Movement Research in New York

From Emma:

Earlier this spring I contacted Movement Research in New York about their Studies Project Series.

In short the Series is a possibility for artists to present their work to collegues and fellow artist and to get feedback. Last week the MR contacted me and they are interested in us having a presentation of Water Ways there.  I think it could be an interesting oppertunity and a way to connect to New York dance life.

Individual process…

1.  What is your work?

Karina Dichov Lund:

What is your work – that is a good question. I think the best way to sum it up is to say I work with stage art in all shapes, sizes and places – I have done big productions at the Royal Theater and small productions without any money in hidden basements – and I am happiest when I can switch like that between the institutions and all the resources they can provide and the refreshing energy and enthusiasm of the smaller projects. As Emma and Klara I am educated as a dancer and choreographer. But I almost only do choreography and directing now – I haven’t been on stage in a project for over two years. – When I am not doing projects on the creative side of the table I produce for other people. And to qualify my skills as a producer I have spent the last year back in school studying to become a Stage Producer and I just finished that program here in June. I also spent time working for the dance community as a whole. I am a board member at the Stage for Dance in Copenhagen, Chairwoman in the association The Independent Choreographers (were Klara is also board member) and as member of a dance committee in the union for actors and dancers.

I am almost always working on many projects at the same time – which can sometimes be a bit of a juggle. I just finished school, re-premiered a show I did two years ago, and at the same I have been working on two new projects I will be doing when I return from New York. – And then of course Waterways is taking up space and time in the mind as well – looking so much forward.

Klara Elenius:

At the moment I am hired fulltime as a dancer so this is what I focus on most of the time in this period. But since my “own” projects where I choreograph etc. always are in my head and need planning both administrative and creative this is what I do when I am not in the dance studio. A lot of meetings and a lot of computer work which is quite a different kind of work than my work as a dancer. It is interesting to be on both sides – or I would say three sides at the moment. One is a creative dancer that are taking part in an other artists vision. One is a member of this big collaboration group and E.K.K.O which has an open and democratic way of work on a project together. One is my own performances and films where I am clearly the leader of the project.

David Garin:

For more than 40 years I have worked on a broad range of projects with a common theme being science and the environment. Whether teaching, directing a sci/tech center, serving on the board of an environmental organization, coauthoring a text, chairing a state commission, or working as a public affairs Congressional Science Fellow on Capitol Hill, chemistry and the environment have comprised parallel pathways that my work interests took.

Lucy Hg:

I am an artist whose primary work involves collaboration, conversations, and group brainstorms.  Many of these are with The League of Imaginary Scientists, which I rally for different installations.  I am often scattered and work best having a number of projects at the same time, and this is very often the case.  These projects range from writing screenplays and producing film projects to crafting mechanical installations for interactive somewhat scientific installations.  Much of my recent creative work has been with Emma Nordanfors and, through her, with choreography.  I am an experience-based (as opposed to conceptual) artist, am good at things digital, and enjoy involving the mechanical and physical.

Annie Kwon:

Architecture is a geometrical, political and cultural practice.  I see the practice of architecture in two parts: as a way to survey historical and real-time dynamics and then a projection of a measured, spatial thought.

Matt McBane:

As a composer I write music for my group Build, various ensembles, film, dance, theatre and other performance-based art forms. I have an extensive classical training as a composer but my music reflects my omnivorous and voracious appetite for many different types of music. This is seen most clearly in my work for Build,which is a hybrid of many different musical influences. In addition writing for ensembles of instruments, the composing aspect of my work includes more abstract and experimental works. Often these works will be a series of directions for performers to create sounds using instruments or found objects selected for their unique sonic properties. I imagine this approach will be the most relevant to this project, but in both these works and works that involve more traditional notation and instruments, essentially what I am doing is organizing sound in time.

My primary outlet as a performer is as a violinist both with Build and various other groups. I also play several other instruments and often participate as a performer in my works involving non-traditional sound sources.

As much of my career has a DIY approach, I spend much of time producing, organizing and administrating. The two primary projects I do this for are the Carlsbad Music Festival (an annual alternative classical music festival that I founded and direct) and Build (my band which I lead and manage). This means lots of time on the computer not composing or practicing, but it is an important aspect in allowing me to create the kind of music I want to.

Emma Nordanfors:

I work primarily as a choreographer and a teacher, and more often then not in collaborations with other artists from different fields. During the last couple of years, I have become more and more interested in performning projects outside the traditional theatrespace and my last project was performed at a contemporary art space in Denmark. My everyday work consists of meetings and planning and working out new projects sitting by my computer. I am based in Berlin but often commute to Copenhagen as I work there with E.K.K.O and also with some teaching. I am an educated dancer but nowdays, as the administrative as well as the creative work takes so much of my time, I only occasionally have time to practice myself. I have a five-year old son named Axel who will be with me in New York for about four weeks.

