Re: Sharir Dance Company
Tue, 28 Apr 1998 15:00:39 -0700

Reply To:
Date: Tue, 28 Apr 1998 23:08:49 -0700
From: (Thecla Schiphorst)
Subject: replacing the human body

hi lesley, et al

just thought i would represent a few of the views that
originated in some of the very early life forms research
(which began around 1985) which was more than 12 years ago(!),
and i hope that i can at least present some of the historical
intention that was present at that time, and perhaps help
to inform this topic a little bit

with regard to the importance of historical remembrance,
thank you Keitha Manning, Buff Brennan,
Luke Kahlich and Scott deLahunta for your ability to place
all of our work in a historical context

i think that the diversity of all of our perspectives
is a very important part in all that we discuss,
and i personally respect the very wide range
in the points of view that are presented here

>I'm just now preparing research for an assignment into the issue as to
>whether or not technology can replace the human body and choreographer's

specifically with regard to life forms research, circa 1985 - 1989,
of course technology cannot 'replace' the human body, technology was
created by the human body, technology co-exists with the human body,
it seems to me that this question can only be asked when we have
forgotten what the human body really is. the human body has created
and as such we are responsible for that technology

with regard to life forms, the origianal intention was to inform
technological development
by using the knowledge of dance, the knowledge of the body, and the knowledge
that is inherent in dance practice .....
the idea at that time, was that technological development existed on a very
narrow path, and that technology itself could benefit greatly from
attention afforded
by knowledge that was present in the dance community ...
that technology lacked the consciousness of movement
and physical practice and physical experience of dance

certainly this is still true

life forms began with the intention of exploring how dance practice could
inform technological tool development

clearly this was an enormous goal, yet who can say that technological
development cannot be 'moved' and evolved in a positive way through
the physical non-verbal knowledge that dancers and choreographers

in addition, life forms has not yet met all of these goals,
partially this is due to what we can execute with the technology
that we have .... of course, these ideas move far far beyond
life forms, this is really about dance, not about a particular
tool, etc.

but to all of you, this is a plea for envisioning,
we are the ones who can do that envisioning,
we are the ones who dance, who move, who understand
what it means to choreograph, to explore questions of
movement, time, and space .....

i certainly don't think it is important for all dance artists
to use, design or develop technology,

but i do think that we can become aware of how the 'other'
among us work, for myself, i am committed to using the
knowledge we receive in the gift that is dance, and finding
ways of translating that into technological language,
not because i think it is necessary for dance,
but because i think it is necessarly for technology.

it is a process

>The ultimate post-modern condition - total alienation and deconstruction of
>the body into binary form.

the greatest alienation that we can experience is the alientation from
from our own physical experience of our own bodies, it is through this
very alientation that these fetishes of the body dissolving into the binary
are born.

>I hope not - but it's a frightening thought that anyone who can get their
>head around LifeForms (particularly) can create choreographic phrasing.

I think it is very important to separate the fear of technology from
the possibility that we, as dance artists, can take responsibility for
the development of technology ..... we have such an enormous amount
of creative intelligence to offer ....

my best,

>may not look as artistic as that created by a specialist - but then isn't
>randomness and lack of symetry something some of you are trying to achieve?
>Ciao for now
>Lesley Wheeler
>MA (Creative Arts) Candidate
>WA Academy of Performing Arts
>Western Australia


thecla schiphorst
1128 rose street
vancouver bc canada
V5L 4K8

phone 604 251 9630
fax 604 251 4618