Below is collected research for the piece Walking After. Use the buttons to navigate to different topics. 

 

SUPERSTUDIO

Superstudio's most famous projects are all hypothetical--futuristic, science fiction-y dis/u-topias. They raised questions about the purpose of architecture rather than proposing solutions. 

Click Here for a quick over of Superstudio and their work.

I am interested in Superstudio's aesthetic and their views on labor, the future and work. CLICK HERE for other scholar's readings of Superstudio and their relationship to capitalism, labor and urban life. 

But why am I looking to Superstudio as an influence for a performance? First of all it was the simplicity and clarity of the flat surface of the Continuous Monument. Walking After started from thoughts around the impossibility of linear progress. We create goals and visions for our life that get us from point A to point B. Yet the path between two points in truly linear only in mathematical equations. The world is round, life is messy and nothing is perfect. But still I search for straight clear paths, and so I am interested in what life would look like as simply a straight line. The Continuous Monument provided the surface on which to walk. 

 

Then with further research--both with dancers in the studio and into Superstudio--I also found we shared an interest in a general critique of progress. Progress is of course necessary and inevitable but a unyielding faith in progress is dangerous. And, as Superstudio and Ted Talks show, often funny and ridiculous. We so desperately want to believe that everything will get better in the world so we put our faith in futuristic snake oil rather than looking back and learning from our optimistic mistakes. 

 

The Supersurface is an interconnected grid that provides for all human needs and makes possible an untethered, nomadic life free from want. Yet, as seen in Superstudio's Supersurface film presented at MoMA in 1971, a housewife still brings her vacuum cleaner, ironing board, clothes and dishes to her family's little, temporary spot in this gridded paradise. I love this vision of the housewife holding onto her completely unnecessary necessities. 

 

SOUND

Walkin' After MidnightPatsy Cline
00:00 / 02:32

The working title for the piece comes from Patsy Cline's "Walkin' After Midnight" which was first released on Feb 11, 1957. Couple quick other facts about Patsy's short life: ​

  • Walking After was Patsy Cline’s first major hit and reached #2 on the Billboard country music chart and #12 on pop chart

  • She then writes I Fall to Pieces (1961) another major hit but then gets in a car crash and is in the hospital for a month, after which she releases Crazy. 

  • In March 1963 when returning from a benefit show in Kansas she dies in a plane crash. She was 30. 

  • At age 13, Cline was hospitalized with a throat infection and rheumatic fever. Speaking of the incident in 1957 she said, "I developed a terrible throat infection and my heart even stopped beating. The doctor put me in an oxygen tent. You might say it was my return to the living after several days that launched me as a singer. The fever affected my throat and when I recovered I had this booming voice like Kate Smith's."

As seen in the videos i've included here, there is a choreographed dance that I (along with Jace and Anna) have created to go with the song. I wanted to make a line dance and film it in as many locations as possible so that it feels as if the dance goes on forever. The Walkin' After Midnight dance is therefore, in a way, a stand in for this idea of walking forever and ever. 

examples of our use of Patsy Cline... 

Taste Of SadnessWalter Wanderley
00:00 / 02:55

Bossa Nova music feels like waiting. It's not muzak but rather like a pleasant form of waiting. Like you have a drink and it's the right temperature and nothing is wrong but also absolutely nothing is happening. 

SOUND Sidebar

Now, in the latest rendition of the Walking After we have lost both Patsy Cline and BossaNova. They live on in this little research page because both greatly influenced the piece as it is today (May 2022).  The original choreography from Patsy Cline served as the beginnings for a line dance that is repeated during the piece. The line dance is both a reference to the repetitive, gridded structures of Superstudio's work and a celebration of dance as a communal practice. 

From the very beginning I knew it was important to have sound generated by the performers. I am interested in how amplified sound and loops can be used as invisible trails, remnants or detritus of one's actions that remain in the space. This led to a lot of experimenting with delay systems and microphones and improvisational scores in which we attempted to respond to looped versions of our own sound. In the end we landed on using live generated sound to shape the space--both the rhythms to which we move and the atmosphere of the environment. The sound, in this way, is architectural rather than musical. 

THEORY

My notes are too long and too boring and it makes you wonder why I am putting this all up on my website to begin with. I want to share my research and thoughts on the work with my collaborators and have a central place to collect and reflect on all the various inputs of this new work. So i'll focus on what has stood out rather than feeling some need to be totally comprehensive to prove I "know" the theory which I likely don't really. So below is what i'm stealing from what other people have thought. 

 

From Critical Excess by Colin Davis 

  • Starts with setting up the historical dichotomy between philosophy and poetry Plato argues that the danger of poetry is that poets speak with knowing. They write about topics rather than actually "doing" them. In Book 10 of the Republic he explains that poetry and paintings create illusions rather than demonstrating truth. 