2. What is your approach?

Karina Dichov Lund:

My approach to a project depends very munch on the role I have in that specific project. But as Klara I am always in the initiation of a project looking for the essence – trying to figure out what interest other people and my self about the specific topic and how to address that in the best and most interesting way. From that starting point I almost always create some kind of frame to work within – and moving along inside that frame I try out different approaches. During a process I switch between working very intuitively – and at times stepping out shooting at the ideas or the material created with the frame and essence of the project in mind. Does it work within the concept created – is what we/I want to communicate clear?

Klara Elenius:

Usually I am looking for the essence of the specific project. Trying to find out what it really is about and why? What interests me most? So I tend to work from a quite open theme to narrow it down during process. I certainly like to work with layers but within a quite narrow area. Though I realized that the interpretation from the viewers sometimes can be quite different from my own intention but that is not automatically a bad thing. Also as a dancer I sometimes find my own meaning of the piece I am a part of to make it “work” for me.

David Garin:

While I enjoy collaborations and strive for that, much of my work is individual and self-reflective. I enjoy interacting, learning from others and experiencing views that differ from my own. I am more practical than visionary, usually goal or project oriented.

Lucy Hg:

My creative approach is playful, yet often involves academic research and collaboration with scientists.  I try not to be bound by my own skill set, but think about what is interesting – not what is possible.  Still, when working in a group, I tend to have a strong reaction to ideas, based on their practicality, and often look at logistical challenges first.  I try to quell my caution and accept ideas as launching pads.  I have a tendency to think more is better and like multi-faceted projects.

Annie Kwon:

My approach is process oriented and narrative.  Each project begins as an open, focused question and through the process of research and collaboration, an architectural proposition is formed.  The design is a projected narrative: a reconfiguration of the real-time story.  It’s a type of information management that represents and distributes experiences.  The creative process is trusted to calculate answers.  The tools involved are still and video cameras, collage, analog and digital model making and meditative drawing.

Matt McBane:

My approach is deeply intuitive. When working with others in a collaborative process, I try to stay as flexible and open as possible and not have too much of an artistic agenda. It always happens that once I get to a certain point of understanding with the collaborator(s) and we are on the same page, that my musical ideas come very quickly.

In general, my approach is pretty goal-oriented: getting a project done by a certain deadline (usually a performance). As this project focusses more on process, it will be a bit of a challenge for me as my usual approach is very much geared to a finished product. I’m looking forward to adapting my thinking to this project!

Emma Nordanfors:

I really enjoy the artistic process, gathering ideas and developing ways of working that suit specific projects. I try to be as open as I can when it comes to working physically with dancers, not to get to caugth up in my own preferences but to be able to expaned my views of physicality and dance. I have had a long time problem with estetics – feeling myself backing out from an idea if the settings gets to pleasant or pleasing – but also feel that I now are coming closer to wok with this in a different way then before. I feel that I need to have a strong conviction about everything I put on a stage – to know exactly why it is there.

3. Describe your practice.

Karina Dichov Lund:

My practice – I don’t have a specific practice I think. I adjust to whatever it is I am doing. But I have become very much aware of group constellation, and am quite focused on addressing each person’s expectations, needs and wishes to facilitate and make the most of a project. I am also a great fan of good and straight communication – and I am not afraid of conflicts that I consider a necessary part of a process. I think it is important for us to be aware of the cultural differences that we may experience during our process and not underestimate them. On a more practical level – I have a wish to be able to do yoga every day while we are in New York – but I can be completely flexible about the time.

Klara Elenius:

Because I use my body a lot at the moment I need good physical training and warm up every day. In these sessions I focus into my body and I try to clean my mind as well. In general I think my brain and senses are always active in some level to use daily information and experiences in creative processes. But to be fully into a creative process I work much better when I use a fulltime period on one project. Not being in 10 at the same time. As a choreographer my creative work is roughly divided in two parts – 1. Research (mostly theoretical) and 2. rehearsals with the dancers. For the waterways project I see these two melt together. Activities of research like different experiments with water could evolve into an event somehow.

David Garin:

I prefer working in-depth with focus on a goal and with an end point. My time preference is morning with groups and late night alone but I am flexible. I resist computers but appreciate their role in gathering and communicating information.

