space after narration 2
Consequently, space first enters into consciousness together with movement; and consequently, the human being can also only experience space in motion. This principle, in another sense, also underlies what we have come to know as space research. Research into anti-gravity space is research into understanding the shifts of bodily perspective and of perspectives and neural functions within the body.
Laban compares movement to a living architecture, which is created by man. Human beings first become conscious of their bodies through movement. Through motion, they become aware not only of their inner and outer space, but also determine the dimensions of the space surrounding them.
The dancer defines the breadth of space through the consciousness of her movement. She can concentrate the space on her body, or expect it to infinity. The architect, on the other hand, incorporates human movement into the structure of the site, as Daniel Libeskind or Bernard Tschumi have accomplished with the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the Parc de la Villette in Paris, respectively. Architecture - more generally, space - first unfolds in human movement. A highly productive development arises in this field, which is not limited to concerns of stage design, but more often now finds expression in exhibitions and installations and interactive designs. Inter-action here implies movement of the actor, image, sound, rhythm, space, projection, data, and the observers themselves.
Both dance and architecture are expressive forms that express a transformation in human perception and in the knowledge of space, in which subjective development is no longer divorced from objective placing.
In "Architecture and Disjunction," Bernard Tschumi draws a distinction between two fundamental concepts in architecture, symbolized by the pyramid and the labyrinth. The visible, objective and measured space of the pyramid is contrasted to the subjective, bodily space of the labyrinth. In the labyrinth, all the senses of the observer are challenged. The observer has no overall perspective and moves in the organic belly of an unknown whole. The labyrinth is a metaphor for the anthropological space that links contemporary dance with postmodern architecture.
On another level, however, dance and media scenographies operate more closely on a scientific dimension that connects them to space research and astronomy, since dance and space are entangled in asymmetrical relations and in contingent aspects of gravitational pull, temperature, light, speed, volume, density, and magnetic and electrical forcefields.
Cosmonaut Generico Vespucci's theories of the overdolphin (semi-human organisms which are able to live in extended space) echo Schlemmer's theory of the uebermarionette-dancer, but they take it much further since Vespucci envisions movement in outer space and in infinite dimensions.
"migbot" (AlienNation Co's current work) realizes a small, premature vision of a non-physical dance not tied to any stage or real space but driven by forcefields of the imagination and memory. "migbot" will undergo changes in 1999, seeking to demonstrate new dance ideas derived from experiments in microgravity and weightlessness, digital design and electronic sound processing.
Dance, in this sense, is a discourse that can actually deal in articulate ways with movement, space travel, and dynamism of any kind, not just moving bodies. But dance up until now has articulated its operational, conceptual, and aesthetic systems, and since they already exist in the same media environment as digital technologies do, their physicalities necessarily interact with virtuality. The question is, rather, how the interaction changes the images and sounds in the virtual geography of potentially infinite computational possibilities in a "place" that is not a place (out of time, out of place), or how the interaction can generate new kinds of "places", either between dance and multimedia activities or along and within real-time multi-sensory immersion environments. The fish is an important performer in this research.
Furthermore, interaction with virtuality potentially or actually modifies human proprio-ception, as Vespucci's and Dubois's research on weightlessness confirms. Vespucci points out that the dynamic conditions of movement are altered when "the sources of information provided by inertia-gravitational force disappear. The absence of gravity is lived as an aggression from sensorial origin but..." [voice recording breaks off]. We realize that the new sensorial images are unusual and conflictual, and they effect space sickness, "a kind of disease of adaptation." In weightlessness or free-floating, even if this occurs in paradoxically entrapped, restricted spatial environments such as spacecrafts, every movement can induce a totally unexpected displacement, and in approaching new possibilities of being in this space, one has to concentrate on the internal space of one's body (organs are re-organized, blurring the references to internal space) and the interaction with external space as well as on the imagination as it is stimulated by the new environment.
AlienNation Co., following Vespucci, is committed to exploring the exchange between space techniques, metaphysics, camera and dance. We have realized during parabolic flights that in a fluid-universe of weightlessness the body needs to construct a subjective referential or inner vertical in order to apprehend external space and react to it. The inner vertical can be felt as an infinite spiral or chiral; on the outside everything is relative and one experiences an extraordinary fluidity of movement and of mind, and the conventional relations between right and left or any other intuited symmetry are disturbed.
Our dance research is now influenced by our interest in chirality and certain asymmetries, the "spaces in-between" internal body space and external space, the space between hands. In our choreography we search for a quality of movement where the dancers are always in a situation of experimentation, a state of unstable balance...an interactivity between that movement quality and systems of scenographic apparitions and digital phantasms which blur habitual references to the gravity axis of the spectators themselves, thus creating a phenomenon of resonance in their own bodies.
Johannes Birringer, Cecilia Colome
ballet international 10/98
12/17/98 - migbot2 Lab