Apply now for the 4×4 Artist in Residency Program! Exploring themes of dance, body and the environment, the 4×4 Artist in Residence (AIR) programme is aimed at artists interested in working in non-theatre based locations and challenging environmental contexts. Working from the organisation’s base in the Universal Hall, Findhorn, the successful artists will be encouraged to critically examine their performance practice, reflecting upon their relationship with the natural environment and ecological systems. Applications are due July 6th.
More information at Creative Scotland.
La MaMa Moves! Festival on
Friday June 21 at 10 pm & Sunday June 23 at 8 pm
featuring work by Jennifer Monson with Niall Jones, Renée Wadleigh and Renée Archibald
and performances by Nico Brown and Jennifer Lafferty.
The collaborators will spend a week at Earthdance to immerse themselves in the development of their collaborative process and to engage in the different kinds of questions and methods that arise in a rural environment. The residents will be working with Jennifer Monson (founder and artistic director of iLAND) and other iLAND community members on the development of practices that help address these questions through iLANDing – a model for interdisciplinary collaboration with a strong emphasis on the role that dance and somatic practices play in environmental and aesthetic understanding.
JENNIFER MONSON’S LIVE DANCING ARCHIVE
THURSDAY, JUNE 6, 2013 * 8:00PM
$15 General; $5 Students
The Dance Center @ 1306 S Michigan Ave, Theater
Melinda Buckwalter, Julia Handschuh (iLAND Board Member), and Lailye Weidman (iLAB 2012) are curating and producing Place [Maker] Space this Fall in Western Massachusetts. Please see below for the open call, deadline to apply is June 1st. [Read more…] about Place [Maker] Space: Open Call for Place-based Interdisciplinary Residency
Monday May 13, 2013
Including Performances by Eiko & Koma, Wally Cardona, Maria Hassabi,
Monsoon Orchestra (revisited), and Donna Uchizono
Judson Memorial Church
55 Washington Square South
New York, NY
Fantastic Futures: Julio Hernandez, Huong Ngo, Phuong Nguyen, Solgil Oh, Sable Elyse Smith, Or Zubalsky
Environmental scientist of Urban Evolutionary Biology: Jason Munshi‐South
Multi‐disciplinary artist: Sonia Finley
Live Dancing Archive at The Kitchen
February 14–16, 8pm and February 21–23, 8pm
Lineage, Legacy, Leitmotif
CURATED BY PATRICIA HOFFBAUER
November 17, 2012
Saturday at 8:00PM
$18 ($12 Danspace members)
iLAND is now accepting Letters of Inquiry for the 2013 iLAB Residency Program.
To apply: please submit a brief, two-page Letter of Inquiry by November 20, 2012.
Jennifer Monson performs in CATCH 54!
on Saturday, December 15, 8pm
at The Bushwick Starr
(207 Starr Street
L to Jefferson Street).
CATCH is a multi-faceted, multi-disciplinary, rough and ready performance series-event that blows through Brooklyn every couple of months.
Jennifer Monson and Kate Cahill offered a site-specific workshop on Saturday November 10,2012.
2012 iLAB Residents, Higher E.D. invite you to participate in a kite mapping and dance-based weather observation workshop.
Sunday September 23 2012
PARK Scores at Fresh Kills
by 2011 iLAB Residents
Kathy Westwater, Jennifer Scappettone, and Seung Jae Lee
PARK Scores is presented by the Council on the Arts and Humanities of Staten Island.
It will be part of Sneak Peak at Freshkills Park, hosted by the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, Freshkills Park.
PARK collaborators Kathy Westwater, Jennifer Scappettone, Seung Jae Lee, and Tamio Shiraishi will be in residence at the Millay Colony for the Arts’ Group Residency from September 28-October 3, 2012.
2012 iLAB Resident Team, Higher E.D., hosted a solar balloon and kite building workshop in early July.
Higher E.D. collaborator, Liz Barry, writes about the experience HERE on the PBS MediaShift IdeaLab Blog.
“What you may not be expecting to hear is that half of the workshop attendees were dancers or choreographers, organized by Lailye Weidman and Jessica Einhorn, two fellows of iLAND, an organization dedicated to collaboration between dancers and scientists.”
Read more here:
iLAND Intern, Lizzie Ingraham, reflects on her experience at the iLAB Retreat in June 2012.
This past June 17th, iLAND held a Retreat/LAB at the Eyebeam Art + Technology Center in Chelsea. The event brought together iLAND’s past residents, present participants, and future collaborators. I was lucky enough to be among the last
category, at the time an applicant for an internship with the organization. I entered into the experience nervous, excited, and full of questions; my familiarity with the group limited almost exclusively to what I had researched on the iLAND website and what I had subsequently learned about choreographer Jennifer Monson’s work.
I was greeted warmly by all and learned even before the formal introductions the seriousness with which iLAND takes the first word of their acronym. Throughout the day, I continued to be surprised by the plethora of disciplines from which these people hailed as well as the success with which they worked with and from one another. I soon discovered that a primary concern of iLAND is the loss of process in the pressure of creation. Additional difficulties, including varying methods of notation, would be later addressed by this year’s residencies and would lead into the motivation behind the implementation of iLANDing as an active verb.
In the first activity of the day, we walked to the water and broke into small groups to discuss both our personal research methods and relationship to the site. I was lucky enough to be grouped with choreographer Jennifer Monson and other iLAND affiliates of varying backgrounds and involvement with the organization. We formed one coherent activity to teach to the larger group that incorporated each of our creative approaches; beginning by lying on our backs with eyes closed in an introspective experience and then moving to vertical interaction with our environment. Some other group-led activities involved exploring edges in the space and a haphazard sampling of the area.
