Wearable Flow: investigation of materiality in the production of contemporary body/artist

Carolina de Paula Diniz About the author

Resumo:

O estudo trata do corpo em relação ao figurino no contexto das práticas cênicas contemporâneas. Interessa olhar para um modo de organização em que o corpo se relaciona de modo implicado aos elementos que o constituem, ou seja, o que venha a se relacionar com ele surge no processo e está intimamente relacionado à pesquisa de movimento. Problematiza-se, então, o figurino em sua ação como coautor e apresenta-se uma prática, nomeada Vestíveis em Fluxo, voltada para a exploração das materialidades a partir da relação entre o corpo, o movimento e o que se veste na produção da cena e na formação do artista.

Palavras-chave:
Corpo; Dança; Figurino; Movimento; Vestíveis em Fluxo

Résumé:

Cette étude aborde le rapport entre le corps et le costume de scène dans le contexte des pratiques artistiques contemporaines. Nous sommes intéressés par un mode d’organisation dont la corporéité est impliquée aux éléments qui la composent. En ce cas, les questions que se posent dans le processus sont concomitantes à la recherche de mouvement. On problématise l’usage des costumes en tant que co-auteur de la scène dans la recherche nommée des habillements en flux, intéressée par la relation entre le corps, le mouvement et le costume dans création de la scène et dans la formation de l’artiste.

Mots-clés:
Corps; Danse; Costume; Mouvement; Des Habillements en Flux

Abstract:

This study deals with the body in relation to the costume within the context of the contemporary performing arts. We aim to analyze how the body relates directly to the elements that are part of it. We examine the specificity of the body in the creative process, which components are organized in a procedural and concomitant way. We problematize the costume in its action as co-author in the process. The practice called Wearable Flow is presented, focused on the exploration of the materiality based on the relationship between body, movement, and what is worn in the performing production and development of the artist.

Keywords:
Body; Dance; Costume; Movement; Wearable Flow

Tracing the Course

The context that led me to initiate my research in the field of Costume was built up during the academic training in the Dance undergraduate course. In 2004, I joined the GDC16 16 Contemporary dance group of Universidade Federal da Bahia (UFBA), created in 1965 by professors and students of the Professional Dancer course. Currently, the group is composed of students selected from the under graduate course in Dance, considering the principle of academic inseparability, that is, the effective linkage between the scenic research and the teaching of courses responsible for the specific preparation. as a performer/creator. In that group, I participated in the process of creating two works17 17 E fez o homem a sua diferença (2005) with direction of choreography by Ivani Santana, and I-Linx (2006), under the direction of choreography of Leda Muhana. (Image 1; Image 2). These experiences were the triggers of the questions that are posed here, given that, by acting as an interpreter/creator and a costume designer, I was able to research and propose to the group, throughout the creation process, experiments on the relational possibilities between costume pieces and the research of Movement, in a way that this element worked beyond its characterizing and delineating power of the body’s visuality in the scene. It is important to emphasize that, in this manner, the constituent elements of the scene do not overlap each other nor appear at the end of the process - something common when it comes to costume - but instead, they act in relation to each other, as collaborators of dramaturgy and not subjected to the supremacy of the body as a trigger of the action in the production of the scene.

I point out that despite the fact that my theoretical/practical experience comes from contemporary dance, the definitions presented here refer to contemporary scenic practices in which presuppositions and delimitations are blurred, diluted and expanded. Dance, as contemporary scenic practice, is not to be seen here as a genre, but as a field of experimentation that embraces a heterogeneity of possibilities and procedures, which cannot be embedded in previous rules of structuring. According to Britto (2008BRITTO, Fabiana Dultra. Temporalidade em Dança: parâmetros para uma história contemporânea. Belo Horizonte: FID Editorial, 2008., p. 16),

Not being - as was the ballet - committed to a fixed set of conjugated steps according to a stable pattern of associative dominance; nor being - as was the modern dance - a field of metaphorical reference, contemporary dance expresses a non-hierarchical logic between body and world.

Image 1
E fez o homem a sua diferença. GDC (2004)

Image 2
I-Linx. GDC (2006)

Therefore, between the costume that dresses the body for the dance and what is organized in an implied way with the other elements, there are nuances, modes and particular and possible links. And, in the context of contemporary scenic practices, these modes coexist, pertinent to specificities of each compositional process. What is significant here are the artists and works of different contexts and problem sets, which present an implied, relational, non-hierarchical mode, aimed at the production of a body elaborated from the dialogical game between the materialities that constitute them. These artists outline the context for reflecting on contemporary dramaturgy and discussing the proposition of an investigation mode aimed at the exploration of this relational body in the processes of creation and training of artists/researchers, named Wearable Flow.

