Amphibious Trilogies

On movement

In this project we look at movement out in the world and not on the black box or performance theatrical stage. In doing this we acknowledge that all living things are in motion, whether growing or in decay. Choreography has developed advanced practices, notation, performance styles and audience expectations for dance as artistic and expressive movement. Yet movement occurs everywhere in our daily work and leisure. Mostly we do not study this, but are embedded in its embodied dynamics, kinetically and experientially. Choreography + Movement is not the same as Choreography + Dance.

But how might we proceed? 

For Michael Klien (2007: 7)

As an aesthetics – a sensitive knowing – of change, the discipline of choreography can be applied to enquire into the dance of life, effortlessly merging observation, theoretical writing and philosophy with practical rigor and personal expression to create works of art. The stage becomes a laboratory, the laboratory a stage for the governing and steering of existing mind-dynamics and processes, whether physically expressed (such as the body or a flower) or not (such as evolution or learning). Applying the aesthetics of choreography as a purposeful, creative and proactive tool upon the surface of consciousness, proves a healthy disregard to virtual boundaries of human knowledge production which have arisen through habit or otherwise, transgressing through realms known as sociology, philosophy, psychology, religion, biology and history. This approach engages everyone’s perception and knowledge of ‘how things move’, inquiring if and how individuals can imaginatively order and reorder aspects of their personal, social, cultural and political life. It examines the role of the choreographer as possible agent of change within an ever-changing environment.

How then might we venture forth from the studio and stage to the wider contexts of movement in situations, processes of activity and emerging events out in the world?

This matters intensely as we live and learn in a world that is increasingly complex (see deLahunta & and Shaw, 2008). It is also a world where at the same time we are deeply challenged by its own construction in terms of how movements are the material manifestation of extractive economies, unchecked consumption and our practices in seeing, sensing and understanding their constructions and cultural articulations.

To engage in such a manner is to work to enact, in settings and sites  and across domains and disciplines in what Christine Meldal (2014) refers to as a poetics and practice of choreography, for her dance and music, for us kinetics and social contexts. For us this would be about shifting from extended choreography to unpacking and investigating extending choreographies. 

In doing so we align with André Lepecki’s recent writings (Lepecki, 2016) on critical conceptualisation, following Walter Benjamin on the critical importance of ‘storytelling’, on the audience as witness and the audience as spectator. In an extended choreography we follow his thinking on critically addressing the forces of neo-liberal marketing and commodification of experiences. In our own experience as participants to an exploratory inquiry via artistic practice, though visits, travels  and pauses we have in this project engaged to try to offer some witness and not just spectatorship of what we see as a kinetic-aesthetic-political view on movement in social contexts and conflict inflected venues, settings and systems. 

We present this in a public venue; we have travelled together and discussed and moved and written this in sets of partnerships and we have modestly engaged in a series of diverse dialogues with others: on site, in our workplaces, in formal venues etc and especially here online. All in all this has been about looking at movement as a collective resource and ‘stories’ as partial perfpmtative enactments to address matters of urgency and longer term futures. As Lepecki (2016: Kindle) concludes, referring to the work of Shoshan Feldman:

In not being individual, the repetition a story (of its transmission, its translation, its afterlives) beyond personal survival, is singularity: that precipice and swerve that in persisting beyond the self turns performance into the event it must always become: gathering of parts and futures ins the shared urgency of its collective now.

In what ways then might moving in the world expose and challenge us to think and act further choreographically? We see choreography as a massive resource on movement awaiting fuller uptake, transdisciplinary and by way of researching through emergent artistic practice and related research. Our interest in Amphibious Trilogies spans a set of movement terms, such as trawling and trading, wallowing and weathering.

We have arrived at these through a set of visits, journeys, encounters, experiments and events that have involved us engaging with a range of contexts and demands as these blog posts indicate again and again.

Our own preconceptions and expectations have been shifted and adjusted, and at times jettisoned, and for unknown replacements. Not only has this meant a rethinking of resilience in a time of claims for sustainability, but a turn to the very qualities we value in dancers, such as pliability, adaptability, suppleness and being able to anticipate and support the actions and forces of others in motions and for view and engagement.

We have met, encountered and consulted people whose actions and views have informed and altered our own. Our ideas and sensibilities have been in motion, in a process of becoming rather than simply being, on the move, sometimes static, poised and at times icy cold, others heated, determined and curious. This has involved minds and bodies too.

Wind turbines, arctic birds, the nudges of floating ice, still ponds, a migrant child skipping with an imaginary rope, 21st century tourist-research nomadic lives on Svalbard, a dancer performing a meditative exercise on a titling boat deck, seasonal changes of a wide flowing river in summer to an ice bridge bearing rails mid winter, an imaginary pesona challenging us to reflect on the past and the future, in a weave of words and dance motivated by game logics. Facts, fiction, fabulation, fiercely followed and desultorially dismissed as modes of inquiry arise and undermine plans and surety.

Hiking, walks, talking. Swimming, floating, drifting. Ponds as enclaves between borders, ponds as refuges and landscape markers. Moving across terrains and cultural histories, being within them and seeing them afresh by ways of walking different paths and routes, again, in reverse, quietly, while talking about them. 

This website too is about movement – and it moves. It is itself an artifact that concerns mediation and documentation in and as movement. Please play with the interface and move along with us across its titles, content and categories, tags and relations, ones you make adding to its local and wider kinetic discourse as you may apply and critique it in your own setting and purposes. Overall we have tried to connect these elements in an approach to research by movement.

. . . . . . . . . .

deLahunta, S. and Shaw, N. (2008). Choreographic resources, agents, archives, scores and installations. Performance Research, 13 (1): 131-133.

Klien, M. (2007). ‘Choreography – A pattern language’. Kybernetics Journal, 36(7&8).

Lepecki, A. (2016). Singularities. Dance in the age of performance. Abingdon: Routledge.

Meldal, C. (2014). Poetics and Practice of Choreography. Moscow: The Armchair Scientist.


Click & Drag: Rotate the view.
Right Click & Drag: Pan the view.