upon a completion that never comes. This might go on forever. I’m bored, I’m exasperated, she is leaking out everywhere. We are feeling time differently. Space is an anomaly. Each thrust is a micro big-bang, and the galaxies taste like cotton candy. Improvisation implies a technique, but here the technique is instinctive, and pops up on the smoothness. I go until it is less in my grasp. Creation becomes contingent. I am going backwards to a point of origin with every thrust forward, through, and around, but never inward. This is ALL OUT. This is a pixilated explosion of expression that knows no author other than the moment’s grasp, gaping wide with salivary disease and heartache. The pain of fatigue diminishes identifiers more. We recognize less from an internal view. We palpate more, and ride sensation like an expert pony. The flesh has become a dictatorship. The mutiny of the body organizes and mobilizes an affective front. We are wild without you. We fly under your radar, leaving enough time to escape. Our path is only revealed by our arrival, a short memory, and another recovery. Through space, further, and further, I am still going along this route of someone’s design. Why? It is mine. It is not mine. There is no single point of origin. It might be desire, perseverance to continue, but empirically it is only capturable in hindsight, that doubling-back that perceives a logical point that can be traced, but cannot be doubled, cannot be precisely duplicated. What might be duplicated is an overall sense of this dance’s characteristics: a flailing of debris with sharp edges and softening follow-throughs. It is continuously unsettled.

“We will never feel grounded when immanence is the starting point for our thinking. Indeed, the sense of a constantly shifting ground is precisely what characterizes the project to think immanence, to live immanently, whether we approach that project as ‘philosophy’, ‘performance’ or, simply, ‘life’.” (L.C. Maoilearca: 9).

The meal from 1pm, the degree of accepted uncertainty, the degree of accepted boredom, I am so sick of myself I let you all in, the critters of social norm, the neighbours upstairs who can tolerate these thuds, the neighbours below who I want to irritate, the dubiousness of this theory, the history of the room I’m doing this in, the permission that gives me, the suspected gaze of an unknown future audience, the paranoia of a present surveillance, and the unwanted.

Time and speed possess recognition. I try to harness their potential for deluding the leadership status of the mind, the crafting cruxes of logic and choreographic consideration IN THIS WAY. Just so. There is still so much repetition, but with a perpetuation of change, differing like each and every snowflake frozen in a water crystal for one decent descent. An entire existence in the lifetime of one fall, one categorical drip without a known landing. Maybe there are groupings along the way, forming clusters and triads of interlacing pandemonium, trends of melting and fixing along the trajectory of down. I go down, but try to go across. To defy the verticality of gravity by adding an outward, horizontal thrust, but where did that come from? This inner desire to conquer physics, to override intention and design, come from me still. To override intention is still an intention.

Who else is in there? Who has made me so polite as to not spill the water from my cup, spit and shit and curse and neigh? Too far. This limitation is in-bred. It is not animal, but anthropomorphic. I send away for a ride on another creature. I am waiting its present form in cartilage and aches. This flow is of resistance and surrender. The leaders are blurry. They have been elected as a group by the mind, but the body designates their roles, their redundant bickering and choking and anti-ups and spatial discharge. They are armed, insulted, and enamored by their own necessity. Each as vain as the next, but the kind of vanity that waits until its acts are noticed. ‘Oh thank you limb, your arcs are despicable and sultry’. The salty sweat remarks on fatigue, wears on it, and produces sounds like sliding wet fingers over the rim of a crystal glass. Is this some kind of device? We are lost in ourselves, and the deities have gone to sleep. Their leadership is over, and our belief in their figuration can only resemble Hollywood, and that one art history class. The imagination cannot hold these new leaders, the ones still churning in the night, the ones that continue beyond the decay of fatigue and labour and the value of the dancer as martyr. If this effort continues, I might get paid. If this effort continues, I might forget its ontology. Stop. Just stop. This task can’t exist in pedestrian time, but only the ultra fast, or ultraslow, each one beckoning its own set of residual escape attempts. To push out. THIS IS ALL OUT. In all directions at once. The lasting affect of space going through me, with direction, unknown, in time. A reconfiguration of choice, the decision to step on this rock, in this way, at this moment, to this degree of risk. “I’m the kind of person” talk is left out.

There are only so many options, there are so many options. We’ve been down this sidewalk before. I don’t give out change. This is a night out, I have to protect my image, I have to weigh affordances and investments after the one-night stand reveals the details of the night:

…in the dense but noncommittal encounters that make up a hyperactive social – and sometimes sexual – promiscuity, I can shed my self-awareness and step outside myself. It is only when I am ecstatic, outside of myself, that I can be with everyone, that I can float in a sense of potential. A networker must always be ecstatic, must maintain a slightly exaggerated enthusiasm, must get high on the potential of so many contacts that can never be realized or translated into actual collaboration, using this high in turn to leap to the next encounter. (D. Diederichsen, 12-13).

Our attention and criticality are displaced by time, by the next encounter, by pure potentiality of the continuous network the body has stepped into. Each encounter re-directs. The intrinsic knowledge of this dance produces itself. It is perfectly Neoliberal, self- generating, exhausting, and effortful for its own good, but it is also immoral, wild, and unpredictable. Its politics are corporeal, and surrender to desire, subvert verticality, and undermine the plan. Get used to it. Get used to the intensity of lived-in space, thrash and wane, gutteral response… Just stick with one thing. The effervescence of this unidirectional goal of ubiquitous change IS the one thing. This ever-shifting is the plane of live-force-change and subsequent death. It is an elaborate ritual happening through us. You don’t do it like me at all. It is yours.”

b.     Dualities: Schpando Illuminated She comes up to you and whispers in your ear

“It would help to remove the “two veils.” I don’t know what this means… I find the section about the veils; one is “conflicting emotions” and the other is “primitive beliefs about reality.’ These veils obscure awakened mind, which is always already here. To this day this metaphor, these two veils, haunt my meditation practice.” (Dilley: 26)

Listening. Listening to the self, in its moment of action: its happening. There’s more there there; more to observe than on first glance. Listening is an act of becoming, in as much as it is an action.

There are so many binaries: inner/outer, mind/body, conscious/unconscious, personal/public, active/passive… The space between these binaries is a fissure, something to fall into. Their very naming, their very inscription is a clawing out of this fissure, and a leap from one side to the other. Their very naming is a moment of capture, albeit dubious and unstable, for in the space between the line of division, a duality of any kind, exists the shadow of the third: a ghost-like transparency that magnetizes, pushes, pulls, confuses, disorients, and adapts meaning, pulling on it like gnawing creature. It floats through the gaping distance, and is often unobserved. The third, the triad, the id, ego, superego, the other. All of these notions imply a stepping out of, towards, or away from. A change. To gain perception is to increase proximity. To gain perspective is to decrease proximity. I can only see myself from a distance. I can only focus, see it, name it, after its birth. But what of the elusive third? A force of becoming that forsakes vision, and penetrates and defies all sides. I do, think, name, dance, listen, and speak all at the same time. This convoluted activity distracts the attempts to see the self as a goal, and yet something emerges.

I go to repetition. I have been immersed in repetition throughout my training, throughout my life. Thousands of plies later, they are never the same, but they are so reliable, like a comfortable shoe. I am comfortable in myself, most days. But who is this third entity? The indirect disobedience of desire, ambition, accident, and deepening persuasion are always operating. How do I access them, but veer away from naming, veer away from capture in its narrowing, final, divisive capacity?

It is awful to discover Ego, my great big me. Once the dynamic of this peculiar belief in a solid self is pointed out, I feel covered in something murky and think. I can’t believe it is an illusion. Observing the way I see the world through this Ego lens, I am miserably self-conscious unless I drink a lot of whiskey.  (Dilley 32)

I have decided to name her Schpando. My dear friend Geordan named her, unknowingly, sometime in the early 2000’s. Her name is an action, not a noun, not proper, and her essence is linked to my Italian father, and my studio advisor, by the word scapando (‘escaping’ in Italian), as well as my mother’s lineage and the mysterious Plains Cree ancestor whose identity is commonly cited, and also commonly questioned. Did she really exist? Who has proof? How do we know? But we know. Schpando is the third. The question. The doubt intertwined with deep knowing that doesn’t care about facts. A continual slipping out from under representation, and a perpetual breaking away from inscription. Schpando is the third, in the shadows of Derrida’s notion of ‘trace’ inferred by opposition or negation in language (‘self’ as inferring ‘other’). Schpando is ever-evasive affect that can only be met by a certain curiosity towards something else. She is intrinsically linked to the present moment in its impossibility to grasp, to fully sense, to interpret and justify. She is an emergence without characteristics, only aftermaths and strange dreams. She embeds and beguiles. She demands trust. She comes up to you and whispers in your ear. “ … the ego arises by identification with form, and deep down it knows that no forms are permanent, that they are all fleeting. So there is always a sense of insecurity around the ego even if on the outside it appears confident.” (E. Tolle, 80)

                                               i.     Ride the line of active and passive, like a tensile string between two halves

“…the detachment necessary for self-observation is one thing, the energetic force needed to override a passion or affect another.” (T. Brennan, 2210)

Active and passive are not reductive. They are omnipresent in the moving body, in the contraction and elongation of agonist and antagonistic muscles, in the ebb and flow of tension and release, directing and redirecting. A lengthening must involve an opposing contraction. A line of movement delineates the winding curvature of dynamic motion. This line, as we trace it through space, is also a centre, a negotiation of contact between two halves, a ridge. The moment one side flips to the other is difficult to precisely pinpoint without plumbing the depths of science, but it is undoubtedly happening, and there are undoubtedly spaces in the moving body that science cannot account for. The dancing is in the transitions. The play with which one body enacts movement is idiosyncratic, personal, and imprinted upon by time and circumstance. This play between experiential and theoretical, fiction and science, leave some gaps. Our perceptive limitations leave an opening for imagination to colour and fill.

If I could trace this ridge, this edge, this verge of flopping to the other side, it has a characteristic threshold. It informs a path, a familiar trajectory, although its specific sensation might be alien. Our movements produce a tipping point. If we could use the body as a metaphor, this verge, this tipping towards a flip is intoxicating. It is internal, and linked to our movements, linked to our histories, linked to our cultures, linked to out behaviours. Our bodies have been inducted.

Our bodies and our lives are almost a kind of resonating chamber for media borne perturbations that strike us and run through us, that strike us and strike beyond us simultaneously. This is all happening at a level before we can position ourselves, before we are able to step back and try to rationalize the experience. We are braced into the experience, inducted into it in a very direct, bodily way, before we can adopt a considered posture towards it.  (Massumi: 114)

Likewise we address the viewer. The spectator as neither passive or active, not contracted or implicated by an externalized value of being ‘active’ as if watching was not already so, as if retreating in contemplation was not already so. Tracing the network, the edge, the openings and closings, is active, is spectatorship, even when observing the self. I observe the self in this active way through each online interruption, through this distraction of the keyboard, its design pulls me away from this document and towards the familiar platforms of self actualization and performance. Again and again. The status update as a moment of passive performance, as a moment of active character building, of the ego run amuck. This is the culture of my being. I can’t ignore its impact, especially in this keyboard dance, this lifestyle performance.

I am my own active spectator. The audience is not present in this moment. I anticipate their bodies in the room, but cannot fully plan for the surplus of energy, their gaze, the response of my adrenal system. I hide behind the performance. I try not to hide. To let them witness my thought process is a value I hold near. Dearly. For what? Who is this dance for? The connections between moments are virtual. They remind me of Cunningham and OpenEndedGroup’s ‘Loops’, where his hand and finger movements are traced digitally while he reads a journal entry from his first visit to New York in 1937. His hands are nodes of a network, like these keys I type. Hit hit hit. It is autobiographical to every extent. No one else ever performed this work, but it was an inquiry into the connections between. His digital affect dance.

