Landscape Sections was an experimental performative format developed as part of the process of creation of 'Warning for Contemplation Sections'. As a research procedure, it consisted of choreographed arrangements in public space that counteract the hectic pace of everyday life through standstill and slowness. The performers receive instructions via headphones for minimal actions, which they perform, stoically defying the activities of the other passers-by around them. Slowly raising a hand, looking at the sky, swaying movements, sudden collapse.
Performed in a park, on a shopping street or in a museum, the Landscape Sections, as decelerated moments of movement, cause a gap and caesura of the everyday. As memorials of performative resistance, they invite passers-by to pause.
By embodying stillness/pause I was looking forward to promoting a situation of time/space of mutual contemplation. This is achieved through pauses and especially small, sharp or repetitive movements emanating from the bodies of the performers. The audience is encouraged to become aware of the different dynamics, rhythms, colours, textures and relationships that inhabit and compose this particular frame of space, while experiencing an extra-ordinary sense of time. On the other hand, it was a key experience for the performers to perceive a range of different body states and to pursue a certain level of completeness in terms of being fully in the present moment. Therefore, one feels compelled to actively observe, access and contemplate one's self and what arises from it from within.
The experimental procedure was structure as follows:
Throughout the research I have grouped the several instructions in this way, for instance:
- Turn your head to the right.
- Shake your left hand.
- Move only your eyes to the right side (keep the whole body still).
- Open your mouth.
- Shake your body, but don't let anyone else notice you.
- What you would be saying in such a situation.
- Persist in the pose.
- Talk to the river.
- Look through the window.
Recovery or break down actions:
- Fall to the ground.
- Return to your starting position.
- Change positions slowly.
In the context of the studio, the instructions were dictated, randomly, by the person who is leading the exercise. In the performative context, the instructions were received by the performers through their headphones connected to their personal cellphones. In this case, the same list of instructions was pre-recorded, in three different orders. So we had three different soundtracks, that were randomly distributed to the participants before the performance. Meeting points happen, i.e. the same instruction is received at the same time by several performers, who perform it concomitantly.
This process takes time to develop to its full potential. When done by professional dancers in the context of the studio, it could and did take hours. To reach a level of tension, reverberation and to go beyond the comfort zone to reach extremely deep and unusual facets, situations and body states. With the participation of non-professionals, it was limited to a maximum of 25 minutes. The aim was to generate choreographic content in real time, in resonance and spontaneous dialogue with the surrounding space.