monadologie – science is the new black metal

A few months ago I got really excited by the Stereo satellites 3-D photographs and videos of the sun, there’s something colossal, menacing and gothic about what we see as a blinding white-ish disc revealed as a seething monster, scabbed and pockmarked, slowly boiling and fringed with an alien halo. It’s not what we imagine the sun god would look like.

So last night when the sun had properly set and Leigh Warren studios were murky, Gala and I tried to remember how to dance. It’s been eight months since we made temperance in Melbourne with Bonnie and there was a gap in our our duo where she should be sitting. For now it is just us, though maybe two more could arrive sometime, if it gets beyond whatever we do in the next couple of weeks. The genesis of monadologie back in February has remained fairly constant to now – Leibniz and his text, boris and Sunn0))), and of course the Stereo videos.

It’s kind of a conversation between people, like chamber music. It’s also … if science now, to observe the universe on any scale is to be understood, it’s only through layers of intermediaries; Mercury as the messenger of the gods. Three hundred years ago, Newton, Hooke, Leibniz observed the universe through tools that only barely stretched our senses beyond their means, and the tools themselves could be understood or manufactured by a person. I was thinking about this when I was applying for the Swinburne Centre for Astrophysics residency, that what bodies moving and choreography can’t do is a literal one-to-one representation of data. A body of data being apprehended through a digital interface, can do this, representing it as audio, or light, or … a body can only ever approximate, and never is each iteration the same as the last.

It was … embarrassing last night to realise after the months passed how quickly our ability to improvise on a formal system vanishes, and that before we can even get to the stage of considering how to assemble movement, we have to relearn how to move. It is really pleasurable though to return to dancing, and to all the Forsythe stuff I seem to have accumulated.

The process then is fairly straightforward, in that systems of improvisation build up movement while videoing, then we cut and paste the good bits and try to learn them. Late last night though, I thought, “yeah but that’s just a bunch of steps, isn’t it? Aren’t I trying to get away from that?”

So the continuation of this is to create a bunch of rules that describe what happens if you find yourself in a particular situation, like if my location is very close to the front of gala, then do this set of instructions or else do these other ones. Because it’s all established with really formal improvisation techniques that can also be used to analyse whatever you’re doing while you’re doing it, there’s clear paths to dismantle whatever existing phrase we happen to be in the middle of.

I also thought that to have a film running, kinda as an external source of input, so say it’s Bladerunner, which could be in its entirety or cut up into a string of short pieces, then every time the blimp floats past advertising off-world living, the ‘blimp phrase’ has to be done. Ultimately it’s removing the act of choreographing one step from the ossification of making and setting steps. Step-making is a clear, well-worn and inescapable path that proceeds both spatially and temporally in a fixed manner. I’m trying to do something like a cascade, where whatever starting point there is, the movement keeps branching and bifurcating, cutting back across itself, slowing and speeding up, like a braided river, any path can be taken.