Ideas for large scale piece - establishing a relationship between choreographer and performer
1) Writing the notation for a piece.
Distributing these to individuals, allowing them to study it, then making them perform it.
Without any guidance, conversations with myself, the choreographer.
THE FINAL PERFORMANCE IS THEIR OWN INTERPRETATION OF THE LANGUAGE GIVEN TO THEM.
2) Writing the notation for a piece.
Distributing this to individuals.
Myself talking all the performers through each and every stage of notation.
And then they are able to perform it - without rehearsal, including errors.
THE FINAL PIECE IS MY INTERPRETATION OF THE LANGUAGE, CARRIED OUT AT A VERY INFANTILE, NON-FLUENT LEVEL BY PEOPLE WHO ARE UNFAMILIAR WITH IT.
They understand the language through the filter of my description.
3) Writing the notation for a piece.
Distributing this to individuals alongside a key.
Allowing them to perform this with no discussion.
4) Instructing a group to conduct a group performance (or numerous group performances).
Recording this in notation. Distributing this notation of a routine to a different group of people.
Recording this in notation.
Distributing this again.
So the piece of work involves : ORIGINAL PERFORMANCE, SECOND DEVELOPMENT, THIRD DEVELOPMENT.
4) Distributing key of movements I have created and asking group to conduct a performance using the movements featured in this key.
And them for them to notate their own performance.
So that there are two parties writing in the same language - the language is in the early stages of infiltration.
So, one of these exercises would involve allowing a language to be learnt without lesson. The basis of the knowledge of language being the original impressions of it. Even if this completely opposes the actual content of the language, these initial perceptions live on, contribute to our understanding of it. I like the idea of a group of people getting to know the language I have created without my influence, without the restrictions of the creator. Because of this, whilst using this approach, I would try not to be precious over my language, to use my original key as the basis but to allow it to grow and evolve from this point. In this exercise, if the movements that the participants carried out seemed to work well, the language could take them on, my own movements replaced by those of the participants. The dialogue catalysed by placing my language into the hands of others, could facilitate the creation of a fuller, more well-rounded language.
This would exemplify teaching a group of people a language by trial and error - beginning to learn a language through estimation and intuition. I believe that this will allow a strong relationship to be created between language and performer, because the performer is forced to interact and dissect the language at primary exposure, they are not just reciting something.
This exercise would work in opposition to the next - teaching a group of people a language through close discussion and interaction. This approach is not necessarily more restrictive but it is definitely more guided and controlled, and would be rather dependent on the original form of the language I have created. I would allow for suggestions and contributions, but the idea would be that the performers perform the language almost exactly as I had originally envisioned it. There would be some leeway, for example, movements could be altered if the performer did not feel capable of completing them, but the foundations of the movements would remain the same (general shape, speed, positioning).
The exercise I am the least confident about it the one that reverses the original idea of distributing notation - the exercise which involves me attempting to notate a routine that the group has constructed themselves with absolutely no guidance. I have absolutely no idea at this point how I will be able to summarise the movements and routines of others, how I will attempt to encapsulate something so dynamic, created by another person, in a series of lines and figures. However, I do believe that this exercise has the potential to be the most interesting, as it could carry on continuously, never reaching a conclusion : they perform, I notate, I distribute this notation to a different group of people, they perform, I notate, etc etc.
I am curious to see what the different outcomes of these different approaches will be. I will be judging the success of the outcomes by how quickly the participants pick up on the language, how quickly they start to communicate in it without a script, how naturally connected the language appears to be to their movements and their bodies. Will there be a method that is obviously ‘more effective’? Will the effectivity of each method be impossible to judge. I am curious as to whether the contrast between the outcomes of each method will even be that large at all : it would be really interesting if, despite the disparity of approaches, the language started to materialise in a similar way.
I think what I am attempting to achieve is language split evenly between the gesture and the method of notating it. A kind of equilibrium established between the two. Neither one takes precedence as they are both dependent on one another. And each one has a power over the other. If one element changes within one side of the language, then the whole other side of the language has to slightly adjust.
Within these exercises I am, hopefully, connecting myself (the director) to a group of performers using the language as a vehicle.
Working with a group means that the language is much more susceptible to change, much more likely to be influenced by others. I am predicting that people will feel more inclined to make changes and contributions as they have the support of other people, someone they have discussed their ideas with, rather than only being influenced by me.
I am going to undertake these activities because I believe they have the capacity to divulge what happens to a language when it becomes dictated by a group - the opinions, the characteristics, the physiques of other people. It actually now lives within a very specific framework which I could never have attempted to have control over.
Another thing I am aiming to discover and record is how the language changes when it is placed in the hands of others. I am also concerned with the tendencies people display towards it, similarities between the way each people move within it, patterns that transpire. I am concerned with which parts of the language manage to retain their shape, which parts of the language are the most resilient, and after this I can attempt to resolve why this is the case.
Overall I know that these activities are necessary, even if they are unsuccessful, to allow me to delve into the area of languages consisting of gesture and the two dimensional recordings of it. Personally, I see no other way to gather a comprehensive idea of this idea without going straight into attempting to practice it myself. By trying out a multitude of different approaches, I hope to find a method that clicks, or a conclusion that teaches me something about language construction.