In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

  • Process Notation
  • Okwui Okpokwasilli (bio) and Peter Born (bio)

We create the physical environment for a piece as we build the movement components, working with light and architectural materials (such as plastic, wood, rope, Mylar, fabric, etc.) to shape a space, to give the performers a place to work in relation to. We think about the environment as another way to articulate the piece to ourselves, to reveal things through a material and spatial vocabulary. We use sketches to start to look at possible physical objects and relationships within the performance space we're developing. The drawings serve as a visual archive of the ideas and pieces we then assemble together in the rehearsal space. Sometimes that means simply recording an initial idea, like with Poor People's TV Room, when we were thinking about twinning, both with other performers and with ourselves, and the point of contact between the "twins." That led to the image of someone sitting in the midst of a rectangle of Mylar.

A drawn image is a tool that can capture a gestural phrase in a way that allows for the performers to reference the drawing and then create something new in the space between memory and what a drawing suggests, rather than trying to literally recreate an actual video. We are interested in facilitating dynamic environments where relationships are intimate and unfurling. In thinking about how to inhabit a cavernous underground space, the former ammunition magazine, under Ft. Jay on Governor's Island for the River to River piece when I return, who will receive me, we used sketches to think about how we could construct tight spaces that were free-standing within a larger room. Angles of light and incomplete walls created a place where visibility was in constant flux, depending on where the performers moved within the installation. In this piece, the audience was free to move around, and so they also mapped their own choreography in a constant and shifting orbit with the choreography of the performers.

Light plays a vital role in shaping space. And in using light fixtures that clearly exist in space rather than just lighting the space, we can experience the visible and the invisible at once. There is a side of a light fixture that emits light and a [End Page 50] side of the fixture that emits darkness. We like to negotiate ideas of visibility (and a viewer's desire for things to be visible) with the lighting choices we make. We work with duration in our movement practice, and we like to think of the environment as a dynamic space that shifts over time through use of long, gradual light and spatial shifts. Often, sketches serve as initial inquiries into the visual imagination of the piece, such as a television-masked masquerade or a fan-blown wall of plastic, that do not make it into the final piece but form part of the world that informs how the performers inhabit the space.


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Rendering of a small performance space with an obstructed view from one side for when I return who will receive me.

All drawings Moleskin notebook and ball point ink pen. Courtesy the artists.


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Mapping out a visible lighting implement within the environment of At the Anterior Edge.

All drawings Moleskin notebook and ball point ink pen. Courtesy the artists.

[End Page 51]


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A person sits on a sheet of Mylar with her distorted "twin/ reflection" beneath her for Poor People's TV Room.

All drawings Moleskin notebook and ball point ink pen. Courtesy the artists.


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Sketching down a relationship from a structured improvisation for Poor People's TV Room.

All drawings Moleskin notebook and ball point ink pen. Courtesy the artists.

[End Page 52]


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An early idea for a masquerade with a television-mask for Poor People's TV Room.

All drawings Moleskin notebook and ball point ink pen. Courtesy the artists.


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Thinking about ways to set an environment in...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1537-9477
Print ISSN
1520-281X
Pages
pp. 50-53
Launched on MUSE
2018-05-12
Open Access
No
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