  • Martha Nussbaum argues that the Greeks had previously thought of poetry and philosophy as one but Plato rejected this connection because of the lack of self-determination and free will in tragic poetry. 

  • Nussbaum uses this to argue that Plato does not actually disagree with poetry writ large but rather specifically with tragic poetry and anything that mystifies our understanding of the rational world. She therefore states that STYLE rather than medium is central to ethical significance. 

  • Hegel, building off of his interpretation of Plato furthers the divide between art and philosophy. 

  • Heidegger then reunites them in "The Origin of the Work of Art" --> "Art is the becoming and happening of truth." He argues that poetry cannot have a clear or concrete answer -- it cannot be explained as a concept. the existence of it is the reader's response to it and therefore there is no one "correct" interpretation and even the poet herself does not fully know what she is doing. In fact, the reader can actually find new meaning in a poem, of which the poet was not aware. 

  • Then there's the related idea that there is one POEM that the poet is always circling around and trying to write but never quite achieving. The critic or reader can search for that one poem. (This is a lot, but related to the idea of creating the same dance, which I definitely feel). 

  • But overall this means that there is no one correct reading. Heidegger proposes therefore that over-reading is always better than under-reading. (Reading here is really like "interpreting). reading that thinking are one and the same so over-reading pushes thought forward. 

  • From Colin -- "What matters for Heidegger is the philosophical yield of his reading not their critical persuasiveness." (24). 

Grid score.jpg

Four layer grid score for Anna and Amanda 

Excerpts of Lectures from Digital Body Lab at Lake Studios Berlin (September 2021) 

IMAGE

  • Images can serve as either documentation or narrative (among other things) but is the reason you are using an image in a work to document something that has happened or tell a different story. 

  • "Our own expectation of success can be prejudice" -- Marlan Barrios 

  • Greogry Bateson --> cyberneticist who proposed understanding objects in terms of their relationships instead of in a descriptive manner (ex: a hand is 4 relationships--the thumb touching each finger). 

  • We can understand performance as an audience as a synthesis of different sensory (visual, aural, etc) relationships 

  • Can teaching operate in this way as well? Presenting information and then allowing the opportunity to create one's own relationships. 

  • Armando Menicacci

  • Blindness of Image: we see an image through an association of previous images as opposed to the image itself (essentially visual bias, but more specifically about ones own visual history). 

  • Image perception is an enunciation because we both see the image and then announce to ourselves or others what it is (a role of the audience)

DATA

  • You can never actually capture a discrete moment in time. It is just a remarkably small segment of time. 

  • Data becomes data once it is valued in some way

  • Bebe Miller

  • Pay attention to HOW you are watching. Track the frame of your attention as you watch. 

  • There is a difference between the themes and questions of your artistic practice in general and the themes and questions of a specific work. 

  • Watching someone solve their own problem is a gift to the audience. 

  • Chris Kondek 

  • Illusionistic technology is when the creator tries to make the tech disappear. As if the situation were magic

  • Making the tech present turns the tech into a character in the work itself. 

  • We are always in an often invisible sea of data -- how can we make this visible? 

  • He is (and I am) interested in performance where the performers are actually DOING something 

 

COFFEY STREET STUDIOS + RED HOOK

Walking After found a home at Coffey Street Studio in Red Hook. The studio occupies an 19th-century warehouse (or Storage Store as it used be called) and this location turned out to be fruitful influence for the piece. First of all, the space is not a traditional theater and therefore acts as a character in the work, rather than a "neutral" frame in which the piece can exist. Furthermore, since architecture is an integral theme of the work it seemed important to weave the building itself into the performance. 

Coffey Street Studios image.jpeg

Coffey Street Studios

Coffey Street Studio was owned (at least in the 1860s) by Abel Thompson and was called Abel Thompson's Storage Stores (an old-fashioned word for warehouse). Abel Thomspon's property was located on Partition Street, the initial name of Coffey Street until it was renamed for Alderman Michael J Coffey in 1891. 

 

Abel Thompson's Storage Stores is listed on insurance indices under this name until the 1880s when the building became a part of the German American Storage Stores--a large complex of warehouses that extended from Conover Street to the pier. A large portion of the German American Stores burned in a massive fire in October 1898 after a British ship holding bales of jute, silk, shellac and tons of potassium nitrate (highly flammable), caught fire. Two piers, 4 blocks, a pile driver, and a whole lot of cotton,  jute turpentine, benzene and rosin were destroyed, totaling around $19 million in damage in today's dollars. The warehouse near the corner of Partition and Conover streets survived. 

There isn't a whole lot of information available about 153 Coffey Street because nothing of great historical importance happened here. It was just a building that held barrels, and bales of cotton, and later cardboard boxes. 

It is beautiful and striking now because of it's purely functional, rather mundane history. The building was built to do one thing: hold things, and it presumably did that quite well as evidenced by the fact that it survived until today. I am interested and attracted to this simplicity of purpose and form.