in development at Dansateliers Rotterdam, CAMPO gent, & workspace brussels
IS IN RECONSTRUCTION (fall 2021-summer 2022) !! out with conservation & preservation and the honouring of Histories once relevant & sentimental & now so changed! we are building
«floor (triptych)» is a project that has emerged from our ongoing research on documents and document-ing practices within our performative explorations.
In our collaborative practice, document-ing is dually object/subjectified. The document(ing) is object through our intentionality of employing it to inscribe process and to communicate within collaborative processes. Within the performative encounters we shape, the document(ing) is subjectified as a performing being, through which it is re-documented and made material. Our inquiry charts the interactions amongst intimacy, legibility, and legitimacy within and through the document.
The documents we work with materialise as assemblages of text, sound, images, lines, movement, and tangible material. They are event-derivatives which are either composed or curated in being recognised as documentary, often with a reflexive and sentimental quality. We are interested in the document that is not mimetic but figurative, in the sense that figuring is to bring something into emergence, to give shape to ways of thinking. In moving away from documentary practices as truth, the document is not merely a record of observations, but a form of speculative fabulation, as proposed by Donna Haraway. How we experience it as object and as practice emerges from the relational configurations amongst document, performance work, and their spectator. We are fascinated by the contingent force of documents, as they embody the not-yet/could-be/could-have-been/could-have-not.
Some questions we are concerned with: How does a performing document shape the experience of intimacy amongst performing and spectating agents? How do we relate to privacy in the assemblage of life-documents as practice? What is the document’s position within production? What is its relationship with the sustainability of artmaking processes and conceptions of “value”, “waste”, and legitimacy?
These days, sending documents to and fro seem to be the primary medium of communication between people. When we started developing ideas for this project, we were emerging from a long period of physical separation due to Covid-19, during which we communicated only through documents we sent each other from across the world. Jaded by this mode of friendship, many documents were also made without being shared with each other.
This triptych excavates the modes in which we (can) perform intimate documents as a form of dedication. By building spaces based on cartography, charting a period of time, sound, and a memory of someone, we create worlds for gestures, people, and documents to perform – to be remembered, translated and recontextualised.
This project is grounded in theatre marley/floor as the principal movement and scenographic element, which meanders through ways of being, moving, and being moved. Working in vacated theatre spaces nowadays, we are more connected with the theatre’s architectural corporeality than its social dimension. The tribunes have been folded into the walls; the space we inhabit on the floor seems too large for us now, losing its memories of sensory overload, voices, sets, the litter left under the seats. Searching for what might be underneath the theatre we are left with, we lift the dance floor.
Working with the floor has become an intimate experience for us due to the distancing measures and habits we have had to acclimatise to. Needing ways to give weight and to feel moved by each other’s, we started working with the weight of the floor as a partner – giving and taking its weight and exploiting it as a contraceptive barrier that allows physical intimacy with human agents. Our current exploration with the marley consists of processes of folding and unfolding: it is peeled off like a fresh sheet of paper, moulded like clay, a rope of counterbalance while mountain-climbing, a blanket, a timeline, elevated by the cylinders they are usually wrapped around, sound waves, a small city, and a floating monolith.
At the moment, our first drafts of each part range 10-30 minutes, and work with interdisciplinary elements (sound, text, scenographic explorations) we have made.
i. (charting time)
works with the documents we make in the time we (must) spend alone, either by active choice or as circumstantial consequence. Our ways of processing experience through document-ing result in an ecology of documents whose interactions we observe and compose within a relational field. In this part, we plan to work with soundtracks created as post-process documents of another performance (and previous iterations of this performance), writings from another time, and movement material borrowed from specific physical practices, which are collected and re-performed. Here, among other associations, the floor is a timeline Ashley moulds.
ii. (charting sound)
follows the act of songwriting and experiencing sound. We want to dedicate attention to our auditory culture, modes of presence, kinaesthetic memory, and what it means to #dance as a mode of together-ing. A dedication to sound, the only sonic element we place in this world is a wind machine, which also physically moves us. The tangible elements we plan to work with include visually-sonic material (eg. empty cd covers) and the cylinders around which theatre floor is usually coiled. We build a cityscape of sound with these objects that give form to the floor, and we articulate the rhythms of the soundtracks we recall. We plan to investigate this iteration in much more depth, and to experiment with expanding performative scores based on this inquiry into auditory memory.
iii. (building a space for a dedication)
is a space that Domenik and Ashley are caretakers of. This is reminiscent of a planetarium, which another performer inhabits to carve a tribute to a memory of someone. What does it mean to care for a space, and to be caretakers of a space for someone to remember? The technologies of care that this world needs is a multilayered one – for the space we share, the performer, the spectators, the person in memory, and ourselves. Movement-wise, we want to explore circularity and moving on wheels, in relation to our (both performers and spectators) experience of time; where is friction’s place in this apparent vacuum? We seek to propose a space that is not a vacuum but a rhizomic point of convergence amongst the experiences of agents in the space. Here, the floor, having been engaged with for its weight in the preceding parts, is suspended from the ceiling as a monolithic monument that simultaneously centres the space and offers it time-placelessness. We plan to invite the third performer for 2 weeks of the residency, and to craft the performance with them and what they desire from this world.
We are searching for how this work can be performed and produced. In our current circumstances, we wonder how we can carry the vacated theatre spaces outside, which might be deemed a “safer” space. This is not necessarily a “site-specific” approach which begins from the site itself – we are intrigued by a nomadic theatre that is transplanted between sites (different theatre spaces, galleries, commercial spaces, outdoors). By re-planting the floor, we want to walk the theatre out (not the tradition of theatre but its physical self) of its space while carrying its essence and what it has lost. We want to experience the ways in which this spatial reappropriation engenders a specimen of another space, a document that can perform itself in various sites.