Sunday, January 4, 2015

Day 42: Involve someone

#42: Involve someone or something else in an improvisation, a repeat of an earlier one or a brand new one.

The video footage of this prompt starts with two of us walking away from the camera and into the studio space. The sight of TWO of us walking into the space brought a smile immediately to my face. I think there is a reason that I'm not a solo artist. I suspect that my best - or better anyway - creative self emerges in working with other people (provided that I've done some solo contemplation and prep work in advance).

Parker was my special guest. We did a version of some of the earlier prompts, improvising for 10 minutes with each of three senses (sight, hearing, touch). We chose which sense we'd work with individually for each round, and didn't tell each other, but it became apparent pretty quickly. We went through all three rounds with a small pause, but no discussion, between each. Afterwards, we talked about it a bit. Later, when we talked again, we agreed that it would have felt more complete if we had done a 4th round in which we incorporated all 3 of the senses that we had activated in the first 3 rounds.

Round 1
Erin: sight
Parker: touch

Sight can be a tricky sense to work with. It's at once primary and overwhelming. On the one hand, you could just open your eyes and receive. On the other, there is too much to respond to and it can be hard to focus. Once Parker was in my field of vision, I looked at him, and sometimes this led to being influenced by his movement, and sometimes it was just fascination with his ear or the texture of his pants. We ended up standing close and making very direct eye contact at one point. A nice moment in an improvisation in which it often it felt like we, or the senses we were working with were at odds.

Parker started with touch because it was the sense he was most comfortable improvising with. Makes sense for a movement improvisation. We're used to feeling our weight in the floor, points of contact with other people, tracking the kinesthetic sense of our bodies. When we talked afterwards, he mentioned it taking a little while to drop into this first round and let go of worrying whether he was doing the prompt right, whether he understood what I meant be sense of touch (as if I knew), etc.

Round 2
Erin: hearing
Parker: sight

Nothing stays the same.

I found the hearing prompt so rich the first time I did it, in the very same studio where we were improvising today. And this time it was different. There was less ambient sound. Or maybe I was less attuned to it. I found that I was expecting to drop into the same kind of experience I had before, but unsurprisingly, that didn't happen. This improvisation became less about hearing and responding and more about noticing the sounds I created while I was dancing: the squeak of skin dragging on marley, the boom of a hollow box, the familiar sounds of feet on the floor.

We didn't discuss this one in particular much after, but in the video, I notice Parker using a similar tactic to one that I found in the sight improvisation: responding to the movement of the other person. It looks a little more spatially and compositionally crafted, I think because of that.

Round 3
Erin: touch
Parker: hearing

We both found this one the most interesting to do. Parker thought touch and hearing were complimentary. We ended up in a lot of contact. Towards the end, there was a moment where we were pushing along the floor, and we talked about how it was oddly satisfying. I think it had to do with the amount of physical resistance we gave each other.

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