[-empyre-] habitats / collaborations / critical motion nowhere and everywhere at some time

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Fri May 22 23:37:24 EST 2009

dear all

Sally Jane's poetic description of her afternoon in  La Villette is quite riveting, 
and i was particularly interested in her evocation of the play/game/capoiera/kung/soccer and walking rhythms
observed on the lawns,  the polyrhythms she evokes remind of the opening of a book i once read while
staying with friends in Cuba and working (making a dance-film) on the beach near La Habana -  . "The Repeating Island"
by Antonio Benítez Rojo.

I also last night read a draft of a paper sent to me by Liz Waterhouse, a young dancer with the Forsythe Company, and
former MA student at Ohio State University where i first met her. 

She writes about living and dancing "amidst" a collective, a company, a living organism, a family, a habitat (adaptable space,
when they tour work and movement) and she sets out to write how : 

"as a dancer with the ensemble I engage with space both as an abstract realm for thought and as a real context for acting. 
In this case study of my creative niche, I develop space as a cooperative, enacted, and environmental phenomena. 
I wish to impart spatial knowledge as the distributed and embodied experience of an ensemble in which I am part..." 
and she goes to describe what she calls her "spaces of involvement"  (as a communal space of research and creation,
of habits and development of shared memories, language, and references to speak about what they do,
promoting "repertoires and individual agendas" ......

 The writing continues in a hauntingly beautiful manner.

so i am in the garden this morning, thinking about the scenes in La Villette
and the  scenes in a company, when you work together and live together for five or 10 years, and longer,
and what the latter means (in terms of a daily practice and the accumulation of knowledge and critical awareness,
emotional dreamings).


now i am back at the studio, and on the way ran into William Brown, who directs the Centre for Culture and Evolutionary Psychology
and the Evolution and Behaviour Group, at the university where i work, [http://people.brunel.ac.uk/~hsstwmb/]
and he tells me a story which makes sense of course, after reflecting on what Sally Jane described.

He did some fieldwork in Jamaica and the Uk where the Group motion-captured people who like dancing or moving; these were non-professional dancers
and they were asked to move around. 

the scientists were after the question:  why would one move around in this manner?  why would a human (or animal) do this?

one hypothesis that emerged, and which will make perfect sense to you, is that such motions are motivated by selection purposes,
the mover elaborates and struts his or her stuff to attract attention and arouse, to test their effect on others and select the responses
from others. It is sexual selection display.
[JJ Gibson had done some of these studies regarding animal motion and proximities, animal environments and domains of activity..... if I remember).

this makes me worry a lot, after i have been learning the avatar choreography in UKIYO. 
it is elaborate, to an extent, and pleasing to me
but not sure whether it can arouse anyone else's interests. 
ah well.  

Johannes Birringer
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