The Wearable Flow proposition took shape from my earliest experiences as a costume designer and was unfolded in the research developed during the master's degree. The practice has been taking form and undergoing changes along my participation as a co-author of dance works and also with the experience as a teacher at the Professional Dance Course of FUNCEB18 18 The Vocational Course in Dance was created in 1988 with the purpose of training young people with general and specific knowledge and skills in Dance, aiming to prepare professionals to be able to act in a broad range of activities, such as dancers, performers, producers, choreographers/creators and multipliers in dance. The two-and-a-half-year long course is recognized by the Ministry of Education (MEC) and has already graduated 26 classes of new professionals, who have been contributing to the dance scene in Bahia. . For this article, the idea of Wearable Flow is sought to be presented as a practice focused on the exploration of body states, qualities of movement and flows of action from an implied relation of the body materialities and what goes through it in the process. The idea is to make room for an investigation of the relational possibilities between body, costumes and objects and to provoke, to instigate the apprentice artists/researchers to other possibilities of production of the body in creative processes, without having to resort to the dramaturgical formula - of “[...] a making based [...] on a two-way correspondence between sound and movement, on character-costumes, on the casing stage scenery, on effects-based lighting” (Setenta, 2008SETENTA, Jussara Sobreira. O Fazer Dizer do Corpo: dança e performatividade. Salvador: EDUFBA, 2008., p. 86) - already inapt to handle the complexity of the activity of contemporary scenic practices.

Modeling Specific Materialities

And because, in fact, an object awakens the movements contained within it, as we shall see, all the latent language to which the manufacture and manipulation of the object give place, all the relation of the body to matter, is an infinite dance whose choreography is as old as the world (Louppe, 2012LOUPPE, Laurence. Poética da Dança Contemporânea. Lisboa: Contredanse, 2012., p. 310).

Loie Fuller (1862-1928), at the turn of the nineteenth century, presents a dance considered to be spectacular in that it has a significant impact on artists and the audience, “[...] something composed of light, color, music and dance, more specifically light and dance” (Fuller, 1913 apud Sanchèz, 1999, p. 50). The artist was, above all, interested in investigating “[...] the dynamic properties of color, its alleged effects over the organism, the movements and the sensations it stimulates” (Suquet, 2008SUQUET, Annie. O Corpo Dançante: um laboratório de percepção. In: COURTINE, Jean-Jacques; CORBIN, Alain; VIGARELLO, Georges. História do Corpo: 3. As mutações do olhar: O século XX. Petrópolis: Vozes, 2008. P. 509-540., p. 509). Fuller’s body is extended with rods attached to the arms, prosthesis that expand it in space and, in constant rotation, the artist produces a simultaneous and continuous scheme between body, movement, light and costume, appearing and disappearing among the fabrics and, from this configuration, metamorphoses herself into natural forms defined by her in twelve movements (Image 3): The Orchid, The Cloud, The Moth, The Violet, The Snake, The Shell, The Flower Vase, The Fleur-de-lis, The Turmoil, The Fire Cavalry and The Dragonfly (Diniz, 2012DINIZ, Carolina de Paula. Vestíveis em Fluxo: a relação implicada entre corpo, movimento e o que se veste na cena contemporânea da dança. 2012. Dissertação (Mestrado em Dança) - Programa de pós-graduação em Dança, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, 2012. ).

The artist presents a flux of natural forms, a set of colors and shapes in motion that embody the fugacity and instability to which they delineate the urban landscape of the nineteenth century. In this context, the contemplative distance of the individual in the world is invalidated, demanding an active participation in the construction of reality. Fuller, in consonance with the environment, attempts with her magnetic dance to invade the body of the audience with sensations. Her poetic and hypnotic dance only happens in this set of co-implication and simultaneity among all the constituents of the scene. The white fabric, of specific size and density, reconfigures her body into a mutating, mutable space, which works as a fluid extension that, bound to the moving body, projects and sculpts color in space (Diniz, 2012DINIZ, Carolina de Paula. Vestíveis em Fluxo: a relação implicada entre corpo, movimento e o que se veste na cena contemporânea da dança. 2012. Dissertação (Mestrado em Dança) - Programa de pós-graduação em Dança, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, 2012. ).

