Footage!

Well, I finally edited the video footage Steven Spencer shot at the show. Two 40-minute shows’ worth of footage boiled down into a ten-minute YouTube video… still pretty long. This one is for everybody who wanted to be there but couldn’t, and it’s for me and the performers to have a record of the performance. I’m planning to make a shorter, “flashier” video with the footage soon.

I am so not a video editor… in fact, editing this footage taught me to use iMovie. So it’s a little choppy. Please forgive me. Also, all three of the tracks in the video were used in the show (hand-picked by Drew Mittman!)

HERE YA GO:

Thank you!

Well, it happened! Thank you to everybody who came out, and for everybody who helped it come together. 

Special thanks goes to the cast and collaborators, Mom, Dad, Matt, Ruth Barnes, Sara Brummel, Darryl Clark, Julie Williams, Dr. Herr, Scott Handley, Pam RuBert, Russ RuBert, Meganne Rosen O’Neal, Gerard Nadeau, Jonathan Gano, and especially, to my wonderful and supportive friends. 

I am so grateful to be surrounded by such a supportive community of artists and friends. 

Thank you and all my love! 

P.S., I have a favor. If you took video or photo of my show on instagram or anything else, would you send the file to me? I would like to collect them for reference later. My email is s.gbaum@gmail.com. THANK YOU!! 

More research

My last post about Sherry Turkle’s TED Talk discussed how Turkle’s ideas influenced #EverybodyAllTheTime. Another huge inspiration for this project (and for my art career in general) is Culturebot, and, in particular, the writing of its founder, Andy Horwitz. Culturebot describes itself as “a hub for community and a platform for artists, audiences and organizations to share discourse.”

I have been reading Culturebot regularly for several months. The website exposes me to art and dance that I would not know about otherwise, and it does so in a way that is relatively accessible, compared to other art articles or journals that rely so heavily on academic jargon that the point is muddled by pretentiousness. I highly recommend the site to anyone interested in contemporary dance and art.

One of my favorite articles on Culturebot is called Territorial Pissings. The article, written by Horwitz, helped me develop ideas for #EverybodyAllTheTime. Titled after a Nirvana song, the article discusses the most recent generation groups: Baby Boomers, Gen-X, and Millennials, and the way modern technology affects these groups.

The whole article is wonderful, but one quote stands out to me, and has heavily influenced my project: Horwitz suggests that “the biggest challenge of the Internet-era DIY moment is re-learning the importance of being together in real life, in small groups of good friends; of remembering that the mediated world distorts and deludes, that it is valuable for distribution, but not necessarily for depth.”

I am captivated by the idea that we have forgotten how to be together in real life, and, especially, in small groups. I find that when I am spending time in a small group, or even with one other person, our smartphones are not far away. They are sitting face-up on the table, they are nestled in our pockets or laps, or they are in our hands.

When there is a lull in conversation, we pull them out, or they pull us in with a buzz alerting us to a new notification. We’re still physically with the people or person, but we’re also with our phones. We rarely sit quietly together.

It isn’t my place to say whether or not this is bad; it’s just how it is. It’s how I am. But it’s extremely important that we are aware that this is how it is, because, as Horwitz points out, our phones let us share information almost as easily as breathing, but they do not provide depth. We achieve depth in real life, through the small-group interactions that we still have, even if these interactions are punctuated with (punctured by?) the use of our smartphones.

In my project, I am exploring this divided consciousness: our split sense of self between our real-life interaction and online existence. I hope to acknowledging the omni-presence of smartphones while emphasizing the importance of being really, physically together in order to achieve depth in our lives.

Alone Together.

