Research Advisor: Angeliki Avgitidou
15 April 2015
II. (Dis)locating the Peripheral Body: Improvisation Movement Strategies
A. Scoring Affect
B. Meditation for Hyper-Empathy
1. Further, Emptier
C. Lines of Disappearance
1. Flow and Rhythmic Event
D. Navigation Strategies
1. Reality Vectors
2. Emotion Vectors
IV. Future Research
‘Difference’ infers the existence of a split: a point at which something becomes other than what it was, or its definition changes. I am interested in this split, and see it as a cavernous fissure, or a ‘Line of Disappearance’, whereby experiential reality slips into subliminal territories. I will consider this split as both temporal, and ‘Evental’: something “...that appears to happen all of a sudden and interrupts the usual flow of things… and emerges seemingly out of nowhere...” (Žižek 2). What intrigues me about this territory is that it emerges indirectly, and unpredictably, through constant flows, fluxes, and movement. If this movement were to be curtailed, delineated, and specified, it could be categorized as choreography, and in the following discussion, I will draw parallels between structured improvisation, choreographic systems, and their potential to produce an Event that generates unpredictable knowledge.
This research positions Event as an experiential shift in the body that leads to a generative moment of reframing. In the activity of reframing, knowledge is produced. This knowledge can belong to the performer, choreographer, or viewer, is generated by the dance, and is retroactively inscribed in language. I will reference improvisation techniques as approaches to producing these shifts, and discuss how its emergence is marked by a moment of ‘perceptive discrepancy’: a gap in experience, and a ‘differently inhabited’ body that opens toward an unforeseeable perspective, characteristic of Zen ‘Satori’: “…the unfolding of a new world hitherto unperceived in the confusion of the dualistic mind.” (Suzuki 611).
I will consider improvisation and meditative approaches that expand physical attention, and the knowledge acquired from this ‘hyper-empathic’ state as accessed by a ‘peripheral body’. I will reference contemporary choreographers such as Jérôme Bel, Jonathan Burrows, Susan Rethorst, and Mårten Spångberg, Neo-Dada artists such as Yoko Ono, and the postmodern perspectives of Yvonne Rainer, and John Cage. I will also reference my personal artistic research.
I will bring this investigation to the body, the senses, and the subconscious, and discuss techniques that catalyze rifts in perception, enhance ‘peripheral’ senses, and indirectly produce a ‘lost’ notion of self and identity.
II. (Dis)locating the Peripheral Body: Improvisation Movement Strategies
A new form of consciousness, one that takes in the exterior, the landscapes of experience, requires a new aesthetic and more explicitly choreographic practice – a discourse of the body’s interiority, breath, residues, smells, taint of flesh and emotion, moving alongside affective traces of the landscape itself. (Joy 352)
I will begin by addressing what I mean by ‘peripheral body’: that which the senses inform and are within our control, that which the senses inform and are not within our control, and that which the senses do not inform at all, but nonetheless produce a sensorial response via imaginary stimuli. This peripheral territory therefore must include some semblance of fiction, whereby there is no ‘real’ initiating sensation, but an imagined sensation produces a virtual real. Tapping into this territory is a mental exercise of focused attention, or meditation, and it opens the dancer to a re-configured sense of her body.
Dance techniques design attention to the senses in specific ways, forming an inner dialogue between the dancer and her body. This dialogue produces various qualities of choreographic ‘material’ whereby sequences of perceptive stimuli are played out in time, and over space. However, what if these sequences were interrupted, or their signals diverted? What if the specificity to attention is also what dislodged that attention, rendering its source(s) expanded, virtual, or somewhat impossible to grasp within the familiar reality of the body? “Never to get lost is not to live, not to know how to get lost brings you to destruction, and somewhere in the terra incognita in between lies a life of discovery.” (Solnit 14). The question becomes: how does one go about achieving this lost state? Improvisation is a useful strategy, and how its parameters are constructed and delivered are critical to its efficacy in guiding collaborators toward ‘lost’ experiences, and producing movements by necessity (as opposed to mimesis).