Lucy Hg:  I am most productive and creative in the evening and prefer not to work mornings, when I am more physical.  If at all possible, I like to work with a sketchbook, a camera, and through a variety of activities rather than series of meetings.  For example, water research could include video documentation of site visits and collection of rain water throughout the months.  I process better through physical activities.  I often sit at the computer and try to design my art practice to rely less on the computer.

Annie Kwon:

My practice platform is based in New York City with vastly varied out-puts. Each process is written per project basis.  For example, with Waterways, I am intrigued with the schizophrenic combination disciplines of our group, so the collaboration format establishes a minimum amount of infrastructure to foster out-puts of complex possibilities.  I would like to challenge how much we are able to cloud the limits of ‘Sound’, ‘Architecture’, ‘Dance’, ‘Art’, ‘Science’ and forget where one starts and stops.

Matt McBane:

As a composer, my practice involves a lot of intense thinking about a work before I start it. I like to have a pretty clear sense of what I want to do before I start executing it. I think that my most creative thinking comes before I start working with tools. Once my ideas are developed enough to start writing, I use my piano and various other instruments to come up with the musical materials of a piece and I write them down on staff paper. I also draw sketches of the shape and form of the piece on unlined paper. Once these ideas are developed enough, I move to computer and start putting my ideas in there as close to the finished product as possible. I then listen back to these ideas to get a sense of how things work in time and tweak them until I am satisfied.

Beyond the writing, other crucial steps in the creative process are working with performers to make sure they understand and execute my vision, and if applicable, recording the work.

Emma Nordanfors:

As I have a child I work when he is at school, that is morning to early afternoon and again when he is sleeping. I is really difficult to work when he is around and awake as that makes my focus split and I find that being really stressful.In New York I will have a nanny so I´m flexible about working mornings or evenings. Usually I try go get some time for physical activity during the day, going to yoga, dancecalss or running.

4. How does your practice relate to your work?

Karina Dichov Lund:

It depends on the project….

Klara Elenius:

Again – as a dancer it is kind of easy, it is physical. And in a sense I wish that I would use that practice more when choreographing, it is always good to be active in your body. But unfortunately it has a lower priority when I am creating. Then I am working with other peoples bodies instead – the dancer’s. And my tools are my eyes and my imagination. When I am working on a new piece I am looking at it all the time. In the rehearsal studio, in the video camera after and before rehearsals, in my mind (imagining composition in my head). In the studio I often give dancers improvisational tasks. These are often “translated” from my research material to concrete tasks for the dancers. I also use You-tube a lot. For my last piece the dancers copied (directly from you-tube) different kind of folk dances from around the world and we used them and transformed them in different ways. In the end my pieces are very set with decisions made about everything. But I am not alone in this and usually I have a crew containing dancers, a dramaturge, a set designer, a composer, a light designer and maybe a few choreographic consultants. For film I have a cameraman and editor.

David Garin:

Many of my projects require collaborating with people in other fields and have distinct timetables. This project suggests an interaction different from those I have experienced (more art, less science) but I am looking forward to seeing it develop.

Lucy Hg:

When I organize collaborative projects for the League of Imaginary Scientists – a diverse group of artists and mechanics – we begin with hour-long casual meetings, usually at my house, with beer, and very casual.  We start with – so we have this opportunity – what interests you and what do you want to do?  We brainstorm, and this is followed by creative work, research or tasks carried out by individuals or sub-groups.  The project springs from initial ideas from people on what they want to do, within the project’s conceptual framework, which they then carry out to whatever degree they can within our often very tight timeframe.  We see what works and what didn’t, and the result is often a combination of experiments that were successful, with discarded ideas that get placed aside or saved for later.  I am often surprised by the results, since each artist acts with autonomy.  Because everyone is quite good at what they do and motivated, and we have a background of an established aesthetic, there is often consistency in our work.

Annie Kwon:

My practice is a way of testing work; a public contribution and multi-layered exchange.

Matt McBane:

I’m not really sure how to answer this, but one idea that comes to mind is that the process of thinking through the work so much at the beginning comes through in the end product which usually has a pacing and logic to it that is reflective of all the reflection before starting.

Emma Nordanfors:

I think my work has become more conseptual during the last years, perhaps because I am not myself as physical as I used to be ( as a dancer). My last projects has has different filosofical questions as themes (as possibilities for creating reality and the moment of change.) I also think that this has had a big influence on the work I ask the dancers to perform, it is much more about searching for a physical expression then delivering a certain shape or form.

5. What do you think this project is about?

Karina Dichov Lund:

To me Waterways is about transformation of information. How can we transform facts into creative contexts that will make people relate in new ways. It is about becoming aware. About appreciating the most essential thing in our lives. A Swiss scientist claims that water has memory – what does it remember?

