Fly on the wall

4am Full Moon by Art Happens

Someone I recently met in the studio – and their own gentleness, presence, and mindfulness – has inspired some recent reflection on many of my artistic practices. Here is one recent 4am rambling that I sent his way…

Up in the middle of the night, full moon-light streaming in my window (or just past I think it was yesterday), inspired and listening to music, thinking about collaboration – within our bodies, the dialogue between our thought and our physical intuition or physical intelligence; with each other, other bodies in space, between performer and audience and community – all of the spoken and unspoken rules and constructs, known and unknowable, the barriers and connections… And how this investigation into collaboration has guided me towards a practice of deep listening and mindfulness, and what that looks like in movement and art making, and where I still fail at it, and what kinds of questions and investigations and probing that can ignite… And then how to wrap these deep and philosophical considerations into a 2 hour morning class to prepare ourselves for all the varied and intense demands on our bodies… 

sound and body by Art Happens
energetic floating
intention flowing
moving through the breath into the earth bound ear
I don’t have the words but I can feel it – both as it brews internally at the base of a deep belly and as it billows up through the body, pulling the spine up and the chest outward, expanding and softening my mouth, jaw, cheeks, face, until finally pouring out with a kind of ease and independent life that has come from me but is other than me.

and then, as though that weren’t enough, I also get to receive it. the sensation of hearing, as it reverberates, my body receives its vibratory resonance.

full, beautiful, ephemeral, terrifying, vulnerable, magic

between Thinking and Doing by Art Happens

I am curious about the balance between thinking and doing in performance.

I think intelligent action is critical.  I also think that our current culture, both societal and artistic, is at risk of existing in a kind of intellectual virtual space that begins to loose a connection to the body and to action, to doing, to what I believe is a critical piece of our connection to nature to animal to instinct, a kind of listening to environment, self, and other that is not about listening to words or thoughts or intellectual ideas.

I think that dance and live performance embody these things at an essential level and that as an artist in todays world, it is both our responsibility and opportunity to help maintain and deepen connections to these things while also remaining present and conscientious in our intellectual awareness and presence as art makers and leaders, gatherers, visionaries.

We generate community, we initiate thought, challenge assumptions, question ourselves and the world around us and in doing so, we stimulate change and growth in the world around us.  We have a responsibility and an opportunity to continue to guide our cultural connection to body and environment, while expanding our intellectual understanding of the world – without losing ourselves so deeply in one as to kill/silence/or shut down the other.


Gearing up by Art Happens

As we get ready for our trek to Russia we are noticing what we can do without. Streamlining sets and props. Stripping down… Removing excess. Observing what remains. Understanding the essence of something, of what defines our environment and world. Noticing when less is more and when less is simply less…

Remembering moving by Art Happens
October 3, 2008, 1:09 am
Filed under: performance, rehearsal | Tags: , , ,

Such an awesomely inspiring rehearsal today. Feels so good to break a sweat and really dig in and MOVE. Sometimes rehearsals seem like they move so far away from moving, conceptualizing the work – understanding intention and context – negotiating props and sets and other elements – and sometimes it just feels great to move and remener that is what is at the heart of what we are doing.

between us by Art Happens
September 14, 2008, 9:10 pm
Filed under: rehearsal | Tags: , ,

As I begin work on our new piece, “ambient intimacy”, I am thinking about the space between us, near, far, physical, emotional, psychological… the distance we can see between our bodies… the distance we can’t see but can feel from those far off.  the closeness we can feel to someone whose physical presence is not visible but felt.  the real intimacy and the imagined intimacy that these close and far distances BOTH allow for.  Imagining this space as tangible and full.  How does that change, inform, redefine my own bodies edges, my emotional boundaries, and my physical sensations?  While these questions are examined in a much broader context for this new work, it somehow carries me back to what is a central question and exploration that keeps popping up with these daily practices.  the boundaries and edges between us as doers and watchers and the impact, both real and imagined, that we each have on one-another in both of these roles…  there is something key, keen about that space between us that is felt and permeates our own edges to blur what is you and what is me.  it is a connectedness that is both engaging and essential while also probable cause of the fear and walls that keep such a strong desire to maintain our “mask” and to keep a delineation between ourselves and others so clear.  how much are these “distinctions” necessary in order to have a real dialogue and how much must they dissolve?  what is the balance between the thickness and mobility of the space between us and the potency of our own edges…?


inside out by Art Happens
September 13, 2008, 12:08 am
Filed under: on class | Tags: , ,

UNDOING a Holding Back
RELEASING a Holding On
Surrendering withing rather than Recreating in an image outside of oneself

Letting go
Plunging forward
With a feeling of sensing ones self in this moment
Movement from the inside out
Resonating in a sensation that is uncovered
Stumbling onto where we are
Only to see for a moment as we allow ourselves to pass through it and fall forward into the next

An evershifting sequence of sensations – observed, witnessed, filled.