Image 3
Serpentine Dancer. Loie Fuller (1896)

Another artist from the early twentieth century who debates the desires of the modern and hasty man is Oskar Schlemmer (1888-1943). Painter, sculptor and designer, the artist directed the arts section of the Bauhaus20 20 School of design, fine arts and architecture that ran between 1919 and 1933 in Germany. The style, both in architecture and in the creation of consumer goods, was recognized by its functionality. The proposal of Walter Gropius, who directed the school until 1928, was the creation of highly functional products with artistic attributes. and created, in 1922, the Triadic Ballet21 21 The concept of Triadic, according to Pimentel (2008), “[...] arises from the word "triad", because there are three dancers in three parts of a composition of an architectural symphony and also because it is the fusion of dance, costume and music.” (Pimentel, 2008, p. 137, our translation). (Image 4; Image 5). Starting from the primordial relations of nature, Schlemmer focuses his experiments on the relation of body with space, redefining the anatomical design of the body by means of costumes that alter its volume, weight and spatiality, limiting its movements and demanding another way to move. In proposing other configurations for the body, Schlemmer moves away from the mimetic representation, absenting it of characterizing information such as sex, age and, thus, moves towards the discussions inherent to its context, characterized by mechanization.

Image 4
Triadic Ballet. Oskar Schlemmer (1922)

Image 5
Triadic Ballet. Oskar Schlemmer (1922)

His propositions contribute to the discussions proposed in this study, since it distances the costume from its characterizing function - the naturalistic/realistic tradition - and proposes a setup between two materialities: the anatomical body and the body/structure produced by means of triadic forms, colors and spatialities. Therefore, the relation between body and costume does not only happen in the sense of externalizing information about the mechanized context of that time, but there is also a relationship that, prior to reception, occurs between the body and the materiality that is imposed on it (Diniz, 2012DINIZ, Carolina de Paula. Vestíveis em Fluxo: a relação implicada entre corpo, movimento e o que se veste na cena contemporânea da dança. 2012. Dissertação (Mestrado em Dança) - Programa de pós-graduação em Dança, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, 2012. ). The vestment structures proposed by the artist at the beginning of the twentieth century alter the movement quality of the bodies, incorporating the generalized mechanization proper to the modern context.

Alwin Nikolais (1910-1993), a modern choreographer, also matters to this research for celebrating an aesthetics of pure movement as opposed to the emphasis on narrative and emotional characterization, distinctive of other modern artists. “I do not want to see you, I want to see the space you provoke” (our translation)24 24 “Yo no quiero verte a ti, quiero ver el espacio que provocas”. . With this statement, Nikolais synthesizes the mainspring of his artistic interests (Image 6). He establishes an inseparable bond between body, movement, costume and light, dehumanizes the bodies and proposes a new concept of decentralization for dance, in which the body ceases to be the main author, turning into one more of the visual elements that compose the scene (Diniz, 2012DINIZ, Carolina de Paula. Vestíveis em Fluxo: a relação implicada entre corpo, movimento e o que se veste na cena contemporânea da dança. 2012. Dissertação (Mestrado em Dança) - Programa de pós-graduação em Dança, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, 2012. ).

Image 6
Noumenon. Alwin Nilolais (1953)

Through these artists one can notice the emergence of bodies that do not organize independently as triggers/centralizers of action, but rather are involved with other elements, extend themselves through space, dilute and recompose themselves in organic, fluid and colorful forms, as in Loie Fuller's serpentine and luminous dance, move from the limitations of a mechanized body, produced by Oskar Schlemmer's Triadic Ballet, or dehumanize themselves, unfolding in abstract forms as in the works of Nikolais. It can be highlighted, thus, the interest of these artists in proposing structures modifying the design, the motor and spatial possibilities of the body, producing metaphors, connections, and more complex mediations in contemporary dramaturgy.

Weaving the Contemporary Relational Body

The contemporary dancer does not think of himself as destined to reside in a body wrap that defines him as topography: he lives his corporeality in the manner of a ‘multi geographic relationship with himself and the world’, a mobile network of sensory connections that draws a landscape of intensities (Suquet, 2008SUQUET, Annie. O Corpo Dançante: um laboratório de percepção. In: COURTINE, Jean-Jacques; CORBIN, Alain; VIGARELLO, Georges. História do Corpo: 3. As mutações do olhar: O século XX. Petrópolis: Vozes, 2008. P. 509-540., p. 538).

In distinction to modern artists, it is perceived that contemporary works do not tend to be organized from an integrative logic, which results in a common property such as, for example, the bodies proposed by Schlemmer, Fuller or Nikolais, in which the implied connection between all information configures a final property: a mechanized body, a transluminous body and a dehumanized body, which incarnate metaphors related to the modern context. In contemporary times, it is seen that information is organized in a systemic way, producing an interpenetration between its components, which extend beyond its limits and functions. Throughout their performances, artists' bodies organize, disorganize and reorganize information through a dialogical and non-hierarchical relationship in which “[...] they pronounce another understanding of corporality, they do not add, but they make it complex by offering other channels for that dance to expand the vectors of their possibilities” (Britto, 2008BRITTO, Fabiana Dultra. Temporalidade em Dança: parâmetros para uma história contemporânea. Belo Horizonte: FID Editorial, 2008., p. 136).

