[-empyre-] : "E/motion frequency deceleration" (M Weiss) prolog

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Wed Oct 5 01:24:14 EST 2011

[1] First reflection, Prolog from Michael Weiss.

- - - 

"Creating and Performing Existential Fields of Knowledge"  (Reflections on a Choreolab)

                  A person wanted to learn dancing and went to a teacher of dance, asking:
                 “What is dance?“ The teacher answered by saying: “Who are you?“

- - -  

This story, leading from (outer) definitions to (inner) essences, touches―as I
believe―upon qualities and possibilities of a choreolab as an experimental
laboratory dedicated to research, thereby posing further questions: 
How do dancers develop their art of performing in order to realize foundational dimensions of
knowledge of their bodies ‑and‑ minds and of those who experience their dance? 

How do dancers get in contact with existential grounds (by means of entirely immersing themselves in/with the wholeness of who they are) 
of their (un)consciousness in regard to the own psycho-physical personality in its multilayered contexts 
while also focussing on the interwoven dynamics of subjective and collective fields involved?

What ought to be initiated to enter such processes? What then is movement, from
whom and from where does it derive? What then is body-and-mind and the very
presence coming into manifestation thereby? Which questions ought to be
asked/danced/lived to create knowledge of body-and-mind with regard to social,
cultural, political, and environmental contexts in which dance is situated? How could
deformations within these dimensions be questioned by dance, how could
transformations within these dimensions be initiated by dance?

- - -  

I was a participant of an international group of twenty-three people―many of
them dancers with different backgrounds (e.g. ballet, DanceAbility,(1) contemporary),
some graduate students in humanities and social sciences, coming from Asia,
Australia, and Europe, furthermore creating a cross-generational community; we
were accompanied and inspired by an international group of thirteen experts alike
(Europe, Japan, Middle East) from various artistic and scientific fields (architecture,
choreography, dance [butō [2], contemporary―in its specific developments of each
of the dancers/choreographers], film directing/producing, film studies, light art,
media choreography, media theory, movement studies, musicology, philosophy,
piano solo, political theory, sociology, transcultural literary and media studies),
being supported by a dedicated team in charge of the many practical and
organizational issues involved. We gathered at the campus of Danube University
Krems for nine days within the context of a choreolab situation (III.
International ChoreoLab Austria, organized by Tanz Atelier Vienna and Danube
University Krems under the title (E)MOTION FREQUENCY_deceleration: 
Seminar on the theory and practice of celerity, duration & space 
from August 27 till September 4, 2011.

_ _ _

When leaving the choreolab, some of the aforementioned questions circulated
intensely within me as they have been substantial during these days. They were
based on a process of withdrawal from the normative and unquestioned to be drawn
into performing and discussing the non-normative and questionable. Given the wide
scale of the initial questions―posed by each generation of dancers anew―, they will
continue to circle unanswered throughout these postings; but they shall be
anchorages to which we can return. In this sense, this rehearsal is no more than a brief
sketch of some considerations, all of them pointing towards their further elaboration.
This said, the following intends to be an interplay of inviting readers to take the
ball of reflection, thereby playing it further according to their creative, reflective and
critical modes of filling and completing the gaps left here.

Having been invited to write about these days from a participant’s perception, I like to base the following posts on three reflections: 

The first part is an invitation to readers into my personal experience as a social anthropologist with a background in physical theatre 
during the International ChoreoLab . Along with this description, I will outline some first thoughts as to how the personal experience 
might be seen in a larger context with regard to a further development of the choreolab as being embedded in a university/research context. 

In the second reflection we return to the questions set out in the beginning of this essay, asking about specific qualities of the choreolab 
as a creation of fields of knowledge. Against the background of having been part of the Choreolab as well as my personal training, 
the third and final part will be an attempt in reflecting about some relations between choreolab as/and science 
(the latter understood as a most generally cognitive-based endeavour to research);(3) furthermore this shall lead us into considering 
a future development of the "choreolab" as arts-based research (4) within academia, or, to put it differently: 
challenging and inspiring traditional and often linear academic approaches through its multi-layered investigation possibilities 
to directly enter embodied modes of pursuing research while being aware of and outlining some risks which might be involved.

- - -  


(1) Founded by Alito Alessi, DanceAbility is an integrative form of dance, bringing people together
with and without disabilities. DanceAbility is chacterized due to its joint process of the dancers to
research and invent movement and dance. (Comp. DanceAbility, 2011.)
(2) Originated in Japan during the 1950--‐‑60ies, butō (bu: ΄to dance΄; --‐‑tō: ΄to stomp΄) as transmitted by the invited first--‐‑
generation butō dancer Ohno Yoshito is an existential and transformative way of knowing, thereby intending to realize a 
non-dualistic awareness of body-and-mind to be manifested through dance.
(3) For reasons to do with the scope of this essay, I risk to leave the term science rather imprecise
(given its many epistemologies) by referring to limitations of the scientific endeavour in various
disciplines in the above mentioned way.
(4) The arts being applied as primary method of research within the realm of qualitative research.

Michael Weiss

(relayed by moderator)

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