A. Scoring Affect
As Susan Leigh Foster states, both choreography and performance “…offer potential for agency to be constructed via every body’s specific engagement with the parameters governing the realization of each dance.” (5). It is my position (and shared by many) that the improvisation score functions as a common point of departure, and its parameters open towards heterogeneous expression as each individual dancer differently interprets how to carry the score into action. An especially transparent example is seen in Jérôme Bel’s Disabled Theatre (2012). Jérôme’s proposals (for example, ‘make up a solo dance to the song of your choice’) are announced one at a time over a microphone, and then the audience witnesses the resulting action, as generated by the performers. The proposals are stark, with minimal descriptions (‘walk out on stage, one at a time, and look at the audience for one minute’) and as the audience observes how they are played out, the audience is also implicated by its own assumptions about the performers. In this case, it appears that Bel removes himself from conventional authorship apart from the score, but it is the score itself that provides the footing upon which the work is extrapolated, no matter how minimal his involvement may appear. The rupture in this instance is within the perspective of the viewer, as representation, and its possible associative prejudices, become the work’s contemplative material.
In regard to this way of working, Claire Bishop writes:
…delegation is not just a one-way, downward gesture. In turn, the performers also delegate something to the artist: a guarantee of authenticity, through their proximity to everyday social reality, conventionally denied to the artist who deals merely with representations. (4660).
It would appear in the case of Disabled Theatre, the authenticity and joyful movements of the performers permeate and transcend the score. It is as if the score, along with the theatre, function to amplify the intensity that is their dance. I posit that it is this intensity that mines a perceptive fissure, and makes way for possible Evental ruptures.
Scores, either improvisational or choreographic, leave the intricacies of action up to the agent/dancer. As these actions unfold in real time, the performers play out spontaneity, chance, and a consideration of circumstances, ignited both by the present moment (via the improvisational score), and the overarching sequence (via the choreographic score). Some approaches leave the options for action more open than Jérôme Bel does, but still require a specific methodology that equips collaborators with tactics for how to deal with various possible encounters.
Usually ‘ensemble’ training has an intention more fundamental than the acquisition of technique; it promotes the development of shared sensibility, enhanced sensitivity, common vocabulary, collective understanding and even… shared ethics. (Britton 274).
What therefore becomes embedded in the score is a system of engagement that determines how to collaborate, and the way performers manage events over the choreographic timeframe.
The subsequent question becomes: how are these scores are produced? Are they pre-imagined, or perhaps invented retroactively by observing what has already emerged in the process? Is the outcome the performance, or is reading the score itself enough? In Jacqueline Baas’ essay The Sound and the Mind, she references Yoko Ono’s ‘instruction painting’ Smoke Painting as “…at once a meditation aid and a comment on the value of painting…” and “…perhaps, best performed in the mind.” (Iverson 100). I assert it is ‘best performed’ in the mental space of the viewer because Ono loses control of the painting’s aesthetic outcome, and therefore her control over its causal effect in favour of an unknowable affect: “…a substrate of potential bodily responses, often autonomic responses, in excess of consciousness.” (Clough 1).
It is my assertion that this type of affect, or what is in ‘excess of consciousness’, is what makes way for Event. It requires a conscious effort to bypass consciousness, and excavate “… the ‘unknown knowns’, the disavowed beliefs and suppositions we are not even aware of adhering to ourselves.” (Žižek 9). What can their unearthing reveal retroactively, and how can the peripheral body operate to mine the subconscious?
B. Meditation for Hyper-Empathy
John Britton describes the paradox of the ensemble as “…based on relationships between strong individuals.” (320). What tools guide individuals within the ensemble to an egalitarian situation, whereby methods for responding to, and dealing with situations have been clarified for all? In my practice of locating my peripheral body, I have also developed and captured a technique for collaborators to locate theirs.
The power is no longer in becoming authentic, but indeed, in the production of simulacra as simulacra. Translated to bodily practices this means, simply, to invert somatic practices. Fake them, invent them, and perhaps we can find another body hidden away somewhere under a forgotten chair, or in a vacant space next to. (Spångberg 121)
Inspired by Spångberg’s rhetoric, I performed a fake meditation practice alone in a studio. I captured it on an audio recording device while I was doing it, while I was inventing it, and also while I was being affected by it. In playing back the audio score, it guides the listener through two activities: emptying perception, and activating projection. These activities are meant to bring forth a new way of sensing the body, and transmit or project this new body into the space. This exercise disrupts, and redirects signals delivered by the senses, rendering the body ‘porous’ and its actions ‘phantasmic’. The resulting perception of the once familiar body is lost, and rendered as a formless form, even though a kind of shadow sensation is still ‘present’. From this territory of emptying, the body becomes an open trajectory of desire, or a subconscious playground, and receives information through disoriented, peripheral, and refracted senses.