There is always the same amount of water on the planet it just change shape and size – and humans has a still growing impact on the Waterways. It is a tribute to nature. And a lot more I am so excited.

Klara Elenius:

Collaboration on water. To make people experience water in contexts that they are not used to. To focus deeply on something that is always in everything and that we usually take for granted – water.

David Garin:

Generating ideas synergistically that will engage the public and involve water and Brooklyn.

Lucy Hg:

The project is quite generally about water, and I think can most interestingly address how individuals interact with water, and perhaps how water chemistry can be part of their daily lives. Interactions with water don’t have to be limited to use but could also include personal analysis of what we consume or contribute to streams.  Science could be the physical interface for making water a personal issue.

Annie Kwon:

The Waterways project is what water means in the 21st century.

Water is a

dynamic system,
urban infrastructure,
biological matter,
chemical structure,
political and environmental crisis,
creative looking glass.

Water is not

scaleable,
smellable,
colored,
tasted.

If it is, there is a problem.

Matt McBane:

Water in New York, and work, process and communicating across disciplines.

Emma Nordanfors:

Peoples reactions and interactions with others peoples ideas, both within and outside the group, this around the theme if water and waterusage.

Response to the Water Muse

From Lucy:

Water Molecule

Water Molecule

Some stand-outs for me in David’s list are the fact that water is a unique compound, forms snowflakes, and has great destructive capacity.  I’m curious to know more about what makes the molecular composition unique.  Could we create a water molecule?  What does it take to view it?  What does it look like up-close?  Could we create and combine water molecules in different forms, within ice, on a molecular level, and design chemical snowflakes?  How would we do it?  What would this look like on a massive scale – a glacier?

I am also intrigued by David’s point that water is colorless, yet creates rainbows and reflects light.  What if a physical action created a rainbow, by spraying water at a certain time of day perhaps?  See the League’s plant rainbow contraption for The Grafting Parlour:  http://www.imaginaryscience.org/gfp 

All things are mostly water.  Is this specific to mammals and what we eat, to living things?

David writes that the role of science is to understand in order to balance control of movement and function, yet also to discover through exploration and experimentation.  Can we really “control” such an unruly element as water?  Of course we can help along its course of destruction, by injecting pollutants into the flow and eroding the land that holds the waterways on course, so then is it a responsibility to control water?

water loops and circulatory systems

The League of Imaginary Scientists started working in LA on a sketch for interactive waterways – something that could (or not) be incorporated into the Waterways development.  The draft of this project is on display at Outpost for Contemporary Art in LA, as part of the X, Y, Z, and U show, a show on mapping in science and art that the League organized.  This could be a starting point for combining online data with a mechanical action, or just a jumping point for conversation.

There are two parts – an online interaction and a site-specific interaction:

1) an online blog, the water-log, where anyone anywhere can input their experiences of and information about water – personal thoughts, scientific data, geographic information, memories, etc…  When you press enter, you see a ripple, and this ripple could also generate a signal to produce a digital ripple, or a real ripple, somewhere else…  The water-log is in a beta phase.  How it could be interactive is wide open.
http://www.imaginaryscience.com/waterlog/ 

2) on-site at the gallery, the toilet is hooked up to a tank with a map in it, and when the toilet flushes, it makes ripples appear in the other room across the map of Los Angeles.  Perhaps the idea of “ripples” can be used to convey how people’s individual actions feed into a global system…

Sketch of ripple mechanics by Dr. Gouldstein

Sketch of ripple mechanics by Dr. Gouldstein

– post by LHG

David’s musings on water

David’s Musings on Water

1. Unique compound in its functional abilities

2. Importance based on movement

  a. Transport of people, plants, animals, goods, nutrients, energy

  b. Life force: “consumption” required for people, plants, animals

  c.  Destructive capability: tidal waves, crushing ice, snow avalanche, floods and carrier of silt, mud and debris—due to extremes, out of control

3. Transformation of function, not matter—very little created or destroyed

4. Physical transformation between liquid, solid, vapor

5. Sound production: pleasurable—sound of waves, flowing water

        fearsome—drenching rain, cracking ice, waterfalls

6. Visuals: refract and reflect light, vapor diffraction produces rainbows, yet water is colorless.

7. Form: architecture of individual snowflakes, ice

   It’s all the same compound, displaying transformable functions with no inherent morality.

   All living things are predominantly water.

   Human activity to transform and control function and movement: dams, canals, irrigation, seeding clouds, draining wetlands,  but still an uncontrollable element (floods, tidal waves, draught) so water is often deified, a rationalization of the uncontrollable.

   The role of science: to understand in order to balance control of movement and function.

– post by DLG