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03 APRIL 2012

William Forsythe: choreography as a reflection of social spheres

"In his installation performances such as Human Writes or Heterotopia, to which Forsythe has dedicated an increasing amount of his time in recent years, choreography becomes a social practice. Forsythe's installations are controlled test arrangements in which all the participants can observe themselves, their bodies and their movements together. When a performance like Human Writes deals in substance with the difficulties surrounding universal human rights, it becomes clear where the potential of dance and movement can lie. After all, it's not abstract universal laws alone that guarantee our co–existence. It is much more our physical actions, our daily movements that create and shape the community. Herein lies the political meaning of Forsythe's notion of dance. He creates spaces where he places people in a new, unknown relationship to themselves so that they reflect differently on their (social) spheres and in so doing explore their own potential scope for action."

(Gerald Siegmund, May 2008, Goethe–Institut)

Fig.3 Dominik Mentzos, "Human Writes", performance–Installation by William Forsythe and Kendall Thomas [].



abstract universal laws • ballet • bodies • choreography • co-existence • community • confrontational • controlled test arrangements • create and shape • creative problem solvingcritique • daily movements • danceDominik Mentzosdrawdrawing • emplacement • experimentationGoethe-Institutheterotopiahuman rights • Human Writes (performance) • installation • installation performance • language of ballet • movementnomologicalparticipantsperformancephysical actions • political meaning • potential for action • relationshipssocial actionsocial changesocial practices • social spheres • space • the potential of dance and movement • universal human rights • universal laws • William Forsythe


Simon Perkins
16 JANUARY 2012

The Family Factory: Developing Methods for Live 3D Animation

"In this way the puppeteers would be part of the development of the prototypes for the virtual puppets as well as the characters for the play, before the actual rehearsals would begin two month later. ...

The value of the actual meetings and workshops can not be emphasised enough. This gave the participants hands on experience with the constraints in the actual equipment and a chance to meet the team that would be responsible for operating it. It is not until the artist has a very physical and intuitive impression of the material and the involved people the creative process takes off for real–before this everything is abstract ideas. ...

In the planning of the research project and the actual production the division of labour within and between each field of activity were specified as outlined in section 3.

As the process went on the borders became more blurred exploring the new field between creative production in theatre and animation and methods from computer science and systems development. One of the big challenges was the development of a common language between the artist and the programmer/technicians and to define and invent new methods that were necessary to carry out the production.

I tried to explore the numerous reasons for this in the evaluation phase of the project. This was done by conducting qualitative interviews with the participants and by reviewing the large body of video documentation from the process. The footage was edited to a 50 minute documentary about the project on which the following assumptions are based (Callesen 2001)."

(Jørgen Callesen, 2003, p.15,18,30)

Callesen (2001) Virtual Puppets in Performance, Proceedings, Marionette: Metaphysics, Mechanics, Modernity, International Symposium, University of Copenhagen, 28. March – 1. April, 2001

Callesen, J. (2003) "The Family Factory – Developing new Methods for Live 3D Animation" in Madsen, K.H. Production methods: behind the scenes of virtual inhabited 3D worlds. Springer–Verlag, London.


3D animation • abstract ideas • actual equipment • actual production • applied researchartistic practice • computer science methods • conceptualisationconstraintscreative practicecreative process • creative production in theatre • enquiry • evaluation phase • experimentation • field of activity • hands on experience • intuitive impression of the material • new methodsparticipantsperformance • physical impression of the material • planningPRAMnetprototype • prototype development • puppetpuppeteerqualitative interviewsresearchresearch project • reviewing • systems development • theatretheory buildingvideo documentationvirtual puppetworkshops


Simon Perkins

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