saulo silveira – de-subjectivisation

My name is Saulo Silveira, and I am Brazilian currently studying for a doctorate at the Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro. The focus of the doctoral research is linked to the processes of de-subjectivisation mediated by the somatic practice of the Laban/Bartenieff Movement System. By de-subjectivisation, I mean that somatic practice can be a field of production of new subjectivities, which are constructed from individual desire. This is in contrast with practices or techniques, including somatic ones, that aim to construct a specific mode of movement, of thought, of action, that also ends up producing fixed subjectivities through its practice. In my research, I focus on the process of creating of the performance entitled Cartografias do Presente (Cartographies of the Present), presented in the city of Juiz de Fora- Minas Gerais-Brazil, in October 2015.

The doctoral program in Brazil offers students the possibility to discuss their research in a postgraduate program abroad with the objective of supporting training through exchange and broadening the discussion of the research developed in Brazil, known as the doctorate sandwich or fellowship program. I chose to develop part of my research at Coventry University, especially at the Centre for Dance Research (C-DaRE), because there is a group of internationally renowned professors/researchers who are focusing on the research surrounding somatic field dance such as through the production of the Journal of Dance & Somatic Practice, as well as the biennial Dance and Somatic Practices Conference. During the period from April to September 2017, I was researching with a part of the C-DaRE group of staff and students with whom I had the great pleasure of sharing my current research and critically discussing methodological approaches. The activities and discussions were fundamental to review my way of thinking in dance research and to widen the frontiers of research beyond established approaches in this field of knowledge. The researcher who received me, guided me and gave me the opportunity to participate in C-DaRE’s activities was Emma Meehan. Having Emma as an advisor was fundamental to connect with the activities of the university, with her attentive way of dealing with the questions and such generosity to provoke expansions and at the same time to expand herself with the ways of thinking.

This promoted significant changes in the development and the process of being with the research during those months. Discussions regarding ethical issues which were a little diminished in the scope of somatic practices previously in my work, are now important points in the investigation. New questions were also raised which connect with the transformation of perspectives of the dancer in education, both inside and outside the classroom. This furthers my enquiry into how somatic practices are used not only simply as approaches to movement, but as the production of existential territories of exploration for the mover. I am grateful for the collaboration I had at Coventry University on a daily basis, starting from the front door of the reception to the overall direction.



dance data network: part of an ongoing conversation and the freedom to question

In June 2016, I posted this brief summary of collaborative research into the documentation and dissemination of dance practice: “plans for a research environment”. Here are a few highlights that have taken place since then and what’s coming up. Soon after that early posting, a few of us worked on bids to the EPSCRC’s call for projects related to “Content Creation and Consumption in the Digital Economy“. I worked on a bid titled ‘Dance and Code: a practiced based fusion’ which did not get submitted. Simon and Hetty submitted a bid titled ‘Digital Limits: dance improvisation and artificial intelligence’ (which was unsuccessful). In July, Sarah, Alli and Charlotte met with former AHRC Director of Research, Mark Llewellyn, to share ideas we had for dance documentation and digitisation (D3). One proposal that emerged from this meeting was to approach the newly established Alan Turing Institute for data science.

During that time, Hetty had a residency at the Digital Catapult Centre which she posted about here: dance data residency. It should also be recalled that the Europeana Space Project was already underway at that time (with core involvement of Rosa, Sarah and Charlotte) and Wholodance (with Sarah, Ruth, Rosa and Karen) had just begun. On 16 September, Hetty, Karen, Rosa, Simon, Charlotte, Susanne and I met with email input from Sarah, Vicki, Emma and Ruth. The aim of the meeting was to 1) To pull together different C-DaRE dance/ digitisation/ digital discussions, proposals & research strands; 2) To bring forward results from previous project, share info about current ones and integrate plans for the future. One of the projects discussed there would become Simon’s AHRC bid titled “screen bodies” which he shared some ideas about here and Karen mentions in this post. Another outcome was the proposal to focus the 2017 Digital Echoes on the theme of ‘dance data’.