 “…networks have no inside, only radiating connectors. They are all edges. They provide connections but no structure. One does not reside in a network, but just rather moves to other points through the edges.  (Latour 46)

                                               i.     Up to go Down, Down to go up. Compression from above, Motivation from Below

The floor is inescapable, relational material. I can’t do this dance without gravity. Depression pulls. Force normal pushes up. Compression from above, motivation from below. The horizontal axis is constant, but there is no hierarchy in terms of value, there is only necessity: the superior angle of my scapula must pivot down as my scapula upwardly rotates and my arm lifts. This is as close as I might get to The Grand Union, declaring that no movements have any greater ontological, or hierarchical value than any other. They just necessarily change in space. Even lying on my back, completely horizontal and relaxed, if I try to flatten my lumbar spine, DOWN through space, something must go UP. Oppositions in two directions, yes, but there are also axes spiraling through various pivot points at the same time. What if instead of a physical determinacy these ulterior movements were more ambiguous, subliminal, insidious, like my personality leaking out through the inner desiring pathways of my fascia?

And there is continuity. This is a rhythmic value. How does that push? Does that take over the rhythm of the movement in some way? I try to perceive these mutations, and the pulls away from pure verticality, and when concept and body cannot be mutually exclusive, but bounce off of each other to produce something in excess of dimension. The mind is taught and loose at the same time, open to change, and also the continual failure, and necessary adaptation, of the task.

I try to stick to the task.

I desire to jump. I have to bend my knees first. I try not to and roll over my toes. I think about the moments an astronaut comes back to gravity, and the muscular strength needed to recover, to become reacquainted with gravity. I remember a Hollywood film and the improbability of crashing from outer space, escaping a death pod, and swimming to a beach after days of starvation, shock, loss of consciousness, and George Clooney. I remember that popular culture references in performance work can be alienating.

I drop some objects, and try to strangle balloons. To make something else do the task. If they could go lower, a change in state would have to occur. And what of the body, as it manipulates the objects to conduct its will. It must move along this axis.

I think death is the only way to go down without going up.

Unless this is a spiritual conversation.

Unless this is a scientific conversation.

Someday something will munch on my bones and bring that energy back into some other life cycle.

Life is ultimate recycling.

The only things we share are energy and germs.

My friend and colleague Alicia Grant told me that once. The energy of those words are sill moving me.

I sneeze. Can the sound of a person’s sneeze indicate motivation? Look at me. Don’t look at me. Can the action of a person’s sneeze indicate compression? I sneezed into my elbow like a responsible Toronto citizen (there are signs about this everywhere). I sneezed into my hand and put it on the escalator. Germs have wanderlust.

The cute humour of this last thought makes me think about the stylized chatter on Facebook. THESE ARE SERIOUS QUESTIONS THOUGH. I am a question, personified. It’s fucking endless.

Sometimes you have to erect thought, or implement action, in order to step away from it. Sometimes you have to create a division in order to fall into its cracks. To use Dualities in order to disprove their Entirety, or their Polemic Assertions. Deleuze and Guattari (D&G) famously assert: PLURALISM = MONISM. The univocity of being is DIFFERENCE. The thing that is shared in life itself is its perpetual differentiation.

Every time I write D&G I think of Dolce and Gabbana. The ubiquity of capitalism has penetrated the philosophy of its grandfathers. Theories towards expansion, openness and instability have penetrated my imagination. The ‘me-ness’ of this moment makes we wonder if I should try almond milk for a change. Swallowing must involve some kind of upward motion. Swallowing philosophy involves a certain vertical elation, and sometimes the opposite is true. Here’s a regurgitation that brought me down in theory, and up in movement.

We live in a climate of exhaustion: the act of creation, of making and producing, is less significant in and of itself than in relation to the void, to the fall which follows. . . For our invariably compromised efforts, the divine and inexhaustible depths are situated outside the field of our concepts and our sensations. Man was born with the vocation of fatigue: when he adopted the vertical posture and thereby diminished his possibilities of support, he was doomed to weaknesses unknown to the animal he was. To carry on two legs so much substance and all the disgusts related to it!” (E. Cioran, 247-248)

The intrinsic, valuing of ‘exhaustion’ runs deep in me. I could keep at this for a very long time. The physical effort (in moments of intellectual weakness) sometimes serve to justify the work. I know this is bogus, and I push against it. This is not a durational project, it is a dance. Who is it for? If I am testing my own limits then that’s one thing, but why would anyone want to watch this, read it, join me?

Up to go down: if I jump for a long time, and attempt greater height, eventually fatigue will decrease the elevation in successive jumps. Compression from above: “GET IT TOGETHER you can jump higher you failure flailer!” Motivation from below: “these are the strongest legs I’ve ever had, ever, in this moment, no matter what the empirical evidence, this jump WILL BE higher because we feel it as such.”

If I stop judging, for one second, that one move is better than the other, then higher/lower lose their power AND value in relation to the floor, and to each other. I notice I just coupled the words ‘power’ and ‘value’. Are they synonymous to me? The suspension of judgment brings me back to the Grand Union, and the anarchist values penetrating the studio, the sequences, and the collectivist agreement to perform the decisions as they come. “Yvonne calls it “spontaneous behavior”. There’s no going back… we make up everything in front of audiences.” (B. Dilley, 96)

There are no fixed points, all movement is relative, so all that really matters is the perception of one jump, not in relation to the jump before, or after, in time, but to another, present, moving target. Every jump is higher than the floor. The floor is moving too.

The present’s ‘boundary condition’, to borrow a phrase from science, is never a closed door. It is an open threshold – a threshold of potential. You are only ever in the present in passing. If you look at it that way you don’t ever have to feel boxed in, no matter what horrors are afield and no matter what, rationally, you expect will come. You may not reach the end of the trail, but at least there’s a next step. The question of which next step to take is a lot less intimidating than how to reach a far-off goal in a distant future where all our problems will finally be solved. It’s utopian thinking, for me, that’s ‘hopeless’. (B. Massumi, 2-3)

II.             Collective Space

“ …there are uses of language that can bring the inadequation between language and experience to the fore in a way that can convey the ‘too much’ of the situation – its charge – in a way that actually fosters new experiences.” (B. Massumi, 13)

Into communication. Choreography involves other people. Witnesses, or audiences, or collaborators. It is inherently social, but not a social art practice. It is choreography. It is also communication. A communication of ‘time over space’, which Marten Spangberg once said in the depths of a workshop in Vienna in 2012. To me, it’s the ‘over space’ part that implies movement – although nothing is ever really still. Under what conditions does choreography communicate its movements, or its ‘Over-Space’?

Control and agency play off of each other in endless conversation. If I am working with another person, how do I leave room for her/his agency to make live decisions, but within the structure of the score, the crafted frame, the directive? I look to these directives for answers. What are the words, and how do they come into being, and into the game of our collective space? How do they communicate the ‘Over-Space’ of a choreographic work? I think about this how. I think about how scores are made. The words of the author must come from somewhere specific. This is not arbitrary. There is a psychology embedded in the way a choreographer communicates the score, the deep control of the improvisation. I look to my inner motivations. I want to listen to them. I don’t know where I’m from. Where are these words coming from? Peering through the layers in my culture, the society I’ve been conditioned to, can give me surface answers about my motivations taking form. I will listen, and listen deeply. I will chatter incessantly, and once that first layer of garbage has exhausted itself, deep knowing will come through. I am choosing to believe this, as of March 10th, 2016, 1:12pm.

I am inducted into a way of being in the present, braced for catastrophe at any moment, and on all fronts. I want to listen to its affects, to attune to them through movement. ‘Differential attunement’ is something Brian Massumi talks about. “We’re all in on the event together, but we’re in it together differently. We each come with a different set of tendencies, habits and action potentials.” (Massumi, 115). What is pertinent to me here is the live-ness of this state, this presence, that is necessary to be attuned to something, and to grasp its affects on the body. But then how do I talk about them? The reflexive word has gone through a process of analysis. The live word is more immediately connected to the action of its origin. The keys on this keyboard are telling me this. I will harness the live word for two purposes: its attunement to the present, the way it can point towards movement in its immediate emergence, and how it can bring others into the dance with me through the score, in both the production and communication of the choreographic frame. “In naming a sensation of which he may be aware (energy departing and returning) he may be limited by his current vocabulary, but he is pushed to expand it in accounting for sensations in sequence: the knowledge gleaned by comparison.” (T. Brennan, 2297)

The choreographic score is a sensorial map. It traverses the affects over time that produce words in their immediate movements. Is it possible to taint this production of words with the intentional power of IDEAS? To produce an atmosphere that renders one’s vocabulary to fall under the spell of certain phrases, times, thought patterns, and perspectives? I tried to.

a.     Academic Atmosphere: Follow the indirect pathway of light through an infinitely dense forest

I deploy vastness, peripheral vision, and Gaston Bachelard. This forest is also an ocean. I’m sensing its simultaneous, arrhythmic, specificity. I’m watching the ocean in my peripheral vision.

Words I take into the meditation: immensity, vast, volume, the forest, beyond objectivity, poetic opening.

Moving from the body I think I have. What is a thought? An inscription of an already-has-been and inputted way of feeling, understanding a delineation of arm, torso, trunk, concern, safety, pathways. The impossibility of undoing, or re-encoding, the indirect pathway as an elusive way, locating in the dislocating, the loss of identifiers that meant something to my body. The volume of the body, the volume of the room, the volume of the space of movement is the thing, the thought, that pushes the movement into the blur, into the unspecificity of previous pathways through the labyrinth of the dense forest of the present. To not register the present through a looking back, or an understanding of the breadcrumbs I’ve just left behind, but that each step along the path, each dot, is connected to the last, and preemptive of the future, the causality is a trap. But what if the density increased? This density of the pathway might also mean an increase in the volume of movement, of the inner density of attention to the body, the weight of each particle surrendering to gravity, or converging like mini anvils of vast weight beyond what I can hold. I trick my muscles to retain the anticipated weight, but then have to deal with the cellular anvils. They are surprised by the unsuspecting multitudes of trees and root systems and heavy water that suspend on each leaf and blur the sightlines. It is all at night. The sight is no longer a navigation tool, but an unfolding into the present. Sight is no longer for distance, for planning, for placing the foot, but a flash of the meeting of impulse and arrival. To be lost in the present is to be drawn into a fullness of being. Becoming is processual, and maintains an awareness of the pathway, a spot along the creases of a map, but being is a flash of the present, an all-in immersive pressure of a fullness of unfolding senses that hold no vested interest in before or after, but only operate by necessity, contingency, and the horrors of nonsense that summon operations of the body’s mechanism to be in constant question of the now, or now, or now, or the location of the room as the here, or here. The roots interrupt the footing, the leaves blur the sightlines, the fog lets it be known that the true density of this forest is ________ and _________ J)))))

b.     Reference the Image Bank, Build a Lexicon: Femininity and shame: Slips and Iconic Poses (when you notice an iconic position, stop and let it register as something absorbed)

Referencing your image bank, your network, the transference of the lexicon of images you’ve absorbed through online searches, lived life, news reels, emotional draaaama, the assumed reality of others, the states you see and relate to something intrinsic, some memory of classifications, or supposed relations that have been learned.

I’m moving at a continuous speed, today it is slow, and I continue moving until I notice something familiar, presentational, frontal, performative, or something that has a title. It’s a kind of projection déjà vu. I’ve seen this position before, but in what context? Where, and when? In what ways am I responsible for noticing the continuities in the network within which I exist? Do I perpetrate these norms? Is there something more ancient churning in there?

We are wired to notice patterns. Perception is the base state of habit. What happens then, when I start noticing habit? Does a change in perception necessarily coincide?

I am both inside and outside this dance. Because I know the task, I am searching for iconic positions, and can find them quickly. However, each time one emerges, it changes the next, and an atmosphere or mood comes into the room. Today it is fashion, sex positions, and violence. Is there some relation between these subjects that stand out in my culture, and its absorption? YES. Consumption.

