[-empyre-] On layering

Ashley Ferro-Murray aferromurray at berkeley.edu
Thu May 14 15:57:00 EST 2009

I would like to bring focus back to the “layer,” a concept that Renate
and Tim mentioned in their description of the curatorial intentions
behind this "Critical Motion Practice" topic. When I compose
choreography I often instruct my dancers to "repeat" certain phrases
either in a row or in different contexts throughout a composition.
When I say, "repeat," though, I intend to invoke a conceptual layering
of movement. In a choreographic structure, one movement could have a
different effect depending on the way that the action or lack thereof
is performed and where in the composition it occurs. Nora's
Synchronous Objects project uncovers Forsythe's choreographic layering
and makes the space in-between layers visible, or audible in multiple

I also layer "objects" when I program live interaction in Max. Often,
I create a sub-patch (translated into movement-based language, each
object is like one movement and each sub-patch is like a phrase) where
I connect different objects to perform a specific task. As I often
include the sub-patch in multiple places throughout the program, it
will have a unique effect depending on how and where it is placed. So,
I layer objects and sub-patches to perform specific actions.

In both cases the in-between surrounds and connects each layer.

Similarly, philosophical concept and argumentation can include
layering. The length and the density of the text are specific to each
piece. Each concept references and transforms the next. To
re-introduce a concept multiple times in one argument holds specific
rhetorical affect. Repetition, or multiplicity in layering (within an
infinitely divisible product) produces what I think of as space for
the in-between.


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

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