[-empyre-] Welcome Stamatia Portanova, Ashley Ferro-Murray, and Erin Manning to Critical Motion Practice

Ashley Ferro-Murray aferromurray at gmail.com
Tue May 5 02:43:21 EST 2009

Hello everyone! What an exciting opportunity to engage with this
topic, Critical Movement Practice in such an open forum and for such a
generous period of time. I do hope that many people from many
perspectives get involved in what I am sure will prove to be an
interesting discussion. To start things off I will share some thoughts
on my artistic work and academic scholarship, if you will allow me to
temporarily bifurcate these two inseparable aspects of my career. As a
choreographer who has a particular interest in digital media, I
explore real-time dancer/audience interactions with digital
performance technologies including live video motion tracking and
motion tracking sensors. My work with this technology has led me to
question how digitally facilitated movements impact our physical
awareness and stand relative to dance history. As a female
choreographer, I find relationships between dance history and digital
technologies particularly important as I consider social relations
that might instantiate a classically masculinized audience gaze.
Projection screens, for example, can hang to segment a stage,
consequently obstructing the audience’s view. This can empower a
dancer to appear and disappear, or join the audience in watching
projected images. The performer can transcribe the space between
audience members, screen and projection thereby destabilizing an
otherwise objectifying gaze. Doesn’t this seems like such a simple
answer to an audience/dancer relationship that choreographers have
worked to deconstruct for decades?! Even with the introduction of a
destabilizing projection, though, the relationship remains more

In order to consider examples of how our everyday movements and
technologies can both inspire and complicate dance choreography, I
often turn to my experiences as an audience member, choreographer,
performer and theorist as one moving/thinking body to complicate a
historical situation of dance history alongside technology. By
considering my experience as an audience member and in the
choreographic and performance process, I hope to clarify whether or
not digital projection and presence can open the gaze and defuse the
subsequent objectification of a dancer. In doing so, I explore how
digital technologies can inspire and re-open my conceptions of what
choreographing corporeal technology can be, or is. This research also
often consists of philosophical perspectives ranging from
phenomenological to deconstructionist to historiographical standpoints
among others. As we write about critical movement practice I hope that
we can think not only about questions surrounding the dance
performance space, that we think also about how we write theory that
speaks to, or is movement and practice movement that speaks to, or is

I am excited to hear about your responses, thoughts and work.

On Sun, May 3, 2009 at 8:26 PM, Timothy Murray <tcm1 at cornell.edu> wrote:
> Now that the May Day weekend is past, we are happy to introduce this
> month's discussion on -empyre- of "Critical Motion Practice."  Many
> of you may recall the lively discussion we hosted in September 2007
> of "Critical Spatial Practice," which emphasized architecture, new
> technology, and tactical media.   We thought it might be interesting
> to return to the problematic of "critical practice" by reflecting
> specifically on the impact of "motion" this time around.
> For this purpose, we have arranged a fascinating lineup of guest
> performance artists, choreographers, and theorists who will discuss s
> motion--both self-reflective and interactive--at the intersections of
> art, choreography, geography, architecture, theory, and activism. How
> might technological and critical approaches to movement and
> interactivity empower creativity, enhance artistic activism, and
> encourage artistic/performance practice and collaboration? The
> alignment of criticality with movement and cyber configurations of
> embodiment and space permits especially creative skins of networks,
> resources, and discussions whose resulting configurations range from
> texts and performances to sculptures and installations. The work of
> our guests reflects a broad range of performativity as it relates to
> the broader social paradigms of technology, culture, and art.
> We open this discussion with this week's guests who will join us
> tomorrow, Stamatia Portanova (Italy/Canada) and Ashley Ferro-Murray
> (US).  They will be joined mid-week by Erin Manning (Canada).
> Stamatia Portanova (Italy/Canada)  received her PhD from the
> University of East London, School of Social Sciences, Media and
> Cultural Studies (England). She is currently a post-doctoral fellow
> at the Concordia University of Montreal where she is working on a
> monograph on the relationship between choreography, digital
> technology and philosophy. She is also a member of The Sense Lab
> (Concordia University, Montreal) and of the editorial board of
> Inflexions, the online journal of the Sense Lab. Her articles have
> been published in La nuova Sherazade: Donne e Multiculturalismo and
> in the online journals, Frontiera Immaginifica, Fibreculture and
> Extensions: the Online Journal of Embodiment and Technology.
> Ashley Ferro-Murray (US)  is choreographer who uses interactive
> performance technologies as a means for exploring dance and new media
> in our contemporary culture.
> Ashley is a PhD student in the Performance Studies Program at the
> University of California at Berkeley with interests in the
> intersections of performance, philosophy, technology, and feminism.
> She is committed to experimenting with interfaces of software,
> hardware, and philosophy as they interact with the body and its
> politics.   http://ferromurray.net
> Erin Manning  (Canada) is Research Chair and Professor of fine arts
> at Concordia University  (Montreal, Canada).   Erin directs the Sense
> Lab (www.senselab.ca), a
> laboratory that explores the intersections between art practice and
> philosophy through the matrix of the sensing body in movement.  In
> her art practice, she works between painting, fabric, and sculpture
> (http://erinmovement.com). Her current project, entitled Folds to
> Infinity, is an experimental fabric collection composed of cuts that
> connect in an infinity of ways, folding in to create clothing and out
> to create environmental architectures.  The next phase of this
> project will explore the resonance between electromagnetic fields and
> movement through the activation of the existent magents in Folds to
> Infinity.  her writing addresses the senses, philosophy, and
> politics, articulation the relation between experience, thought and
> politics in a transdisciplinary framework moving between dance and
> new technology, the political and micropolitics of sensation,
> performance art, and the current convergence of cinema, animation,
> and new media.  Publications include Relationscapes: Movement, Art,
> Philosophy (MIT, 2009), Politics of Touch: Sense, Movement,
> Sovereignty (Minnesota, 2007), and Ephemeral Territories:
> Representing Nation, Home, and Identity in Canada (Minnesota, 2003).
> Welcome, Stamatia, Ashley, and Erin.  We look forward to hearing more
> about your practice.  We  very much appreciate your willingness to
> kick off this month's discussion of "Critical Motion Practice."
> Best,
> Renate and Tim
> --
> Renate Ferro and Tim Murray
> Co-Moderators, -empyre- a soft-skinned-space
> Department of Art/ Rose Goldsen Archive of New Media Art
> Cornell University
> --
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

Ashley Ferro-Murray
MA/PhD Student
Dept. Theater, Dance & Performance Studies
University of California, Berkeley

More information about the empyre mailing list