I should let this go on for longer. The subtleties of character, people, and things are immeasurably vast, and in a constant state of morphing.

Only human images came into the room today…

I’ve been so colonized, but there is something more primal that dancing can access. I want to tap this power-link to desire, necessity, urge, endurance, effort, force, dynamics, et cetera.

In searching for the next position I’m in a future-thinking-state: a temporary moment of anxiety about how to make it to the next landmark, and succeed at my own game. The positions occur at fairly regular intervals. The rhythm of want/get is solid in me. I will force an emergence at the right time it is supposed to emerge. This is my rhythm of expectation, my fear of boredom, my expectations of performance.

Perhaps the word iconic is too specific to a type of thing, person, archetype, etc. Maybe I’m looking for the edges, maybe I’m pausing at an interstice of the body, and the image of the body, as resonant of something else beyond its frame. What connects this body to something else? Does that thing have a name, a position, a point of reference that lives at an edge? A mini, buzzing line the catapults me out of the room and into timelessness, a lineage, but also only temporarily?

Femininity and shame need a societal container to even exist as identity and psychological constructs. Maybe I should examine psychological motivation a little.

I am the music video. I am the genre-bender, head-banging to a folk tune.

The slip has a direction that has carried my body towards another configuration.

I keep attituding, like an attitudinous monster with a ponytail and a shirt that wont stay tucked in. A tendency to look down, to bend over, to touch my butt, to hate the sound of my sliding feet.

To move away from the social. Shame has no object, it’s a mood, it takes over. Femininity is a force to be channeled, and it has nothing to do with gender.

Perhaps this dance has no shame. It plays with the camera, it licks the rim of the lens.

The pornographic body, the erotic body. What’s the difference? They’re both bound up with human freedom and violence. Mario Vargas Llosa, tell me about the cultural draught of eroticism please?

And the gaze of the beholder, please enlighten me Peggy Phelan: whose gaze and what do they see, or rather, what are they not seeing? Who are THEY?

What happened? The slip, femininity, shame, trying to identify the present moment.

There is tension between two surfaces that sometimes exists naturally by following weight, gravity, body logic, but then there’s the kind I can push into, to test it, to see how far before something gives out. This kind of slip is intentional, to produce a giving way, to produce another direction. The force has to be applied somewhat perpendicularly for a slip to take place. To go across the surface of contact, to subvert its fibres, but what did I say? There’s little left of memory after today. I must have been engrossed to the point past memory retention. A few new iconic positions, blurry in the memory, their shapes are muted, but the memory of their arrival still exists. Who do you think you are? I can’t pay attention to the present when I’m self monitoring. What do the words mean? It is possible to ignore their meaning, especially if I go back to the rules: slip out from under, continue going under, and when an iconic position presents itself, notice it too, but don’t set out to actively look for it. You must not. It will come to you WHENEVER it comes. There must not be urgency to find something, to arrive on something. This urgency lives in a dimension of time slightly ahead of you, and it eats your present attention.

I’m using English because this is the mode of my culture and personal history. I’m using English so I can face myself. I’m using English to notice the gaps, the disparity between a movement and its inscriptions, especially when they are contextually completely disparate. The words cannot change what I’m doing, because I lose what I’m doing. The elided present.

I imagined an audience today. I looked at them. Then I tried not to be ‘too frontal’. This inner judgment pulled me out. My attention to failing at my own game brought me back in, in its necessary self-forgiveness.

Stay in it. This is your whole world. Who did you become today? I go in with slipping, and shame, and Tammy Wynette.

c.      An Embodied Network: ‘Creaturing’: Project an expanded creature self onto another person, who is also doing the same thing

“I love seeing people come out of darkness.” David Lynch, Catching the Big Fish

This is the most embarrassed I’ve ever been. The risk analysis is terrible. A vulnerability challenge of a strange variety, where myself and two collaborators (Alicia Grant and Julia Male) are staring at each other with deep knowing, but an outward unknowing. The surplus potential is massive.

We are projecting an imaginary version of ourselves onto whatever we see, and we are looking at each other. We are attempting to dance a unison duet with an expansive mirror version of our imaginary bodies, but how can we dance in unison with something completely incompatible in form?

This creature has endless shapes, limbs, and capacities to change. It is only ever a partial glimpse in an alien tango. It can move faster than we ever will, but we try to keep up.

This is a trio. Therefore, in our gaze towards each other, there is always someone left out. It keeps changing. We keep projecting this creature thing and try to keep up with it. Wiggles abound.

A collective creature of some kind, in negative space.

We are seeing ourselves through the body of another person. When that person starts to do the same thing, we are interrupted. The object of our gaze keeps wiggling, keeps moving, as we try to keep up with the phantom creature we are projecting onto their physical screen. There is so much wonder and confusion. It is impossible, but it’s also happening constantly, in a much more casual, and often negative way. We are amplifying an already existing mental engagement between the ego and itself, through another person: “The act of directing negative affects to the other severs my kin tie with her by objectifying her. I make her into an object by directing these affects toward her, because that act marks her with affects that I reject in myself.” (Brennan, 2243). What is the other dialogue we are initiating here? We are not projecting negative affects. On the contrary, they are coming from a positive attempt to expand our physicality towards an imagined evolution, towards change and adaptation. Glimpsing at the unimaginable forms deeply embedded.

We have an ethic of non-judgment. This ethic detaches us from the possession of affects in order to ‘discern’ them (T. Brennan). They become live ego witnessing, with a little bit more stretch, away from conditioned, pedestrian movement and behavior. We are dancing. We are ‘abducting’: C.S. Pierce’s word for “…thought that is still couched in bodily feeling, that is still fully bound up with unfolding sensation as it goes into action before it has been able to articulate itself in conscious.” reflection and guarded language.” (B. Massumi, 10)

Through this expansion, we are diffusing the lines between us as we attempt to stretch ourselves beyond singular subjects, outward to another person through the gaze, and animated by the body. We are becoming a new species, alien to ourselves, revealed in the delight of an outsourced behavior: a collective ecology of immanent transformation. We are individuating. And not under the imposition of the choreographic score, but because of the score. It is a small propeller that pushes us forward, beyond, and into other realms.

We had no idea we were capable of that. We had no idea we cold accept the gaze of the audience on this intimate projection. Our insistence on the task makes it compelling. We are coming together to field our own transformation.

I can see a big toe by your ear, but it looks like a hammer. It moves as though doing the fastest gig. We will not fear you witnessing this change. So much of the practice is dependent on the presence of an audience. We need your eyes to change ours. We need the stakes to intensify our commitment to each choice.

III.           Virtual Space

“…it dawned on me that underneath what I was experiencing as a random selection of materials was a very consistent score operating all the time, informing my choices. What was this inner, under score?” (N. Stark Smith, 90)

To become aware of movement in the present, I have to remember that the space of my present culture includes technology, and its physical appendages. Software and hardware are a part of my daily experience and interactivity where I live in Toronto, Canada. In the time spent observing my thoughts and movements in-studio, I acknowledge the affective presence of the internet, the information that traverses its lines, and the performative space it provides in terms of self-actualization, constructed identities, shared affiliations, and movement. If dance is obligatory to space, then my movements through virtual space can be considered valid. If my movements through virtual space are contingent on a device, then I must include the hard technologies that impose movements on the body and adapt my way of being. Life itself is happening on this proliferating, unconscious network. I use it to witness myself, my thoughts, my movements, in the same way I would in the studio. There is no separation really.

For Spinoza, Deleuze, and Massumi, in the use of the word affect, the body must be included. “When you affect something, you are at the same time opening yourself up to being affected in turn, and in a slightly different way than you might have been the moment before. You have made a transition, however slight. You have stepped over a threshold.” (B. Massumi, 3). A threshold implies containment, a line, a ridge, the edge of a network, or a space. The Internet, a virtual space, is a hotbed of performed and projected egos. It is a culture of performativity, connection, and interaction. The affective flows run in both directions: through me, through my dance in this virtual space, and vice versa.

I witness my ego in action as I objectify, and project onto the images, and live chat windows, collecting information about me. I know something about myself through these frames, and like choreographic frames, they can produce a way of being, a level of control, and a container for perceived ‘freedom’. What levels of deep control are at play? If I were to consider the Internet a choreographed space, how are the parameters of its network produced?

Bruno Latour relates the network not to a physical object, but to a text that produces action. In his ‘Actor-Network Theory’, a good network “… is nothing more than an indicator of the quality of a text about the topics at hand. It qualifies its objectivity, that is, the ability of each actor to make other actors do unexpected things… In this case, network represents one informal way of associating together human agents.” (ed. L.B Larson, 69).

The collective, affective space of human agents, where bodies are involved, can be tied to Spinoza. These bodies can be in affectively attuned to the surges of the internet, and its potential intensity as a network that moves through and with bodies.

The Internet inducts the body, the body inducts the internet. It is symbiotic, collaborative, and improvisational. It is also constantly differentiating through and by the demands of its physical users. The hacker is the supreme creative being with maximal potentiality, tapping into the dark corners, under the radar, and bypassing the checkpoints that normally track the movements of traditional users. Maximal access, maximal potential, maximal maneuverability = intensity, and surplus power

Can these checkpoints, or evasive strategies, be represented differently as movements in space? They are bought and sold. They are not fixed. They are like the points along the dancing flow of choreographed bodies. They are directly related to unconscious movement, until there is conflict, or some other interruption that awakens the moment of necessity.

a.     Technology as Capture

Marisa Olson used the phrases ‘after the internet’ and ‘post-internet’ beginning in 2006. At the time, “Olson described her artistic process as taking place in the wake of – ‘after’ – time spent online, as the ‘cognitive yield’ of obsessive clicking.” (M. Conner, ed. Kholief, 57). The idea of cognitive yield is important in rethinking the symbiosis of body and technology, but also implies that there is a separation, or distance between technology and body. I look to the work of Maria Jerez to point towards a new configuration. In her solo performance ‘The Perfect Alibi’ (2011-2012), Jerez embodies and repurposes everyday tools such as her desktop, and word processor, and she is re-imagined through the framework of the software. She creates a space of individuation through technology in live performance. It is immediate, and tracked, or captured, by the tools she is choreographing with.

These moments of capture are critical to processes of individuation, and producing the ‘subject’. In A Thousand Plateaus “Deleuze and Guattari characterize instances of subjectification as what they call ‘strata’: ‘acts of capture’ or ‘phenomenon of sedimentation’ that impose organization and stasis on the otherwise mobile, material energy of the worlds.” and the ‘subject is one of  “ ‘the three great strata’, each of which is attached to a different aspect of life: the organism to the body, significance to the ‘soul’ (or unconscious) and subjectification to the conscious.” (L.C. Maoilearca, 27).

It is my argument that there is a congruence of themes here. Capture, and the tools with which one captures, can be used to produce a choreographic framework or score for movements. The language of a score is similar in function to a network, whereby the potential actions the result from the network determine its potentiality, power, and intensity. The greater the intensity, the greater the ‘affective charge, and the potential to change the subject increases.

The internet is a life force. People have made it so. How can it be utilized or represented by the artist? How can the dancer embody the space of the internet, and can it be choreographed? “Computers do not run Google; Microsoft is not a large computer. Computers don’t spy on people. People do. Facebook is not just an algorithm. It is the people who design and implement the algorithm, together with the unwitting users.” (C. Dullaart, ed. O. Kholief, 147)

Works Cited

Aranda, Julieta, Brian Kuan Wood, and Anton Vidokle, eds. The Internet Does Not Exist. Berlin: Sternberg, 2015. Print.

Bachelard, Gaston, M. Jolas, and John R. Stilgoe. The Poetics of Space. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

Badiou, Alain. Handbook of Inaesthetics. Trans. Alberto Toscano. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 2005. Print.

Bishop, Claire. Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship. London: Verso, 2012. Kindle file.

Brennan, Teresa. The Transmission of Affect. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2004. Print.

Burrows, Jonathan. A Choreographer's Handbook. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2010. Print.

