michael j. morris

list of thoughts

This morning my mind was spinning with ideas and questions. I needed to get them down somewhere. I put them here:

What are forms of analysis in dance studies that might function as methodologies for ecological analysis?

Synchronous Objects as an instance of analyzing the internal functionality (choreography?) of a dance(ed) system by way of aggregate data derived from interviews with dancers and choreographer, correlating the accounts to produce a description of the dance’s dependence on the dancers’ interdependence by way of the cueing system.

How else might choreographies demonstrate interdependence (an ecological structure)? And is this a description of the functional interdependence (how it actually works on the inside) only, or does it also include the perceived interdependence, the perceived gestalt of the work (something like the visual composition and the interdependence of formal elements to constitute the overall “effect” or “specular”(?) experience of the piece? In SO, I would classify the analysis of the cueing system as the former (the internal functionality) and the analysis of counterpoint and alignments (particularly those annotated in the project videos) as the latter (compositional devices/effects).
. . . the entire spectrum of compositional devices/elements/effects could be analyzed for their interdependent potentials . . . how elements are put together and the effects of those compositions . . .
Props (object theatre)
Symbiotic relationship with the audience
Something about the relationship between the work and external cultural objects (I’m thinking about work that appropriates or cites or quotes other existing work—music, choreography, text, etc.)

Still the ongoing question, how might ecological analysis function as a methodology for choreographic analysis? Further, how might this “ecological analysis” be inflected by ecofeminist and queer ecofeminist critiques, producing a queer eco(feminist)logical analysis of choreographies?

Ecofeminism: correlating mutually reinforcing systems of oppression between feminism and ecological struggles

Queer ecofeminism (which may in fact be the starting point for what I have eventually considered ecosexuality/sexecology): extends the correlation to other master narratives and apparatuses by which “Others” (nature, female, queers, the erotic, etc.) are alienated in order to constitute the normative (the natural, male, heterosexual, logical, etc.); where this seeps into ecosexuality is the point at which all bodies become permeable and inter-penetrable

Can there be a Sexecological analysis of choreography (I believe sexecology, as I have theorized it, is necessarily queer)?

Questions about how different choreographers/dance practices (practitioners)/performance artists have constructed “nature” and their relationship to it. Right now Laban and his “nature cults,” his assertion of the correlation between natural forms and human movement as one potential object for analysis; Butoh suggests itself immediately as another. Karl Cronin, Love Art Lab, etc.

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I wonder if part of what I am moving towards is a kind of ecocriticism of how particular performance/creative projects construct the subject and “nature,” and how those constructions become enacted/performed/mediated by way of projects and practices. Analyzing things like:
-Laban’s choreosophy, and his engagement with nature as the macrocosm that corresponds along absolute formal affinities with human movement
-Butoh (particularly founders such as Hijikata, Ohno, and Ashikawa, but also those influenced by Butoh such as Eiko and Koma)
-Anna Halprin would be a glaring omission
-Karl Cronin
-Love Art Lab
-and other “environmental performance art” . . .

But it is also my interest in reading for ecological structures within the works, the internal functionality, the interdependencies that form the work (the cueing system in One Flat Thing, reproduced, the employment of scoring systems as more-than-human elements in the creative system (ranging from Laban to Butoh), contact improvisation, etc.)

It seems like in pursuing this (or a similar project) I will be engaging in discourses of “nature,” “naturalness,” “authenticity,” and “purity,” many “environmental” or “ecological” works construing “nature” as somehow more pure or authentic and the human engagement with it a more authenticating act. This may mean revisiting/building my foundation of deconstructed “nature/naturalness”, engaging more with cyborg theories, and bringing in queer, feminist, and ecofeminist theories to clear the slate from which to analyze these performative constructions of “nature”.

Comment by morrismichaelj

Recently I wrote a blog entry offering a leftist critique of the ideology of “Green” environmentalism, deep ecology, eco-feminism, and lifestyle politics in general (veganism, “dumpster diving,” “buying organic,” “locavorism,” etc.). I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on the matter and any responses you might have to its criticisms.

Comment by Ross Wolfe

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