The understanding of representation is also debated in the sense that images produced by the artists do not necessarily relate to an external or internal reality, but are embodied in an incarnated experience, produced from the relation between the materialities of the body and the components of the work. Artists express what affects them - detached from hierarchical criteria -, embody the objects with which they relate and provoke on the scene a “scrambling of the geography of codes” (Mesquita, 2008MESQUITA, Cristiane. Políticas do Vestir: recortes em viés. 2008. Tese (Doutorado em Psicologia Clínica) - Programa de Pós-Graduação em Psicologia Clínica, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo, São Paulo, 2008., p. 46).

This implied and non-hierarchical understanding of the constituents of the scene is also pointed out by artists/researchers from Dance and Theater. According to Cohen (2001COHEN, Renato. Entrevista. In: BOURGER, Christiane. Entrevista com Renato Cohen. Online, abr. 2001. Disponível em: <Disponível em: http://www.cristianebouger.com/_articles/articles_/Bouger_Cohen_2001.pdf >. Acesso em: 05 jan. 2016.
http://www.cristianebouger.com/_articles...
, online interview), regarding the contemporary scenic propositions, the light “does not bother to illuminate, reveal, (but is) synchronic and organic with the event”. Therefore, other light resources are sought, with the intention of breaking away from traditional means. He suggests that light is not a contour, but acts as one of the focuses of creation, “[...] an inner light that does not aestheticize the work” (Cohen, 2001). “Instead of place, the where has become a kind of contextual environment” (Greiner, 2005GREINER, Christine. O Corpo: pistas para estudos indisciplinares. São Paulo: Annablumme, 2005., p. 130). The author affirms, with this thought, that in contemporary propositions, where the performance occurs ceases to be the place, the scene in which the artist acts. It now becomes an active partner, another body, with which the artist is related.

In-organic (2007) (Image 7), by Marcela Levi, is part of a trilogy, consisting of two other solo performances: Massa de sentidos (2004) (Image 8) and Imagem (2002) (Image 9). In this triad, the artist constructs and defines the work by relating the body and the objects, a relation that, according to her, is not established by means of a control over the objects, but instead, through what she calls reciprocal relationship. That is, she does not manipulate them, but is submissive to them, allowing herself to be affected and investing the body of senses that cannot be settled (Diniz, 2012DINIZ, Carolina de Paula. Vestíveis em Fluxo: a relação implicada entre corpo, movimento e o que se veste na cena contemporânea da dança. 2012. Dissertação (Mestrado em Dança) - Programa de pós-graduação em Dança, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, 2012. ). The relationship between the body and objects can be understood from the concept of Subjetos, described by the artist in the press release of In-organic, performed at the 2006/2007 Rumos event:

A 25 meters’ string of pearls, an embalmed bull head, hairpins and a bike light are objects, or better saying, subjects (displaced objects, rendered without function, rendered subjective) which I use in the performance In-organic. I search in the meeting between body (= flesh, symbolic and imaginary) + objects (= symbolic presence of the Other), for overflows, superposition and dislocations, generators of a sense (direction and meaning) (Levi, 2007).

Image 7
In-Organic. Marcela Levi (2007)

Image 8
Massa de sentidos. Marcela Levi (2004)

Image 9
Imagem. Marcela Levi (2002)

According to the artist, the concept of Subjetos derives from an idea proposed by Roland Barthes that “[...] a body plus an object is equal to a third term, which is no longer the body, nor the object, it is already a third thing” (Levi, 2011LEVI, Marcela. Entrevista. In: DINIZ, Carolina Paula. Entrevista com Marcela Levi. Brasil, 2011. (Material não publicado)., interview). According to Levi (2011), when using meters of pearl necklace (In-Organic); a paste (Massa de sentidos), a blouse and a pair of shorts (Imagem), figures and objects which are already part of an imaginary, she produces a confrontation with the body, an encounter that generates a third thing. In this sense, the concept of Subjetos, presented by Levi, proposes the understanding of a body that is “permeable to the objects with which it deals”, which abandons “[...] the position of totality and completeness” and that “is only manifested when allowing itself to be transformed” (Erber, 2009ERBER, Laura. Laura Erber entrevista Marcela Levi. Revista DEF-GHI, Rio de Janeiro, 2009. Disponível em: <Disponível em: http://marcelalevi.com/brasil/artigos_e_criticas/defghi/ >. Acesso em: 10 mar. 2016.
http://marcelalevi.com/brasil/artigos_e_...
)26 26 Laura Erber, visual artist and collaborator of Marcela Levi's works, interviewed the artist in 2009 for the magazine DEF-GHI. The interview is available on the artist's website: <http://marcelalevi.com/>. Accessed on: 14 March 2016. . From the perspective of a body devoid of a magical aura whose permeability and incompleteness allow transformations, alterations and reconfigurations of its plastics, the relational dynamics proposed by the artists also evidences the issue of the incompleteness inherent to the body (Diniz, 2012DINIZ, Carolina de Paula. Vestíveis em Fluxo: a relação implicada entre corpo, movimento e o que se veste na cena contemporânea da dança. 2012. Dissertação (Mestrado em Dança) - Programa de pós-graduação em Dança, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, 2012. ).