It is in this state that the peripheral body has become activated, and its movements become ‘Hyper Empathic’, as it simultaneously integrates and projects, or consumes and heaves, the perceptive reality of the objects, persons, and/or movements within the peripheral body’s imaginary reach. This stretched perception elicits an immediate kinesthetic response. It is a proactive strategy in that it 'takes' sensation, and then immediately embodies and enacts it, therefore 'giving' sensation back to the ensemble through movement. It is a dance that produces itself, as the dancer projects her/his “…three-dimensional structure into the energy and action of the other.” (Leigh Foster, 10)
The score for this mediation also ‘produced itself’ through my improvised meditation. The words, images, and concepts were all derived in the moment of their inception. In this way, I allowed the dance to think, and the words to become an emergent byproduct. The moments of linguistic recognition were captured in the immediate moments after the dance produced them, which according to Alain Badiou, could indicate Evental emergences:
…the only way of fixing an event is to give it a name, to inscribe it within the “there is” as a supernumerary name. The event itself is never anything besides its own disappearance. Nevertheless, an inscription may detain the event, as if at the gilded edge of loss. The name is what decides upon having taken place. Dance would then point toward thought as event, but before this thought has received a name – at the extreme edge of its veritable disappearance; in its vanishing, without the shelter of a name. (61)
1. Further, Emptier
“If you are thinking ‘about’ (or having opinions about) what you are doing, you are not fully doing it.” (Britton 320)
How does one go about emptying perception? In the Zen notion of Satori, there must be “… a general mental upheaval which destroys the old accumulations of intellection and lays down the foundation for new life; there must be the awakening of a new sense which will review the old things from a hitherto undreamed-of angle of observation.” (Suzuki 771-772). John Cage offered these new angles of observation, whereby found sounds, or framed silences, brought attention to sonic possibilities of composition, and to noticing the fullness of the material carved out by the compositional frame. “If one is making something which is to be nothing, the one making must love and be patient with the material he chooses. Otherwise he calls attention to the material, which is precisely something…” (Cage 114)
In attempting to empty perception, one must first exhaust the senses, render them mute, and position them in the background, in order for some other provisional capacity to make itself known. For example, I’ve been working on expanded capacities of the gaze, and in one exercise I guide dancers to focus their eyes on something in the room, widen to a peripheral gaze from that position, and then move toward something blurry within their field of vision. Eventually, the peripheral landscape takes on a new life through this new attention to it. However, it can only ever exist as a peripheral landscape, because its features disappear, or change in definition when attempting to move towards them, or ‘see’ them. There is curious information in this blurry territory that is alluring, magnetic, and only exists when not looking at it directly as it is held in the peripheral body’s expanded senses.
Similarly, I made a physical meditation that guides the dancer to emptying her gross anatomy throughout the space, dispersing skin, fluids, muscles, and bones across various points in the room. The duration and imagery of this exercise (including actual fatigue) leads to a numbing of delineations, or a formless form, that is experienced like an electrical 'current'. “Satori comes upon a man unawares, when he feels he has exhausted his whole being.” (Suzuki 742). It is from this place of energy emanating from an exhausted form that a new form can be imagined, and the subconscious can project out along imaginary vectors of intensity. The score can craft these vectors.
C. Lines of Disappearance
In any dance situation, and at its most reductive, the dancer’s movement options are to go with, go against, or to change. It is my argument that this moment of ‘change’ is what marks a physical discrepancy as a dramatically ‘felt’ fissure. I call this fissure a ‘Line of Disappearance’, similarly described by cultural theorist Paul Carter as “…the arc of a spear in flight as a relational connection between two spaces made visible through its passage.” (Joy 475), but perhaps without the necessity of a ‘relational connection’. Sometimes incompatibilities are equally productive…
You will only come to know this change if you embark on it. It has to be carved out by the dance. It is the space between existence and non-existence, here or there, one perception of reality and another. It produces difference in the sense that something is not the same anymore. This change happens in time. It is something to notice. It could hold the key to a work’s context, set off a trail of investigation, or help build a lexicon of material to build from. It could also be nothing. Whatever it is, it can emerge as both a research tool, and a distinguishing performance trait.
(Simone Forti) scattered bits and pieces of rags and wood around the floor, landscape-like. Then she simply sat in one place for a while, occasionally changed her position or moved to another place. I don’t know what her intent was, but for me what she did brought the god-like image of the dancer down to human scale more effectively than anything I had seen. (Rainer 195-196)
1. Flow and Rhythmic Event
How is flow, a force that burrows out cavernous rock, rivers, landscapes, or mental spaces, responsible for cracking the ground in half and producing a Line of Disappearance? How can flow shatter the configuration of the body, self, or identity, rendering it incompatible with previous definitions?
