Exercise no.4

First exercise - listening to a series of instructions and responding to them with a movement. First both individually and then together.

Second exercise - listening to a series of words and responding to them with a movement. First both individually and then together.

The set of instructions that I wrote were meant to allow for some individual interpretation, even if the leeway for this is really slight.

The instructions aren’t extremely vague, but in most of them there is one component which could be contended - it is within these components that interpretation comes into play. I wanted the participants to feel as though they weren’t making a decision, even though they were actually making a distinct choices between their movement and something else, in choosing their movements they were cancelling out a multitude of other movements. I tried to achieve this through the wording of the questions, which contained specifics, but specifics that could be confused.

Some of the ambiguity I included is obvious and prominent - like the instruction ‘turn to face west’

The main contrasts between the performances of the two individuals:

  • How much each individual threw themselves into the movements that they had chosen. I find it funny how the individual can choose a movement and then feel hesitant about actually executing it - almost feeling a sense of regret regarding their choice.

  • The way that they choose the move across the space - movement ACROSS the space is a key component of the instruction task but this is never specified. So, Jessy moves AROUND the space, and Cath moves from left to right and back again.

When the pair came together to perform, the two were greatly affected by one another. Some of the instructions allowed for the pair to become one, such as ‘join together’ and ‘fold together’, and this pair used this as an opportunity to show affection, to reveal their connection with one another, it is at these points that we realise that they are friends. Watching the movements of the other allows for them to realise their own ‘mistakes’, although mistakes can’t really exist in this activity of interpretation, rather the other makes them aware of the specificity of their own choices. The participants realise for themselves, without any comment from me how the decisions they made differed to those of their partners.

A sense of competition arises when asked to repeat all the movements that they can remember, so they each ended up aiming for their performance to last longer. The task of remembering ended up being reliant on the memory of both individuals combined, because if one individual remembered a movement, then it triggered the memory of their partner. So if they had interpreted the instruction in a similar way then they were able to perform their version of it.

Really satisfying moments occurred when one participant ending up standing behind the other because of the movement they had just completed. This meant that they were able to respond to/be influenced by their partner but their partner is unable to be influenced by them.

The routines overall are fair more interesting when the two come together because they become layered with ideas and possibilities, outcomes. However, the routines being performed individually is an essential part of the process, because this is when they establish their own movements without influence : they lay a foundation which I invite to be altered.

I am extremely aware at this point that I need to change, or at least seriously consider location - locations which I once believed were perfect for group activity now feel quite restricting. This is because recently, including within this activity, the participants hesitate to complete movements to their full potential because they are concerned with getting dirty. I think that maybe the cold temperature, along with the clothing which is required for it, also restrict flexibility of movement.

I am experiencing a difficulty with participants feeling a bit confused and hesitant due to a lack of direction, but not being able to direct them any further due to the necessity of personal interpretation. The participants not being able to commit to the movements entirely because of feelings of insecurity is an issue that I seriously need to tackle.

Second exercise involved the same process of participants responding individually and then as a pair.

The singular words seemed to be no easier to respond to than the full length instructions, which surprised me. I had predicted that the performers would be able to immediately associate the word with something relevant to them, and then would immediately be able to translate this into a movement. I now realise that this was wishful thinking.

The difficulties in responding I believe were a result of : some of the words having multiple meanings, some meanings of words not being known, not knowing if the word is a verb or a noun. I should have realised that the these obstacles existed and would have stunted performance. Next time I will think more carefully about the words I am choosing.

Although this exercise was tested out individually with both girls, the pair seemed to view this as more of a group effort. Because of specific words there is more movement in unison, more similarities occurred. Both individuals took note from the performance of the other but they did not simply copy them - sometimes they wholeheartedly embraced the contrast between their movements. Enjoyment was had in moments of synchronisation but also in moments of diversion.