SPEAKING & BUILDING
- processing choreographic relations
by Research fellow Eva-Cecilie Richardsen
26-29.08 2015 hrs 1pm-6pm
Oslo National Academy of the Arts
Throughout her fellowship period at KHIO choreographer Eva-Cecilie Richardsen has engaged and developed a strong in-depth rethinking of her own professional field and re-contextualized this within new contemporary artistic strategies and theoretical questions. Her final goal has been formulated around processing relations in an expanded field of choreopgraphy. With a strong emphasis on process rather than finished works or performances, Eva-Cecilie has sought to highlight the immanent and often hidden procedures in the act of creation in order to address issues of chronology, autonomy, representation and spatial perception. Her project therefore anticipates attention to the very activity forming the artwork, putting this activity itself forward as the artistic result.
Through her method of “speaking and building”, Eva-Cecilie has found a rigorous and poetic way of addressing the various activities around the notion of production and creation as a form of choreographic thinking. The different approaches within each of the numbered sections unite in the unconventional use of objects that engage the receiver through memory and/or imaginary choreographic possibilities. The stage in her work is most often used as a workroom for this practice, sometimes without a clear division between the performance, the performed and the audience.
By challenging preconceived notions of what distinguishes presentation and representation, she enables a practice across, and depleted of established categories such as production/dissemination, performance/exhibition, and progress/finished work.
More specifically Richardsen has engaged in a series of practical, choreographical research performances on how movement and dance is imagined and created. Using a curatorial perspective and ideas on representation from the visual arts, she has in collaboration with other choreographers and artists sought to construct, deconstruct and reconstruct choreographical patterns and possibilities through speaking, building, moving, thinking and seing. Thus, drawing on verbal, bodily and cognitive capacities, and how these are co-dependent and co-created in past, present and current times, she expands notions of choreography and dance in line with contemporary choreographical research. Dance is not only a phenomenological and bodily based area of perceptional research, it is a field of (knowledge) production dependent as much on representation and conceptualization. As the concept of curating in the visual arts concerns the combination and constellation of works and projects, Eva-Cecilie has placed herself as choreographer between the systemic and the artistic, she seeks to show both the construction and the poetics of the field at the same time – here, the image as a reflection and momentary projection of these times and aspects, becomes central.
Richardsen has been a research fellow at the Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHiO) and the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme since October 2011. This arrangement is part of the research project and includes photographs, video-works, publication, installation, and performative documentation.
The arrangement at Oslo National Academy of the Arts includes text contributions by Kristian Skylstad, Jennifer Allen and Jørn Mortensen.
Eva-Cecilie Richardsen (b. 1970) is educated from the dance department at KHiO. She has made more than 30 dance performances including and gradually broaden her field of artistic practice.
The exhibition is supported by the Norwegian Artistic Research Programme and The Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHiO).
Photograph: Eva-Cecilie Richardsen
Åpning: tirsdag 25. august kl 19:00 – 21:00
Sted: Scene 6, KHIO. Fossveien 24
Arrangementet er åpent 26-29. august kl 13:00-18:00
"Speaking & Building - processing choreographic relations" er en del av markeringen som avslutter koreograf Eva-Cecilie Richardsens arbeid som stipendiat ved Kunsthøgskolen i Oslo og Program for kunstnerisk utviklingsarbeid, påbegynt oktober 2011.
I løpet av stipendiatperioden sin har Richardsen gjennom et omfattende researcharbeid og tverrestetiske eksperimenter undersøkt spørsmål rundt verksavgrensning, autonomi, kronologi og romlig persepsjon. Gjennom sin metode « Speaking & Building », har hun funnet en strukturelt konsekvent og poetisk måte å adressere produksjonsbetingelser og skapelse på der synliggjøringen av prosessuelle strategier framfor avsluttede verk står sentralt. Prosjektet legger til rette for en utvidet koreografisk praksis som ikke begrenser seg til den dansende kroppen, men som inkluderer tekst og dialogbasert arbeid med dansere og koreografer, samt intervensjoner i andre felt slik som film, billedkunst og arkitektur. Richardsen repeterer elementer og motiver i de ulike forgreiningene av prosjektet og utfordrer etablerte motsetningspar som produksjon/formidling, fremføring/utstilling, dokument og event, dokumentasjon og forestilling. Bilder, hendelser og konsepter forflyttes og sirkulerer på tvers av ulike medier, materialer og kropper. Slik åpner hun for tids- og meningsforskyvninger og nye lesninger - og framhever prosess og tilblivelse framfor væren og avsluttet form.