Negotiating the “external”. With a sense of care, softness, and sensitivity.  Acknowledging it’s congruence with ourselves.  Our connection with it as an extension of ourselves.

The body as both inside and out; here, there and now. Trust in the before and after in order to let go of a linear logic that keeps us keeping track rather than tracking.


freedom to move by Art Happens
September 9, 2008, 3:45 pm
Filed under: rehearsal | Tags: , ,

as ideas for this new work, re-worked recent work, come to fruition inside the studio and out… everywhere i look it seems there are references and research opportunities, confluences and insights all around me.  i adore this place where the piece begins to take over your life space in such a way that you live and breath it at nearly every moment.  it becomes this living entity that demands attention and care, consideration.  but it also gives back and offers inspiration, questions, moments of discovery and surprise.  “ambient intimacy” is beginning to take form and our rehearsal yesterday, although full of bumps and walls was equally full of laughter and inspired moments and i feel as though we are getting somewhere, have turned a new page, unveiled a new series of questions and directions for further exploration… whereas for a moment we were stuck in mud and unsure where we might go and what we were experiencing/doing.  it is not as though we now have answers but the mud pulls less and there is freedom to move around the space and change our perception, see new things, and find motion in the process again.  i can hardly wait for the the next rehearsal!!!!! more to come!!!!


3 dimensional ephemeral performance on flat screen tvs by Art Happens
June 27, 2008, 1:22 pm
Filed under: performance | Tags: , ,

Recordings of live performance – i still can’t decide how to feel about seeing something captured eternally (well probably not given how quickly technology changes these days HA!) that is created for and made for a living breathing space that is fleeting and subject to individual perception and our memory’s moveable impressions.  Not to mention the energetic exchange between performer and audience that is completely flattened in the virtual realm of recorded live performance.  Video has taken a strong and clear place in our field.  It is expected that an artist have videos of their work available to any one who asks to see it – producers, schools, granting organizations, the list goes on. And while we all acknowledge how much is lost in a recording, so much is often decided on based on these recordings.  It is as though we can say that it is incomplete and does not function well and then yet our actions follow through in such a way that allows these recordings to have the power of something that is representative.  this is beginning to sound like a rant and that is not actually the intention, i understand the dilemna.  I am actually more curious about my own relationship with video and dance.  the question arises for me that perhaps when working with video and dance we should be making versions of the dance that are made for the 2dimensional world of television and video.  so that the “stage” and “site specific” nature of the realm in which it is viewed can be acknowledged.  Artists have been doing this for some time and have made beautiful art work this way.  it is not live performance but it’s own medium of dance video which can be captivating and inspiring.  yet this does not function for the above mentioned uses – when trying to imagine what a live performance of the work feels like.  or can it?  is something made for the virtual world of our tv screen that captures the energetic feeling of a performance more accurate than an uncut flattened version of a live performance?   sometimes I feel like it is more accurate.  Even if I am presenting a piece that has already been performed i consider the new venue, the new site and all of its specifics and always shift and allow the piece to change in order to accomplish what is at the heart of the piece in this new environment.  video feels like the same thing to me, a new environment.  and while I would never take a piece and carte blanc transport it into a new space unchanged and unconsidered, why should I do that here? other than because I have been told that is what people want to see, uncut footage from live performance…  artistically this makes no sense to me.  the purest in me cringes.  and for the business of the art this also seems improbable as the best way to represent oneself – even when you do get a great video of the work… it is so sub-par to the real thing.  so far I have mostly simply avoided trying to define how i choose to have a relationship with video in my dance work, but i recognize the need to discover what my relaltionship with video might be moving forward.  I have put video up on youtube for the first time.  I am testing the water to see how it sits with me, to have some footage live that approaches the dance on video question in some different ways.  nothing has really hit yet, but I am trying to understand the form, its possibilities, its problems, and to discover for myself how i can dialogue with it to have available the things that the field demands and stay true as an artist to the way that I work and the relationship that i have with these dances.  part of me says just get over it, keep it simple, record, copy and send… and part of me is intrigued by all the different sets of problems and limitations each new space or site-specific project presents – and this feels no different…


Versions of the same idea. by Jason
June 10, 2008, 5:32 pm
Filed under: performance | Tags: , ,

Last week Lindsey and I returned to Ann Arbor to finalize a version of Inflatable Man, Evaporating Woman on 5 students for Ann Arbor Dance Works.  We took the same approach in making this excerpt as we did the duet excerpt for DanceNow.  We examine the content of the piece and extract ideas that we feel will lend itself to the new format, considering where it will be seen, the venue, who is the audience and how many other works (ideas) will it be seen with in the same evening among other points of consideration.  Rather then pick a particular 10 minute moment from the first formal presentation of the work at Danspace Project, Lins and I looked to our process materials and the works many iterations and built a piece that was most appropriate given the criteria we were considering above.  We both refer to it, as Lindsey titled her last post, a remix like they do with music.