«We might think of choreography in terms of ‘rehearsal’; that is, as the working out and working through of utopian, nevertheless ‘real’, social relations.» Andrew Hewit
— Shall we rehearse?
Rehearsal Series is a workshop methodology a cross-disciplinary exploration of choreography with design thinking and computer programming developed by Joana Chicau.
By 'rehearsal' it is meant a temporary stage for experimenting with digital design tools which follow choreographic methods and conceptual concerns. Traditionally, a rehearsal is a built-in process, a space-time for developing ideas and work acknowledging unexpected and unpredictable results. This format is very similar to an open workshop, open to any participants curious to explore the use of choreographic techniques to generate new modes of thinking composition matters, participation, relations and articulations between bodies and technologies.
An important point about the Rehearsal Series is to break the distancing between mind-body, self-other, subject-object, designer-design piece; discovery-invention. Enhancing the idea of process over product: processes of becoming, becoming structures, becoming codes and scripts.
In every rehearsal a specific topic and set of tools is addressed which serves as a starting point for the construction of a 'choreographic code'. During the rehearsals, the participants are presented to various choreographic references, examples of scores and scripts, and participate in basic movement studies. Finally, participants are invited to contribute to the choreographic code: by translating the ideas discussed into design and programming logic.
See an example of a workshop at Hackers&Designers Summer Academy and another example from the Post-digital Publishing Workshop at Stroom.
Further resources and tools are published and updated on "Media Choreographies" wiki and "Beta Spaces" wiki. More details on method below.
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- Medium - computer programming and interfaces have been the most explored tools in the context of the rehearsal series, even though each participant may choose a specific medium within its own digital practice.
The workshop will privilege the use of Free/Libre Open Source Software (Floss) models and technologies and focus mainly on web programming. Notions of live coding practices within web programming will also be introduced. Nonetheless there will be space to discuss other technological approaches and the implementation of the work developed within other computer languages and environments.
- Duration - the structure below may be adapted to different time spans; from a few hours to a full week depending on the depth and outcomes desired.
- General structure -
- - - Physical space
Embodiment: exercises to warm up; simple movement sequences; creation of situations for collective and individual awareness of the bodies, the space, and the different rhythms.
The exercises take as its starting point the condition of our bodies and the movements we carry in our body history, our body relationship to cultural codes, private investigations of what are our basic movements, the proximity to ordinary, daily movement. Reaching the question of how default movement can be challenged by choreographic thought.
We will also be drawing upon other relevant concepts such as ‘choreographic objects’ (Forsythe, 2010), ‘thinking-in-action’ (Manning and Massumi, 2014), ‘thinking-feeling- knowing’ (Maharaj and Varela, 2012), ‘dynamic vitality forces’ (Stern, 2010) and proprioception — which will guide us through a series of exercises to resist the alignment of movement to functional choreographies and open up perceptual and kinesthetic understandings of space.
- - - Digital Space
After-the-movement signification: group discussion of the possible relations to current design and technology paradigms; conceptual thinking.
Introduction to choreographic concepts (theoretical context): viewpoints on space, viewpoints on time, in between, viewpoints on movement and on improvisation techniques.
References to works by choreographers and/or performers: showing films and examples of scores and scripts (*).
- - - Phy-gital space
The two points above will offer a blueprint for exploration of the choreographic meanings:
Rethinking display patterns; navigation and interactivity: aesthetic investigations comprising a system of design interweaved with choreographic thinking. What can we learn from the time qualities explored in choreographic space? And what can we learn from improvisation techniques?
Rethinking embodiment: cultivating heightened sensitivity to the relation of one’s body in (digital and physical) space in relation to information.
Leading to a reflection on 'Programming and being programmed'; moving away from pre-chroeographed systems, moving towards building our ow choreographies.
Time dedicated to the experimentation and critical reflections using digital interfaces/ design tools; and for developing individual and/or collective own contributions.
- - Outcomes - every participant will contribute with choreographic code, in the form of actual programming scripts or as visualisation of the connections that the research proposes.
It is also encouraged that each participant links the topics above with their personal modes of production, being more theoreticaly driven to practice based (design, compueter science, philosophical, architectural, political fields...).
In the end, the choreographic code will be compiled, and shared.
(*) prior to the workshop a reading list and references will be shared among the participants; as well as links to install software to be used during the workshop. Code snippets will also be available to for download and can be used as framework to explore during the workshop.
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