Cage, John. "Lecture on Nothing." Silence: Lectures and Writings. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan UP, 1961. N. pag. Print.

Cioran, E. M. A Short History of Decay. New York: Viking, 1975. IBook.

Diederichsen, Diedrich. "People of Intensity, People of Power: The Nietzsche Economy." Are You Working Too Much? Post-Fordism, Precarity, and the Labor of Art. Berlin: Sternberg, 2011. 9-28. Print.

Dilley, Barbara. This Very Moment: Teaching Thinking Dancing. N.p.: Naropa UP, 2015. Print.

Goldberg, RoseLee. Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1988. Print.

Hewitt, Andrew. Social Choreography: Ideology as Performance in Dance and Everyday Movement. Durham: Duke UP, 2005. Kindle file.

Kholeif, Omar. You Are Here: Art After the Internet. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.

Koteen, David, and Nancy Stark. Smith. Caught Falling: The Confluence of Contact Improvisation, Nancy Stark Smith, and Other Moving Ideas. Northampton, MA:

Larsen, Lars Bang, ed. Networks. London: Whitechapel, 2014. Print.

Llosa, Mario Vargas. Notes on the Death of Culture: Essays on Spectacle and Society. Trans. John King. New York: FGS, 2012. Print.

Lynch, David. Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2006. Kindle file.

Maoilearca, Laura Cull O. Theatres of Immanence. Place of Publication Not Identified: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. Print.

Massumi, Brian. Politics of Affect. Cambridge: Polity, 2015. Print.

Rethorst, Susan. A Choreographic Mind: Autobodygraphical Writings. Helsinki: Theatre Academy Helsinki, 2012. Print.

Tolle, Eckhart. A New Earth: Awaken Your Life's Purpose. London: Plume, 2005. Print.



Process Blog 2.5 - March 15, 2016

This performance was an attempt at talking and moving at the same time, with an audience present. I was testing how witnessing my process would change it: how would an audience change me, and how might I change them? I initiated my practice for 10 minutes, holding the audio recorder and improvising, following curiosities, and identifying the present thought, or some emergent linguistic representation of the elided present. I still think of this as bringing consciousness to my inner voice, and calling attention to expanded perceptions of the body and imagination. I still think accessing the present is impossible, but I'm interested in trying.

The present is constantly evading me. This video is the third performance (the show took place over three nights). I recalled memories of the previous two performances, and tried not to repeat certain moments, instead calling attention to their emergence in my memory.

After the ten-minute timer went off, I identified one choreographic directive that emerged from the improvisation. Something contextual. In this instance, it was ‘turn futility into power, turn corners’. I then replayed the audio, while I changed my costume. There was about 2-3 minutes of observing the space and listening to the audio in my absence, when the audience could remember or track some of my previous movements in the room. I then re-entered the space in costume, as my alter-ego Schpando, and moved to the sounds of my thoughts while attending to the physical directive ‘turn futility into power, turn corners’.


How I prepare for this work is important. It lays a contextual terrain for emergent thoughts/ they are ‘tainted’ by the information and mood as affected by the moments before. How I prepare helps saturate the atmosphere of this work. This is the affective space of the work, and a variable of control that I can impose, but am also surrendering to. In this video, I was influenced by an article I read earlier that day on Sick Woman Theory  I make reference to it when I say things like “how do you throw a brick when you can’t get up?” and I’m physically more drawn to the floor in this performance (typical for me, but not always when I’m doing this type of work).


I’m inspired by Maria Jerez in how she uses everyday tools to expand upon self, and surpasses the design limitations of technology towards a more physical absorption, or expression of self through technological tools.

I’m also thinking about Jeanine Durning’s ‘inging’ that performs a similar continuous outpouring of vocalizations, and attempts to do so at the speed of thought, getting as close as possible to vocally articulating a thought as it’s being formed in the mind, and churned out of the body

Crit 2, Group A (March 10th, 2016)

A Performance:

Solo at 'For Show: An Evening of Works in Progress' curated by Tina Fushell, including works by Fushell and Molly Johnson

This performance was an attempt at talking and moving at the same time, with an audience present. I was testing how witnessing my process would change it: how would an audience change me, and how might I change them? I initiated my practice for 10 minutes, holding the audio recorder and improvising, following curiosities, and identifying the present thought, or some emergent linguistic representation of the elided present. I still think of this as bringing consciousness to my inner voice, and calling attention to expanded perceptions of the body and imagination. I still think accessing the present is impossible, but I'm interested in trying.

The present is constantly evading me. This video is the third performance (the show took place over three nights). I recalled memories of the previous two performances, and tried not to repeat certain moments, instead calling attention to their emergence in my memory.

After the ten-minute timer went off, I identified one choreographic directive that emerged from the improvisation. Something contextual. In this instance, it was ‘turn futility into power, turn corners’. I then replayed the audio, while I changed my costume. There was about 2-3 minutes of observing the space and listening to the audio in my absence, when the audience could remember or track some of my previous movements in the room. I then re-entered the space in costume, as my alter-ego Schpando, and moved to the sounds of my thoughts while attending to the physical directive ‘turn futility into power, turn corners’.


How I prepare for this work is important. It lays a contextual terrain for emergent thoughts/ they are ‘tainted’ by the information and mood as affected by the moments before. How I prepare helps saturate the atmosphere of this work. This is the affective space of the work, and a variable of control that I can impose, but am also surrendering to. In this video, I was influenced by an article I read earlier that day on Sick Woman Theory  I make reference to it when I say things like “how do you throw a brick when you can’t get up?” and I’m physically more drawn to the floor in this performance (typical for me, but not always when I’m doing this type of work).


I’m inspired by Maria Jerez in how she uses everyday tools to expand upon self, and surpasses the design limitations of technology towards a more physical absorption, or expression of self through technological tools.

I’m also thinking about Jeanine Durning’s ‘inging’ that performs a similar continuous outpouring of vocalizations, and attempts to do so at the speed of thought, getting as close as possible to vocally articulating a thought as it’s being formed in the mind, and churned out of the body.

Thought for discussion:

1) This process is super anal. I want to refer to the audience more, and to the physical space around me more (but definitely not ask for participation)

2) The structure is as follows: talk and move for 10 minutes, identify a directive, playback the 10-minute audio while doing/dancing the directive. I’m curious about other structures, and if it’s interesting at all to watch the transparency and live construction of this work.

3) I have lots of edited audio scores. Is it important to hear the audio that I just made? What if other audio moments were played, from other iterations? It might expand the position of the work to outside the room, and bring other moments back into the present for some kind of re-enactment that modifies them

4) This might not work outside the intimate setting of a studio because people wouldn’t hear me in the beginning section when I’m producing the text. I want to try this elsewhere and see how it might change

I’m open to any feedback, feel free to ignore the above.

I look forward to speaking with you on Thursday!

Studio and Research Advisor Meetings: Feb 2016

1) Feb 5th, 2016:  Morgan O’Hara

Morgan and I discussed my plan for how to write the project report. I had the idea of using my dance and talking practice, and the live-ness of the word production, as a way to produce the body of text for my report. This approach is in line with how I’ve been working: consider the space, move, let the movement produce words, and then write. I often use this writing to generate a 1-2 sentence choreographic directive, but there’s much more that comes through, and it’s connected to the flow of attention and perceptive ‘stretching’ that I’m interested in. It’s also connected to the thinking body, the body that produces thought, or some other consideration of writing that isn’t necessarily generated by movements on a keyboard and mental organization.


- Consider visual poetry, or how the words are placed on the page, in relation to their choreographic position in the space.

- Keep a perspective on your thesis, and don’t let it inhibit your practice.

- Find out what others dance artists have done with movement and talking (I’m thinking about Deborah Hay, Meg Stuart, Jeanine Durning, and Jonathan Burrows at the moment)

- I’m touching on the field of live art, so look into those artists as well, so I know who is doing similar things (improvisation as life, the human relation to time and space).

- It has to be your own question, and come from your own inner relationship to working on something.


Kontakthof by Pina Bausch (the moment with the microphones)

A Year from Monday by John Cage

Eckhart Tolle

Cynthia Hogue (Arizona poet)

Artur Tajber (look at his description of live art)

Boris Nieslony (fluxus, black market)

2) Feb 11th, 2016: Simon Pope

I discussed my studio progress and the NYC residency with Simon, as well as the project report, and my strategy for generating the text.


- The live-ness of the writing is important

- How can I include (because this is an MFA) the expected level of comparison to other people’s work, and my relationship to it, in this kind of text?

- We discussed editing, and the analysis of the text after its production. This analysis could be when I add in references to other artists, annotations, etc, but this process would interfere with the text’s live production

- My proposed solution: the preparation. This relates to how the space I’m working in affects the material that is generated. It’s a pattern I’ve noticed repeatedly. So what if my focus is on the materials I reference in my preparation for the live movement improvisation?

- This relates to my interest in choreographing the conditions, or how to construct an event that produces some kind of knowledge

- If I want to be in this flow, then I have license to it

- Possible future research: the status of the dancer/ how the thought process, in its being witnessed, changes it. However, this also changes the status of the witness

- How can the text transmit its movements to the reader, in a live moment?

- What makes for a valid thinking practice? If it motivates you and others, does it make it valid? In line with feminist tradition: not seeking authority to be valid, but being able to move others, or impel others, towards movement/ momentum. This works against the tendency of the research as a summing up, as having a definitive closing sentence, or closed-off response

- Be aware of who I’m working from, and who my allies are

- Go with the most salient, tested, choreographic directives I’ve already researched in my studio practice to address in my paper

- Tie them back to my three categories of space: personal, collective, virtual


Katie King

Donna Harroway

Bruno Latour

Process Blog 2.4 - Feb 15, 2016

Process Blog: FEB 15, 2016

1. The living world of the words.

This video is a rehearsal of a trio called Rafters that I’m working on for a show on March 3rd -5th in Toronto. It is set to an audio score from my meditation practice. It’s about witnessing influence, and our interconnectivity. Some things we’re working on: the difference between a projected and actual path (seen in the beginning percussive section), constructing and moving through peripheral frames, witnessing the inner world, the space, and each other, and seeing each other with strangeness (for example, in the end section in silence we’re looking at each other while projecting an incompatible creature version of ourselves onto whoever/whatever we’re looking at. We call this state 'creaturing'). We become the projectors and the screens for each other. It slips between spatial, dancerly, and direct influence, and moves towards subtle, or more pedestrian modes of communication. We’re going to add more stillnesses and listening to the space next week (we’ll be in the performance venue, not the one seen here). The audience will be in the round, and the camera person wont be in the performance, although he does add something…

This piece makes me wonder ‘how do you know another person’? Are we the same person in this work, or sharing the same parts of each other?

I’m remembering the work by Angela Schubot, Jared Gradinger, and Aleesa Cohene I recently saw called “All my Holes are Theirs”



2. Methodology to connect research to text production, talking at the same time as moving, and writing after the improvisation session.

Here’s an example of how I’d like to work to generate the body of my paper.

I read a chapter on Intimate Immensity in The Poetics of Space by Gaston Bachelard, then I went into the studio and improvised while talking into the audio recorder. I listened to my affected jargon, then came up with this directive: “Poetry as an opening: follow the indirect pathway of light through an infinitely dense forest”

I then danced that directive for 30 minutes (could have gone longer, will do this one again). Here’s an excerpt (fyi I had a collaborator in the room for the purpose of feeling the affects of a witness. He was working with a mic, guitar, and text. I gave no instructions at the time other than the score I was working with. I’d like to continue this exploration). From here, I’ll refer back to the score, look at the dancing, and simplify the movement vocabulary/ add more physical limitations, looking for the crystalline moments.

In the same rehearsal, I then wrote a freeform response. Here’s what came out:

“DAY 4

Ignoring the internet and going with Bachelard: the poetics of space

Thinking about how to prepare by way of influencing my mind with the space of thought, research, and books.