Arrangementet består av fotografier, videoarbeider, installasjon, tekst, performativ dokumentasjon og fotopublikasjon.
Eva-Cecilie Richardsen (f. 1970) er utdannet i dans fra Balletthøgskolen, Kunsthøgskolen i Oslo. Hennes praksis dreies rundt en interesse for koreografi som analytisk kompentanse og strukturell kapasitet med fokus på hierarkier i bevegelse og språk. Richardsen har skapt og produsert over 30 forestillinger siden 1997.
Medvirkende i arrangementet:
Lyd og musikk: Alexander Rishaug
Lys: Tobias Leira
Vert: Louis Schou-Hansen
Søm: Marthe Næstby
Medmodellering: Nikolai Lieblein Røsæg
Lydbearbeid video: Erik Ljunggren
Veiledning foto og print: Brynhild Seim
Konsulent video/projisering: Nina Toft
Live dokumentasjon: Marte Vold
Tekstbidrag: Kristian Skylstad, Jen Allen, Jørn Mortensen
Design publikasjon: NODE
Koordinator: Silja Espolin Johnson
Veiledere: Synne Bull, Boel Christensen-Scheel
Teknisk produsent: Ellen Christiansen
Rustmester: Anne-Sigrid Hveem
Scenemester: Ragnar Berntsson
Malermester: Olivier Marcouiller
Lysmester: Benjamin Reinhoff
Lydmester: Olaf Stangeland
Arrangementet er støttet av Program for kunstnerisk utviklingsarbeid og Kunsthøgskolen i Oslo.
OM SPEAKING & BUILDING og KUNSTHØGSKOLEN I OSLO
Jørn Mortensen Rektor
Eva–Cecilie Richardsen gjør det ikke lett for seg. Gjennom kunstneriske undersøkelser som involverer og inkluderer dansekunstens koreografi og billedkunstens installasjon og bilder, leter hun etter de uforutsette konsekvensene av sitt eget arbeid. Det er akkurat som hun forsøker å produsere uro, gjennom å destabilisere det vante, gjennom å demontere og avdekke det forventede. Når hun jobber med koreografien som en billedkunstner må ikke dette først og fremst forstås formalt, men snarere metodisk og idémessig. Hun lar billedkunstens hang til å fragmentere, og disseminere prege metoden, med den konsekvens at kunstens tid blir sentral. Når er kunsten kunst? Verket er derfor ikke ferdig på et gitt tidspunkt; det vil være i endring avhengig av når man som betrakter trer inn i det, og fra hvilken fysisk posisjon du befinner deg som betrakter. Her tror jeg vi er ved kjernen av forskningsprosjektet hennes; det dreier seg ikke bare om å utfordre uttrykkene og å finne et nytt interdisiplinært språk, det dreier seg like mye om å søke etter kunstens ærlighet, og det er i denne søkningen at prosjektet inneholder potensiale som kritikk. Denne formen for undersøkelse er nettopp det Kunsthøgskolen ønsker med sin deltakelse i det nasjonale Stipendiatprogrammet for kunstnerisk utviklingsarbeid. Undersøkelser som tør å bevege seg ut i det kunstnerisk ukjente og som tør å operere i det usikre. Prosjekter som tør å bruke de interdisiplinære mulighetene på kunsthøyskolen, og som antakeligvis ikke kunnet skje andre steder. På mange vis er dette en forpliktelse Kunsthøgskolen i Oslo har, å sikre muligheten for forskning som ellers ikke ville ha funnet sted. Eva-Cecilie Richardsens stipendiatprosjekt er derfor et av flere svar på det som er kunsthøyskolens oppdrag; å bedrive utdanning, forskning og formidling innen våre fagområder.
