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

Lucio Agra lucioagra at gmail.com
Sun May 24 06:10:11 EST 2009

Dear everybody
Though I receive empryre posts regularly, I was specifically attracted by
the name of the author of this previous message, for we already performed
together, though in a virtual manner: Me, in Sao Paulo, with Renato Cohen,
in a tele conference sponsored by SESC Sao Paulo in 2002, named
"constelações" (constellations), Johannes was in Ohio if my memory does not
betray me...
I apologize to get to the discussion this way, since now assuming I did not
follow it, and I take it by the middle. But I would like to suggest two or
three points of reflection.
As for the experiment constructed by Will Brown and others, it seemed to me
a kind of anthropological description modelled digitally. The hipothesis of
sexual selection purposes is a good one, but seems to me that we have in
Spanish and Latin America tons of alive demonstrations of this kind that
would be far more complex to synthesize. I remembered that I, and a
colleague from Recife (originally from Bahia), delighted ourselves watching
couples in a dance floor of Samba in Rio, studying their moving bodies as
true expressions of their interests.
A strategy  to model this, in such a great level of accuracy, is attractive
in a sense, but, on the other hand, remember me some classical observations
of 60's kinesics and proxemics (I mean the interpretation, not the strategy
in itself)
Following my disturbing reading of the post, I remembered my own experience
in an afternoon at La Villette, in may 2007... the perspective to be
immersed in a collective... this all has a great interest to me. We have
been working on that in our course of Body Arts at Catholic University in
Sao Paulo, where I teach, in the context of an undegraduated course on
performance art, co-founded by Renato Cohen. Our point of discussion have
been the following: if performance art is frequently an expression of an
individuated self, how can we make it an expression of a collective of
persons? All the time I read Birringer's quote of the dancer and her
sensation in the group, this question came to my mind. At the same time I
remembered - and I present it not as counterpoint, rather as a parallel
memory of a brazilian travelling abroad - the most involving experience I
had this day was in Christian Marclay's show at Cité de la Musique, where we
set solitairely in a dark room, watching four screens with the best scenes
of the best musicals we all have seen, combined in such a moving way that it
made me come to tears. The humanity was there, perhaps more than the small
groups of capoeira, raggae, funk or other outside...  Or perhaps it was
something more common to my self than the rare experience (a solitaire
experience, I must emphasize) suggested by Marclay in his video
Hot sun here, blue sky, lovely day, not so common in Sao Paulo. Sorry for my
Lucio Agra

2009/5/22 Johannes Birringer <Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk>

> 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).
> [blackout]
> 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/<http://people.brunel.ac.uk/%7Ehsstwmb/>
> ]
> 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.
> regards
> Johannes Birringer
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au
> http://www.subtle.net/empyre

Se vc tem urgência de falar comigo, me ligue no celular! É mais rápido!
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