Words I take into the meditation: immensity, vast, volume, the forest, beyond objectivity, poetic opening

The score:

Poetry as an opening: follow the indirect pathway of light through an infinitely dense forest

Moving from the body I think I have. But what is a thought? An inscription of an already-has-been and inputted way of feeling, understanding a delineation of arm, torso, trunk, concern, safety, pathways. The impossibility of undoing, or re-encoding, the indirect pathway as an elusive way, locating in the dislocating, the loss of identifiers that meant something to my body. The volume of the body, the volume of the room, the volume of the space of movement is the thing, the thought, that pushes the movement into the blur, into the unspecificity of previous pathways through the labyrinth of the dense forest of the present. To not register the present through a looking back, or an understanding of the breadcrumbs I’ve just left behind, but that each step along the path, each dot, is connected to the last, and preemptive of the future, the causality is a trap. But what if the density increased? This density of the pathway might also mean an increase in the volume of movement, of the inner density of attention to the body, the weight of each particle surrendering to gravity, or converging like mini anvils of vast weight beyond what I can hold. I trick my muscles to retain the anticipated weight, but then have to deal with the cellular anvils. They are surprised by the unsuspecting multitudes of trees and root systems and heavy water that suspend on each leaf the blurs the sightlines. It is all at night. The sight is no longer a navigation tool, but an unfolding into the present. Sight is no longer for distance, for planning, for placing the foot, but a flash of the meeting of impulse and arrival. To be lost in the present is to be drawn into a fullness of being. Becoming is processual, and maintains an awareness of the pathway, a spot along the creases of a map, but being is a flash of the present, an all-in immersive pressure of a fullness of unfolding senses that hold no vested interest in before or after, but only operate by necessity, contingency, and the horrors of nonsense that summon operations of the body’s mechanism to be in constant question of the now, or now, or the location of the room as the here, or here. We hold each other up, and we pull each other down. The roots interrupt the footing, the leaves blur the sightlines, the fog lets it be know that the true density of this forest is unknowable, immeasurable, but constant and surprising.”

I like how this text is affected by the space of research, of reading, and provides some kind of influence for the words I generate while in the improvisation.

I want to keep going I this direction. I’m showing something on February 26th-28th in an informal setting. I’d like to keep this attention to the preparatory process of the text, or how to prepare in general, as this space always comes through in the content of the words and movement.

MCP505 Intro Paper

Unbecoming Ego: The Choreography of Immanent Space

What affects the organization of being, and what can choreography do?

What affects the present moment of attention, and what can dance do?

I will discuss the intersections of space, dance, attention, and language as they point towards a vanishing horizon of the present moment. I will attempt to prove that the organization of being is in the organization of space, and that refined attention to movement can counter the illusion of a contained self.

I.               Introduction

II.             Personal Space

a.     Immanence vs Transcendence

                                               i.     ‘Heat Ball’ or Locating the Difference Between Inner and Outer: from a position of stillness, locate a tiny perceptive point in the body, determine its pathway through space, and go

                                              ii.     ‘Thrusting from Vague Points of Leadership’: Propel the body faster than your ability to identify its point of origin

b.     Dualities

                                               i.     ‘Schpando’: Up to go down, down to go up

                                              ii.     Preparing for the Improvisation

1.     Choosing a Space for Being

2.     Academia Enters Practice: Follow the indirect pathway of light through an infinitely dense forest

III.           Collective Space

a.     Choreographic Score as Sensorial Map

                                               i.     Reference the Image Bank, Build a Lexicon: Iconic positionaries: when you notice an iconic position or movement, stop and let it register as something absorbed

                                              ii.     ‘Creaturing’ and Dismantling Difference: Project an expanded creature self onto another person, who is also doing the same thing

b.     An Embodied Network: Rafters, a full-length trio

IV.            Virtual Space

a.     Technology as Intermediary

                                               i.     Talking Space: Identify the present; let the dance produce the words. Capture its emergence with a technological appendage

                                              ii.     Editing Space: Edit video and audio into a choreographic collage. Grant agency to your alter ego. Contemplate hindsight from an expanded sensibility

b.     Live-ness, Online-ness

                                               i.     Dissemination: Use an online venue as a space for live performance

1.     The Spectator is Always Active: Audience as Collaborator

2.     Dissemination as Documentation as Archive as Pedagogy

V.              Conclusion and Future Research



A duality can only exist through negation. Take one thing away, and there is separateness, or a distinction that is ‘other’ than what has been removed. Between something, and another thing, or inside and outside, there is a ‘line of difference’ that can take on multiple forms of identification (shape, size, texture, species, etc). I have been considering what this difference might come to mean in a dance practice, and how the dancing body could explore it. The body, with its habits of perception, maintains an economy of attention whereby what stands out in memory, or doing, is something out of synch with habit. This out-of-synch event registers as unfamiliar to some degree, and new pathways are built through the mechanism of the brain and encoding.

In my practice, I’ve been chasing these moments of unfamiliarity, and attempting to track them as a way of notating an immanent choreography. I am interested in these moments because this ‘line of difference’ between myself and the experience, or myself and another person, or in relation to the room, suddenly ceases to exist as different because there is no longer any weight to the word ‘difference’. Its fissuring quality has been undermined by some other expansive operation.

This is not just about making myself dizzy, but a matter of navigation, and navigation implies a terrain: a terra incognita of yet-to-be visited space: a space that dips into something beyond the familiar signals of habit.

In The Handbook of Inaesthetics, Alain Badiou describes dance as requiring “The obligation of space” (63), whereby the dancer necessarily works within some kind of spatial container, or something to be ‘entered’. This can be understood as a physical container like the rehearsal space, or the set, or even the relationship to the floor, but there are conceptual containers that could also support such ‘entry’ into dance, and the movement towards difference by way of untethering it from familiar experience. What kind of choreographic structures could support this entry?

In my research I have gone towards text in the form of choreographic directives that infer spatiality, or a conceptual terrain that outline an organization of being within a specific event, time, or performance. There is a lot of power in one or two sentences, power that I do not necessarily want as the ‘choreographer’ of this event in the traditional understanding of the word ‘I’, as ‘I’ implies the presence of ego, of intention, and the inferred presence of Other as something binary outside of ‘I’. But, in attempting to blur this learned, or familiar, distinction, what if ‘I’, Andrea Spaziani, could find a way into the Other, and exist only peripherally to the familiar ‘I’, or bear witness to it from a distance? Suddenly Other cannot exist without its comparative reference, ‘I’, or the ego. Other is therefore an expansive mode: not a negation of self, but an expansion towards the fuzzy borders, past the edges of the network that forms identity.

Dipping into the folds of memory, history, and the imagination of Andrea Spaziani (an agent of Toronto, and a colonized, thirty-something female) in order to become the alter ego, the Other ego, the ego that is unfamiliar, perhaps unbecoming, and therefore consorts will all things unfamiliar. This alter ego is from me, and the things I have absorbed in my life, but is incompatible with me. It is an alien, incompatible embodiment, and it attempts to dance with all things expansive and Other. Its only compatibility with anything is the continued production of difference: the rolling change that expands with time. Its name is Schpando (close to scapando which means ‘escaping’ in Italian). It has no form so to speak of. It can perform through the body of A. Spaziani, but is not limited to her ego tether. It is a continual becoming, and an agency outsourced to the unfamiliar.

The following headings, and the body of this text, outline the choreographic directives that emerged through my practice. They are an attempt to source language through movement, and capture it in real-time with technology, in this case using video and audio recorders. They reference choreographic directives that emerged through movement improvisation and meditation made immanently by A. Spaziani, and appropriated by Schpando. All of the directives have been italicized, and the concurrent writing that forms the body of this paper was generated during, or directly after, improvising and working with each directive. This process is an attempt to use dancing as a means to identify the present, to produce genuine thought, and witness its interaction with space.

The headings of personal, collective, and virtual space refer to different considerations of space in the making of each directive. The work in personal space extends the ego towards inhabiting the body differently and the alter ego that is in constant production. The collective space refers to directives used in collaboration with other people, and how the language of scores can be brought into a collective and performative process. Virtual space refers to the embedded, constantly evolving, affect of internet culture, including new performance venues online, and immediate ways of receiving and participating in the live-ness of online artwork. Throughout, I will reference the preparatory readings I have done, and have allowed to impact, or seep into the text. The academic content will be considered as affective material for improvisation. I will then add in citations afterwards. I will also reference the work of other artists, including Jeanine Durning, Maria Jerez, Alice Chauchat, K.G. Guttman, Jared Gradinger and Angela Schubot, Merce Cunningham, Laurie Anderson, Bruce Nauman, Vito Acconci, John Cage, Jonathan Burrows, Barbara Dilly, Fluxus, Michael Klien, Nancy Stark Smith, and Goat Island.

Works Cited

Aranda, Julieta, Brian Kuan Wood, and Anton Vidokle, eds. The Internet Does Not Exist. Berlin: Sternberg, 2015. Print. A collection of essays examining the spatial dimension of the internet, and what travels over its lines in the form of an affect beyond the information traversing its networks, and 'offline'. These networks are discussed as having an ideological structure, and an assumed democratic structure, allowing freedom of movement and flow, but also their own forms of control, language, end points, and stoppages. Articles of interest are by Hito Steyerl (Too Much World: Is the Internet Dead?), Bruno Latour (Some Experiments in Art and Politics), and Geert Lovink (What is the Social in Social Media?)

Bachelard, Gaston, M. Jolas, and John R. Stilgoe. The Poetics of Space. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print. A phenomenological discussion on encounters with space and poetic language. Chapters of interest include "Intimate Immensity" relating to the expansiveness of the daydream in relation intimate space and the words that surpass an objective worldview, and "The Dialectics of Outside and Inside" discussing how poetic language can open meaning, and blur the line of dualities in relation to being.

Badiou, Alain. Handbook of Inaesthetics. Trans. Alberto Toscano. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 2005. Print. Badiou’s essay discusses the relationship between dance, Event, and the emergence of thought. He takes the position that dance mimics a thought ‘remained undecided’ as they are both un-fixed. If an Event is unfixed and pre-linguistic, then dance points towards the moment before the Event, or the emergence of genuine thought, can be inscribed in language. Badiou also unpacks Stephane Mallarme's work, and of interest is his discussion on dance as obligatory to space.

Bishop, Claire. Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship. London: Verso, 2012. Kindle file. Claire Bishop discusses social art practices as a trend originating in the 1990’s with post-relational art. She describes an attempt to counter the commoditization of the art object through an alternative preoccupation with participation and collaboration on part of the viewer as ‘co-producer’. Situations have replaced objects, and recent art history may be more aptly seen through a lens of theatre and performance history, which she traces back to Italian Futurism and the Bolshevik Revolution.

Brennan, Teresa. The Transmission of Affect. Ithaca: Cornell UP, 2004. Print. Discussion of the dynamic of affect as an atmospheric, transferable substrate that flows between self and other, or social and physical/biological, and how the subject is not entirely contained. References of interest are from chapter six: The Education of the Senses, where affect, as a projected force, operates in self-referencing the ego. Brennan also discusses how connecting expression and language to the senses is learned, expanded upon, and historically connected to religious and cultural codes.

Burrows, Jonathan. A Choreographer's Handbook. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2010. Print. A handbook of practical tools, definitions, and approaches to making choreographic work that considers how to navigate the complexities of composition. Using open-ended questions drawn from Burrows’ experience as an internationally acclaimed dancer and choreographer, he references practical uses of scores, specifically related to time signatures and text, and the semiotic implications of structural elements in performance work.

Cage, John. "Lecture on Nothing." Silence: Lectures and Writings. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan UP, 1961. N. pag. Print. A collection of lectures and autobiographical stories related to his work in indeterminacy in music composition, and composition for dance (in particular Merce Cunnungham) that incorporate Zen principles of emptiness, and ‘found’ or non-deliberate sound in his compositions. Particular chapters of interest include ‘Lecture on Nothing’ and ‘Four Statements on the Dance’ that reconsider the materials of dance and music, as well as shared rhythmic devices.