Amarelo (2007) (Image 10; Image 11) is a dance that was made by dancing. The materials involved in the piece came from this dance, from a physical and imaginary body in movement. They combine to generate event-images, in the contingency of the doing and undoing, in layers and folds that are opened between performer and observer (Diniz, 2012DINIZ, Carolina de Paula. Vestíveis em Fluxo: a relação implicada entre corpo, movimento e o que se veste na cena contemporânea da dança. 2012. Dissertação (Mestrado em Dança) - Programa de pós-graduação em Dança, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, 2012. ). In an interview with the artist, carried out on Skype (2011) during the Master's research, it can be noticed in some words the artist's intention to produce a relational body: “In this work, I share sensitive information: weight, contact, taste, form. It is an invitation to an experience”; “The whole experience in Amarelo was comprised in the sense of creating this unstable ground in which things are in the process of changing, do not fully transform and have already formed something else”; “Every relation of movement in Amarelo is built on the physicality of touch, of the contact with things” (Diniz, 2012).

Image 10
Amarelo. Elisabete Finger (2007)

Image 11
Amarelo. Elisabete Finger (2007)

Both in In-Organic and Amarelo the performers establish continuous relationships between the inside and the outside, between body and object, creating a turmoil in the concepts of boundaries and in the hierarchies. For Marcela Levi, what she wears on scene does not constitute something she simply puts on the body, but is something that symbolically emerges as the sweat from her body (verbal information). In this sense, the artists reveal in their mode of construction and configuration the possibility of producing meaning in the between. If - for modern thought - everything that does not correspond to the human subject has the status of an object and thus the world is read based on the action of the subject towards the object, in contemporary times “[...] it is necessary to take things for what they can produce, think of them as co-producers of the body” (Preciosa, 2005PRECIOSA, Rosane. Produção Estética: notas sobre roupas, sujeitos e modos de vida. São Paulo: Editora Anhembi Morumbi, 2005. p. 14). Therefore, the works presented here embody the dialogical relationship between the materialities involved, so that - based on what is there and the way it is there - they can produce an osmotic, fluid, permeable and mutable body.

Tacking the Practice of the Wearable Flow

Why Wearable Flow? “What can a naked body of a woman and a bull head provoke together?” (Levi, 2011LEVI, Marcela. Entrevista. In: DINIZ, Carolina Paula. Entrevista com Marcela Levi. Brasil, 2011. (Material não publicado).). This question (Image 12) synthesizes what is proposed with the practice of the Wearable Flow, that is, the idea is to provoke the researching body to the exercise of strangeness and the exploration of objects in the condition of “presence” and “transformation reservoir”, as proposed by Louppe (2012LOUPPE, Laurence. Poética da Dança Contemporânea. Lisboa: Contredanse, 2012.). According to her,

The regime of causalities and the linear perspective that guided the construction of dance stories proved less and less capable of handling the complexity of contemporary dance activity, and when, on the other hand, the concern with the essence and the use of a terminology already prepared by reflections of an eminently aesthetic character tended to volatilize the materiality of the body's movement and, consequently, failing to keep up with its inherent capacity to generate meaning and to reflect the world (Louppe, 2012LOUPPE, Laurence. Poética da Dança Contemporânea. Lisboa: Contredanse, 2012., p. 78).

Image 12
In-organic. Marcela Levi (2007)

In the Analogical Dictionary of the Portuguese Language (Azevedo, 2010AZEVEDO, Francisco Ferreira dos Santos. Dicionário Analógico da Língua Portuguesa. Rio de Janeiro: Lexikon, 2010.), the concept of materiality relates to the ideas of Existence, everything that vibrates and pulsates, actuality, presence, embodiment, substantiality, mass, blood, flesh and bone, the ritual body of Artaud, corporeity, form, raw matter, transformism, among other similar ideas that relate to the body that is intended to be activated with the proposal of Wearable Flow. Regarding the different objects that can be explored based on their materiality, one can mention artists who investigate functional objects in the construction of a relational body, such as the chair used by the artist La Ribot, in which, dressed with the object and a sign with “Se Vende” (For Sale) written on it (Image 13), she explores the form and the sonority of the material involved in motion research, by simulating the sexual act.

