Diller and Scofidio are an American artistic partnership, architects first I
believe, who write books (Flesh and Back to the Front... ) and exhibit
intermedia installations at key art museums as well as participate in other
cross-media projects such as *Moving Target*.
... I have appended an interview with Diller & Scofidio at the bottom
If you have seen Moving Target, you can't help but recall the huge mirror,
almost the size of the stage, which swings down from a horizontal position
about halfway through to reflect almost everything happening on the stage
out to the audience. The effect is that of a huge cinema screen (imax like)
with near perfect resolution. The choreography 'on the floor' is reflected
and visually takes on more dimensions on the mirror than the standing work,
which takes on the flattened visual appearance of floor work. It's a
wonderful sort of thing... but I also remember that Kitsou Dubois who
contributed to the June 1996 'connecting bodies' symposium (where she
presented her work on 'dance and weightlessness' which included some footage
of her doing parabolic flights with the french astronauts) has also worked
with the same 'device' to different ends (more interesting?)... but anyway,
Kitsou is very interesting and involved in some wild stuff in 'ARTS IN
SPACE'... check this out:
Diller & Scofidio
Q: How did you make contact with the company Charleroi/Danses?
A: FrŽdŽric Flamand fell in love with the image of "The Automarionette," a
costume we envisioned but never realized. He invited us to Barcelona to see
"Ex Machina" where we became very attracted to his work.
Q:why did you need to work with a choreographer in the present evolution of
A: We are always interested in looking at issues of space in relation to
discourses other than architecture. As our architecture is a critique of
architecture and FrŽdŽric Flamand's choreography is a critique of dance, the
collaboration had a good, wobbly foundation.
Q: How does the mutant body (+ prosthesis) of your installations combine
with the "natural" body of the dancers?
A: The body of the dancer is anything but natural. It is disciplined from
the earliest training. It is even disciplined to appear "natural." Following
Foucault, the coded body, in general "is technologized by the disciplinary
procedures which "invest it, mark it, train it, torture it, force it to
carry out tasks, to perform ceremonies, and to emit signs." The regulatory
device is not necessarily visible. Dance training, for instance, insures the
lines, hierarchies and spacial organizations that bodies are asked to
maintain are part of "the disciplinary lineaments of culture." One can say,
that the schizoid body is all that defies the technologized, that is, all
that is not coded. He/she is perhaps closer to the category of unfulfillable
desiring machines that bend to the illogic of libidinal forces.
Q: If the schizophrenical universe of the dancer Nijinski constitutes the
pretext of your (choreography) design; do you think there is a lot of
schizophrenia in the world today?
A: The schizophrenic body, for us, was a metaphor and an operative
structure. The "schizophrenic body", always a postmodern body, offers no
strong singular vector: only multiple, evasive ones. It is a body, according
to Deleuze, of "breakdowns" and "breakthroughs". The schizoid body is
deterritorialized, discontinuous, without volition, of mutable identity,
random, incoherent, unfathomable, and irreconcilable. This body can be seen
as a critique of the dancer's body - typically constructed as ideal,
well-proportioned, healthy, muscular, intact, consistent with gender
stereotypes, hyper-controlled and overdetermined ... The performance, more
broadly, explores the ever-shifting relation between the "normal" and the
"pathological" and the regulatory devises that discipline the body. It does
not intend to dissolve the culturally determined categories, nor exchange
one for the other. Rather, it focuses on the shift itself as its object.
Dualisms such as the healthy/sick body would be collapsed.
Q: The spectators discover a feeling of the uncanny in your installations
according to Anthony Vidler. Following Freud, the uncanny is issued from a
loss of comprehension by the reason: did you see there a parallelism in the
thought of Nijinski?
A: Not exactly. Our interest lies in the pathology of the "normal", and the
uncanniness of the "ordinary". Therefore, we are attracted to everyday
conventions and everyday spaces -- conditions so common that their
familiarity usually blinds us. By de-familiarizing conventions, we are able
to reveal their artifice.
Q: The evolution of new technologies influences all arts and especially
architecture. Reflections on time, on unstable spaces moving towards the
view of the spectators are more and more numerous and lead to complex space.
How did you perceive the theatrical space? How do you approach this space in
your collaboration with F. Flamand?
A: Theatrical experience is typically focal: all attention converges onto
the action under the spotlight. We wish to fracture the focus of the
audience, to alternately suspend, drop and refract its gaze, to ultimately
fracture the unity of the audience. In structuring live, real-time mediated,
delayed, and recorded events in different combinations, multiple channels of
action can be offered to the audience.
The stage-apparatus will interfere with the frontal, controlled gaze of the
audience. In the traditional theatre of illusion, the proscenium divided the
narrative space of the stage from that of the audience. "Proscenium" means
"pro-" or in front of, "-scenium", the scene... in front of the scene. Our
staging-apparatus can be considered to be an interscenium -- an apparatus
which interrupts the scene, and represents it to the audience in an
alternate view. A large mirror above the stage rotated 45 degrees to the
audience will rotate the orientation of gravity, reveal the "organizational"
view, and combine projected video live and recorded video images with live
action. Texts will thread in and out of the performance as well as
commercial spots we have devised. The team of collaborators in Cologne will
contribute real-time interactive technologies and edical imaging to the mix.
Scott deLahunta and Susan Rethorst
Writing Research Associates, NL
Sarphatipark 26-3, 1072 PB Amsterdam, NL
tel: +31 (0)20 662 1736
fax: +31 (0)20 470 1558
http://huizen.dds.nl/~sdela/wra (WRITING RESEARCH ASSOCIATES)
http://www.art.net/~dtz (DANCE AND TECHNOLOGY ZONE )