Like Hudson, I came to New York looking for something. 

Karina Dichov Lund's sketchSome thoughts on process from Emma Nordanfors:

In the two weeks that followed the Waterpod presentation, we focused on catching up on the practical tasks and putting some time aside for doing cross-disciplinary investigations.


Matt McBane, Lucy Hg and E.K.K.O formulated specific tasks within their fields and led their collaborators through creative exercises in musical composition, visual creativity and choreography.  A visit to the Museum of the City of New York and the Mannahatta exhibition was inspiring and gave new insight in the history of the city.  

From there we moved on, beginning with brainstorms about what work we wanted to do for the Conflux Festival on September 20th.

Excerpts from our first brainstorm:
Water as a fluent timeline of the past, the present and the future, how to score water, water as war, water as the carrier of information, a piece of land before and after water, different possible outcomes/possible scenarios, New York City as a frame and the water as something that is common for everybody.

In the third week, Emma and Klara continued brainstorming, adding information as:
Clashes in sound/visual information, transformation, ice/water/gas, self-propelled experience.

Emma sees.

These ideas morphed into four main subjects:
something to see, something to hear, something to do, something to experience kinetically and/or feel.

Our objective for the Conflux Festival would be to stage water within these different contexts.

Deciding that we wanted to work with dancers for this event, we held an audition and found three inspiring dancers to work with. The audition was a great experience, as we were working with a group of creative and fearless dancers for two hours, doing wild improvisations as well as prepared dance material.
  fractals in movement

The actual work with the dancers took off from two days of experimenting, where everybody could try out their ideas, working with improvisation in the studio. It was interesting to see work done from so different starting points, such as performing a chemical formula or relating to the architecture of the city that could be seen through the windows of the studio.

With the background of the experiments, we gathering different components for the action that would be linked to the Conflux Festival. The East River State Park in Brooklyn was the chosen spot for presentation, a green area going all the way down to the waterfront and with a spectacular view over Manhattan.

East River State Park

During this period of process, one of our major challenges was to find a common language and a common base to let our creativity take off from.  We have very different starting points for our creative work and what works for some might be a killer for someone else.  What triggers ideas and makes imagination flow is really much more personal than I have earlier experienced.  For me the process has been insightful and challenging, sometimes difficult, and, overall, promises further developments.

Some notes from Lucy Hg on process:
Our process extended over 2 1/2 months and infiltrated our daily routine.  An impromptu action, one day in the rain I held an umbrella over unprepared  strangers, walking them to their destinations…

Elements from each of our disciplines influence us as a group.  Our working time intermixed with our daily lives, our meals, even our showers.

Achitect Annie Kwon asked the group, What are we ultimately saying about water, the East River site, and the city?  And what are the historical layers we are standing on?

Choreographer Emma Nordanfors:  Welcome to the story of a changing place.

With the dancers in a public space, the city becomes a stage.  The process of working with dancers in the city along the waterways included reconceiving the stage as a scaled environment, where dancers are near and far, across the river and visible in micro-form through binoculars.  What happens when these scales play out simultaneously?

Scaled glacier

As a group, we selected ways of thinking about water in order to reshape its context and content, including water as information and water as narrative, telling chemical fairytales and molecular fortunes.  We tested the water, finding out histories from the invisible components in water.  In this way, water is a storyteller, a transmitter of information and narrative.  The future of water is a question mark.

We exchanged practices.
How human can water be?
Composer Matt McBane’s thought up a sound installation based on temperature and humidty, with umbrellas used to control different regions of sound – the temperature linked ot volume and humidity to the melody.

Choreographer Klara Elenius’ installation makes human performers enact a thermometer, climbing stairs to be a visual indication of the rising temperature.

Karina's drawing of buckets

Choreographer Karina Dichov Lund designed a gallery filled with buckets of water – 5000 buckets with 3% salt water.  A projected map reveals which are the fresh water buckets.


Choreographer Emma Nordanfors choreographed a human water experiment, where a performer dances frenetically until the dancer sweats, the beads of sweat triggering sounds.

Chemist David Garin led a workshop with chemistry at City College.  David’s area of research is synthesis.  We performed a famous experiment, the Belousov-Zhabotinsky oscillating clock reaction, and observed the slow movement of chemicals between equilibrium and disequilibrium as artists, choreographers of liquids and gas, and architects of molecules.

David leads chemistry experimentchemistry experiment

More than that, we exchanged hats, took on the role of scientist and rethought how the creative process is structured.  This was most evident when David led a dance experiment where dancers performed the same oscillating clock reaction, taking on the chemical properties of the molecules as they formed and reformed compositions.

This part of the collaboration – active exchange – was extraordinarily informative and will no doubt continue to inspire us down the road.


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