Image 13
Distinguished Pieces n° 14. La Ribot (1995)

Elementary materials such as water, earth, sand or a cactus (Image 14), as in Amarelo, by Elisabete Finger.

Image 14
Amarelo. Elisabete Finger (2007)

Pieces of clothing as in Unfinished (1998) (Image 15), in which the artist Xavier Le Roy utilizes a black dress to transform the configuration and representation of the body.

Image 15
Self-Unfinished. Xavier Le Roy (1998)

It is believed that by exploring the materialities, focusing on the investigation of other ways for body plastics, other states of body and other qualities of movement different from those related to music, for example, the artist problematizes and changes the references of body and scene, presenting other possibilities, which “[...] provoke something beyond a codified and conscious perception. They call for annoyances, strangenesses, passions, timeless memories, sensations without a name” (Mesquita, 2008MESQUITA, Cristiane. Políticas do Vestir: recortes em viés. 2008. Tese (Doutorado em Psicologia Clínica) - Programa de Pós-Graduação em Psicologia Clínica, Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo, São Paulo, 2008., p. 47). We are interested in the exploration of these annoyances, of the memories inscribed in both bodies and objects. And to demonstrate the practice of the Wearable Flow, I present two different experiences: one as co-author of the work Cordões29 29 Choreographic work of the artist Carol Laranjeira, awarded with the Funarte Residency Grant in Performing Arts 2010. and the other as a teacher of the Dance and Artistic Interfaces course, where the relationship of the body and the elements of the scene were discussed with the graduating students from the Professional Course in Dance/FUNCEB, in the first semester of 2014.

Wearable Flow in the Cordões Project

Firstly, it is important to note that my experience since 2004 with contemporary groups and performers has proven the inherent complexity of proposing, instead of costumes, the practice of the Wearable Flow, insofar as this practice interferes directly with the research of movement and requires a co-authorship, a relation of co-engagement in the creative process. For this reason, too, I have been questioning over time the role of a costume designer in a contemporary process with these specificities, and realizing since the master's research that this approach is often observed in solo works, not in groups. Except for a few experiences in which the proposal of the performer or the group was decidedly focused on a collaborative research, open to interferences and deviations, this proposition is permeated by difficulties, which often prevent it from happening in a profitable way. So, I present a counterpoint to these issues with the experience in the Cordões artistic project, developed as one of the ramifications of the doctoral research of the artist Carol Laranjeira, related to the popular manifestation of the Cavalo-Marinho from the Zona da Mata region, in the north of the state of Pernambuco.

From the beginning of our partnership, the researcher clarified that her specific interest in the manifestation was related to the bodily states arising from the research of movements, repetition and exhaustion. What interested her were not the formal or visual aspects, the code or the patterns of the Cavalo-Marinho or Maracatu steps, but what this dance generated in the body, the states it produced, and the corporality aroused in the research of those states. For the artist, the costume in Cordões would be the element responsible for the visual part of the presentation and that would allow the audience to glimpse at the chaotic aspect coming from the crossing of different information, such as steps, references, colors, objects, materials that constitute the manifestation. The costume would also act as a counterpoint to sobriety, the immanent quality of the artist's movement research. When inviting me to participate in the process, the information that the artist had was that my costume propositions were related to the idea of transforming them throughout the performance - information that matched the interests of the artist (Diniz, 2012DINIZ, Carolina de Paula. Vestíveis em Fluxo: a relação implicada entre corpo, movimento e o que se veste na cena contemporânea da dança. 2012. Dissertação (Mestrado em Dança) - Programa de pós-graduação em Dança, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, 2012. ).

My entry happened only by the end of the creation process of Cordões, when the themes and the corporal qualities were already defined. The sequence of the scenes was already outlined, the soundtrack was also almost finished. The Wearable Flow proposition: a blouse, made with strips of gray knit fabric - which were arranged in a weave and covered the performer's skin - and trousers that were also gray, a color chosen to define an urban and sober appearance. There was also a piece, a kind of flexible bow, assembled with hose and wire and covered by ribbons. This piece was inspired by an arc of colored ribbons, one of the objects used by the brincadores (players) of the manifestation. For this work, it was decided that the bow ribbons would be made with an outer layer of gray-colored knit strips, the same ones used on the blouse and the pants, creating a sense of continuity, and overlapping a layer of colored strips that, with the movement, were being revealed. These strips were made with different materials: plastic that produced a sound, satin ribbons, shiny strings and other strands - profusion that allude to the color and shine present in the manifestation. The bow was embedded in various parts of the performer's body, covering and revealing and throughout the performance turned into a cape, a skirt, a crown and an animal's tail. The proposition of the Wearable Flow, already in the final stretch of the creative process of Cordões (Image 16), demanded of the performer an extra attitude of availability, since the pieces interfered directly in the quality of movement already developed and organized by her (Diniz, 2012DINIZ, Carolina de Paula. Vestíveis em Fluxo: a relação implicada entre corpo, movimento e o que se veste na cena contemporânea da dança. 2012. Dissertação (Mestrado em Dança) - Programa de pós-graduação em Dança, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, 2012. ).

