Amphibious Trilogies

Extending choreographies

In shifting from choreography to choreographies we wish to encompass ways movement may be placed more fully in focus in addressing pressing, emerging and demanding social issues thereby informing understanding and working with issues such as climate change, the Covid-19 global pandemic, and efforts to shape and meet anticipatory futures needs and their navigation. In addressing these issues in Amphibious Trilogies we drew on a variety of earlier publications and works, including some key ones of our own in arriving at an understanding of extended choreography as related enactments

For Amphibious Trilogies we continued with these as artistic ‘enactments’ but also as performative events through visiting, travelling and consulting amongst other movies in the world. When visiting Arkhangelsk in Russia, we became even more aware of the vast presence of nuclear power – civilian and military in the Russian arctic, at the scale of the particle to global geo-politics. While encountering such matters in a prior project called Future North based at AHO, in which we also collaborated, in Amphibious Trilogies our artistic and design practice orientation in addition needed views from the arts, for example, The Nuclear Culture Source Book edited by Ele Carpenter (2016).

In one of our posts here about a speculative design-artistic artifact entitled A dynamic relational terrella , we write that:

[…] To think about movement in today’s world in the context of climate emergency, or perceptions and practices of fake and trustworthy news, of the societal pressure and forces of migration, survival and sustainability, of a globe exposed to its own carnivorous actions. 

Exposure. Encounter. Enactment. Exposition. 

These are key terms we continued meet in such endeavours of our own and in published accounts of art and design in terms of social innovation, sustainability and futures. They also come to mean demanding and challenging things, and invisible forces, realised as nuclear technologies built on ridiculously long after lives in respect to human ones.

These terms and their modes of inquiry appear too in other domains and disciplines, in the Social Sciences but also the Humanities, where a diversity of  active and productive working is taking place to understand and meet these challenges. Concerning artistic practice, in the edited collection entitled Art in the Anthropocene. Encounters among aesthetics, politics, environments and epistemologies, Heather Davis and Etienne Turpin (2015: 3) position the diversity of contributions as

reaching urgently beyond its paginated form towards environmental concerns’ amongst others … [as] … an intellectual disparate structure, operating as a conceptual centrifuge for further speculation and future action.

As these artistic researchers talk of thinking with and through art, so too we think with and through movement in the complex contexts, systems and times of the Anthropocene, and that we are all implicated in its making (Davis & Turpin, 2015: 20). This is a ‘making as movement’ that occurs in landscapes, and through abductive and linked relations to other studies in which the amphibious, the Anthropocene, landscape and movement are articulated (see e.g. Ness, 2016; Pauwelussen, 2017).

However, in these serious yet creative ventures, there is little that explicitly and persistently conceptualises and articulates ‘movement as material and as medium’.

Behind an emergent movement praxis, stand published works on dance and choreography. Following on from key works on researching dance, performance and choreography (e.g. Fraleigh & Hanstein, 1999), in the past decade there has been a slew of book publications on dance, choreography and the body. This has included focus on body and writing relations (Rethorst, 2012), relations between choreography and the dancer (Poillade, 2017; Foster, 2019), choreography and embodiment and the contemporary dancer (Roche, 2015), embodiment and philosophy in dance and movement research (Katan, 2016), somatic aspects and change through movement (e.g. Fraleigh, 2015). Diverse views on dance and politics have also been circulated in a key edited collection (Kowal et al., 2017) as well as a critical reader on contemporary choreography (Butterworth & Wildschut, 2018).

However, seldom in these texts does one find mention of relations between the choreography, dance and the kinetic in the wider word (e.g. Birringer 1989). Rarely too does one encounter reference to research on movement in other disciplines. In ‘moving on’, this posed a number of challenges in working towards placing knowledge and practice in wider social and political contexts outside of the traditional stage and performance for gathered audiences. These too, as our colleague Snelle Hall (2018) observes regarding the doctoral work of choreographer Ingrid Fiksdal, may be understood in terms of kinaesthetics.

