Re: language/ dance

Johannes Birringer (
Thu, 23 Oct 1997 01:29:03 -0500

Scott wrote

>For me, the
>idea of "movement speaking for itself" refers more to the confidence I have
>in being able to make dance work with 'just' movement, often in silence for
>example. Dare we open up the can of worms on 'pure dance' on a discussion
>list where the overlap between dance and technology is the focus ;) !!)

do open up, Scott. It seems that we might have enough ground to have a good
argument, not only concerning movement as a language that signifies itself
(and other things since it cannot not represent something that a viewer
won't associate or see or read into it, even if it is only/mostly (?) a
context (dance)-specific reading, for exmaple through knowledge of styles
and techniques and dance forms and musical forms...
but also concerning writing and the perception of the visual (movement) in
video or film.

David mentioned the issue of "frames:

<.....normal moving pictures. These, too, have
<frames and in that sense are digital... "samples" of an event.

I wonder. Not even talking about CUsSeeMe clips now, I think those of us
working with projection could think about the physicality of perception of
movement in video, which is different from film. Film, as I understand it,
is a series of still images, whose mechanical movement through the
projector machine is intermittent, non-continuous.
The movement in video (apart from the different pixel composition and
light), appears as an uninterrupted electronic signal that is seemless, and
thus appears (as in televisionO to be immediate and present, differently
from film. The video track also has frames of course (you notice when you
edit), but the "writing" is different.
When you speak of "nornal moving pictures," what exactly did you mean? And
how does this (say, on Forsythe's CD ROM) relate to Scott's remark on the
architectural/spatial writing of movements/figures?

I suppose my argument about the digitalization is that is changes,
severely, the physicality of the visual (our experience of the visual), and
thus as a figure of speech, "writing" (in the sense of pure movement) is
not pure ever. If Scott moves, silently, and he is in physical space, I can
read the movement in a number of ways. If I saw the movement in the museum
(on the website, CD ROM, mefai theatre), it would be another thing. For
once, it wouldn't be dance anymore.


Johannes Birringer
Sorry most of you will miss my new video "SKYBOOKS" on Sunday, at the
Museum. It's not a dance. It's about Makrolab, the project at documentaX I
mentioned earlier this summer. But at the end I have a beautiful scene with
49 birds, they move very wonderfullz in the air. I didn't choreograph it,
they were so good.