Lately I’ve been giving a lot of thought to what David and I are ultimately building towards with this residency. I think we’ve exchanged a lot of ideas and thought about a lot of interesting possibilities, and it’s getting to be time to put the pieces together. What might it look like, in the end?
Over the weekend David and I talked about a few different forms that our collaboration could take. One idea was a more traditional (in form) dance performance, in which I create a dance response to David’s music that also incorporates map imagery in some way. I have a lot of ideas of what this could look like, since this is the format I typically present my work in.
But I started chewing on another idea that is more outside my typical way of creating. Working from the concept of presenting a live dance work, I started to think about my dance colleagues that I could recruit to work on the project with me and perform the work. I soon remembered, disappointedly, that most of the people that I think would be a good fit for this project no longer live in Philadelphia, so rehearsal and even performance scheduling might be difficult with the travel needs.
But then I thought…maybe that isn’t an obstacle after all. Maybe they can stay right where they are. What if we don’t have to bring the dancers to the dance, but have the dance exist wherever the dancers are?
David’s music is rooted in a specific place and geography - imagining a dance performance, I assumed at some point we’d decide on a particular location that we wanted to focus on, and create a response based on that. But part of what’s interesting is how different places will have different soundscapes, over both time and space. I started to think that a dispersed network of dancers was actually an asset, rather than an obstacle.
I’m starting to imagine a dance map that lives in the digital realm. Dancers who reside in different places can upload videos of themselves dancing to the digital platform. In these videos, they dance in response to the Ecoorchestra music of their location. I can provide some essential movement motifs and directives, that allows for a cohesive vocabulary of movement yet allows for local variations as revealed in data and music. And the dancers could take it from there. I realized that, in my network alone, I know dancers all across the country, if not the world, who are all inhabiting different landscapes and geographies that could be animated in this way.
I think this could be a really interesting way to enliven what David has been working on in sonifying the stream network data. I don’t have a clue, technically speaking, how to make the digital infrastructure needed to support an idea like this, but it’s something I want to unpack more and see what comes of it.
Visit our other residency group's blogs HERE
David Lagomasino is an award-winning research scientist in Biospheric Sciences at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, and co-founder of EcoOrchestra.
Christina Catanese is a New Jersey-based environmental scientist, modern dancer, and director of Environmental Art at Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education.