[-empyre-] : "(E)MOTION FREQUENCY deceleration" (M Weiss) Movement 3

Johannes Birringer Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk
Sat Oct 8 06:05:33 EST 2011

[3] Third  reflection, Mov.3,  from Michael Weiss.

Choreolab as / and Science & Arts-Based Research

                             Art-based  research [1] and advanced scientific thinking share a fundamental commitment to allowing 
                             the phenomena being studied to speak for themselves. If we stay closely attuned to the images and processes of     
                             creative expression, they will suggest new frontiers of understanding.   (Shaun McNiff)[2]

- - -

The vision laid out here by arts-based researcher and creative arts therapist Shaun McNiff relates to the idea of further developing the Choreolab with its already elaborated research qualities into (possibly) the university field. Shaun McNiff portrays a most ideal conjunction of art and science by reaching out towards a phenomenological base which can unite them. Speaking with philosopher Martin Heidegger, such a project is grounded on trying to reveal a phenomenon from itself in the very way in which it shows itself from itself.[3]  Being apart from prejudice and immersed into pre-reflectivity, such a phenomenological endeavour of an ever deepening awareness is well prepared to search within “new frontiers of understanding”. According to my experience, this is a core fundament of the research process within the Choreolab.

As already reflected upon critically, I experience the scientific endeavour within many of its disciplinary epistemologies―at times in danger of forming rigid systems of unquestioned beliefs and presumptions―as an often linear, dualistic and primarily cognitive-based project to pursue research. If we consider the scientific project’s anchoring within its institutional frameworks at large, then, not least of all, due to their frequent regulative, normative and abstract principles (possibly directed towards unconsciously conditioning behavior), their legal set of rules, representational power hierarchies with issues of status prestige involved, furthermore due to inherent sanctions directed towards social control, institutionalized socio-academic structures are at great risk of restricting and/or losing the non-conformative, spontaneous, liminal and creative potential urgently needed to practice research innovatively.

This is not to underestimate the many possibilities existing within such frameworks; the point I like to highlight is the threat of losing qualities described in this essay that I could experience so intensely within a research laboratory –  the Choreolab –  which I believe to be an existential ground to nourish fruitful research: Empathy, trust, openness and the courage to support processes in silence stand against certain traditions of more or less subconsciously, or unacknowledged mechanistically driven capitalist-like demands for producing (artistic/scientific) outcomes; furthermore, the qualities of the Choreolab, as I came to know it, are based on an encounter from person to person beyond judgement, fields of being in relation with oneself and being related to each other as congruently as possible, thereby transcending hierarchical structures of persons towards student-experts and expert-students, thus being fully aware of the intrinsic potential of each person; and finally all this to be in an environment dance can offer particularly: existential research with/through/of body-and-mind. 

- - - 

The Choreolab contains a distinguished methodology of arts-based research as a systematic experimentation through body-and-mind, thereby forming a way of knowing. As anthropologist Soyini Madison puts it appropriately: ”Art helps us see and realize the unrealized”.[4]  I believe this to be the very nature of the Choreolab by transdisciplinarily uniting art and science. Yet, each of the aspects viewed upon critically before, challenges the process of a further development of the Choreolab as to not only uphold these values possibly leading to innovative research (questions) but to constantly unfolding them―proposing a different zeitgeist. 

Paul Spencer, social anthropologist specializing in dance studies, notes: ”In a very important sense, society creates the dance, and it is to society that we must turn to understand it.” [5] Viewed in light of this interdependency, there lies immense research potential for a further development of the Choreolab as being a conjunction of art and science by fully integrating body-and-mind. Such a research process, to my understanding, is well suited to continue the age-old inquiry into what it means to be a human phenomena in its complexity amongst all other phenomena. It is a research through a thinking, feeling and sensing body, an inquiry into dance by using the full scale of arts-based, qualitative methods to create pathways of an ever deepening understanding. Referring to Stephanie Springgay, Rita L. Irwin and Sylvia Wilson Kind, it would be “research that breathes”  and “research that listens”. [6]

- - -

Dance, as other forms of art, manifests the hybrid cultural and subjective identities ―as I believe―we always live in if we were to regard larger time spans than our lives as a mere generation. Dance reacts to these constantly changing and shifting developments in culture, society, politics as well as in the environment; it not only questions them, it performs them as they are, and: it projects them as they could be. Given the further process of a Choreolab in the aforementioned direction, I feel we are not only in urgent need to question scientific frameworks but to pursue research in a kinaesthetic way through entire body and entire mind. 

In his back up material for the lab, Sebastian Prantl added the photography of a fetus to be seen in the womb of his mother, commenting on the image: “The fetus begins small, random movements, too slight to be felt. The fetal heartbeat can be detected [... .] All major external body features have appeared.“ [7] In conclusion of this essay, I would like to invite readers to existentially enter these words beyond mere cognition, entering with their corporeality and e/motions of thinking and feeling as to be aware of that, following the long chain of evolution, each of us evolves in such manner to discover, search for and research about being in its countless manifestations on this planet, in this universe. 

