INBODY – performance, video/audio installation at the Miller Gallery
Currently, I am focused on the spatial relationship between performer and audience in accordance to dance. Often audience members are at a fair distance to the dance performer creating a distinct boundary between parties. For my piece Inbody, I created an intimate spatial relationship with my viewers, challenging the norms of this common interaction. While I improvised movements, I used a stethoscope mic and wireless lavalier monitor to bring sounds of my breath and heartbeat to the listeners’ headphones. Usually unheard sounds of my body were now a prominent element of my performance. I performed for the whole two hours of the opening of my Senior Exhibition Actual Size at the Miller Gallery, providing three headphones, allowing viewers to engage.
One large inspiration for my performance was Marina Abramovic’s The Artist is Present in which she allows the viewers to sit with her at a table, and look into her eyes. Abramovic transforms a very simple interaction of eye contact into an opportunity for a deeper connection. She sits at the table at MOMA for as many days as the show is running, and for as many hours as the museum stays open. I wanted to achieve a similar connection by dancing throughout the duration of my opening. This seemed most fitting as viewers were able to listen in, and watch my performance at any point without a designated “showtime”. I wanted to parallel the consistency of my breath and heartbeat to the ongoing duration of my performance.
Improvisational movements was a key element in creating this work. Thought-out choreography would not be congruous to the viewer’s discoveries of my movement. I decided to improvise responding to my bodily nuances as well as to my surroundings: the sounds and spatial elements. I gave myself prompts throughout performing of what to respond to, varying my movements. The style of improvisation was highly influenced by the Gaga technique developed by choreographer Ohad Naharin. The Gaga technique believes in “turning on the volume of listening to our body”. Without mirrors, Gaga dancers explore their bodies forms, habits, and sensations through imagining various prompts such as “melting your bones inside your skin.” From using my face to my feet, I explored similar imaginings in my body.
As I explored movements, the continuity of breath and heartbeat took over as the music for my dancing. The viewers sight and hearing were heightened as these two senses were directly working together. The simultaneous participation of listening and seeing allowed the viewers to embody my experience dancing. As I danced, I chose to ignore my audience as I wanted them to fully focus on this attention. If and when focused, viewers could immerse themselves into my movements. Inbody worked to create a synchronous experience between performer and audience.
***Now that the performance is over, I have a video and audio installation of the piece. This form of displaying the performance is subject to change. It was the closest plausible way to display my performance.