Image 16
Cordões. Carol Laranjeira (2011)

In order for the presented proposition to be effectively incorporated into the performance and not simply attached to the body, the procedure adopted by the performer was to choose the moments that were most appropriate for the interaction and transformation of the body on stage. The Wearable Flow proposal, while suggesting qualities and dynamics of movement, for its material properties, also produces images that affect the performer's corporality, without necessarily referring to specific characters or contexts. I believe that the experience was successful, even though it was not elaborated from the beginning of the creation process, mainly due to the effective engagement of the performer with the proposal presented and her availability as an artist to incorporate new information, brought by collaborators and that not necessarily have been foreseen throughout the process. This fact ends up playing down the ideal conditions for the practice of the Wearable Flow to be incorporated into a creative process in a profitable way (Diniz, 2012DINIZ, Carolina de Paula. Vestíveis em Fluxo: a relação implicada entre corpo, movimento e o que se veste na cena contemporânea da dança. 2012. Dissertação (Mestrado em Dança) - Programa de pós-graduação em Dança, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, 2012. ).

Wearable Flow: experiments on dance training

Image 17
Experiment Wearable Flow. FUNCEB (2014.1)

The practice of the Wearable Flow is presented as a way of investigating the productive and creative relations of the materialities of the body and what goes through it in the creative processes of artists/researchers in training. When the practice of the Wearable Flow was proposed to the graduating students of the Professional Course in Dance/FUNCEB, the intention was to provoke them, in their creative processes, to exercise other modes of organizing the final choreographic proposal (Image 17). As previously discussed, the intention was to explore a relational, implied mode where the body does not necessarily occupy the central place of investigation, music is not directly linked to movement research and any element - whether it is the light, the costume, the environment or the soundtrack - can act as co-author or “creation topos” (Silva, 2010SILVA, Amabilis de Jesus da. Figurino-Penetrante: um estudo sobre a desestabilização das hierarquias em cena. 2010. Tese (Doutorado em Artes Cênicas) - Programa de Pós-Graduação em artes Cênicas, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Salvador, 2010.) of the work. To consider in the process of creation that “[...] the object itself ceases to be absolutely ordinary: it becomes some sort of material enigma of ambiguous use” (Louppe, 2012LOUPPE, Laurence. Poética da Dança Contemporânea. Lisboa: Contredanse, 2012., p. 311). The idea was to invite them to expand the field of investigation and to make them aware of the responsibility for the choices made throughout the creative process.

According to Yvonne Rainer, “The object cannot be motivated, only activated” (Louppe, 2012LOUPPE, Laurence. Poética da Dança Contemporânea. Lisboa: Contredanse, 2012., p. 306). In this regard, one of the exercises proposed to awaken the body and activate the objects is the creative exploration of the possibilities of the costume field: for example, what can a skirt be, beyond its social/cultural meanings? How to activate its material potentialities? Throughout the exploration, it is proposed the exercise of being attentive to the materiality of the other presence, that is, shape, weight, color, width, length, sonority, elasticity, stiffness, texture of the piece experienced, and how this information changes the body plastics and activates qualities of movement, body states and action flows. And in this dialogical game, it is not possible to identify if the dance is done while dressing or if the dressing is done while dancing.

Another aspect pursued with the practice of the Wearable Flow is the question of the autonomy and commitment of the artist towards his/her work, since a scenic proposal is not being created from a linear narrative with pre-established rules of “how to do”. As Finger pointed out about the building process of Amarelo30 30 On a Skype interview during the writing of the Master's dissertation in 2011. (2011), “[...] everything there is movable, when I am creating this work of mine, as everything is part of a whole for which I am responsible, I create it as a whole, as a micro-universe”. This micro-universe is managed from a collection of information and reveals the artist's commitment to the choices that make up the work. The artist decides ‘which’ and ‘how’ information will be organized. The Wearable Flow proposal for the graduating group was constituted as a powerful experience when providing students with what Louppe proposes (2012LOUPPE, Laurence. Poética da Dança Contemporânea. Lisboa: Contredanse, 2012.),

The identification of the choreographic sense from the material itself and the body states that operate it, much more than solely from the symbolic articulation of the choreographic images or the mechanisms of an ideology, in action through the figurative elements that can emerge from it (Louppe, 2012LOUPPE, Laurence. Poética da Dança Contemporânea. Lisboa: Contredanse, 2012., p. 37).