The Choreolab described here, in conjunction with science, is capable of beginning research from a particular ground, namely such an existential one, thereby embracing research from within and without its most genuine and creative possibilities. 

- - - 
[1] Of equal meaning to arts-based research which expresses the application of various artistic modes of inquiry more distinctly.
[2] 2009:47.
[3] 1953:34. In original German: „Das was sich zeigt, so wie es sich von ihm selbst her zeigt, von ihm selbst her sehen lassen.“
[4] 2003:481.
[5] 1988:38.
[6] 2005:899.
[7] 2011:1; italics as in original.
- - -

A c k n o w l e d g e m e n t s

I would like to thank the entire group of participant-experts and expert-participants for a time-space of experience and common research which I found to be deeply inspiring as expressed in this essay. As all the expert-participants and the originators of the ICLA III already have been named personally, I feel the desire to thank everyone else by naming them. Given the number of our group, this might seem somewhat unusual; yet, remembering that the encounters from person to person have been the base of the choreolab with the group as connector enabling what came into being, I would like to do so by thanking Sophie Beer, Yi-Wen Chen, Jordine Cornish, Elizabeth Dalman, Alexandra Jastrow, Raffaela Gras, Jasmin Hoffer, Ming-Shen Ku, Elisabeth Lauber, Katrin Neue, Edith Pedersen, Shan-Li Peng, Pere Bodi Perez, Anna Prokopová, Vera Rebl, Pablo Sansalvador, Wong Jyh Shyong, Katarzyna Sitarz, Elisita Smailus, Emmy Steiner, Danny Tan and Clemens Trotzmüller, furthermore the organization team from Donau University Krems Karin Bachmayer and Nastaran Sazvar as well as from Tanz Atelier Wien Andrea Golsong, Mei-An Prantl and Susanne Senekowitsch, and finally Eva-Maria Klauser-Herrmann (interpreter for Ohno Yoshito), film-maker Raffael Frick and photographer Michael Renner. 
- - -

R e f e r e n c e s

DanceAbility. 2011.  [Revised July 19, 2011].  ΄Alito Alessi΄. <http://www.danceability.at/deutsch/alessi.htm> (September 19, 2011).
Diener, Michael S. 1992. Das Lexikon des Zen: Grundbegriffe und Lehrsysteme, Meister und Schulen, Literatur und Kunst, meditative Praktiken, Geschichte, Entwicklung und Ausdrucksformen von ihren Anfängen bis heute. [Encyclopedia of Zen: Fundamental Notions and Systems of Apprenticeship, Masters and Schools, Literature and Art, Meditative Practices, History, Development and Modes of Manifestations from their Origins to Date].  München: Barth.
Heidegger, Martin. 71953 [1927]. Sein und Zeit. [Being and Time]. Tübingen: Niemeyer.
Lincoln, Yvonna S.; Norman K. Denzin. [Eds.]. 2003. Turning Points in Qualitative Research: Tying Knots in a Handkerchief. Walnut Creek [Calif.]: AltaMira.
McNiff, Shaun. 2009 [1998]. Art-Based Research. London, Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
Madison, Soyini D. 2003. ΄Performance, personal narratives, and the politics of possibility.΄ In: Lincoln Y.;  N. Denzin 2003:469-486. 
Oikarinen-Jabai, Helena. [2003]. ΄Toward Performative Research: Embodied Listening to the Self/Other.΄ Qualitative Inquiry 9/4, 569-579.
Prantl, Sebastian. 2011. ΄INTERNATIONAL CHOREOLAB AUSTRIA 2011 Back up material /sketch on (E)MOTION FREQUENCY deceleration΄. Tanz Atelier Wien. 9 p. Unpublished.
Spencer, Paul [Ed.]. 1988, Reprint. [1985]. Society and the Dance. Cambridge: Cambridge Univ. Press.
Springgay, Stephanie; Rita L. Irwin; Sylvia Wilson Kind. 2005. ΄A/r/tography as Living Inquiry Through Art and Text.΄ Qualitative Inquiry 11/6, 897-912.
Suzuki, Daisetz [Daisetsu] Teitarō. 1987 [1949]. Mushin: Die Zen-Lehre vom Nicht-Bewußtsein. Das Wesen des Zen nach den Worten des Sechsten Patriarchen. [Mushin: Zen Teaching on Non-Consciousness. The Nature of Zen in the Words of the Sixth Patriarch]. Editing: Adrian Leser. Transl. from Engl. by Emma von Pelet. Bern: Barth.
Weiss, Michael. 2011. Notes. [August 27 - September 4, 2011]. 46 pp. Unpublished.

- - - 

Michael Weiss

(relayed by moderator)

To subscribe via  the World Wide Web, visit

Send your own posting to: 
       empyre at lists.cofa.unsw.edu.au

More information about the empyre mailing list