michael j. morris


60×60 in Review

60×60 is now over. I hope you were able to make it. It was an amazing show full of diverse talent and good energy. I felt that both of my pieces were successful in executing their intentions. The first was an improvisation intending to utilize Forsythian Improvisational technologies to which I was introduced last year, as well as ways of moving that I associate with those technologies. It was one minute long and explored material both standing and on the floor.

The second was dual purposed and highly conceptual. It was an homage to “The Strip” section of David Gordon and Valda Setterfield’s Random Breakfast. It was also intended to deconstruct the relationship between the socially presentable body and the actual body (or corporeal morphology) of the individual. It was something of a temporal palindrome, starting upstage, walking directly downstage while undressing, then moving back upstage while re-dressing. All in one minute. A friend said to me afterwards that the piece could have gone on for much, much longer. I agree. I have a sense that I will re-stage the piece at some point. I am interested in how the fully clothed body that is viewed at the end of the piece is different from the fully clothed body at the beginning because of what has transpired in-between. It is always all about the in-between. The piece also commented a bit on gender and sexuality: I wore heels, women’s slacks, and a large black lambs wool coat. During the performance (the images below are from the dress rehearsal) I wore a t-shirt that says “Legalize Gay: repeal prop. 8 now!” It also had an oddly intimate feeling beyond just the exposed body; there was something about the action of undressing and re-dressing, the clumsiness, the un-sexy-ness.

CoCo Loupe graciously photographed the dress rehearsal. I share those photos now with you as documentation of the piece. Video footage may be posted in the next few weeks or so. Additional footage/images/commentary may appear at http://60×60.blogspot.com/ in the weeks to come so stay tuned there.

Also, I just received this by email today from the directors of 60×60:
“Mark your calendars now. We will be coming back to Columbus to
do this again during the first weekend in October, 2010. Tell your
friends and colleagues. Let’s make the next one bigger and better. More
details will come as things are confirmed…. stay tuned.” Very exciting.

Here are the images from the two pieces:
forsythe_improv_001

forsythe_improv_002

forsythe_improv_003

forsythe_improv_005

forsythe_improv_004

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3 Comments so far
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Next time… full monty

Comment by eric

Matt, I am interested in reading about the techniques you mentioned so I will understand more about the videos when you post them. I enjoyed seeing both, and following your progress in your profession. Coming from a lay persons viewpoint I feel the Prop 8 T shirt would detract from the beauty of the piece due to the nature of politics and text vs. just visual imagery. In your comment,”I am interested in how the fully clothed body that is viewed at the end of the piece is different from the fully clothed body at the beginning because of what has transpired in-between.” did you mean, the result of re-clothing is different than the deconstruction?

Comment by marcia eisworth

Eric: I agree. Hopefully the next time I do the piece nudity won’t be an issue.

Marcia: Well, hello! Just so you know, this is Michael writing, not Matt. He has an excellent blog that’s listed in my blog roll. But more to the point, to respond to your wonderful comment before I have to go teach class: William Forsythe developed a series of “improvisational technologies” as an approach to movement generation in his company. After this became standard training within the company, he produced a CD-ROM of the technologies in order to share these approaches. Almost all of them can be viewed on youtube at http://www.youtube.com/user/GrandpaSafari. I think that might be my best reference to offer. I studied these with Meghan Durham-Wall and Nik Haffner last winter, and in addition to producing specific movement material, they also tend to create a way of moving that I associate with “Forsythe” dancers.

As for the t-shirt, it was something that I went back and forth on, but ultimately I decided that it felt inaccurate to assume that the body itself exists actually or perceptually in a void. It will never be just visual imagery. The body is the site of politics, and much of the politics surrounding Prop. 8 and same-sex marriage in general are politics of the body. Since I felt that the “socially presentable body” would never be devoid of politics, it felt appropriate to address those politics as part of what was being removed. It was hopefully a journey of perception . . . with the big black coat, the viewer couldn’t necessarily read the shirt. In the brief moment between the shirt being uncovered and it being subsequently removed, I wonder if the body/person wearing it became different in the perception of the viewer. And how did that shift again when the shirt was removed and one was left with a bare torso? And again when my heels and pants were removed. Etc. I think the beauty I was trying to get at was the perceptual shifts, the process of deconstructing in which each step was also constructing a different form.

And I think you understood the gist of what I was saying about the final body being different from the body that began. Again, it was about the deconstruction/reconstruction of perception. How is the clothed body different once one knows what is underneath? How is the “socially presentable” affected by that knowledge/experience. I think maybe I mean that the re-dressing is a form of deconstruction, that with each article of clothing that was put back on, the body that was being dressed was perhaps noticeably different than it was as it was being undressed.

That’s all I have time for before class! Thanks for provocative and interested engagement with this work. It is most appreciated.

-M

Comment by morrismichaelj




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