Workshop / Re-embodiement & Dis/abilities: Performing River
- Abstract: Re-embodiment & Dis/abilities: Performing River is a workshop that explores immersive, ritualized, intimate movement experiences for mixed-ability participants willing to wear Oculus Quest2 VR headset as well as wearable sensors or fabrics. The participants are invited to examine their responses to sounds and tactile images (imagined relations) of water, river, flow, movement, liquidity – extending body (in whatever restricted, limited or possible way) to an interface between the real there, and the virtual nature drawings we shall instigate through our VR software and physical movement ideas. We also plan to create experiments in inter-action – extending the notion of illustrating/drawing into the relationship between Oculus Quest headset wearer (performer) and illustrator/guide who hold the Oculus controllers and draws, in real time & in real flow. We understand such architectures as “kinetic atmospheres” which open up participatory scenarios, composed with fabrics, paper, drawing materials (graphite) as well as wearables, “design-in-motion” accoutrements or costumes created by Michèle Danjoux. Choreographic proposals (Xu, Birringer) emphasize sensorial and affective ritual engagements between performers and participant observers. Performing River is ritual: The ethical questions raised by river/water – its availability, pollution, infrastructural dimension for local and wider trade – highlight that water is not just a metaphor of thinking practices, it is a site of deep contention and political crisis, as currents, floods, currencies, ecologies and economies flow together or collide. By exploring river (and flooding) as elemental, and water as vital infrastructure and inspiration for design as well as climate activism and consideration of habitats and ecospheres, this workshop reflects creatively on the function and circulation of this special medium in various cultures, examining its potential in fostering collective imaginaries.
- Biography: Johannes Birringer is a choreographer/media artist and co-directs the DAP-Lab with Michèle Danjoux. He has created numerous dance-theatre works, video installations and digital projects in collaboration with artists in Europe, the Americas, China, and Japan. DAP-Lab’s interactive dance Suna no Onna was featured at festivals in London (2007-08); the mixed-reality installation UKIYO went on European tour in 2010. The dance opera for the time being was shown at Sadler’s Wells, 2014. A series of immersive dance installations, metakimospheres, began touring in Europe in 2015-18 as part of the Europe-wide METABODY project; the dance work Mourning for a dead moon premiered in late 2019 in London. He is the author of Media and Performance (1998), Performance on the Edge (2000), Performance, Science and Technology (2009), Kinetic Atmospheres (2021) and transdisciplinary research projects, including the books Dance and Cognition (2005), Dance and Choreomania (2011) and Things that Dance (2019).
Michèle Danjoux is a fashion designer and co-director of DAP-Lab. She is Research Lead and Knowledge Exchange coordinator at London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London. Her artistic work centers on design through and as performance, and involves collaboration with dancers, choreographers, musicians and media artists. She has pioneered “Design in Motion” with her well-known protopypes exploring interrelations of body, movement, sound and garment in the generation of “sounding” costumes worn in mediatized performance. She has presented her work at international conferences, published in peer-reviewed journals and her designs have been performed at Kibla Multimedijski Centre, Slovenia; MediaLab Prado, Madrid, Spain; Le Cube, Centre Création Numérique, Paris; Watermans Art Centre and Sadler’s Wells, London. Her most recent premiere with the DAP-Lab was Mourning for a dead moon (2019).
Zhi Xuis a choreographer, dancer and researcher. He recently completed a PhD with a focus on dance technology and cultural identity at Brunel University London. As a choreographer and dancer, he has created more than 20 works touring world-wide in China, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, Canada, Russia, Belgium, Malaysia and Israel. His works include dance drama, dance theatre, site-specific dance, exhibitions and large-scale projects, including Unexpected Bodies (2020), Mourning for a dead moon (2019) X-Body (2018), Kun.Peng (2017) and Chasing The Dream (2014). Zhi graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from Beijing Dance Academy (2008) and a Master Degree from the University of Roehampton (2017). He joined one of China’s most prestigious events as an independent director at the 2014 Summer Youth Olympic Games Opening Ceremony.
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