Cioran, E. M. A Short History of Decay. New York: Viking, 1975. IBook. An intensely morose meditation on disillusionment, and the hypocrisy and futility of culture and human life, delivered through a text that bends genres, and provides an example of performative writing. Although dark, the vigour of Cioran's writing contains an enthusiasm that is of interest in relation to the passion of the artist, and embracing the artist as an peripheral onlooker of society who fulfills no role, and does not instrumentalize his/her work for the greater cause of social change, effect, or righteousness. Cioran discusses the artist as detached from his/her ego, and the necessity of the artist as an unaffiliated cultural witness, and harbinger of change. Other specific themes of interest include dualities, desire, time, and consciousness.

Diederichsen, Diedrich. "People of Intensity, People of Power: The Nietzsche Economy." Are You Working Too Much? Post-Fordism, Precarity, and the Labor of Art. Berlin: Sternberg, 2011. 9-28. Print. An essay discussing 'networking' through the conceptual frame of Nietzschean economy. Of interest is the discussion of networking as an engagement in Western culture: an interconnectivity that is dense, non-committal, and based on a flow of temporal investments and affordances. This mode of being interests me as a cultural phenomenon of intensity, hyperactivity, distraction, and commoditization of time that I experience in my own work relating attention, and focus to my culture of origin.

Dilley, Barbara. This Very Moment: Teaching Thinking Dancing. N.p.: Naropa UP, 2015. Print. An autobiographical memoir by former dancer (for Merce Cunningham, Yvonne Rainer, Simone Forti, etc) and current teacher who integrates Buddhist thought and meditation into her dance writing and practice. It provides an example of choreographic notation, scores, and a historical archive of her work and pedagogy. Of specific interest is Dilly's attention to sensation, the live-ness of her writing on witnessing the present, and the description of her collaborative process.

Friedman, Ken. Fluxus Performance Workbook. Trondheim, Norway: Guttorm Nordø, 1990. Print. A collection of neo-dada performative scores by the Fluxus group: artists who intersect text and action, either imaginary or real, but in some way incite a departure from the page. My interest in this workbook is the minimalism of its scores, the impossibility of many of its instructions, and the similarity to my own choreographic directives I generate in my practice. It provides an example of how to use an improvisation frame to move away from the text, and initiate an intentionally performative way of being.

Goldberg, RoseLee. Performance Art: From Futurism to the Present. New York: H.N. Abrams, 1988. Print. A historical reference to performing artists who brought the presence of the body into the field of formal and conceptual ideas, and confronted life as subject. Starting from Futurism at the turn of the 20th century and ending with the wave of theatre, dance, and conceptual performance from 1968 to 1986, when performance reflected attitudes towards the institution of the gallery, and an enthusiasm for social change. Topics of interest include instructions and questions (ex, Yoko Ono), the body in space (ex, Vito Acconci and Bruce Nauman), and the media generation (ex, Laurie Andrerson).

Hewitt, Andrew. Social Choreography: Ideology as Performance in Dance and Everyday Movement. Durham: Duke UP, 2005. Kindle file. Hewitt discusses social choreography as an aesthetic embedded in social experience, and how these affects could be considered 'material' in the composition of moving bodies. He discusses how artistic form becomes an extension of the conditions of life, and vice versa, in the historical context of modernism. Of particular interest is his writing on Loie Fuller and Isadora Duncan, how the organization of cultural movement is intertwined with a choreographic organization, and how dance is a medium that is immanently political, sourcing knowledge from within its own operations in collaborative, dynamic space.

Kholeif, Omar. You Are Here: Art After the Internet. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print. A collection of essays referencing art's relationship to networked internet culture, its constant renegotiation, and its resulting expression on and offline for both the artist and the viewer. Articles of interest include 'Writers in the Expanded Field' by Lucia Piertroiusti, and 'Post-Internet: What It Is and What It Was' by Michael Conner, where themes of authenticity and sincerity come into discussion regarding the online spaces of performativity and connection, and how artistic production is affected by access to an over-abundance of disparate information.

Klien, Michael, Steve Valk, and Jeffry Gormley. Book of Recommendations: Choreography as an Aesthetics of Change. Limerick: Daghdha Dance, 2008. Web. A poetic text describing the artists' vision of social choreography as it relates to the kinds of knowledge that dance and movement can potentially generate within collaborative, relational space. It references a choreographic space beyond the historic scope of traditional patterns and precise recreations, where the work of perception, corporeal communication, and other compositional tools can lead to a choreographic way of experiencing the world.

Koteen, David, and Nancy Stark. Smith. Caught Falling: The Confluence of Contact Improvisation, Nancy Stark Smith, and Other Moving Ideas. Northampton, MA: Distributed by Contact Editions, 2008. Print. Nancy Stark Smith discusses over thirty five years of experience in contact improvisation, and the description and pedagogy of The Underscore: a framework for improvisation that she has been developing since 1990. This framework carries the dancer through a series of moving states, starting from heightened perceptions of the individual body, and moving outward to engagements within a group. It balances collaborative movement with internal sensitivity, it offers a mode of perceptive training, and it is disseminated through language and the choreographic score.

Larsen, Lars Bang, ed. Networks. London: Whitechapel, 2014. Print. A collection of essays and texts contemplating contemporary art in relation to networks, including space, time and the body. Contributions by Marshall McLuhan, Bruno Latour, Deleuze and Guttari, Jane Bennett, Hito Steyerl, Manuel Castells discuss networks as a concept, the trouble with its visual representation, and the production of space that contains and expands upon virtual culture.

Lepecki, André. Exhausting Dance: Performance and the Politics of Movement. New York: Routledge, 2006. PDF. Lepecki examines the work of contemporary European and North American choreographers who challenge conventional categorizations of dance, and its bind with movement, arguing that dance’s “relation to movement is being exhausted”. He relates dance’s unity to movement to the epoch of modernity, and how this relationship has been used to legitimize dance, and characterize experimental approaches as insignificant, or non-dance. In addition to movement, he investigates other themes including the materiality of the body, language, stillness, the vertical plane, politics and social justice. Artists mentioned include: Bruce Nauman, Juan Dominguez, Xavier Le Roy, Jerome Bel, Trisha Brown, La Ribot, William Pope.L, and Vera Mantero.

Lepecki, Andre. "From Partaking to Initiating: Leadingfollowing as Dance's (a-personal) Political Singularity." Dance, Politics & Co-immunity. By Gerald Siegmund and Stefan Hölscher. Zürich: Diaphanes, 2013. N. pag. Web. An essay relating choreography to the political, active/passive audience dialectics, and how perceptual habits have been conditioned. This relates to work by artists such as Merce Cunningham, whereby 'perceptual freedom' includes freeing oneself from normative perceptual conventions across disciplines of sound, movement, and set. This goes on to include the spectator, whereby granting autonomy to choose when and where to focus attention falls under a political ideology.

Llosa, Mario Vargas. Notes on the Death of Culture: Essays on Spectacle and Society. Trans. John King. New York: FGS, 2012. Print. A text that examines trends in Western culture towards spectacle, and loss of culture, as it was once defined by T.S Eliot in his 1948 essay 'Notes Towards the Definition of Culture'. Of interest is the argument that value has been replaced by entertainment, and fields of criticism have been replaced by advertising, confusing the value of a work with price. His discussion on distraction as a driving force in contemporary society is also of interest in relation to the culture in which I am positioning my project.

Lynch, David. Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity. New York: Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2006. Print. Renowned director David Lynch discusses the relationship between his transcendental meditation practice and his work in filmmaking. An ode to instinct, following previously unknowable impulses, and mining for potent content, Lynch's autobiographical writing relates to my interest in improvisation, and unlocking the flows of creativity by expanding the consciousness.

Maoilearca, Laura Cull O. Theatres of Immanence. Place of Publication Not Identified: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. Print. A philosophical reading of Gilles Deleuze in relation to theatre and art practices that consider immanence, and process-based approaches to creating work. Of specific interest is the collaborative authorship of Goat Island whereby constraints are used to maintain difference; the voice and language as immanently varying material in reference to artists like Artaud; and the participatory work by Allan Kaprow and Lygia Clark in relation to economies of witnessing and attention.

Massumi, Brian. Politics of Affect. Cambridge: Polity, 2015. Print. A collection of interviews in relation to politics, philosophy, and affect as an encounter in the relational field. Deleuzian scholar Brian Massumi introduces concepts like 'differential affective attunement', and he supports processual concepts such as Whitehead's whereby the presence of life is in the intervals between things. These interviews relate to my interest in the work of perception, habit, and attention, and the consideration of dancing as a mode of 'attunement'.

Rethorst, Susan. A Choreographic Mind: Autobodygraphical Writings. Helsinki: Theatre Academy Helsinki, 2012. Print. A collection of autobiographical texts reflecting Rethorst’s phenomenological approach to the body as an untranslatable archive of knowledge that can be trusted to navigate the choreographic process. She proposes an intuitive methodology to constructing dances, and recognizes the inescapability of a creator’s subjectivity, and authenticity, in determining the emergence of meaning, expression, and content. She works from ‘proposals in action’ and continuous self-reflexive evaluation in order to discover her work through its creative process.

Sabisch, Petra. "Choreographing Participatory Relations. Contamination and Articulation." Dance, Politics & Co-immunity. By Gerald Siegmund and Stefan Hölscher. Zürich: Diaphanes, 2013. N. pag. Print. Sabisch's text asks what is shared within a choreographic, or performance, event, and what philosophy can add to the independent knowledge base of choreographic research. She looks at work by Antonia Baehr, Juan Dominguez, Xavier Le Roy, and Ester Salamon, and relates Deleuze and Guitarri to methods of how these artists produced their choreographies, and the ontological question 'what is dance?' and 'who gets to decide?' This relates to my interest in process, and how I am using an immanent methodology to create material.

Suri, Jane Fulton. Thoughtless Acts?: Observations on Intuitive Design. San Francisco: Chronicle, 2005. Print. A booklet of photos from an artist in the field of design, Fulton-Suri captures the ways in which people interact with their surroundings, and the intuitive ways people change these surroundings based on a physical desire, impulse, or unnoticed action. These images are very choreographic to me, in that they capture the everyday person improvising within a social framework of movements, or inscribed behaviour, and they illuminate where the social framework has left a few gaps. In these images, the circumstance, or environment, has a direct influence on the movement of people.

Tolle, Eckhart. A New Earth: Awaken Your Life's Purpose. London: Plume, 2005. Print. A meditative discourse that illuminates a conscious perspective of self in relation to other. Chapters of interest relate to projection and the ego, and how it's nuances might be witnessed, become malleable, and managed through practices of attention and embodying the present. Discovering inner space, and how to manage naming the present, also relate to my research methodology of attempting connections between language, movement, and the unconscious.

Studio Advisor Meeting - January 15, 2016

NYC notes, and a conversation with Morgan O'Hara

The dancing is necessary, and I'm making performances. I clarified this for myself in New York. I was teetering on making films, but I now know this is much more personal than pointing a camera at myself in the style of a selfie. It’s about the inward gaze, introspection, and the process of exorcising that out.

The performance at Spacebodies of “This Desiring Pony”:

- working with limitations/constraints went well

- the three tiered shape of the costume (the wide leg pants, the shirt, the hair) worked as a silhouette

- the shirt should have been black

- the shadow on the wall worked. There were people sitting in my performance space, but I managed to stay in the light enough, around them. Did everyone see these shadows? Remember this when setting up the next show, and where to position the audience, the light, etc.

- the music worked (piece by Colin Stetson, with text excerpts of 'she comes up to you and whispers in your ear...'

Presentation: I attempted to choreograph the conditions of a ‘presentation’ by letting people witness my thought process and research process as it usually takes place in the studio. I projected the laptop onto the wall, and I typed for 15 minutes using audio cues (on a headset). I demonstrated my process in finding the choreographic directive, which ended up being 'up to go down, down to go up'. I then performed this directive as a dance, in a the costume of my alter-ego 'Schpando' to the sound of an audio recording of my thoughts as generated by dancing.