Following a healthy lunch and study of Eyebeam’s appropriately themed exhibit on global water use and conservation, the current iLAND residents took the time to present their projects, giving brief overviews that left the audience fascinated and curious. Higher ED (Ecology + Dance) described their work with kites and solar balloons b
efore bringing everyone outside to follow kite patterns or engage in improvisational doodling with chalk below. Follow the Water Walks exposed the relativity of maps and explained their research into measuring public space with specific, very personal measurements. While accepting some of the inherent limitations of mapping, the group is also working to identify potential green spaces, promoting change and advancement in the Bronx community.
In what seemed to be the logical conclusion of the abundance of creativity and passion flying free all day, the workshop culminated in an open discussion of iLANDing. iLANDing concentrates on the process of creation rather than the product and is based not on restraining individuality and creativity, but on making it accessible to other artists and to those of us whose minds work in less abstract terms. iLAND’s dynamic workshop exempli
fied the necessity of such a codified system of notation, as it would be a tragedy to lose the progressions through which these artists create.
See more of Lizzie’s writing on her blog, Moving for the City.
Check out more photos and videos from the iLAB Retreat HERE.
The Walk Exchange
Friends of iLAND, The Walk Exchange was founded by Dillon de Give, Bess Matassa, Virginia Millington, Blake Morris, and Moira Williams. It is open to anyone who has an interest in walking. [Read more…] about The Walk Exchange – Upcoming Events
August 14, 2012 – 7:30 pm
The Aviary Gallery in Boston, MA
“Dance in your face–it’s happening. The Aviary is a beautiful intimate space for art and performance, and Lailye will be performing up close and personal with Hana van der Kolk in a duet conceived and directed by Teilo Troncy. Lailye will also show a duet that was co-created with Allison Ross.”
From Current iLAB Resident Lailye Weidman:
I want to invite you to an upcoming evening that I am curating and performing in at the Aviary Gallery in JP on Tuesday Aug 14th at 7:30 PM. It is a beautiful intimate space and this will be no ordinary night of performance. Hana van der Kolk and I will be performing material from a new duet directed by Teilo Troncy, exploring fluctuations in gender and relationship, tenderness and force. In another duet, co-discovered by Alli Ross and myself, we will reveal secret oracles and nonsense as we translate unknown messages through each others bones. In addition, I will be sharing a participatory weather dance conceived by the collaborative project Higher ED.
Jamaica Plain, Masschusetts
Tuesday Aug 14th at 7:30 PM
Join writer Rachel Levitsky, Landscape Architect Elliott Maltby and Translator/Poet ElizabethZuba for an expedition to collectively recuperate latent words, meanings, objects and gestures from the Gowanus Canal and then re-embed them in the group show To the Stars on the Wings of an Eel, Brooklyn and the world. To the Stars on the Wings of an Eel is a show organized by OoRS officer Ethan Spigland along with several others we admire. The show begins June 29. Its impressive roster of participants and events can be found at the Gowanus Ballroom website.
Everyone is welcome to join this walk. It’s free. Sign up in advance is encouraged but not required. Email email@example.com to let us know you are coming.
FRIDAY, JULY 6th
We will meet at 5:00 PM at The Gowanus Ballroom
55 9th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215
There will be lots of signs but feel free to call us if you have any trouble: 917 495 7075
Walk 5 -7 PM
Embed/Imbibe 7 PM onward
FRIDAY, JULY 6th
7pm–3am, $10 after 9pm
DJ Dirty Finger
Office of Recuperative Strategies (Elliott Malby, Elizabeth Zuba, Rachel Levitsky)
Matthew Silver: the Great Performer
Hungry March Band
The Big Ship
SATURDAY, JULY 7th
3pm–3am, $10 after 9pm
DJ James Mulry
Panoply Performance Laboratory
Mike Haar the Barber
Matthew Silver: the Great Performer
Apocalypse Five and Dime
Follow the Water Walks will offer a full river paddle in the morning and then support a community group with their Soundview Festival.
On the Water, For the Water
Saturday, July 14, 2012 • 10am to 4pm
Governors Island, NYC
Liberty State Park, NJ
& In Your Neighborhood
Presented by the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance
A FREE day of entertainment, education & adventure
celebrating the potential of our waterfront!
From the upper Hudson to Raritan Bay, we are a City of Water—yet too many of us are cut off from this tremendous resource. Help revitalize the waterfront with a festival for the entire family.
|[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/44993044 w=600&h=338]||Past and Current iLAB Residents along with iLAND Board and community members gathered on June 17th at Eyebeam and along for the Hudson for a day of collaborative exploration and discussion about iLANDing.
We went to a park along the Hudson River to engage in some iLANDing, sharing collaborative process and research tactics. To do this we broke into small groups, shared our individual research practices with each other and then created an amalgamation of them to share with the larger group.
iLAND is seeking a Managing & Program Director to lead the organization into its next phase of programmatic growth. A perfect opportunity for an enthusiastic and motivated not-for-profit manager interested in contemporary dance, urban ecology, and environmental issues, the position will involve working with renowned choreographer Jennifer Monson as well as support staff. The ideal candidate will be able to work independently and take initiative, yet work within a strong team to expand the organization’s programs and services in the areas of rural residencies, international residencies, mentorship, environmental justice, interdisciplinary collaboration, and partnerships with both cultural and environmental organizations. This is an exceptional chance for someone with a long-term view to create a strong platform for an organization poised to expand its visibility and impact. The position will initially be part-time with the goal of increasing the budget significantly towards a full time role.