In movement, I consider flow not as a singular, unperturbed stream, but rather something that is pixilated and unpredictable, and its unpredictability allows it to carry affect. It is pure inertia along a series of corners, a rogue bicycle bumping downhill, light refracting through elements in deep space, or a river that curbs, flips, and bumps over a textured rock bed. “Flow is an accident of the attempts to get from one event to the next event... However, if you let everything flow then we’ll have nothing against which to read the flow.” (Burrows 118). The tiny moments that redirect flow are what I consider Rhythm, and these blips, or the timing of when these blips happen, give texture and dimension to choreography.
To engage in flow, is also to engage in rhythm, as the stops, starts, and changes form bridges for flow to travel along. In order to test the material of these bridges, one must experiment with rhythm, and then wait and see how flow moves along. For example, I set the improvisation task of ‘Always going a little bit too far’, which results in both a delayed and urgent rhythm to each step, as if each step is necessary by virtue of saving myself from toppling over. The result is a strange grappling dance of near misses, where flow is momentarily interrupted as it tries to connect between moving targets. In the moment right before falling, there is an essential grab for the next rhythmic post, or ‘step’. It is in this moment of wild flow, between steps, that I am temporarily not myself. I am suspended from judgment, ability, identity, and self. It is a miniature Line of Disappearance, where difference is etched out by provisional actions of the peripheral body.
I think ‘rhythm’ is another word for ‘score’.
“With clarity of rhythmic structure, grace forms a duality. Together they have a relation like that of body and soul.” (Cage 92)
I think ‘flow’ is another word for ‘grace’.
Grace also carries affect.
D. Navigation Strategies
The point of becoming lost is what is gained in becoming ‘unlost’.
To navigate the seas of improvisation, strategies are essential in order to bring the flows of movement into representation, semiotic encoding, and see that the work becomes a work. This notion of ‘becoming’ implies a trajectory, a vector, and an outward propulsion from the internal life of the creative process. To connect more than one Line of Disappearance is to create a sequence. This sequence can be used as a compass, and it can be captured, for example in the text of a score, or on video, in order to fasten it and hold the future space of the dance.
1. Reality Vectors
The dancer holds a position in space. In this position, she visualizes a small, concentrated area of the body: a ‘heat-ball’. She then visualizes a trajectory of this heat ball along a specific vector through space: right elbow arcing towards studio light bulb. Without any physical preparation, the dancer ‘sees’ this path until it is absolutely clear, and proceeds to thrust the heat-ball along its imagined vector. It never works. The body never follows the precise trajectory of the imagination. What is experienced is a discrepancy between perceived reality and imagined reality, in what becomes a rift is reality itself. What is more real: the projected path or the physical outcome? Virtual action or embodied action? What is gained or lost in this rift? “…we leave behind our false Self not when we keep reality at a distance, but precisely when we totally, without reserve, ‘fall’ into it, abandon ourselves to it.” (Zizek 56).
2. Emotion Vectors
The difference between emotion and mood is that emotion points towards something. “I love you, I hate squirrels, I’m proud of myself,” and so on. These vectors project out from the subject, point at something, and an emotion is identified retroactively that points back to the subject. This implies circularity.
These emotion vectors can create circularity between dancers, or pushing and pulling at the same time: a give and take. For example, if we go back to the peripheral body as 'taking' hyper-empathic sensation that is then immediately projected outwards, and then place another person engaged in that same activity within spatial proximity, a circularity comes into play, whereby empathic signals are coming from the other person, and are also being projected back towards her, which she again projects in return. This closed system of simultaneously sending and receiving the subconscious by virtue of the peripheral body (receiving) and the projected imaginary (sending) presents a strange magnetism. The vectors are trapped, orbiting between, and because they still have ‘directionality’ they have the ability to carry emotion, both towards the other person, and simultaneously towards the self. Am I sending you ‘joy’, or do I feel joy because you are fulfilling my desire for joy? What does this dance look like? What is it to see yourself through another person’s body – a body you are also affecting?
