Having completed our one week intensive residency at HCL, we can now reflect on our process and the resulting performance piece. We had the pleasure of living at HCL for the past week and having access to rehearsal space for 6-8 hours a day. Outside of that time, I would work on choreographic material and Christopher would spend time programming a better performance interface and extending the sound palette. This residency allowed us to literally live in the same space as our creative work, gave us concentrated self-directed time, and offered us the chance to take ourselves out of our normal workflow and give increased focus and attention to the SoundLines project.
As someone interested in how to integrate my art into my life practice, this week forced me to articulate what I need to create – in terms of environment, structure, and communication. I structured physical warm-up time before each collaborative session, I controlled the temperature of the work space, I planned my meals around our sessions. Our art making disrupted my normal patterns of behavior, and forced me to re-examine how I approach the rehearsal process.
For Christopher the programming had to happen very rapidly so that alterations were ready for the next rehearsal. The discussion around the development of the sound palette and the unique perspective that a dancer brings in discussing sound took this project in a new direction.
Ultimately the result of our intensive week of work was a 40 minute performance piece structured on the symphonic form. We developed new choreographic and improvisation structures, as well as new sound filters and modulations, allowing us to expand the scope of the piece and add variety. We developed new interactions between the live performance and the technology, taking advantage of spatial relationships to create dramatic effect. We also developed new methods for decision-making within the structure of the piece to address who is controlling the sound and the sequence of events. Control alternates between the dancer and the composer and we played with various mechanisms by which to switch between the two, as well as situations with more ambiguous shared control. Perhaps most excitingly, after generating this new body of material, both the sound and movement worlds feel more open ended and as if more possibilities exist. This intensive work toward a completed piece also led to discussing whether the piece was successful and how that success is measured.
One of our goals this week was to make the work live outside of us (me and Christopher) so that we can offer it as a collaborative project to other performers. Christopher has considered using another dancer or instrumentalist, while I am interested in developing the video technology to trigger light instead of sound for use in dance performance.
What is next for SoundLines? After performing at HCL on Friday, August 12, we brought the piece to Minneapolis for a series of gallery performances the evening of Saturday, August 13. We plan to show the revised work in the San Francisco Bay area this fall.