- the words (typing and audio) offered a way of addressing the present/facing myself: talking and listening to myself

- the kind of talk: identifying what is present in that moment

- if I keep changing with the words, then it might get ‘cute’ (remember the underscore…), similar to when you identify an emotion, it changes your emotional state/ the feeling of it. Careful here. Practice.

- can I move and talk at the same time? The words would modify the dance, and it would be challenging to stay in the present, especially in front of an audience. Resist the urge to entertain (I’m going to try moving and talking at the same time in February at an informal showing in Toronto)

- the ear buds, and what is withheld from the audience, including my own presence and acknowledgement of them (think about my interaction with this cueing a bit more)

- during the typing section, I was too disconnected from the audience for too long, and the Mariah Carrey music went on for too long. In the next edit, make the typing shorter, and the music less dominant

- the forward motion/ processual motion of the tyrping was evident, even when I backtracked and corrected, it was still happening 'forward' in time

- witnessing the moment I decided to stop correcting my spelling was good, but it might be hard to re-create

- letting the text and thought process ‘dance’

- the costume works, and the hair covering my face works because it becomes something else via the unitard. It isn’t a fashion statement, it's part of the dance

- the balloon: provided a vertical axis, but the popping of it was a throwaway

- I am responsible for every detail. Change the configuration of the room if I need to, because some people at the back couldn’t see, and the space confined my movements at the front. 

- Consider the chairs, and the sightlines

- it’s a good thing i can type quickly…

- the projector image is critical, and the accidental image that appeared worked (another audience facing another projector with text on it/ audience performer mirror)

- think about the transition into costume (from typing into dancing)

- ‘selfie’ is a reduction of what I’m actually doing. What I’m doing is much more personal

- ‘Spaziani’ is masculine plural, not feminine singular

- I showed three variations/ layers to the idea: process/gathering research, projection/ sound, and physicality

To do:

- committee meeting (feb 5th)

- process meeting with morgan after feb 20th


Steve Paxton, 'Physical Things'

Francois Sullivan, 'Je Parle'

The Sense Lab (montreal)

Late Miranda July

Dan Graham

Carol Anderson

Virtual: oculus rift equipment: artist

Life references:

Connie Crothers, LA (pianist)

WAGE (working artists in the global economy)

Marcia Vetrocq: Art in America (writer)

Process 2.3 (Dec 15, 2015)

SCHPANDO Whispers in My Ear: The Exorcism of Andrea Spaziani

This is not a film. This is documentation of dance, sound, and text experiments. I’m going to try some of this material for my presentation in NYC (as a performance), and also choreograph the conditions of my ‘presentation’ by instituting a ‘rehearsal’.

SCHPANDO is the subtext. She sputters between the lines. She is not the sovereign other, but the insatiable inner. I’m going to write a lot. I’m going to use this blog moment to try and articulate something essential. So far, writing has been as fluid and generative as movement improvisation, so I’m dancing this text, somewhat lucidly.

Do one thing. Find what’s essential.

I spent this month trying to pare down my experiment on exhuming personal unconscious space. I decided to change the way I considered SCHPANDO. Perhaps she’s not an autonomous character that exists in representation, separate from me, but maybe she’s a force, a whisper, or a torrential influence that I can only source through the depths of meditative riffing. She’s a shadowy part of me. Maybe it’s not about costume, or narrative, but more about how she changes my actions/approaches/behaviors, and how I morph under her influence. She isn’t visible, she is pure affect. She produces the stuff of self-talk, desire, and heroic acts of vain aggrandizement. This month is less about watching myself through the camera and shooting a stylized ‘selfie’, and more about bringing consciousness to the inner demon Schpando (who, if she is so elusive to characterization, cannot be destroyed.)

I thought this was a CONFESSION, but it turned into an EXORCISM.

Bringing voice and language to the unconscious. The unknown knowns. What are my disavowed beliefs, and how are they a reflection of the spaces I’ve absorbed in my life, upbringing, and culture? What makes this an art project anyway/ how is this not just a wash of personal psychotherapy, healing, and navel gazing? What’s Rorschach got to do with it?

In Lucia Pietroiusti’s essay “Writers in the Expanded Field” she discusses the difficulty with sincerity, and confessional tones, and the interface between self and ‘self’ in our online performativity. “One can no longer believe, or make others believe, that a tone of total disclosure holds any bearing to an authentic self: it is about whether you, listener, O trusty reader, will like me or not.” (Art After the Internet, ed. Omar Kholeif, pg 101). This reaffirmed that I’m not really interested in truths, ‘authenticity’ if you can ever get away from it really, or the real psychodrama of my inner world, but the spontaneous stuff that sounds too sincerely ‘drunk’ to say in public.

AMPLIFICATION towards MUTATION: choreographing the conditions for emergence

I used two choreographic directives to contain the improvisation, and I tried to stick with them for a week. I felt like a wild horse in a panic room. Excellent. I must be onto something. THEY ARE BORING. Which means I’ve stopped entertaining myself with video editing this month, and tried to just dance the directives.

1)   Build a horizon, then transform it (horizon as ‘plane’ of reference, in this video it became a horizon of swirling, repeating, and shifting rhythms). This is also worth watching without sound.

2) Up to go down, down to go up (using the floor as a reference)

For the audio score, I took inspiration from Artaud, and attempted a random, schizophrenic mode of deliverance, using movement and the space I was in to produce language. I didn’t let it tip into nonsense however, which becomes distancing at a certain point. I used the set up “she comes up to you and whispers in your ear_______” to buy time, to move in the space, and maintain a fairly regular rhythm. I never quite knew what I was going to say until it came out.

RHYTHM became a tangible force.

The horizon video is like staring at the ocean. It is constant repetition and difference. Micro shifts emerge as an internal physical logic collides with an external rhythm and conceptual frame. This video is a small example of immanent forces colliding with transcendental forces, or the inner and outer world of the dance hitting, momentarily, in a rhythmic morph. It’s all happening faster than I (the dancer) can pre-conceive in real time. It is therefore indeterminate in performance, but determinate in composition. Enter John Cage (although he used chance operations in his compositions as well). So there’s something of the inner self, the unknown known, that’s being extracted here, and put on display, and the ultimate individuality of this dance exists in the moment of its emergence: I will never do it the same way twice, and neither would another dancer.

Control and agency ping-pong: who gets to decide? Am I dancing, or is the dance happening through me? Is it possible to annihilate my subjectivity, my ambition, and my polite, Canadian, pleasantry that buys into clicktivist campaigns and succumbs to depressive tendencies?

INFLUENCE: Waiting for the space to tell me what to do.

The work space influences the content. The work space influences the personal space.

I made the audio recording for the horizon video at the National Ballet School of Canada. I can get free access there at night (8-10pm). It has a particularly intense vibe of failure and ambition. There’s this poster in the studio I was in: a woman wearing a long white tutu from Les Sylphides, whispering into the ear of a young man while in a giant yet ephemeral arabesque panché. She was perfectly angled, and I thought of the tension between this position, and the vitriolic jargon she might whisper into his ear night after night if she were Schpando. This realization, and consciously noticing this poster, happened after I finished the recording. It wasn’t hooey magic, I must have seen it while working, because it influenced me, but I was in a state of flow where it becomes hard to focus on anything other than what I’m doing.

This flow, this becoming, relates to immanence, or the intrinsic production of material via improvisation. It happens at the moment of losing yourself, momentarily removing the boundaries of the subject, and identity. Enter Schpando, the elusive smoke bomb hiding out in my animal brain, next to a fantasy and a limbic response nerve. She pops out at 3am at a club, in the throes of passion, or in a black out rage of perfect, momentary, clarity.

Deleuze on thought: “… not as the recognition of existing meanings, but as an embodied, creative process born of the encounter.” The combination of gestures as well as words (in reference to Artaud’s ‘To Have Done with the Judgement of God’) “…makes us think, and in so doing affirms the ontological force of difference in itself, which cannot be ‘understood’ but can be sensed.” (Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca, ‘Theatres of Immanence’, pg 85-86). I FEEL you Schpando.

BECOMING instantaneous PERCEPTION: following change along a stream of attention.

The body is porous. It is a filtration system that binges and purges. I am the internet. I am the National Ballet School. I am the drunk dude outside the studio. But I am most attuned when perception greets me at the moment of its unfolding. Massumi references this moment as “… a realization that comes flush with perception’s dawning. This is not a logical operation, but a life operation. It is lived as a dimension of the live event. It was not you standing back and thinking about the event. It was the event thinking itself through you.”

Merce Cunningham's 'Loops' 

Inhabiting my body differently requires a small death, or an untethering from the footholds of familiarity. That’s the purpose of Schpando. She’s the wild horse. I can outsource my agency to her; she’s the temporary embodiment of permission I’ve given myself. This is not a separation, but an extension, deepening, and amplification.

Go deeper, towards limitations, aka the choreographic boundary.

The Sound and the Feel: empathy, life force, and the breath

Where did the French horn go? I realized it was a tool for amplification: a sounding chamber that could resonate at a different frequency from my own voice, or an elaborate microphone. I want to bring it back, but it’s also still there in the work, in the breath of the work, in the effort, in the aggression, in the disruption. It’s a tool to bridge the dissociation between inner and outer worlds. It helped me locate Schpando.

INTENTION: empathy for crisis. I’m suspicious that all I can ever produce is some version of what I’ve absorbed in my life. I’m trying to bypass intention, and the self, with immanent production. I want to allow intention to emerge from the process. There is a piece here; it’s coming out now. Schpando whispers on behalf of a silent voice, a cultural illness, a sacred scar, horror on the VERGE, and is also someone I totally made up. I think she’s my Kateri Tekakwitha (the fantasized version, from L. Cohen’s ‘Beautiful Losers’). She’s my genealogical body, my vacant unknown ancestor, the ghost of influence, the scattered cells of my tortured indigenous bloodline, and the dominant cells of colonial guilt.

WHAT ARE YOU ESCAPING FROM? Schpando = scapando = escaping in Italian.... This interface of existence: identity and subjectivity, which are capitalism’s most valuable commodities.

Next: Towards physical space/ choreographing the conditions with hard lines. Is there a way to produce a ‘set’ for a performance through a process that shares the same immediacy as improvised dance? Is this about bringing the outside in, or letting the attuned dance become a production machine, or a territorializing agent in an instant? So far I’ve come to understand how dance produces thought, and how dance is a mode of attunement, but how might dance produce a physical residue in the wake of its brief affective moment of existence? This is the most temporary I’ve ever been. I’m thinking about Trisha Brown dancing and drawing, or Donna Huanca, whose work I saw last summer in Berlin. That was all very nice and contained, but if my unconscious is involved, and the wildness of the dance cannot be predicted, then perhaps the result might be less tidy. What kind of space can the dance produce? Is that the performance in and of itself? Maybe.

If I’m choreographing the conditions for an exorcism, how would that manifest in the space that holds THAT dance? What’s the relational material that might change me as I change it, as we exorcise together? I tried balloons last month, but they might not be the right sentiment. Maybe this relational material is the key to ‘costume’ as well…

(Pics from a life walk/ sense walk through a cemetery. Exorcism can also include joy and humour. This ain't all bad)

Epic final thoughts:

Dance is obligatory to space. What’s usurped my imagination space? There’s no such thing as a tabula rasa.

Studio Advisor Meeting (Nov 15, 2015)

Meeting Notes with Morgan O'Hara, Dec 4th 2015

COMMITMENT issues. Your YES is only as good as your NO.

Morgan has challenged me to work with one movement directive for a whole week and see where it leads. I’ve been operating with NO BOUNDARIES for a little while, which really means not acknowledging my boundaries, because surely I have them (ie/ not injuring myself for example).