In his Following Piece (1969) “…Vito Acconci set himself the task of following a randomly selected stranger walking in the street while remaining himself unobserved… he called this activity ‘Performing myself through another agent’.” (Iverson 16). This is also just ‘what we do’, but by taking it to a precipice of attention and amplification, perhaps it could be used to further test the perceptive discrepancies produced between bodies, and peer into the Lines of Difference erected by the subconscious.
Every genuine instance of thinking is subtracted from the knowledge in which it is constituted. Dance is a metaphor for thought precisely inasmuch as it indicates, by means of the body, that a thought, in the form of its evental surge, is subtracted from every preexistence of knowledge. (Badiou 66)
The productive force of the dancing body, in both the dancer’s internal experience, and what is transmitted through performance, has the capacity to disorient and transcend habitual modes of perception. These interruptions bring conscious attention to the present moment, and reveal a spectrum of knowledge perhaps incongruous with daily existence. To notice something within the familiar, that also transcends the familiar, is a productive moment. Dance knows this well. Dance relies on its techniques to attend to the physical challenge of a moment, but at the same time, makes way for an underlying flow of affect, carrying new kinds of knowledge that cannot be predicted. Dance is therefore an opportunity for an encounter that is simultaneously operating above and beneath the surface. It is pinned by its parameters within time over space, the implications of representation, and the limits of language, but it stretches outwards towards an intensity that exists in its own disappearance. Its meanings emerge within this vacancy – just look closer.
IV. Future Research
It is my position that 'how' an artist deploys action within the choreographic framework is what determines the balance of control and agency within the creative process, rendering it a possible template for social processes. How we engage determines what we make. I will introduce this line of research to a choreographic consideration of ‘social’ space: the active space between and surrounding bodies.
Badiou, Alain. "Dance as a Metaphor for Thought." Handbook of Inaesthetics. Trans. Alberto Toscano. Standford: Stanford UP, 2005. 57-71. Print. Badiou’s essay discusses the relationship between dance, Event, and the emergence of genuine thought. He takes the position that dance, as a technique combining restraint and abandon, mimics a thought ‘remained undecided’ as they are both un-fixed. If the emergence of genuine thought is to be considered an ‘Event’ (a spontaneous and non-causal emergence), and an Event is unfixed and pre-linguistic (as the only way to fix an Event is to inscribe it in language) then it can be said that dance points towards the moment before both Event, and genuine thought can be inscribed in language. Therefore dance should not function as a causal communicator or information that is already preconceived, as this is conversely the function of theatre.
Bishop, Claire. Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship. London: Verso, 2012. Kindle file. Claire Bishop unpacks the social art practice 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.
Britton, John. "'Self-with-Others': A Psychophysical Approach to Training the Individual in Ensemble." Encountering Ensemble. New York: Bloomsbury, 2013. 273-362. Print. An approach to collaboration, training attention, and working with a performance ensemble not as a whole, but a collection of strong individuals. Britton’s pedagogy describes a practical learning curve that includes processes for embodiment, use of the senses, scores and physical action, listening, reflection, and other principles to create a cohesive and democratic environment for an ensemble to function, while maintaining individual agency. It is a useful guide for collaborative creative processes and performance tactics that craft responsiveness to the present moment.
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. Silence: Lectures and Writings by John Cage. Hanover, NH: Wesleyan UP, 1973. Pdf file. 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.
Clough, Patricia Ticineto, and Jean O'Malley Halley. The Affective Turn: Theorizing the Social. Durham: Duke UP, 2007. Kindle file. A compilation of essays relating to the ‘affective turn’ within humanities and social sciences, relating emotion and the body to social phenomenon, technologies that represent the body, and founded Baruch Spinoza’s theories on Affect which relates the thinking mind and the acting body as parallel, but having an indeterminate causality. To transform “passions into actions” is thus an effort of an internal schema that subverts external influences (including cultural and political), and makes a case for contemporary practices of sensitivity and open embodiment.
Foster, Susan Leigh. Choreographing Empathy: Kinesthesia in Performance. London: Routledge, 2011. Kindle file. Foster investigates the intrinsic connection between dancer and viewer, and ‘choreography’, ‘kinesthesia’, and ‘empathy’ as tied into the specific composition of dance movements that produces affect between bodies, and generates a shared feeling. Drawing upon theories on performativiity and the self, Foster bridges audience and dancer by way of the choreographic attention to ‘how’ physical material is constructed, and it is the meticulous crafting of ‘how’ that acts as the mechanism for producing an empathetic response from the viewer.