Eva-Cecilie Richardsen does not make things easy for herself. By combining interdisciplinary research across the fields of dance, installation and the visual arts into her choreographic concepts, she seeks out the unexpected consequences of her own work. It is like she is trying to produce unrest, through destabilizing the habitual, through disassembling and uncovering the expected. When working with choreography as a visual artist, she shouldn’t only be read formally, but more in relation to method and the conceptual. She lets the tendency within visual art to fragment and disseminate influence her method with the consequence that time becomes central. When is art art? Thus the work is not completed at a given point in time, it will keep changing dependent on when one as a viewer is entering the work and from which physical position one is experiencing it. This is where I think we touch upon a core aspect of her research work: it isn’t only about challenging the various medias of expression and finding a new interdisciplinary language, it is as much about searching for arts honesty, and it is through this search that her work has potential as critique. This form of research is exactly what Oslo National Academy of the Arts wishes for with its participation in the Norwegian Artistic Research Fellowship Program; investigations that take the risk of moving into the artistically unknown in order to operate with uncertainty as a productive, generative force. Projects that dare to use the interdisciplinary possibilities at the Academy of Arts, and that probably could not have happened outside of this environment. In many ways this is a commitment the Academy of Art has, to assure research that otherwise would not happen. Eva-Cecilie Richardsen’s research through her fellowship period is thus one of the answers to the Academy of Arts’s assignments; to facilitate education, research and communication within our academic fields.
Commissioned program texts for the arrangement Speaking & Building.
Click on names for texts
(…) “All these people, like puppets, in a scenery, standing or moving, and the camera of our eyes recording it to memory. What is kept, what is evaluated, it happens by random, that is if we're honest with ourselves. What might be most real is also the most unbearable, most feeble. We don't have the patience, most of us, to stay on the stage which is the interlude in the gab between the events, and that is what makes us stuck in that space, which is not a space, not a stage, not reality.”
from Kristian Skylstad
Hold Me Closely (From the Dark)
Choreography and film should get along famously. Dancers move;, films move. Right?; right? Yet dancers tend to defy the movie camera, which. Film often ends up making them look either too large or too small in the film by shifting awkwardly between a close-up of their bodies and a wide-angle shot of the entire stage. Even if a dance stage measures about the same size as a movie screen, transposing a choreography into a film is never a simple 1:1 affair. And even if dancers and films both move – even if spectators experience choreography and film in a similar way by sitting in a theatre and looking at a stage / screen – the two mediums seem utterly incompatible.
Eva-Cecilie Richardsen has found a way to overcome this incompatibility. Her films work precisely because she rejects the visual conventions of both mediums. We are not watching a traditional choreographydance film or choreographed piece since we never get a clear view of the whole stage, a perspective of one entire scene, a sight of all the dancers, nor a sense of where we are sitting with respect to them. Yet we are not watching a traditional film either since there is no continuous sequence, no narrative plot, not even a hint of a good ol’ documentary, let alone a movie about dance. Instead, we see rapid-fire shots: intimate, faraway, shifting, fragmentary, clipped and above all repetitive. Through repetition, the shots match each other visually – we come to recognize each dancer’s gestures – but these shots are partial in terms of perspective and discrete in terms of narrative. Essentially, Richardsen has edited in a type of repetition that is usually foreign to choreography, to film and certainly to films of choreographies.