- Oversight of organizational operations including fundraising, budgeting and financial management and
- Management of the annual iLAB residency program;
- Development and management of the annual iLAND symposium;
- Production of the creative work of Artistic Director Jennifer Monson.
- Minimum 2-3 years training and experience in management in the performing arts and/or environmental
- Excellent organizational, administrative and computer skills;
- Ability to work both independently and as part of a team;
- Passion for and/or work experience in the area of environmental activism, research, science or policy;
- Excellent oral and written communication skills;
- Ability to initiate and nurture relationships with a variety of people from different backgrounds and fields;
- including but not limited to scientists, artists and advocacy groups;
- Proficiency with a range of MAC-based computer software;
- Communication skills via social media;
- A great sense of humor.
Salary commensurate with experience.
Application deadline: July 15th.
Please email a resume, three references and cover with Managing Director as the subject of your email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Interviews will take place between July 20-22 with final candidates’ interviews on August 6-7.
Training Session: June 30, 2012, 11am – 5pm
Public Workshop: July 1, 2012, 11am – 5pm
Directions: Once at 630 Flushing, walk to Thompkins Ave and enter the parking lot behind the Pfizer building. The main entrance has a small overhang and bicycle parking. We will be on the loading dock.
Join Public Laboratory members Mat Lippincott, an extraordinary floating and flying object sculptor visiting from Portland, Oregon, and Leo Famulari, an extraordinary kite designer visiting from Miami, Florida, for a hands-on workship on design principles and construction of Solar Balloons and Bamboo Kites. These can be used for taking aerial images and other aerial data gathering, or for your pure enjoyment. This workshop is part of iLAB—an interdisciplinary collaborative project between PLOTS staff member Liz Barry and two dance artists: Jess Einhorn and Lailye Weidman. They will share a bit about their research on Sunday. Upon the completion of the workshop, you can either take your kite or solar balloon home, or add it to the PLOTS NYC lending library (including the floating gallery project, part of the 2012 iLAB Higher E+D fellowship).
Please bring your own lunch — we will provide snacks! For questions, please email email@example.com or call 336-269-1539. Hope to see you there or in the air.
Announcement: Bamboo Kite and Solar Balloon
PHOTO CREDIT: Laura Waldman
French filmmaker Mathias Frantz and his crew had spent weeks searching the wilder crannies of New York for the quintessence of nature in the city—material that will be used in the first of four profiles of wildlife in major international cities they are calling “Naturopolis.” The week before I’d accompanied them on a boat on the East River where we angled for striped bass in the riptides of Hell Gate and snuck up on a colony of nesting cormorants on U-Thant Island, situated below the cliff-like UN building that towered as a backdrop. One week later we met at River Park, a pocket of greenery in the West Farms section of the South Bronx that is named after Gotham’s only true freshwater river, the Bronx River.
PHOTO CREDIT: Laura Waldman
The Bronx River is an urban flowage that is becoming restored mainly through the efforts of the New York City Department of Parks and theBronx River Alliance of non-profits. River Park sits just below the lowermost dam on the river, one that prevents typical migratory fish such as alewife from ascending farther upstream to spawn. The river is also home to the American eel, a species that was described in the subtitle of a recent book as the “most mysterious fish in the sea.” And mysterious they are, baby eels, having migrated all the way from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean are slowed down, but not always stopped from passing dams. Our crew of agency and academic biologists and volunteers planned on first electrofishing below the dam and then above it to obtain a sense of the relative abundances of eels on both sides of this barrier.
Our colleague Chris Bowser of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation wore the backpack electroshocking unit on the first pass. Probing around the rocky shallows with the device’s electrical hoop turned up plenty of eels, together with sunfish, darter fish, and crayfish that were all momentarily stunned while two eager netters tried to gather them before they revived.
On the second pass, my Ph.D. student George Jackman operated the shocker. George has an unusual background for a doctoral student—he is a retired New York City police lieutenant. As such, he sees things that mere civilians miss. As George stepped deeper into the flow to begin “fishing” he eyed a plastic device and reached down and then held up a metal sleeve—the magazine from a handgun. Our crew and the observers who gathered were amazed, making comments about this truly being urban nature. But a minute later the incident became considerably enhanced: George yelled “wow” as he spotted the actual handgun—and then retrieved and held up a10 mm Glock. The assemblage couldn’t quite believe this, and neither could the French filmmakers who asked whether we’d planted it there for Naturopolis.
PHOTO CREDIT: Ferdie Yau
We hadn’t, of course, but I wondered whether the eventual viewers of Naturopolis would believe that such an iconic urban symbol would have been discovered by accident. The gun’s being found there makes sense, it was located just below the 180th Street Bridge—a perfect place to stop a car and toss a gun into the water. I questioned if its owner threw the gun into the river when it was raging with high water, not knowing that the Bronx River is a “spate” flow that floods quickly when it rains and then drops to low levels, shallow enough to reveal a handgun.
George later gave the weapon to a patrolman, who guessed it was used in a murder and promised to do ballistics tests. The tests showed that the gun was used in a shooting not far from there about a week earlier, and at a time when the river was so high we needed to cancel our fieldwork. This gun had been fired 10 times into the back of its victim. Remarkably, the man survived, this gun is so powerful that it essentially perforated his torso while apparently missing vital organs.
The remainder of the day was less eventful, with many eels surveyed below the dam and only about one-fourth as many above, showing that eels can indeed somehow work their way past the dam. The eel “ladder” we plan to install next year should ease their access to the river’s headwaters as they follow their natural instincts and swim, obliviously, maybe even mysteriously, past whatever unnatural jetsam society leaves along its bottom.
John Waldman is author of Heartbeats in the Muck: The History, Sea Life, and Environment of New York Harbor, Revised Edition and Still the Same Hawk: Reflections on Nature and New York (Both forthcoming from Fordham University Press this October).
The 2nd annual iLAND Retreat/Lab is happening this Sunday, June 17th from 10 am until 4 pm at the Eyebeam Art + Technology Center in NYC.
20 members of the iLAND community, including past and present iLAB Residents and iLAND Board Members, will gather to participate in iLANDing along the Hudson River and discussion at Eyebeam. This event is at capacity.
These images are from the 2011 iLAB Retreat, which was generously hosted by the Bronx River Art Center.
Thank you to D’Agostino’s for their continual support and quality fare!
The 2012 iLAB Residents are busy investigating and collaborating. Check out what they’ve been up to!
Are you looking for a chance to work with one of New York City’s most innovative dance organizations? iLAND (Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance) is currently looking for an intern to join the team for the summer and fall of 2012. This internship is designed to provide the opportunity to build on your skills base with the aim of pursuing a career in arts management and/or the environment.
We value commitment and dedication from interns and will provide opportunities to engage with iLAND’s artists, board, and the wider community. There is no financial remuneration but out of pocket expenses will be reimbursed.
Download the position description HERE.
To apply, please send your resume and a cover letter outlining your relevant experience and motivation for your application to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next week is full of some exciting events. Please check out theMovement Research Spring Festival. I’ll be hosting a sensory walk in Central Park and performing in stillness-action-sweat-effort on Wednesday night. I will also be presenting at the Earth Matters on Stage conferencein Pittsburgh with iLAND board member, Julia Handschuh. Also, check out the AMAZING Post Plastica, a NEW and outstanding creation by Alina and Ela Troyano. I will be speaking about the BIRD BRAIN Osprey Migration tour at the pre-show talk, along with a beekeeper! I’m so excited!
Founder and Artistic Director of iLAND
Movement Research Spring Festival
A performance experiment where the duet is charged with the exploration of stillness, action, sweat and effort. Participants were chosen based on their choreographic approaches and aesthetic differences that touch these categories. Performances can be rehearsed, improvised, score-driven or otherwise. The collaboration can be collective, competitive, a battle, a fusion, or indeterminate.
Central Park Sensory Walk
Led by Jennifer Monson
Meet at the entrance on West 81 Street & Central Park West.
Earth Matters On Stage
PANEL: “Performance & Pause: Developing Kinesthetic Exchanges with Urban Environments”
PS122 and El Museo del Barrio present
and Urban Beekeeping with Guillermo Fernandez, of NYC Beekeeping
2 for 1 tickets in advance with discount code FF241.
Re-Blogged from Wild Horses on Fire
Something I am wondering about kind of broadly is how your practices might have changed since the beginning of the occupations, if we can mark this beginning in the fall of 2011 (the occupations obviously having their immediate precedent in the Middle East and Europe).
Do you think it may be possible to speak to this a bit? […] Succinctly, in a paragraph or two? Maybe it has had no perceivable effect, which is fine of course, and in which case you might talk about why it is important to maintain what you are doing parallel to (or beyond?) current social movements and political events.
ITINERENT PARK NOTES
By Choreographer Kathy Westwater
When Occupy Wall Street began last year I was deeply entrenched in a creative residency on Staten Island at the Fresh Kills landfill, site and subject of PARK—an interdisciplinary performance project with collaborators Jennifer Scappettone and Seung Jae Lee—as it undergoes a 30-year transformation into a park.
Work on PARK began in 2008 during a residency in California around the time that the first tent cities started cropping up in municipal parks there, and my research immediately began to encompass non-recreational residential behavior in parks.
I was in fact deeply obsessed with the collapsing economy, having spent 2010 doing extensive research to understand the derivatives market, including how we managed collectively to have not known about something so massively detrimental to us all. That research got channeled into the performance/lecture “Deriva-trivia”.
Throughout my time working at Fresh Kills in fall 2011, Wall Street felt very present, like a part of or extension of the landfill. The financialization of the processes of making and doing that feed our global culture of consuming and enable the materialization of monuments to waste, Fresh Kills being the archetype, link the two sites, as well as the fact that one can see downtown Manhattan from Fresh Kills. Unsurprisingly yet still worth noting, one cannot see Fresh Kills from Wall Street.
Work on PARK since April 1 this year has occurred while in residence in a former vault in the basement of 14 Wall Street, a building right across the street from the New York Stock Exchange and around the corner from Zuccotti Park. This former vault has been “occupied” by artists for about five years via the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Swing Space Residency Program. Read more…
2012 iLAB resident Paloma McGregor will present work in
Dancing While Black
an evening of dance and dialogue
May 17th, 7pm
at the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance
On Saturday May 5th, 2012 iLAB Residents Follow the Water Walks will take part in the annual Bronx River Flotilla.
The Bronx River Alliance will host over 200 participants as they traverse the Bronx River – beginning at Shoelace Park and ending at Concrete Plant Park. Registration is full. There will be a picnic from 12:30-4 pm at Concrete Plant Park. Welcome paddlers as they reach the finish line. Bring a blanket and picnic lunch.
Join us for our first public paddling event of the season. You and over 200 participants will paddle and glide along almost six miles of the Bronx River, from 219th Street to Concrete Plant Park. Enjoy unique views of the neighborhoods through which the river flows on its way to the sea.
Liz Barry, director of urban environment for The Public Laboratory for Open Technology and Science
Jessica Einhorn, dancer, urban environmentalist
Lailye Weidman, dancemaker
Higher ED: Ecology + Dance will explore the physical relationship between the wind moving through urban environments and our bodies using the connective media of kite / balloon aerial mapping devices and weather observation movement scores during outdoor research activities.
Paloma McGregor, choreographer, co-founder of Angela’s Pulse collaborative performance ensemble
Damian Griffin, Education Director, Bronx River Alliance
Rebecca Boger, Assistant Professor, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Brooklyn College, with dual appointment at CUNY Graduate Center
Follow the Water Walks plans to use our choreographic, scientific and cultural research to develop interactive movement structures for a culminating model that will offer an embodied experience of the storm water routes and the Bronx River, with attention to what was, is and will be part of that living landscape.
More information about the 2012 residents is here.
More information about iLAB is here.
Moving Into the Out There: Indeterminacy & Improvisation in Performance & Environmental Practice.
- An Indeterminate Partnering:
- What does collaboration mean now?
- An Index of ?:?:?: What are your constellations?
- What do you want to return to?
- A Shape (s) We Were In – What was your form?
- A Thought Body – What did you read?
The resources that are up for comment and conversation:
- the Performances
- the Panels
- the Thrown Outside Workshops
- the iLANDING Method
Working with People : A conference on Keywords & Contested Meanings
April 7, 2012, 10-3:30pm, with a reception to follow
Theresa Lang Center, Arnhold Hall, The New School, 55 W. 13th Street, NY
Conference : http://www.working-with-people.org/public-exchange/
Project : www.working-with-people.org
When we talk about community-university collaborations, some powerful words are ill-defined; other critical words are conspicuously absent. How can wrestling with these words affect our practice?
Please join us for a one-day event at The New School focused on developing critical conversations around “civic engagement” and the pedagogy and politics of teaching “with communities.”
Director of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
Chair of Landscape Architecture, University of Washington
Activist, Critical Resistance
Poet, The New School for Public Engagement & fmr chair, PEN Prison Writing Comm.
Prof of APA Studies, NYU & co-founder of the Museum of Chinese in America
The Public Science Project & co-founder of the Mestizo Arts & Cultural Collective
Director of Civic Engagement & Social Justice, Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts
Assistant Professor of Politics, The New School for Social Research
Loose Ends – Writing texts:
Some notes and thoughts by an insider | outsider. The questions are my reflection on the symposium.
Gretchen Till, OAKLAND CA 03-31-2012
The 4th iLAND symposium: Moving Into the Out There ended in the early evening a Saturday ago and, suddenly, or so it seemed, the two days of gathering and making new knowns and un-knowns together was over. What do we do now? What do we know now? ‘Of course’, iLAND continues. The new residents will be starting and the 8th program round will be underway. But what do we do with all of that work that we did together and on our own? Like many iLAB residents have noted, just when the collaboration is getting good is when the best laid plans for documentation are suddenly inapplicable or un-producible. And then the process becomes a type of invisible. Our final wrap up discussion felt the same way. Just when we were waist deep in the swimming pool of group thought , we have to clear the room and leave our two day rooftop perch at the 11th Street building of the New School.
How do interdisciplinary collaborators find the literal and metaphoric places to work?
The symposium was a celebration. This 4th coming together celebrates what has been done and that there will continue to be, as Kathy Westwater of the most recent iLAB residents PARK put it so vulnerably in the discussion on the first evening, an organization that provides a forum for people to make connections and collaborations that they might otherwise find too risky to do on their own, and therefore be less likely to go outside of their dialog comfort zone. This conversation weekend was definitely not comfortable. Cozy and adventurous, but not comfortable.
How does the iLAND forum situate and accommodate political points of view?
This symposium went considerably further towards writing texts as a collaborative organization. Not only does the organization have something to say to itself, and to getting people involved in joining on the productive research end through the iLAB residencies, the assembled conversants are identifying areas where iLAND is uniquely poised to produce dialog into discourse. Each residency is a collaboration of individuals from their disciplines, and the basis of the residencies (in performance – in process – in sites) brings quite a large body together that is spiraling inward and outward in scale and time.
At the opening “roundtable,” which included former iLAB residents, iLAND board members, and members of the community in formation, we were in a space assembled through dance that included (people working around) oceans (oceanographers and marine biologists), atmosphere (greenhouse gases researcher), human body (biochemical medical researcher), and the terra in restoration and forestation and urbanization (conservation managers and scientists, arborists, urban designers). In many cases artists, dancers, and choreographers were self-same with the scientist. This means that the tensions inherent in inter-disciplinary collaboration can be viewed here like no other place, but yet, even in this forum, the inter-workings are still so hard to manifest. An exercise we did of setting the words DANCE and SCIENCE directly in relationship to each other: apart, and overlapping, revealed how much work it is to set these two entities in relationship, and also let loose a ton of places to explore interests through understanding gaps and similarities. As an architect, a profession which seems to ‘naturally’ work across many disciplines, setting up specific relationships instead of assuming overlap was part of the work I had to do. The example of “model” brought this out quite strongly. The different disciplines have very different relationships to the word and practice of model from projective, to analytic, to technique. Clarifying intentions helped to see where overlap, shift, and work could occur. It also helped bring relationships into scale with each other. What kind of dance? What area of science?
Through performative practice and collaborative process, the anchor of the residencies provides this literal growing body of research findings and trainings. The presentation by collaborators from PARK illuminated how the site itself becomes a collaborator. The site is the former Fresh Kills landfill. The participants, through access literally only gained during performance, form this new body on-site and then form the site by re-mapping it through the indeterminate practice of wandering. The debate around human being actions within and apart from nature shows up here as the process of “cleaning-up” itself has been called into question. This seems like an astounding shift, when I heard a panelist remark that current thinking around the Pacific garbage patch includes seeing it as part of an evolving system. The role of kinetic understanding of actions in relationship is right in there.
How does performative practice relate to vast difference in scales?
The Friday evening presentation of iLANDING, a method towards knowledge possibilities through collaboration as described through the expanding community of iLAB residents, is a major effort towards writing the discourse. This step was described by board members Kate Cahill and Elliot Maltby as necessarily trying to exist through several different means: aphorisms, matrix; and separately, but concordantly, the development of an archive that is visible to the present. I wonder, is iLANDING almost like a representative of this growing body that can sit in the room, like we are all sitting in the room? The opening description from the presentation is, “iLANDING: or: a method to make a method [that you don’t yet know] for working with people [ that you also might not know] across disciplines. “
How does this method manifest as both a collaborative partner and an on-going process?
The two panels on Saturday: Indeterminacy, Ecology, and Urban Design: the performance of city ecosystems; and Performing Queer Ecology spanned the relationships of performing body to systems and structures both as actor and as system itself. The space of ecology is elastic to definition as, debated in the panel. An area can be defined and the internal relationships identified, or the actions and agents can be identified and the edges and connections registered. Both city and queer can be registered as entities and processes.
Indeterminacy, Ecology, and Urban Design: the performance of city ecosystems – some notes.
In introducing the panel, Phil Silva (iLAND Prog. Dir., resource manager) described that, a million trees will be planted in NYC, and they will be in millions of relationships to humans and actions performed by humans, and the trees will also be an urban forest that will be in ecological relationship to other systems. Silva works in a resource management capacity and is proposing that being within performance gives a time sensitive scalar sense of embodied action that is currently not accommodated for in design. Victoria Marshall’s (urban designer, educator) proposes a model that put imagination as a determinant that allies across both nature and the divided discourse of disciplines. Marshall also discussed resilience as a model that a lot of people are starting to work with and building meaning around. Working to build meaning around a model seems like a particularly interdisciplinary thing to do and knowing where the conversations are forming is helpful to direct energies. Susan Sgorbati (choreographer, researcher) sets improvisation as a topological way of knowing that embodies emergent patterns. This is a revelation that something intrinsic to a discipline may have analogs or reveal something in another discipline that can then lay a platform for collaboration. David Maddox (conservation scientist) discussed science as a necessarily collaborative event in bringing knowledge to people; and, there are philosophies that are forming the current environmental discussion of how we want cities to be, such as LEED that frame the knowledge translation. How does a conversation like this panel get to influence these larger philosophies that are shaping decisions around environmental philosophy? The discussion around the phrase ecological services was a flashpoint. Again, the position of humans, and how we are in relationship to and set ourselves outside of systems was at debate. It does bring up a point around the tools of a discipline. A principal method in science is measurement which relies on quantification.
Yet another eye-opener in the difficulty of collaboration was my emotional response to Marshall’s presentation. She is a landscape architect and urban designer. I am an architect and an urban designer. Listening to her talk about representation, and diagrams, and positioning of relationships, I thought, ‘this is it, this brings it all together, what else could be said’. Thankfully, Sgorbati began her portion of the talk laying out concepts around improvisation and noting that this will resonate with the dancers. (Not that it couldn’t resonate with others.) This is the clarity of resonating within the workings of our disciplines, and then being able to find mutual ground because we are literally right next to each other, talking. Maddox, as an environmental scientist working in an applied conservation setting, brought up the necessity of translation because there are philosophies setting the stage. The topic of translation is akin to the struggle with the concept of documentation. Translation is resisted. Documentation in performance is elusive.
This is experimental. Each discipline is trained in and bringing its tools to the table. How does the work register?
Performing Queer Ecology – some notes
The panel on Performing Queer Ecology was generally anticipated by people I talked to about the symposium before I left California for NYC. What would it be? (yes there is a book titled Queer Ecology, but) In introducing the topic, Jennifer Monson (iLAND Artistic Director) described her trajectory as an artist who in the 80’s and 90’s worked in identity and politics through embodiment of sexuality, and in the 90’s and 00’s has been working in embodiment in ecological and sensory systems. It seems to me that it is very important to say PERFORMING queer ecology. This sets all three things very strongly in their process state. Otherwise, Queer Ecology is a subset or definition of ecology. And we are definitely in process here over time.
The three panelists each gave a sense of embodiment within a discipline that could describe a process relationship around ecology. Robert Sember’s eloquent elegy to the interchanging of dry-wet-death-sex-surface (as and in) landscape was a persistence of discovery. It was traumatic to listen to, but I am not sure that the discovery itself is trauma. Sember describes three subjects and the ways their bodies are struggling with becoming landscape through death and finding the resilience around these acts. One of the subjects is David Wojnarowicz and his photography that charges his dying body into the landscape. A photograph shows Wojnarowicz’s face mostly covered in the desert dirt, only lips still visible to speak, kiss, or breath a last breath. Ivan Raykoff’s proposal of the UNSOUND body in the socialization of the musical body was rendered with a hilarity of familiarity (to me at least), the piano lesson. John Thompsons Modern Course for the Piano: First Grade Book, first page “Music Land” was reviewed for its prescriptive gender socialization narrative, from the image of the masculine hands, to the image of the girl figure holding the musical melody supporting hand (supporting role) of the boy figure on their way to a castle. Gender norming at the level of tones and technique to create the sound body, sound meaning normative. Finally Monson’s talk entitled “Bewildering Desire” un-narrativizes the sensing of bodily meaning through repositioning and repositioning and repositioning wilderness, access, and interior both of person and architecture. This repositioning distributes desire to the far edges attention and orientation. The image experience of the opening of SoLongAbandon (the first video Monson shows) which was performed in the grand interior setting of Judson Church, is of a naked, doubled-over body with long red hair (most discernible feature) who is hop bounding backwards while flicking back a plastic cup lid by their hair as the tips brush against the floor. And this is just the beginning of the body, object, orientation, interior/ exterior landscape repositioning. Exchanging meaning amongst bodies and their different relationships to self and landscape, and their access to both of those things makes be-wild-er-(ing).
Sadly, as things go with time, the panelist didn’t have a chance to converse with each other to break open the density of those adjacencies.
And still, there are two performances and two workshops to review……. The intensity of modes of exchange continues.
Ben Carson’s (composer, improviser) experiment in performance entitled “Piece for Four Strangers” during the first Friday session, that was part of Raykoff’s Senior Seminar class for the New School, was a fun introduction to a lot of topics that would come up throughout the remainder of the symposium. The performance brought together 4 seminar students and symposium participants to perform a spoken musical score. This performance brought out a range of concepts around performance: being in a system in the moment that produces contemporary visibility; and engaging a process to test the way in which something works or develops. The symposium gathering also got to move quickly between listening to theory, performing, and responding to being in a performance state of either participation or observation. Carson’s discussion of William James’ “Radical Empiricism” introduced the topic of transitions as a way of forming a sense of self. Transitions as a way of knowing something about self or entity formation would be present and differently defined across all of the panels. i.e. emergent patterns in improvisation (Sgorbati) to the “seven miles per second” the velocity required to escape the atmosphere [and collapse the normative world]. (Sember reading Wojnarowicz)
The final element of the symposium, a performance choreographed and performed by Athena Kokoronis in collaboration with the performers, followed the Performing Queer Ecology panel and packed the house. This was a great feeling. Having a dense human humus allowed there to be a hole in which the political sounds of the John Cage text “Lecture on the Weather” could reverberate and further encounter the holes and densities forming in the mass midst of the performer collaborators bodies. The bodies were forming and reforming against the one and many of their own mass as it lay intertwining on and reaching above the floor. Their bodies were simultaneously arriving and departing within the scale of their assembly. It was harder to integrate seeing the video portion of the performance in this form though. The trade off for having a serious bond between audience and performers that was breaking and reforming was energetically worth it. The 1975 John Cage text, which seems like it could have been written tomorrow with its description of political borders protecting and ejecting individuals from social economies, was a great counterpoint to the intensification of the social body through the mycelium running.
The event structure of the symposium put together reviewing, practicing, proposing, and performing, all of which together writes the discourse. In addition to shoring up what happens internally with the iLAB resident program, we practiced interdisciplinary collaborative engagement through workshops that “threw” us outside. Inside/outside is a big area for inquiry, within which the positioning of the artists/researchers in relationship to systems is an on-going thread. This finds form in the workshops with the talking inside and then going outside. Gathering inside to think collectively beyond ourselves, versus the attempt to sense expansive coherency through external engagement reveals very distinct affective impacts on production. This meaning in transition is itself a site. (see photo essay “The Shape(s) we are in” on the modelmodelmodel blog – forthcoming )
The relationship with The New School was vibrant and delightful, from hosting, to contributing through panels and the presence of students. Having an institutional interdisciplinary host gave a strong welcoming surround. It is easier to do difficult work if you aren’t fighting the front door. Landing into the senior seminar class to start off the symposium, eventually gave a sense of being in the school, not just at the school building. And in turn, iLAND’s unique interdisciplinary scope introduced interdisciplinary work across The New School that hadn’t been in contact before. Yes!
It really is about making relationships. Thank you iLAND for making this possible.
Gretchen Till is trained as an urban planner and architect. She works in design, writing, and performance, and is based in the SF OAK Bay Area.
The queer ecology panel ends and Jennifer is leaving us with the question of how we direct orientations to systems outward, how do we bring them back in, and how do we move them back and forth and between. Jennifer showed an amazing set of videos going back and forth between sensing and meaning and translating: inside architecture and inside the body out in the environment. Bodies orienting. Bodies in orientation. Really want to see those up together! The learning, an observation of this technique. This training, becoming away and towards a method.
And now, we bring the weather inside. With Athena’s, “Lectures on the Weather”. Bringing us inside and outside, and orienting us to systems within performance. Bringing us again to proximity with the strategies of John cage. Starting. Now.
Back from being in and above Union Square. Balloon mapping and ground presence improvisational choreography facilitated by the Public Laboratory and by Clarinda MacLow choreographer, new media artist (iLAB 2010) and Jessica Einhorn, choreographer, dancer. I’ll have to corral someone from the TRANSECT to give an impression of that workshop.
We left to get back to the next event on time, the panel on Queer Ecology, just as the police presence was moving in for an approaching Occupy Wall Street march.
Union Square was a dense inside that the movement of the balloon registering and relating to the wind brought down to our collective earth body. Trail it. Chase it down. Certainly don’t forget we are attached to it. Which we did sometimes. Although not when we were making 5 second movement shapes….
Next panel starting….. queer ecology.. Up next. Photos of balloons and links to the aerial photos we took to follow.
JUST ADDED 3/25 5:12 p
EJ sent us on a visual word-collecting walk from the Symposium to 11th St. & 1st. Ave.. At our destination we discussed the rules we imposed on ourselves to make their accumulation more or less chancy, as well as the performative and kinaesthetic aspects of the experience. EJ suggested pairing-up for the return walk to read the results to each other. My experience listening to and reading the chance poems was surprising — there was a uniform composed quality to them. Some pointedly humorous. Some pairs also explored the return trip as an intentional dance. My partner and I took turns dancing with the other as she focused on her word-gathering job, noting how this partnership altered the poetic role.
wow. Moving quickly here. The morning was amazing! The image text above is a definition of improvisation Susan Sgorbati used in the panel this morning. A lot of amazing sharing. Will have to post later. Just barely enough time to eat, chat, and try to come up with a method and fail at it. Phew. Heading out to PLOT with PLOTS (public laboratory). Looking forward to learning a co-equal technique outside. Being within the world in a performance model. Woo hoo.
Eliot posted a link to the iLANDING method and to Victoria’s presentation from the morning panel. So please check that out. More than I can say…. Oops. Out on the street already literally….. Getting instructions on exploration on the way. The balloon that will loft the camera for the aerial mapping is governed by the wind. See how your movement and other things are interacting with the wind. Look for the crooked lines. They tell you the story.
Yesterday’s symposium opening was a thankful warm-up as I think towards the prospects for today. Arriving, really arriving, for a conversation about interdisciplinary collaboration, plunging into the gathering together, receiving information, and sharing across our mem-branes is a process to grapple with in itself. I describe myself as an architect and a conversant around dance that engages site and process and I am arriving from California. This is an amazingly vibrant community to come into and witness. It is thrilling to think about reflecting back to this community and think about taking away a socially embodied sense of the workings to my spaces. I hope that this writing (during and after the symposium) can add to/begin to encapsulate, spread apart, and distribute the knowledge and intensity of working around the ILAND practice that is manifested through this symposium.
We used a lot of words in the warm-up day. (except that one…) This was an extremely welcome focus laid out by Phil Silva, Executive Director of ILAND as facilitator of the Open Space Discussion: Moving Forward with Science and Performance. Language, discipline specific terms, these are important ways of communicating within our disciplines that can keep us from hearing or collaborating with other disciplines. Setting things apart, and bringing them together. The discussion really turned into a workshop around how to notice and develop common interests of engagement through overlap in terms and describing how the disciplines do not do the same thing where terms are missing. Finding where the conversation is interesting and necessary for both disciplines is a way to build collaboration. The beautiful thing is that this is an on-going discussion. This can be done again and again to keep referencing the ways in which we are moving the conversation, we are communicating with, and conversing with each other.
Narrative context: we were (and will be again today) on the 5th floor of a New School building at 65 West 11th Street. This is a beautifully renovated gathering room that, despite sitting in for already 4 hours, was only made known to me through the practice of an ILAND method in the PLENARY period. To start the gathering, after welcome remarks by Founder/Artistic Director Jennifer Monson we used an ILAND method to move and engage with the space and with each other. This was not a meet and greet or an ice breaker. It did that too, but it was an incredibly quick way to be completely in the process. We researched through our own movement intuitions and through crossing paths and clustering we were able to transfer perceptual information about space time and embodiement.
Kate Cahill (previous ILAB resident and now Board Member) and Eliot Maltby, Board Member, offered their work around the ILANDING, an iterative matrix and selected aphorism to afford the elastic presence between residencies and between ILAND and the related community and general public. Thankfully they are going to post a link to their presentation. It is too important to pass off a summary right here. Can’t wait to talk more about it!
I will have to come back to writing and reflecting on the so much more that has already happened: the landing into the New School through Ivan’s Senior Seminar class with a rehearsal and a performance of a new score by Ben Carson. (So much more to say about that work.) Really great talk by Ben about Radical Empiricism.
And the presentation of the most recent ILAB residency PARK, really left me thinking about ways in which we receive the landscape and the incidental practices of documentation that are not part of a method. The video of the wandering across a landscape made indeterminate by the literal accumulation and burial of a very human practice (making and processing ‘waste’) will stay with me as a way to reflect on the process of marking invisible time.
Scales of involvement. (How does this work at a scientific level. How does this work through an art/movement practice process. How does this work in ILAND? There have now been 11 residencies with 26 residents over 7 years. That in itself is an elastic body of reflection and engagement over time and multiple spaces.)
The City/Urban environments. We are going to talk a lot about this today in the morning panel. Very excited! But the city as a collaborative partner and an indeterminate process to be a basis for process practice was initiated.
Making the process visible. (documentation?)
Simultaneous reflection (intuition and improvisation.)
Position of self as researcher, artist, in relation to systems.
How are we going to talk about indeterminacy. We’ll see what happens today. Looking forward to more making sensable!
We’re off to a great start with the 2012 iLAND Symposium: Moving into the Out There. These annual symposiums give us a taste of the interdisciplinary research community that iLAND is creating.
As is often the case with iLAND, many conversations are started that open onto much bigger discussions that we do not have time to continue in the confines of the Symposium. Stay tuned for blog posts by Gretchen Till, who will be blogging throughout this year’s Symposium; we hope you will join the conversation in person and online.