The workshop embraces the following themes and activities:
· Experiencing Architecture: Practical exercises in measuring space with one’s own body. This work provides tools for beginning to explore the question of ‘how do we experience different spaces?’ The investigation shifts between drawing, writing, collage and physical experiential exercises.
· Viewpoints of Movement Composition: The Viewpoints of Composition work provides a physical theater toolkit – a menu for making choices about how we locate and orient ourselves in space – and examining our relationship to place and others. This work also offers basic premises for sourcing movement material to use in the exercises. We work in a style that I often refer to as “artificial natural”, a deconstructed naturalism that produces a consciously informed pedestrian behavior.
· Structure in the Physical World: Experiments using ones own body and simple props to understand and experience basic properties of compressive and tensile force, as well as ideas such as counterbalance and cantilever.
· Shifting scale in concept and practice. The idea for this part of the workshop would be to use existing, or newly developed scenic elements in Gould Hall court. After we have built up a vocabulary of observation and decision-making with the viewpoints and physical structure work, we will now proceed to design and execute interventions in the ‘neutral stage space’. Working with various types of drawings – and at times, directly in full scale – we will create and test various configurations in space. These configurations will focus on creating a ‘places’ of specific character. We will examine through the physical work our assumptions about how we imagine these spaces will encourage or discourage certain types of activity and interaction.
· Documentation and Reflection. We will use various approaches and methods to do analysis of our work. In real-time approaches, we will work with “observation scores”, with some participants watching the experiment and making written or graphically drawn notes about what they witness. Then we will exchange our perceptions about the experiment, as actors and observers. At other times we will work with filmic documentation, both from outside and within the space. We will then observe these documentation objects and process them with synchronous graphic objects – these then becoming a secondary source of information for analysis.
A Composition Course for Architecture Students
In the past years, have been engaged with adapting the Viewpoints of Composition work for students of design and architecture. I have taught this material to students of architecture at the Universität der Künste in Berlin, the Korean National University of the Arts in Seoul, and to media design students at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Offenbach.
Students are exposed to approaches for sharpening their proprioceptive and spatial sensibility, to the exchange of influence between movement, interaction and the built environment, and gain skill sets for encouraging creativity based upon human scale and movement. An approach to embodying concepts called “kinetic facilitation” is also introduced and explored physically.
(Kinetic Facilitation refers to the idea of modeling complex behavior with the hands before exploring the skill with their whole body. This manner of kinetic modeling also serves as an effective way to introduce movement exploration to people who may be intimidated by the idea moving with others in space. In these experiences, ‘non-dancers’ have had remarkable experiences in linking or associating these movement behaviors to social, relationship or communication behaviors.)
Perspectives on documentation and notation are also explored through a variety of processes.
This work has had a very positive reception, and I am continuing to develop and expand the content.
In 2012 I developed a proposal for a collaborative studio for students of dance, theater, film and architecture for the University of Utah. This proposal may be viewed as a download.