Throwback (2015) is a good example. We watch a young woman take a microphone in her hands, only to turn her back on it. Although we never actually see the stage, we know she’s standing on one because of the microphone and the strong lights that illuminate her mane of blonde hair. Instead of singing, she bends forward and then back sharply, flicking her hair forth and back. We hear a muted pop, another one and still more… Her gestures are not clear, nor is the source of the dull sound, because the shots are so tightly edited: too close, too far, too fast, cutting off her body and then her head, even straying out of focus, a bit overexposed, a quick replay moving a split second back in time. Again: it’s neither a dance, nor a film, nor an attempt to forge a middle ground. We come to realize that the woman is throwing her hair back to hit the mike but without looking at it. She stretches out her arm like a custom-made ruler that can gage hair length, microphone height and bodily distance. What we hear are hundreds of tiny blonde fibres travelling at unknown speeds impacting the compact metal head of the mike. What we actually see is harder to classify. It’s as if Richardsen had in mind, not a dance, nor a film, but rather a jigsaw puzzle – as if she filmed the choreography as so many little misshapen parts which viewers must put together to get the whole big picture, even if many parts are left out, even if some parts are doubled. Yet as with a jigsaw puzzle, we recognize when two distinct pieces match and fit together, even if the others are missing.
Richardsen – a choreographer by training with many works behind her – clearly understoodunderstands the basic problem of filming dance. Films add endless movements that were never part of the original choreography as well as forced perspectives that rob viewers of the freedom to let their eyes wander across a stage. Again, Richardsen rejects the visual conventions of both of these mediums with her rapid-fire repetitive clips, which are too close for choreography and too redundant for film. Repetition allows for recognition. In a way, she has reformulated the classic loop of video art into a shaking stutter; her films seem to be made up of so many tinier loops which have each been truncated and then stuck all together in the end; although the clips can be disorienting, their visual similarity allows for an identification in the manner of an ellipsis. Most importantly, Richardsen has eliminated the old equation between the camera and the audience, between the lens and the human eye: close to the stage, far from it or even oneon it. However human her dancing subjects, her method of displaying them does fully away with the anthropocentric perspectives of the stage and the screen. Her camera is not an eyeball but seems to have multiplied into a flock of wild drones, flying around the dancers, approaching them from all angles, including the bird’s eye perspective from above, sometimes crashing, sometimes missing the mark, sometimes flying back to the same point for another look, sometimes blinking. Although we never see the entire stage, we see more of it than we could ever hope to glimpse from a seat in the audience: not only microphones and lighting but also rafters, curtains, cables, dust particles floating in the air and just left-over stage stuff hanging around that is hard to classify.
Indeed, it’s hard to classify exactly what Richardsen does. She calls this large body of work Speaking and Building. Processing Choreographic Relations (2011-15). But the relations go beyond the dance and performances that usually go with a choreography. Sometimes her dancers create sculptural works in her films: Weaving (2012) shows one wrapping reams of paper around her arms, as if the paper were skeins of wool, while Verticalization of Ground (2011) offers the view-from-above of dancers winding up giant curtain-like cloths, like caterpillars spinning cocoons for the break during the theatre season. In light of these works, Richardsen might well be considered as a choreographer of sculptures who leaves the work to others in a manner reminiscent of Andy Warhol’s factory or Martin Kippenberger’s many assistants. Yet that’s not quite right either because she does not display the sculptures as the final works, as Warhol and Kippenberger used to exhibit the paintings and prints made by others. Her choreographies are performed and filmed on a stage, but there is not always a live public audience, so her oeuvre is not about performances, nor about the various relics from them, whether sculptures or props. In Hole in Wall (2015), two dancers whisper to each other through a divide with an intensity reminiscent of Abelard and Héloïse, but this work is not a theatre play either. When Richardsen does add a live performance to an exhibition, she is more likely to invite other people: not dancers, nor actors, but perhaps a band, in the manner of an impresario. Yet she could also be called a filmmaker – a director-choreographer – yet her films are projected on corners, walls or mdf boards, among other surfaces, which hold the moving pictures while adding another sense of surface movement to them. Moreover, the projections tend to be scattered around an exhibition space in a kind of hide-and-seek itinerary which turns the viewers into unwitting choreography extras. Since Richardsen comes from choreography, her exhibitions are likely to veer away from the white cube towards a stage which allows viewers to walk around behind the wings and to manoeuvre their way through technical equipment. In other words, just as her films never offer a clear view of the entire stage, she never creates a clear borderline between the stage and the audience. By eliminating the division between the stage and the audience, it’s not entirely clear where the spectacle is taking place: in the films, in the space, in the people wandering around or in the hired band. Equally unclear is the duration of her works: not only where they take place but also when they begin and end. In addition to making films of her choreographies, Richardsen adds other material – photographs of them as well as films which she considers “documents.” Yet her documents do not seem to function like traditional documents because they do not quite record an event that has taken place. After all, when have her events taken place: in the dance, in its filmic version or when the viewers watch the film? Where do her events actually take place, if the stage and the audience are no longer divided? And is the dancer moving or is the sculpture moving the dancer or even the editor moving them both in the final cut of the film? And who are the spectators, if they themselves might be filmed as they watch the exhibition? Richardsen confounds all of the traditional frames that have long served to define an event: from the starting time to the stage. She thus revives a constellation described by Richard Sennett in The Fall of Public Man (1977): a continuous collective space that thrived before the nation-state introduced the division between the public and the private realms. Sennett bemoaned the fall of public man from the stage among the actors into a seat in the quiet audience; Richardsen’s oeuvre suggests a resurrection.