Various other developments in Autumn 2017 including the advertisement of the Deakin/ Coventry shared PhD Studentships focused on ‘Dance Digitisation: transformations in dance knowledge, interdisciplinary exchanges and points of contact between machines and movement in the 21st century’ (now taken up by Erica Charalambous and Sarah Neville) as well as a Marie Curie Fellowship application for Daniel Bisig to join C-DaRE as a ‘creative coder’ for two years. This application was unsuccessful, but we resubmitted the bid this year and will find out in February 2018 if Daniel will join us. A key aspect of this proposal is the link it will make with Motion Bank at the Hochschule Mainz University of Applied Sciences, as Daniel would help us to make a link with the team which is now is place there. And this link was very much the topic of the follow up meeting for the dance/ digital group which took place on 1 February 2017 to consider the concept of the Dance Data Network. Initiated by Motion Bank, the DDN is a platform for sharing dance data amongst an institutional network currently consisting of Mainz, Coventry and Deakin. Funding obtained from the Aventis Foundation last Spring will support the development of a concept to be used for further fundraising to realise the platform. Google translate does a decent job with this blog posting about the project on the Aventis website.

Reading these few paragraphs above, thinking about many individuals and projects not mentioned that could be (e.g. Susanne’s research into the remains of performance), the many more Internet hyperlinks that could be made, etcetera. I realise reading it I lose sight of what lies at the heart of all of this ‘development’ narrative filled with networks, reports, applications (successful and unsuccessful), follow ups and events. Why do we do all this work, what do we wish to achieve, what do we care about most. So I will try to close on something that resonates more with my personal concerns and confusions. The places where I don’t know and can’t really plan until I am there.

On Wednesday, this coming week, I will join Lucy Guerin in the studio as she begins a new creation process with several performers. My role is to document this process with the view to share aspects with others who might be, for their own reasons, interested in understanding something about the forms of tacit, collaborative and embodied knowledge intrinsic to dance making. I will be using the annotation platform being developed by the team (Florian Jenett and Anton Koch) at Motion Bank. We don’t know much about the practice of dance annotation and the data it accumulates, which makes it fortunate that Rebecca Stancliffe is doing her PhD on this topic. We suspect that it holds potential in this ongoing interest in ‘process documentation’ and digitisation several of us at C-DaRE have. But there is a lot we don’t really understand, and that’s where I will be starting out. Whatever we discover (or not) in these next two weeks, I hope to share at some events coming up in Melbourne this month.

I suppose this is my chance to reflect back on those previous paragraphs. We are constantly in the process of building scaffolding for asking the critical questions which are most important to us; but it feels like we are under increasing pressure to ‘develop’, which feels like it takes away from the space of the questions. I have no solution for this, other than to acknowledge the iterative and often dialectical (even contradictory) process of building and sustaining a research context (e.g. the Dance Data Network), hoping it will allow for the critical engagement with questions for which no answers may be forthcoming, but which many of us might participate in asking together. Still holding onto hopes expressed in that June 2016 post.

— Scott deLahunta

media practices, social movements, and performativity

C-DaRE’s Susanne Foellmer, with Margreth Lünenborg and Christoph Raetzsch, has edited and published a new book: Media Practices, Social Movements, and Performativity: Transdisciplinary Approaches (Routledge 2018)

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Quotidian digital media have fundamentally transformed the ways in which public protest is articulated today. Think of movements like Occupy and the Arab Spring, the protests in Gezi Park in Istanbul and the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Protest is nowadays voiced on the street and online at the same time. In these performative acts, we discern calls for community and perceive individual acts of articulation. The volume addresses such developments in an interdisciplinary collaboration between media and communication studies, and theatre, dance and performance studies.

