[-empyre-] R: Agreement within difference

Sally Jane Norman s.j.norman at newcastle.ac.uk
Fri May 15 04:43:42 EST 2009

These links are for me uncanny - as befits the motion of critical thinking like this! - in that they can't but bring to mind Forsythe's "execution" of Bacon's Retranslation/ Final Unfinished Portrait, exhibited at the Louvre in autumn 06. Forsythe attached lead to his shoes and gloves and performed a violent four-legged movement sequence (two legs good, four legs better?) to transcribe/ transpose/ interpret Bacon's "stenography of sensation", filmed by Peter Welz who "staged" an installation comprised of multiple video views of this terrifyingly frenergetic (yes, that's the only word for it!!!) "diagram" in the making. The sound was/ is vital. The lead traces on the white surface formed a haunting (also olfactive) trajectory, a twisted echo (counterpoint?) to the Bacon portrait, likewise part of the installation/ exhibit.

The exhibition breathed. Actually it sweated and panted and exerted. In all its disembodied "quiescence". One of the most moving pieces of "motion capture" I've experienced... This exhibition coincided with the DVD publication of One Flat Thing. There's something about the way Forsythe moves relentlessly across media - just as relentlessly as he carves out space with the movement of his own limbs - that's akin to the tireless movement of another of my heroes, Oskar Schlemmer. Whose work on trajectory/ traces is, again, part of a massive, massively moving exploration. Of movement. 


From: empyre-bounces at gamera.cofa.unsw.edu.au [empyre-bounces at gamera.cofa.unsw.edu.au] On Behalf Of stamatia portanova [stamatiaportanova at yahoo.it]
Sent: 14 May 2009 18:12
To: soft_skinned_space
Subject: [-empyre-] R:  Agreement within difference

The notion of counterpoint is of course very much evocative of a performative relation between dance and music... By looking at the moving images on the site, a parallel with painting also immediately came to my mind. There are different painting 'styles', or 'genres', that, in order to briefly summarize, Gilles Deleuze (in his book on the work of Francis Bacon) describes: the first is more  'geometrical, conceptual, digital', the other is more 'organic, based on the emergence of sensations, analog', and the third is a more 'equilibrated' balance of the chaos of sensations, or their insertion into a geometric frame. These are of course to be considered only as tendencies, and not as polarizations, of painting, but can very well explain how a work can contain different aspects, while tending more towards one or the other... Strangely enough, Deleuze's use of the term 'diagram' does not refer to the clear ordering of geometric structure (as emerging for example in Mondrian's painting, that he defines as digital), but to the almost chaotic gestures of the hand, the disordered trace of the painting gesture, brought to its extreme by Pollock's art, where it becomes almost impossible to distinguish any 'intermittent or irregular coincidences between organizational elements that produce an order interplay'. In other words, shapes and directions becoming more intricately entangled, indiscernible, and not clearly distinguishable.

Considering these different sense of the term, I would be very interested if you could say something more about the 'diagram' in One Flat Thing...

--- Gio 14/5/09, Norah Zuniga Shaw <zuniga.11 at osu.edu> ha scritto:

Da: Norah Zuniga Shaw <zuniga.11 at osu.edu>
Oggetto: [-empyre-] Agreement within difference
A: "soft_skinned_space" <empyre at gamera.cofa.unsw.edu.au>
Data: Giovedì 14 maggio 2009, 17:14

Our choreographic resource for our work is One Flat Thing, reproduced
(OFTr), an ensemble dance that examines and reconfigures classical
choreographic principles of counterpoint. In OFTr counterpoint is defined as

³a field of action in which the intermittent and irregular coincidence of
attributes between organizational elements produces an ordered interplay."

Three structural systems interact to create the counterpoint of the dance:
movement material, cueing, and alignments. These systems are detailed in our
introductory essays on the site. I'd like to share more about alignments
here because they are fundamental to how we conceive of, enact, and theorize
counterpoint. The visual languages we created really do express this stuff
best but here are a few experts from the words we use as
anchors/frames/coordinates. Bill and I evolved this vocabulary together over
a few years in intensive writing sessions and in our working practices with
the team at OSU in creating the visualizations. Alignments are short
instances of synchronization between dancers in which their actions share
some, but not necessarily all, attributes. Manifested as analogous shapes,
related timings, or corresponding directional flows, alignments occur in
every moment of the OFTr and are constantly shifting throughout the group.
The term alignment emerges from the working practices of the Forsythe
Company. Other words the company uses to describe this phenomenon include
hook-ups, agreements, and isometries. Within the thousands of alignments in
the choreography, approximately 200 can be understood as a subset called
sync-ups. These are moments in the choreography when a dancer¹s task is to
briefly join with another individual or group. Alignments are a concrete
phenomenon in the dance and also a construct that I'm finding useful in
thinking about understanding complex relationships in many arenas and
specifically in interdisciplinary collaboration.

A great tool for interactively exploring how we think about counterpoint and
alignments is the Counterpoint Tool on the site:



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