Throughout the semester, students could explore different pieces of clothing, experimenting possibilities beyond the social and cultural form/function, along with developing a reflection on their processes and discoveries, which were organized in a logbook. It was visible, all through the practice, the difficulty of surrendering to a creative exploration of this quality. Many of them still used the relationship with music to investigate the relationship with the garment, while others, in fact, were able to explore qualities of movement from the implied relationship between body, movement and what is worn, and deepen the research which would culminate in the organization of the choreographic work, a product required for the completion of the course. In the particular case of the student Luana Layres, her research (Image 18) went beyond the experimentation character of a classroom and became the research foundation for the production of a solo work in the Solo Practices course, which took place in this same semester (Image 19). In the creative process, the question of the feminine appeared from the exploration of qualities of movement investigated with a dress.

Image 18
Luana Layres. Experimentation. FUNCEB (2014.2)

Image 19
Luana Layres. Solo production. FUNCEB (2014.2)

According to Xavier Le Roy (2001, online),

The body image is fluid and dynamic, and its borders, edges or contours ‘are osmotic’, that is, they are able to accommodate and incorporate an extremely wide range of objects and discourses. Anything that comes into contact with surfaces of the body and remain there long enough will be incorporated into the body image, for example, clothing, jewelry, other bodies, objects, texts, songs etc. All these may mark the body, its gaits, its postures, its talks, its discourses, its positions, temporarily, or more or less permanently.

Even in the midst of so much - sometimes paralyzing - strangeness when facing this proposition, I can affirm the power and relevance of the practice, already evidenced by so many artists throughout history, especially in the context of the performing artist training, since this proposition is based in the understanding of making the work as a complex network of interdependent relations and not as a result of the sum of all the elements involved. This difference produces a body that is organized in the present, not from structural codes of some specific technique, but from an osmotic relationship with the material potentialities of the body and with everything that affects it in the composition of the work. This approach requires an openness to the field of sensations and potentialities of the investigating body as intensity and provocative of other ways of incorporating the world.

Cutting out Finalizations

What can the body do in relation to what dresses it? Throughout this article it was proposed to be observed the multiple relational possibilities between body, movement and what constitutes it, presented by dance artists, as well as contemporary artists who move between the scenic languages. Loie Fuller investigates the power of pure materials, the flow of colors dyeing the long white fabric in motion and embodies the shocking and fleeting speed of modernity. Oskar Schlemmer’s bodies, with abstract features, illustrate and incorporate the elementary forms to produce a mechanized body, while Nikolais removes the supremacy of the body and incorporates it in relation to the costume and the light to explore other possibilities of its plastics. Rosane Preciosa calls our attention - when dealing with contemporary thought and art - to the need for a singular relationship with life, in which we can glimpse as a possibility “[...] to feel strange, disturbed, give way to other configurations of ourselves, to dismantle the dominant references with which we live” (Preciosa, 2005, p. 37).

In this sense, Marcela Levi and Elisabete Finger encourage, through the exploration of the materialities that cross the body, other perceptions and sensations of the corporal plastics that come from that body, which is only complete when allowing itself to be affected, also with the participation of the audience, and destabilizes our understanding of the world by exercising other modes based on the deterritorialization of flows, as Deleuze proposes. When looking at these artists and reflecting on how they organize themselves, from the perspective of the relation between the body and the constituents of the scene, a space is set up for the development and exploration of the proposal of the Wearable Flow. A practice that comes from the experience as a costume designer/teacher of creative processes and also from the emergence of other construction modes of dramaturgy in the context of contemporary scenic practices and the training of artists/researchers. This practice is then defined as an action proposal, as an exercise of freedom, autonomy and commitment to the process based on the investigation of other ways of relating to the world, by proposing a dialogical, relational and non-hierarchical relationship between subject and object. In this manner, I end the article with the poetry/proposal of Manoel de Barros: “To uninvent objects. The comb, for example. To give the comb the abilities of not combing. Until it is left with the inclination to be a begonia. Or a gravanha. To use some words until they belong to no language” (Barros, 1997, p. 11).

References

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  • 34
    This unpublished text, translated by Thiago Rodrigues and proofread by Ananyr Porto Fajardo, is also published in Portuguese in this issue.

Publication Dates

  • Publication in this collection
    Aug 2017

History

  • Received
    29 Feb 2016
  • Accepted
    12 Feb 2017
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