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overlapped photographies of dancer Leonor Keil and Paulo Ribeiro in a theater

Dialogues in unimaginated places

6 Inkjet prints
70 x 100 cm

In this process, more than registering, my intention was to recreate, (re)signify, I wanted to deconstruct the narrative of choreographer Paulo Ribeiro so that I could remake a new relation between time, space, body and movement. In the photograph the freedom of movements in a different stage, in a different time.

According to Dubois, photography can be seen as a game, a match in progress, in which each of its partners: photographer, observer takes a risk in trying to make the right move. According to the author, all moves are valid, and every opportunity should be seized. The photo, whilst modulating time, gives shape and meaning to the emotions experienced amid a game of a performative nature.

As a photographer, I enter a place of many meanings, in which I deconstruct and rebuild what I observe through several image overlays (I select, frame and crop) and place the 3 images (time, body and space) with the different typologies into one, with the overlapping of layers. From here I create a new narrative where the boundaries between work and process, fictional and real, are dissolved, thus being a part of the production process and where I create the scenic space itself and re-place the dancers in another space, through the creation of the fictional space.

In this process, I don't just place myself in the role of an observer, I try to develop a series of relationships, allowing myself to be infused with the symbolic and material strength that defines each participant. There is a redefinition of boundaries between the ‘I’ and the ‘other’ so that a virtual space can emerge, with a different narrative.

Through this deconstruction and overlapping of the images I have the possibility to construct objects without correspondence in scene and thus find other times and other spaces for the choreographic movement, creating a new dialogue between choreographer and dancers. I can re-size the time in dance, where the limits of a real/fictional world are redefined.

overlapped photographies of dancers

Pierre Lévy refers: The language, firstly, virtualizes a 'real time' that maintains what is alive prisoner of the here and now. In doing so, it inaugurates the past, the future and, in general, Time as a kingdom in itself, an extension that stems from its own consistency. From the invention of language, we humans began inhabiting a virtual space, the temporal flow as a whole, that the immediate present updates only partially, fleetingly. We exist. Human time does not have the way of being of a parameter or a thing (it is just not 'real'), but one of an open situation. In that conceived and lived time, action and thought do not consist only in selecting pre-determined ‘possibles’, but in constantly re-elaborating a significant configuration of objectives and coercions, in improvising solutions, thus reinterpreting a current past that continues to compromise us. (...) Human languages virtualize real time, material things, current events and ongoing situations. From the disintegration of the absolute present, time and out-of-time appear as the two phases of the same creation, the obverse and reverse of existence.

overlapped photographies of dancers
overlapped photographies of dancers
overlapped photographies of dancers

Considering the spatiality of the body, Merleau-Ponty makes several claims: its outline is a border that ordinary space relations do not transpose; the body is in the world, and its parts enveloped in each other. When the body is in motion, one can better see how it inhabits space and time, because movement does not submit to them; the body is not in space nor is it in time; it inhabits space and time.

Upon decomposing the movements of the dancers, in the choice of photographs, I preferred to opt for the process instead of that image created by the choreographer. I tried to explore, as much as possible, the existence of movements created by the dancers themselves, consequently existing more room for experimentation and giving me the chance to build something from here. The movements (body) are re-placed in another time and space.

overlapped photographies of dancers

Cunningham uses the technique he calls as 'emptying movement'. By emptying the movement of experience from the emotion, with its portrayals triggering the movement, Cunningham also empties the space of the scene and, mainly, the space of the body understood as an emotional space. Such a condition of dancing is accomplished by forcing the dancer to focus purely on movement, in other words, on the "grammar" of the movement. Body consciousness is focused on energy, joints, movements, without getting attached to emotions, threads of narratives or affections.

Throughout the process, I also felt the need to explore other unconventional spaces beyond the stage and the studio where the rehearsals took place. In addition to the audience and the stage, a theater is full of rooms, passages, stairwells and technical areas, with very different spatial contexts between themselves and which insinuate a whole different set of possibilities.

We see spaces that exist, but now in the virtual sphere, which is my territory, where I have the possibility to intervene. Thus, I restore the movements of the choreographer & dancers in non-imagined locations such as the under-stage area, the foyer, the theater's hallways, stairwells, backstage.

The choice of various places in the theater in which several dynamics of this building contrast, equally allowed me to explore results that can sometimes be chaotic and other times be fully articulated, as for example the strings that hold the dancer who is falling, etc.

Support: Teatro Viriato
© 2018
Carina Martins