I knew this was a good idea because it made me super agitated and cagey. Pare things down continually, and accept it as the whole. If I can accept one movement idea as my whole world, then something will open. I agree. But it HURRRRRTSSSS!

The whole point of an MFA is to be challenged to find out what things are essential to me (meaning: have a feeling of completeness, or an understanding), and don’t spend a whole year doing what I already know. This has been my problem for some time now. I really like amplification, frenetic movement, and constant shifting, but it’s getting me nowhere fast. Actually, it’s making me really tired.

But maybe these things are essential. I think amplification is, and also ambiguity, and exhaustion. Morgan also brought up entertainment. I’m actually a clown at heart, primarily because of its necessary level of vulnerability. However, recognize when I’m entertaining myself, and when it’s for the viewer.

What’s there, what HAS to be said, and don’t try to say EVERYTHING. Now it’s time to diminish. I’ve got to train my critical thinking to the same degree I’ve trained my body. Be more than a gladiator.

It’s just me and the restrictions I put on myself. That’s my whole world for this week.

What’s mine, and not a variation of someone else?

For January: I want to decide on where the work is, and try to find my question.

Am I making films, or have I been using the camera as a tool to witness myself and make entertaining documentation?

Remember that each element I bring in is another 10,000 of time towards expertise.

Other thoughts/references from the Nov 15th blog:

- Black on white defines form. Look at Rorschach ink blot tests. This relates to my interest in the unconscious.

- Think about attending Min Tanaka’s Body Weather Farm at some point in my life

- The balloons: 'Rainforest' by Merce Cunningham and Andy Warhol, and look at Cunningham films for the position of the camera (the camera has agency – is there a way to bring this agency to the camera as I film myself? I thought of this last month, and tried positioning it on a rolling bucket, and turning it to autofocus so the camera decides what to focus on. Also shooting through the reflection of the balloons creates an instability of the frame. This is reminding me of my tendency to outsource agency. Re-look at Acconci's 'Following Piece')

- Peter Weltz – Retranslation 1 (look at the position of the screens in the gallery, and shooting the same footage from multiple angles)

Process Blog 2.2 (November 15, 2015)

Process part one: sticking with one unitard for a while. Schpando is trying a uni-directional unitard-arian approach to costume. Although snug, it gives her physical extensions. Her oil-slick-thick shell appears to have some other influence, shadow, or desire that picks up on movement flows, like a spandex antenna, and pushes her around. Sometimes she has another face, and her personality is doubling as the work continues. She spent this month boxing and thinking about 'healthies' and 'belfies' (selfies after the gym, and from below) and observing the fitness regimen of a sociopath.

She sees A.Spaziani inside the party balloon biodomes, and listens to her sad spew about loss and holding onto memory fuzz. She's been possessed by, and obsessed with, the balloons, and tainting their celebratory hoo-ha with emotional, confessional, HOT AIR. The balloons move her, and they also move because of her. They are relational material. They are Affect Weather Balloons in a field of catastrophe. They change course from whatever forces push through A.S.'s HOT AIR trajectories. They also make the best mirrors for Schpando. Their sound reminds her of crunchy snow and winter romance, or when Chopin meant something to her. They are difficult to pop, but Schpando delivers in a Labanian/Lacanian moment of belfie EFFORT. 

The piano is an old friend. A.S's teacher died last year, but she only found out recently. If Chopin had only thought to compose with gloves... A.S is not a pianist. She is a dancer. It's different you know. She can remember sequences, and push them through her fingers in a little repetitive dance of black and white encoding, but where is the music? The gloves make this much more of a dance than a piano sonata. The dance lives in the transition between moments, between the keys. The gloves are like bridges. They are all transition. They are an aid to, not a loss of, dexterity. They add specificity.

The Fushitsusha/ Keiji Haino sound embrace encourages Schpando's continued transformation, cathartic improvisation sessions, and utter sincerity. He annihilates Chopin like an uglier older sister with a taste for vindication, and hyper-productive salivary glands. Haino, in an interview, on electronic sound: "... what you believe to be electronics is not precise. You cannot listen to all the elements of electronics. To be able to listen to them all, you have to train your ears. We have to know where overtones go, or where sound wants to travel to. What I mean by that is sound would never want to sit still, in my own idea. I moved my hands like this, because I feel sound wants to move to various directions freely. I should not dominate the natural sound if possible." Schpando takes from this an effort to not dominate movement flows, but tap into their space, their atmosphere, and ride their signals. It's about listening.

Please enjoy.

Questions: Who's positioning the camera? Who's editing? Is it Schpando, or A.S.? Are they interchangeable? Is it purposefully confusing? I think it's A.S pointing the camera at Schpando, but I wonder what it'd be like if Schpando directed A.S. Where would she put the camera? She might have other things to shoot than A.S...

More questions: Is improvised dancing 'MENTALITY'? Maybe. It's certainly mental, and floats along a Deleuzeian plane of immanence. It is also OBLIGATORY to space, and therefore subjected to whatever passes through space. This 'whatever' notion is distinct. It is not an apathetic 'whatever', but an acceptance of what-ever that could potentially surface ----> unexpectedly. Improvised dancing unconditionally says 'yes', so how far is the dancer willing to go towards 'yes'? 

Here's what Massumi thinks on mentality, in academic speak:

For Whitehead, the physical dimension of the body corresponds to actions performed in conformity to the past, continuing along the same lines as it, following the same schema. Thus the physical is a principle of conformity to already-emerged form. What characterizes mentality is the capacity to go beyond that givenness to improvise new forms. Note that I said ‘mentality’, and not ‘the mind’. Here, mentality is a mode of activity, and it functions not in opposition to the physical but with it and through it, by prolonging and renewing it.
— Brian Massumi, interview by Arno Boehler, 2013 (Politics of Affect, B. Massumi, p. 179)

PROCESS part two: sense maps, or chance collections of experiential information

Below are three variations on sense maps. The process for making them involved improvised dancing, and wandering, for 4-5 hours at a time. I use the term dancing to describe a mode of attunement, where I'm trying to respond/notice/move based on stimuli that push my body and influence my choices. I tried recording my observations a few different ways:

1. As I wandered, I talked into an audio recorder. I then listened to the recording, and made line drawings from the sound material, and the residual physical memory. I want to use these to create an environment in the studio - I'll experiment with collaborators as I go. I want to test how space and events are pushed through subjective filters, and are interpreted, or re-interpreted, but originate from an attentive state of the body. They are like experiential collages. It's my hope that they maintain their affective charge when transplanted into the studio, or they still operate to inform movements of the body, perhaps providing a set for a dance performance. 

2. Photos, with a legend of observations (all from one 4-hour session)

Nov 3rd sense walk: Cabbagetown to Kensington Market, Toronto

- Pushing a bike uphill

- Walking through a place of my past

- At a stop light, a woman screams, and makes disco poses, interrupting a pretentious dude talking about his website

- run into an old friend who is in a hurry as I come across anti-US propaganda re: gitmo, which keeps autocorrecting to gizmo. Is autocorrect a futuristic redaction technique? 

- walk past my old apartment where Erst Zundel once ran a Neo-Nazi bunker. The door is still bomb proof, there are bars on the windows, and plastic covering the basement entrance. The exterior windows are bullet proof. Looks like the place is for sale:

- see a rye, partially eaten by birds, but mostly good

- notice the window covering on a construction site, wonder about other purposes for leftover gift wrap

- hop on my bike, and at a stoplight I notice a woman sitting on the stoop reading in the sun (19 degrees today, unusual for November). I ask her what she’s reading, she tells me, and says it’s good. I thank her and keep cycling. This is a random passage I found from it:

‘A Handful of Dust’ by Evelyn Waugh

“The ceiling of Morgan le Fay was not in perfect repair. In order to make an appearance of coffered wood, molded slats had been nailed in a checker across the plaster. They were painted in chevrons of blue and gold. The squares between were decorated alternately with Tudor roses and fleurs-de-lis. But damp had penetrated into one corner, leaving a large patch where the gilt had tarnished sand the color flaked away; in another place the wooden laths had become warped and separated from the plaster. Lying in bed, in the grave ten minutes between waking and ringing, Tony studies these defects and resolved anew to have them put right. He wondered whether it would be easy, nowadays, to find craftsmen capable of such delicate work.” (somewhere in chapter 2)

- I think about a ceiling covered in gift wrap

- I get off my bike and walk through Kensington Market

- I notice that car, the one that’s been there for years, parked on the street, totally filled with dirt and growing all sorts of mosses on its exterior. They look happy in the 19 degree weather

- I spot my friend. She’s wearing a shiny silver hat. A man comments on her hat, and asks if it’s a solar hat. She says yes. She later tells me that a specific demographic of 40-50 year old men consistently comment on her hat.

- She exclaims that it’s ‘biceps November’ due to the unusually warm weather

- We look at cops on horses, and get pissed. My friend tells me a jerk-cop story, and I wonder if there’s a personality most cops have re: power tripping and entitlement. It's of course easy to have this opinion until you need a cop. I then remember the nicest person I want to high school with is now a cop. I feel prejudicial. We then realize they’re women, and feel better about it, but still prejudicial. We assume we will encounter the shit from their horses, because all cops on horses just shit everywhere and don’t pick it up. More prejudice...

- She walks with her bike, and trips on the road as a car is coming. Close call, but her wobble was funnier than the car fear. We joke about suddenly needing the help of a cop.

- We park our bikes and go into an Ecuadorian shop with a café at the back. I order an empanada and tamales. The salsa and salad come in a bag. I look forward to squirting the salsa out of the bag. The woman cooking for me is lovely. She told me I looked Iranian -  that my eyes were Iranian. I then remember a cabdriver telling me the other day that I had Indian eyes. I feel complemented.

- I notice the soda label. It looks like a bucolic Playmobile scene, and I think about wanting to be there. I think about what it would feel like to be 2D

- I notice the shop woman's button behind the counter: against Bill C-51, Canada’s anti-terror legislation, and I think about being watched, surveillance, and civil liberties

- We sit in the park and eat lunch. Every 5 minutes or so we get a waft of dog shit and wonder if we’re sitting on a former latrine. Probably.

-  A dude asks for a light. Neither of us can provide one. I’m glad I don’t smoke anymore, but I remember enjoying it. I think about my lungs being pinker now.

- An intimidating dog walks by and sniffs our food, but he continues on. Good doggy. Or maybe he just doesn't like salsa. Or maybe he knows we're sitting on a latrine.

- We have a long conversation about our feelings, our hearts, our ambitions, and self-care. There are giggles throughout. I feel embraced.

- We leave and we connect briefly with another friend. She's so peppermint fresh!

- We notice the horse shit we had predicted earlier. It's in full view on the road. Confirmed: some people who happen to be cops don’t poop and scoop. I think about how asserting prejudice politely/ making it sound better via political correctness is worse than just saying it and accepting the assholic consequences. Remembering that Denis Leary video from the 90's

- I remember loving Kensington. The sidewalks are too full, the streets are too slow, so everything moves a bit slower, in a nice way due to its anomalous rhythm. It makes me notice details more.

- I want the gold uni-suit in the window, and think about wearing it to a family party to somehow balance social chaffing with inner thigh chaffing

- I see a wood post, covered in staples, and experience what I usually experience when I see one: I imagine tripping and falling face first into the staples, and cutting up my cheeks. I have a visceral jolt and look at something else

- I think about commonalities in the things I noticed today: justice, politics, violence, food culture, friendship, police, prejudice, humour

3. Photos that are common in theme, but not in time

This is the most 'Instagram lifestyle' of the three methodologies. It is about noticing patterns and self curating (and likely about performing the self online as a kind of curated identity). I was in a state of active observation/ dancing when I took these photos, but they were taken on different days and I've pulled them together in hindsight. This series is related to death and absence. This approach feels less confined to the wandering proposal. These pictures have fewer direct physical associations than in #2. Note to self: sometimes a theme, depending on what it is, is a physical stranglehold.