We have engaged in shaping a polymorphic space of opportunities to go further into, that is what Blades and Meehan (2018) term ‘performing practice’. We mention performative practice elsewhere in this website, in our presentations, as well as in related earlier projects and earlier projects and enactments. We encourage our colleagues engaged in movement based inquiry and choreographic practice and writing to join together and amplify their insights in a spirit of not just extended choreography but in what we term ‘extending choreographies’.

In doing so ourselves, we explore and offer some ways through which co-creativity may motivate and inform further studies on and through extending choreographies: pedagogically, collaboratively, expressively and analytically. Here our use of language is key. These multiple, individual and linked enactments are braided not separated, they stretch, veer, dive and surface, they pause and query, judder and rush, all entangled in a needed set of purposive and improvisational moves, seeking to appreciate, understand, elaborate, share and engage.

This is just one indication of how our own views and values as well as the ways of realising and engaging with movement as material and moving practices emerged and multiplied.

As Slager (2015: 89) argues, ‘a non-paradigmatic artistic research explicitly requests an open, non disciplinary, delta attitude, and the insertion of multiple models of visualisation and interpretation.’

And we’d add movement.

. . . . . . . . . .

Birringer, J. (1989). Media & Performance: Along the Border. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University.

Blades, H & Meehan, E. (2018). (Ed.). Performing Practice: Sharing dance and choreographic practice. Intellect: Bristol.

Butterworth, J. & Wildschut, E. (2018). (Eds). Contemporary Choreography. A critical reader. (2nd edition). Abingdon: Routledge.

Carpenter, E. (20166). (Ed.). The Nuclear Culture Source Book. London: Black Dog Publishing.

Cunningham, M. (1952). “Space, Time, and Dance.” Transformation 1(3): 150–151.

Davis, H. & Turpin, E. (2015). (Eds.). Art in the Anthropocene. Encounters among aesthetics, politics, environments and epistemologies. London: Open Humanities Press.

Dunagan, C. (2018). Consuming Dance. Choreography and dance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Foster, S. (2019). Valuing Dance. Commodities and gifts in motion. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Fraleigh, S. (2015). Moving Consciously: Somatic transformations through dance, yoga, and touch. Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Hall, S.(2018). ‘Kinaesthetic transference. Production of presence’. In Fiksdal, I. (Ed.). Thinking Alongside. Oslo: KHiO, 57-64.

Katan. E. (2016). Embodied Philosophy in Dance: Gaga and Ohad Naradin’s movement research. London: Macmillan.

Klien, M. and Valk, S. & Gormly, J. (2008). Books of Recommendations: Choreography as an aesthetics of change. Limerick: Daghdha.

Kowal. R, Siegmund, G. & Martin, R. (2017). (Eds.). The Oxford Handbook of Dance and Politics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Leon, A. (2020). ‘Between and within choreographies. An early choreographic object by William Forsythe’. Dance Articulated (Special Issue: Choreography Now), 6(1): 64-88.

Pauwelussen, A. (2017). Amphibious Anthropology. Engaging with Maritime Worlds in Indonesia, PhD thesis. Wageningen: Wageningen University.

Poillade, F. (2017). Unworking Choreography. (Transl. Pakes, A.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rethorst, S. (2012). A Choreographic Mind: Autobodygraphical Writings. Helsinki: Theatre Academy Helsinki, Department of Dance, Kinesis 2.

Roche, J. (2015). Multiplicity, Embodiment and the Contemporary Dancer. Basingstoke. Palgrave Macmillan.

Rothfield, P. (2017). ‘Experience and its others’. In Attiwill, S., Bird, T., Eckersley, A. Pont, A., Roffe, J. & Rothfield, P. Practising with Deleuze. Design, dance, art, writing, philosophy. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. 120-161.

Slager, H. (2015). The Pleasure of Research. Ostfildern: Hante Cantz.


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