Chapter Three Knowhere? (continued)
Once the intellect is disengaged the performer is able to listen to the knowledge inherent within the body, often releasing meaning far more indicative than that which comes from cognitive thought.
Bacon explains that in order to shed the figurative and probabilistic givens already in the canvas, he will commence painting by throwing paint or by making random and accidental marks on the canvas, Very often the involuntary marks are much more deeply suggestive than others, and those are the moments when you feel that anything can happen (Bacon in Deleuze 2003).
By employing non-linearity within Knowhere? there is space for these involuntary marks to be made by the audience, in a manner completely separate from my intentions as the author. As is the case in hypertext, the marks made are specific temporally and personally to the individual who has made them, allowing me to see features residing in the work I never knew were there.
Having seen new sides to the installation through the interaction of each participant, what did I learn from the experience of creating Knowhere? and from experiencing its re-envisioned form each time someone stepped upon the pressure grid? What can hypertext and the effect Barthes (1977) active reader has on the text, teach the creator about their work? Is hypertext an adequate system for structuring digital choreography, or merely a contemporary concept without viability? In the following chapter I aim to answer these queries.
Hyperchoreography is a non-linear dance performance 'space', existing in an interactive, networked medium. The elements are put in place by the creators, but the shape of the work is decided by the user at the moment of interaction. It is based on the model of hypertext, as defined by its creator Ted Nelson, and allows a choreographer/artist to create work that can be sequentially altered by user interaction, moving through hyperlinked moving images.
Three dancers were chosen for these videos, each specifically due to their choreographic styles; Butoh, Skinner and Cunningham. The choice for these contrasting styles came from the wish to see how three completely different individuals could explore the new environments in which they were placed, re-asserting the hypertextual principle of personal explorations and routes through the web of information. Each dancer was taken to a different site (car park, river basin, beach) and were given the instruction to choreograph a phrase which was sympathetic to the site and one which took them through a journey of discovery. The consequent phrase was developed through a period of improvisation.
At some point within the live edit of the videos, I wanted their to be the possibility of direct correlation between the three dancers. By setting a single movement which each performed at a point within their personal phrase, there lay the possibility of a surprise for the audience member(s) who edited the film in such a way that the three performances coincided.
These textural props initially comprised sand, pebbles, twigs and leaves, but later also included other props which although not directly relating to the sites of the dance, did increase the interest in exploration for the performer as they attempted to work out what it was they could possibly be treading on, increasing their sensual awareness.