Sherry Turkle, author of Alone Together, gave a TED talk last year that has been a huge inspiration for #EverybodyAllTheTime. In both the talk and her book, Turkle discusses the effect of technology and social media on modern relationships. She emphasizes that we are learning to “expect more from technology and less from each other”.  I am exploring this idea in the project through movement, both on-screen and off. In #EverybodyAllTheTime, the screen images are reliable, constant. They are comfortable. The audience will know what to expect from the screen images, much like we know what to expect from our regulated, methodical interactions with each other through technology. In contrast, the performers will explore the same movements executed on-screen in real time, first on their own, and then with each other. They will find new qualities within the movements by varying the tempo, size, and mood. Together, they will experiment with weight-sharing to discover how bearing someone else’s weight affects their own movements. The performers’ real-time exploration will be outside of the audience’s expectations for dance performance, and hopefully, the performers will move past their expectations for themselves.

Rehearsal II: Backyard Adventure.

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The weather has been incredibly gorgeous here in Springfield, so for rehearsal on Wednesday the performers met at my apartment to rehearse in The Great Outdoors (i.e. my porch/ backyard).

We made some great progress. The focus of the rehearsal was to build the “solo exploration” section of the piece, which is about fifteen minutes long. First, we chose individual orders to perform the ten gestures we created at our first rehearsal. Once we each decided on an order, we set a schedule determining when we would explore each of our gestures. In this case, exploring gestures refers to finding new and interesting ways to execute movement: increase or decrease the tempo/ intensity, make it smaller/ bigger, put the movement into a different body part, etc. Each performer explores one of the ten gestures, moves through the other nine, and then explores the next gesture, and so on. The process is slow, methodical, and (hopefully) intriguing.

We finished with enough time to begin exploring some partnering work for the next section.

Working outside was fun. We attracted some accidental audiences: people on bikes, dog walkers, and neighbors smoking cigarettes on their porches. Their faces generally read, “HUH?” The performers maintained their focus and gave the bystanders an unexpected show.

Costumes.

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About a week ago I met with my costume designer, Carmen Hartmann, to sketch out ideas for what the performers will wear for #EverybodyAllTheTime.

The sketches we came up with  are above. Illustration credit goes to Carmen.

I’m especially excited about the slits up the sides of the girls’ skirts and the boys’ pants. These slits are not evident in the sketches, but they will be an unifying element in the design and they will tastefully display the performers’ legs.

On Tuesday, Carmen and I ventured to the fabric store to choose material for the costumes. We settled on translucent nudes: a cheesecloth-like fabric for the girls’ dresses and a tighter-knit, stretchier material for the boys’ pants. I believe these fabrics will reveal the performers’ form and will interact well with the lights in the space: computer screens, projectors, and strip lights.

Now Carmen is hard at work building the costumes. I can’t wait to see how they turn out.

Developing movement.

We had our first rehearsal Sunday morning. We started with a bit of sleepy improvisation (9 a.m. sure feels early, especially on a Sunday) and moved into an in-depth conversation about our relationship with social media. In the improv, we felt like we were stuck on a singular feeling about what social media was for us, so the purpose of the discussion was to stir up new ideas from which we could generate movement. Here are some of the key points we discussed:

  • We are different now than when we first started using the Internet. We have grown up, and the way we display ourselves and interact online has matured.
  • We check social media while walking around.
  • We check social media while driving.
  • A modest estimate for checking our media is five times an hour. COMPULSIVE checking.
  • We are tagged in places; people know where we are and what we’re doing there.
  • We become frustrated when we don’t have good internet connections.
  • Social media divides our identities: who we are in real life and who we are online.
  • The physical effects of using a computer, such as carpal tunnel and headaches.
  • We lock our phones so nobody hacks our profile.
  • We don’t need to lock our phones because they are ALWAYS with us, even when sleeping.
  • Everybody on phone in  social situations: avoiding real-life connection to “connect” online.
  • When waiting for someone/something or when feeling awkward, pull out your phone.

We used these ideas to generate movement on our own.

For our second rehearsal, which happened tonight, we showed what we had made and then worked together to create a total of 10 gestures that will be the movement base for the performance. I’m thrilled with what we made and am excited to move forward with the project.