The volume presents international case studies on the new dynamics of protest, articulation and community along with two programmatic articles on the role and legacies of performativity in the affiliated disciplines. The case studies cover a wide cultural and geographical terrain – from Mexico to Japan, from Germany to Greece. A core interest is to develop the notion of media practice theoretically and employ it analytically to these divergent settings. On the basis of performative and practice-theoretical approaches the contributors show the specific local embeddedness of new forms of publicness that emerge in protest movements. They achieve to differentiate how technological change is necessarily embedded in these conditions but need not be a principal force. The volume thus covers a broad range of performative experiments, historical case studies and new forms of collective articulation.

The volume makes an important contribution to debates about technological globalisation and political change, about media usage and potentials of political emancipation. In an interdisciplinary dialogue of media and communication studies with theater and dance studies, the contributions highlight the versatility of performativity and media practice as an analytic approach.


Re-making, re-choreographing and re-recording

Through practice I am interested in examining how the processes of re-making, re-recording and re-choreographing, can reveal tensions between temporal regimes. My work explores the impact entangled technologies are having on artistic disciplines and I am interested in the politics between digital and physical spaces and places.

McGuire (1998) highlights connections between montage and “Mise-en-abyme effects” (p68) montage creates distinct visual forms which have the power to project the spectator into the picture. I am interested in new places created by technologies mise-en-abyme like effects.

I am interested in re-choreographing movement and sending material into a technological Abyss. Into the abyss derives from the French conception mise-en-abyme, a “series of apparently endlessly overlapping, enclosed networks of conceptual or structural spaces which form a kind of labyrinth leading to a shifting, ever-unattainable nucleus or centre” (Cardwell, 1989 p. 271)

How does material move through itself? This study embraces technology and the increasing proliferation of, and exposure to screens, as such this project is interested in a kind of medium un-specificity. The methodology acknowledges that the data is re-used and not contained in any one place, it is shifting, re-staged and re-performed. The methodological implications of this study require a reciprocity and dialogue to occur between many disciplines. It challenges universalisms and it implies a plurality of knowledge in this global knowledge society (Ludden, 2003).

Parody is a valuable tool, which can help push content through different value systems. The UK amended the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) in October 2014 to allow fair dealing with a copyright work for the purpose of caricature, parody or pastiche (section 30A). The European Court of Justice has held that the parody exception is an autonomous concept of EU law and so should be interpreted uniformly throughout the EU. (Lagarde, et al, 2016). One area I am exploring through practice is the power that has been afforded to parody by law.

I am specifically interested in the relationship between film and still image. If we consider Virilio’s (1977) theory that the logic of acceleration lies at the heart of the organization and transformation of the modern world then the speed at which entertainment and distractions operate at, are happening faster and faster. How is this affecting film space in the digital age, and how is this speed affecting the boundaries of artistic disciplines online? Twitter demonstrates how programmes and films are being shared and exhibited. Cinema is being reduced to animated graphics interchange formats so it can be consumed at faster speeds. As content glides through digital platforms, disciplines are eroded and new spaces formed, from these moments that surface on various platforms. Material is malleable and re-makeable.

– Carol Breen, PhD student C-DaRE


looping – claire ridge

In this project I am exploring the potential of looping in a performance practice. This includes looping as copying, recording, remediating and creating technological loops through live feed, recorded film and bodies in performance. I ask what might appear through these processes? How might looping operate as mining or excavating images for their alternative meanings or histories?

This sits within a wider context where we have become used to viewing images in non-sequential ways. Post-internet, we access images though scrolling, switching tabs, clicking on links in YouTube that appear like wormholes, and finding images and themes that return again and again through algorithm feeds. These developments in late-capitalist image-based culture open up new possibilities for what an image can do. I am particularly interested in the potential of post-internet strategies of looping in performance, for rupturing the construct of linear time and making multiple temporalities felt in the present.

I have been returning to certain images and exploring what appears when I put them through systems of looping. At this point in the project I am interested in exploring more deeply the images I use, and therefore what different histories and meanings they drag into the present.

I am also looking at how I loop back on my own practice differently. This involves re-translating and repurposing my work through different iterations in order to explore how meanings may accrue and coagulate through this process.

– Claire Ridge

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Screenshot by Claire Ridge.