Neighborhood Dances Collaboration
In this six month residency at the Chicago Cultural Center sponsored by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), I developed studio-based performance work in collaboration with artist Todd Mattei. A starting point for the project was the growing archive of material from my then ongoing project Neighborhood Dances, a series of daily micro dances based in city and suburban neighborhoods which treats dance like public sculpture or temporary graffiti.
Mattei entered the collaboration in terms of sound/music composition and performance. Studio time was used as a laboratory to explore various sonic spaces of specific character in relation to movement. Possible approaches would include: Creating spaces which echo the sound of the performer in the space (feet moving on the floor, breath, possibly words spoken, and the more abstract sound which expresses a relationship to the physical moving body); or creating soundscape spaces which sound in some way like spaces outside the performance space, city spaces or neighborhood dance spaces (birds, cards, wind); or creating spaces form the palate of instrument-like sounds that he is using.
Ultimately, the intention was to develop a system of notation that allows our respective processes to speak directly to each other. To put it plainly, one type of sound (media) would correspond to one type of movement (body). Once this notation system was in place, we instilled a sense of rigor in the work of developing performances and artifacts through improvisation, composition and choreography.
This collaborative endeavor—a duet between media and persons—provided both of us new terrain and new audience for our practices. This was also an exploration in what an archive of public practice can reconstitute as in the studio, and for Mattei’s music to meet the extended expressive potential of disciplined dance and movement.