The evening’s programme began with three films by Keira Greene, produced over a period of four years. Through their making, these films learn about: bodies enacting history, landscapes carved by ideas, words resisting form and sculpture provoking rhythm.
x comme x (03:06), 2017
The poem “x comme x” speaks the position of ‘The Words’. The words are calling forth an uprising; tired of not belonging to their form they probe at a Utopia where language is the ‘place’ of no place.
Totally on Fire (06:56), 2015
Totally on Fire is a conversation across time that restages an exercise from the Esalen Institute, California in the grounds of the secular community Braziers Park, Oxfordshire.
The film pivots around a search for something immaterial. The tension lies in the fact that the actors communicate through a silent game of volleyball, with no net and no ball. Their game is of shared perception. There is a sense of collapsed time in which they lose themselves in a group expression, underpinned by the original Esalen game.
Grain (09:23), 2016
Mountain Home Studio was built by environmental architect Lawrence Halprin (1916-2009) for his wife, dancer and choreographer Anna Halprin in 1952. The studio is located deep within the enduring redwood and oak trees, on the flank of Mount Tamalpais, Marin, California. Grain is a portrait of its dance deck, with narration provided by Anna and Lawrence’s daughter, Daria Halprin, an actress, dancer and teacher herself. She and Anna also co-founded Tamalpa Institute, a non-profit organisation recognised for its unique approach to movement based arts education and therapy.
The film set out to align the historic dance deck to the context of the Californian counterculture movement, through specifically tracing its community, the philosophy taught there and the pedagogy of movement itself. What has evolved instead is a more personal investment in the remarkable history of the Halprin family and their diverse and shared knowledge, manifest in the environment that is Mountain Home Studio. Focusing on the infrastructure of the dance deck and its manner of construction, which was intended to affect as little change on the structure of the mountain, we see the careful grafting of natural materials in symbiosis.
The voiceover from Daria passes between attribution of ‘his’ and ‘her’. Referencing Anna and Lawrence, she builds tender impressions of her parents whist detailing their individual perspectives on social experience, the natural environment, processes of design, and corporeality. Lawrence, Anna and Daria Halrpin share a common language of ‘scoring’; Lawrence developed a theory called the RSVP cycles to visually notate or score experience, design, and movement. As this system looked to understand process itself it could be ascribed to any aspect of life and living; a Utopian project with practical foundations.
A live performance by dancer Katye Coe will follow the films. As a development of their collaboration on the film Eustatic Drift, 2018, Coe meets and embodies the graptolite fossil as a score for movement. Coe’s dancing investigation of the graptolite fossil, a bony skeleton fixed in rock, departs from its corollary, the human body as a supple material with the potential to integrate and compound multiple and complex states.
Katye Coe will dance in relation to an asymmetric curve, a fragment of the larger ergonomic surface which completes the Eustatic Drift installation, designed by artist Tim Mitchell. The floor surface departs from the practices of architect Oskar Hansen and his development of environments-as-process-engaging the participant. Here a fragment of a larger system has been left behind, becoming it’s own instrument for speculation and interpretation.
The evening ends with a discussion with Katye Coe, Tim Mitchell and Keira Greene, together with Biennale Film Curator Gareth Evans.
With thanks to Fatima Djabri, Braziers Park, Tamalpa Institute.
Photography by Rosie Lonsdale: