Learning about the 60s: choreography as a practice of archiving

Hildebrandt, Antje (2015) Learning about the 60s: choreography as a practice of archiving. Mōtiō (1). pp. 32-42. ISSN .

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In this article I suggest looking at the choreographer from the position of the archivist. I will do so by contextualising a video entitled Learning about the 60s, a piece that came out of a practice-based research project that I undertook together with three second year BA dance students in March 2012. Within a time period of four weeks (thirty hours) we looked at different creative strategies and choreographic methods and processes for translating Trio A (1966) by the American choreographer and filmmaker Yvonne Rainer. The project initially set out as an enquiry into the relationship between movement and language, which arises from a concern with how meaning is created from what we see and hear when we watch a performance. Over the duration of the project I questioned the piece’s prominent place in postmodern dance history and both its legacy and relevance to contemporary dance practices. This shifted the focus of the project towards an ontological investigation.

There are several specific research questions that emerged in the course of the project: How can I offer an alternative reading of Trio A, one that goes beyond what we already know about it? How can I dialogue with what I see as an “object” that has primarily presented itself to me as video documentation? If Trio A has become an object, how can I comment on the fetishization of it? How can I challenge, destabilise and/or interrupt the ‘thingness’ of Trio A? Finally, how do I place my work next to Rainer’s?

Trio A is such an interesting work to look at because it is, and simultaneously is not, a “thing”. On the one hand, it is certainly an object with a fixed and distinguishable character, style, label and history attached. On the other hand, as it is continuously reproduced, represented, reconstructed, reinterpreted, re-enacted and re-performed throughout the years, Trio A also exceeds being an object, as it exists in multiple bodies. This idea undermines the argument that Trio A can ever fully be present as a “thing” or object. On the contrary I argue that the piece can only ever be present partially, existing in a tension between absence and presence.

Keywords:Trio A, post-modern dance, choreography, NotOAChecked
Subjects:W Creative Arts and Design > W510 Choreography
Divisions:College of Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts > School of Fine & Performing Arts (Performing Arts)
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ID Code:18901
Deposited On:12 Oct 2015 17:38

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