Such oblique methods question the divide between not only choreography and film or the stage and the audience but also all artistic mediums. We are forced to rethink the simplistic ways we have used to mix and to divide mediums, to identify them and to deploy them. It’s tempting to use vague labels such as “mixed-media,” “multimedia” or “installation,” which allow us to classify the work while deferring other questions. If there is no clearly delimited event, spectacle or even artwork, have the physical distinctions between people and things been replaced by purely visual differences? What seems to create an object – a thingness – in Richardsen’s works is not the appearance of actual objects but the repetition itself. However her works appear – as dancers, as rolled up paper, as films, as photographs or text prints on mdf, as people wandering through an exhibition – repetition makes all of these elements cohesive: not longer just random elements but a work. Repetition has long been associated with redundancy: pop, pop, pop, pop. But, again, here repetition creates recognition along with a pattern. Perhaps Richardsen created a kind of language by reusing as many elements as possible: expanding choreography from a set of standard steps, gestures and movements – to a set of visual appearances which are standardized and articulated by being shown and by being seen again and again and again and again. In a way, she seems to be practising choreography in the largest sense of the term: using not just dancers’ bodies but any element, from the clip to the curtain.
Dr. Jennifer Allen is a writer living in Berlin.
(…) “And so you arrive on a kind of stage, without your shadow, and you start to translate reality or reinterpret it or sing it. The stage is really a proscenium and upstage there’s an enormous tube, something like a mine shaft or the gigantic opening of a mine. Let’s call it a cave. But a mine works, too. From the opening of the mine come unintelligible noises. Onomatopoeic noises, syllables of rage or of seduction or of seductive rage or maybe just murmurs and whispers and moans. The point is, no one sees, really sees, the mouth of the mine. Stage machinery, the play of light and shadows, a trick of time, hides the real shape of the opening from the gaze of the audience. In fact, only the spectators who are closest to the stage, right up against the orchestra pit, can see the shape of something behind the dense veil of camouflage, not the real shape, but at any rate it’s the shape of something. The other spectators can’t see anything beyond the proscenium, and it’s fair to say they’d rather not. Meanwhile, the shadowless intellectuals are always facing the audience, so unless they have eyes in the backs of their heads , they can’t see anything. They only hear the sounds that come from deep in the mine. And they translate or reinterpret or re-create them. Their work, it goes without saying, is of a very low standard. They employ rhetoric where they sense a hurricane , they try to be eloquent where they sense fury unleashed, they strive to maintain the discipline of meter where there’s only a deafening and hopeless silence. They say cheep cheep, bowwow , meow meow, because they’re incapable of imagining an animal of colossal proportions, or the absence of such an animal. Meanwhile, the stage on which they work is very pretty, very well designed, very charming, but it grows smaller and smaller with the passage of time.”
Extract from Roberto Bolaño - «2666»