Žižek, Slavoj. Event: Philosophy in Transit. London: Penguin, 2014. Print. Zizek examines the concept of Event from the perspectives of religion, philosophy, psychoanalysis, art, and pop-culture. He defines Event as something divergent, shocking, and interrupting the flow of regular relations. He uses the following categories to unpack possible evental occurrences: the disintegration of a frame through which reality appears, a religious Fall, Budddhist Enlightenment, Truth, the self as evental occurrence, illusion, trauma, flow, political rupture, and the undoing of an event.
Iversen, Margaret, ed. Chance: Documents of Contemporary Art. London: Whitechapel Gallery, 2010. Print. An anthology of biographical and autobiographical portrayals of contemporary artists who invite indeterminacy, unknowingness, and uncertainty into their practices, and leave the outcome of their pieces open to effects that are un-authored. It illuminates strategies and perspectives on how and why an artist might choose to surrender his/her agency over to another kind of author. There are many references to the use of scores, including Vito Acconci, Yoko Ono, John Cage, Bruce Nauman, and Allan Kaprow.
Joy, Jenn. The Choreographic. Cambridge: MIT, 2014. Kindle file. Joy’s book on takes a contemporary look at the choreographic in terms of an attitude, an approach, or a trajectory that extends across distances, as opposed to a fixed or closed operation. She references the work of artists such as Meg Stuart, DD Dorvillier, Jeremy Wade, and Miguel Gutierrez (among others), and grapples with dances that evade representation, counter linguistic signification, enact philosophical contexts and produce knowledge, enact feminist theories that link to conditions of placelessness, and attempt to move away from inscription and causal relations, although impossible.
Lepecki, André. Exhausting Dance: Performance and the Politics of Movement. New York: Routledge, 2006. Pdf file. Lepecki examines the work of contemporary European and North American choreographers who challenge conventionally upheld and reproduced ideologies that categorize dance, and it’s 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 polemic elements including: solipsism, the linguistic materiality of the body, stillness, the vertical plane, racism, politics, and the melancholic drive. Artists mentioned include: Bruce Nauman, Juan Dominguez, Xavier Le Roy, Jerome Bel, Trisha Brown, La Ribot, William Pope.L, and Vera Mantero.
Rainer, Yvonne. Feelings Are Facts: A Life. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 2006. Print. Rainer’s autobiography, detailing her involvement as a dancer, choreographer, and co-founder of the Judson Church, the New York art scene from the late 1950’s and early 60’s, and her postcolonial and feminist films of the 70’s and 80’s. Alongside details of her life, influences, and how she constructed her dances and films, she portrays the parallel careers of her colleagues, including Steve Paxton, Trisha Brown, Simone Forti, Robert Morris, Robert Rauschenberg, John Cage, and Merce Cunningham, whose work reflected the post-modern climate, and politically driven concerns.
Rethorst, Susan. A Choreographic Mind: Autobodygraphical Writings. Helsinki: Theatre Academy Helsinki, 2012. Print. A collection of autobiographical essays 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 approach 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-evaluation in order to position her work as self-revelatory.
Solnit, Rebecca. A Field Guide to Getting Lost. New York: Viking, 2005. Print. Solnit’s book positively uncovers presence through absence, or abandoning the familiarity of known internal and external territories in order to re-orient along another mode of existence. Through personal and historical stories, she illustrates encountering the present by virtue of lost-ness, or entering the void in order to discover a hidden potentiality.
Spångberg, Mårten. Spangbergianism. Stockholm: S.n., 2011. Pdf file. Spangberg presents a work of choreography through text. Crafted over a typical dance rehearsal timeframe of three months, he exorcises a series of essays that annihilate and upend the European dance market, common tropes, studio practices, and even his own dysfunction in making work that is not more of the same, or conventional. He criticizes the dance world in a cathartic cry, and motivates readers to consider how global capitalism has infiltrated dance’s modes of production, identity politics, and the very core of creativity. He proposes strategies for bypassing subjective desire in making art. He references the philosophical writing of Deleuze and Guittari, and proposes tactics for creating rifts in order to collapse the influences of capitalism.
Suzuki, D.T. An Introduction to Zen Buddhism. New ed. N.p.: Stellar, 2014. Kindle file. A guide to the foundational concepts of Zen, and made from a collection of articles written for the "New East" published in Japan in 1914. Suzuki discusses 'Satori', or the acquiring of a new viewpoint, through allegorical examples, and the rigorous discipline of Zen that brings attention to that which operates outside logic and dualism.