The instant before choice: a choreographer's practical speculations on time and perception
Kim Brandstrup & Niki Pollard
Dedicated to Nina Fonaroff (1913-2003)
It is as if the brain asks, "What is new in the world?" every three seconds […] Ernst Pöppel, 19961
|Hamlet rehearsal, August 2003|
If at the outset I say that I identify myself as a choreographer and not a writer, it may be understood that I contribute to this co-authored paper in some trepidation. Certainly, there exists a tradition of artists writing of their experiences, approaches and modes of art-making, writing which holds a fascination both for other creative practitioners and for audiences or viewers. Fewer artists, it seems to me, write to readers who may be unfamiliar with their art-making - as I do here.
Howsoever my artistic practice has become second nature to me in two decades of making dance, a certain amount of curiosity builds over time evenly provoked by success and failure: 'Why did this work?' or 'What stood in the way?' The motivation to word my curiosity first came from pedagogic necessity when I was called on to share some of my choreographic strategies with other practitioners. Teaching in the studio, I realised that, even while all the time I had been focused on making pieces, a facet of choreographic creativity had gradually been emerging for me as intellectual enquiry.
I can begin to sketch out that enquiry by two observations I made while teaching: firstly, that use of "poetic metaphors" (such as the idea I will discuss here of a movement's "resonance"), seemed to facilitate participants' creative work and secondly, a consensus seems to develop in a session as to if something "worked" ( - when faced with a series of possible solutions to a problem or task there always seemed to be some that were overwhelmingly more appropriate than others in the observers' eyes.) Initially, I thought that a common dance background of experience and training could account for this behaviour. However, I made the same observations in three research workshops that I led with my company, Arc Dance2, 2001-3 and which included observers from a wide spectrum of expert, but non-dance, backgrounds (film, music, literature, psychology, theatre).
My sense is that the conviction we shared in the immediacy of those workshops belongs to an artist's experience of creative choice. Practitioners often describe a moment of insight and realisation, an instant knowing or inspirational flash that must be grasped immediately before it disappears. These moments are longed for, treated with almost mystical reverence and seem vulnerable to reasoned explanation. Here still reigns romanticism supreme: if you explain it, you explain it away. Analysis of dance performance, or writing in arts and cultural studies more generally over the last thirty years has on the other hand importantly demystified 'Art' through situated, socio-political arguments. Yet these analyses, often fascinating and cogent, miss the point, I think, for many artists who are less concerned with where their work comes from or with what it alludes to, than with what it is that they are there and then making. I will experience a sudden flash of insight as to what the work is - already. My decision-making is guided by this conviction rather than by calculations of meaning and content: I believe it was Michelangelo who is attributed as having said that his art was to hew away and reveal the sculpture that already existed inside a stone.
Creativity never occurs ex nihilo but as a reaction to some prior impulse. I wanted to explore how choreographic actions are always made in reaction to the sense a choreographer has of a preceding moment's continuing resonance. The resonance of that moment must in part be governed by physiological rules of perception, and it was these that I sensed we were drawing on, far more than aesthetic rules of composition that might be expected in a choreographic workshop, but which, made by one generation are broken by the next. In the words of neurologist Semir Zeki, 'what we see is determined as much by the organisation and laws of the brain as by the physical reality of the external world. The artist […] can only deal with those attributes of nature which his brain is equipped to see.'3
My writing here therefore is prompted by the sense I had, following these workshops, that my experience of decision-making and creative insight as a choreographer might in fact reveal something of these 'laws of the brain'. I hasten to say that I do not set out as an artist to investigate cognitive processes, nor should these be what the work is about thematically for a spectator. Yet, from my ad hoc reading of recent neurological research, I sensed a convergence between their findings and elements of my practice with dancers. In this paper, written with Niki Pollard, a research student at Middlesex University (where I am presently an AHRC Research Fellow) who is investigating practitioner-writing of art-making, we want to suggest that my creative practice, focused on the exigencies of making particular pieces to deadlines, can also be seen as an enquiry that extends beyond those performances to which I put my name as choreographer. In the terms of my colleague Susan Melrose, I could say that this paper is concerned with how aspects of my dance-making might theorise human experience of the recent past (but a theorising through action rather than academic registers of writing).4
That said I am uneasy now about how to transfer this sense of my dance making into the present formal and written setting. The knowledges I operate by as a professional practitioner are not ones that I can categorise, perhaps because they are tacit5, a practical and responsive know-how, or because the words I have for them are always enmeshed in the detail of a live studio situation.6 As Melrose has said, any artist wishing to write knowledgably about his or her art-making will be troubled by the fact that s/he cannot begin to know what s/he is making until that future point when it is made - which in my case as a choreographer, means performed in public.7
|Hamlet rehearsal, August 2003|
Echo and expectation
I hold the somewhat unusual view that artists are in some sense neurologists, studying the brain with techniques that are unique to them, but studying unknowingly the brain and its organisation nevertheless. Semir Zeki, 19998
I will write here of a mirroring task that I have several times used in choreographic and research workshops. It is one that I used in the first instance because of how helpful it seemed to dancers, as I will explain, but then as this essay explores, I became curious about how it seems to reveal a timescale to choreography that closes on the instantaneous. A dancer's analytic skill in mirroring movement, I am realising, can break open the choices and events of choreography that appear instantaneous but which are the effect of a precise temporal sequence of one moment resonating into the next. I should say here too that in skeleton this exercise has a long and various, if unwritten, history within dance practitioners' studios, indebting me to a succession of superb teachers and artists.
In this task, which will be the focus of the paper, the ability of a dancer to retain and recollect movement seems to enable observers without expertise either as makers, performers or audiences of dance to experience the same conviction about when something "works" as I and other dance-professionals do. This conviction is bound-up I believe with what I have been describing both of experiencing creative choice in response to a preceding impulse, and with revealing more generally our human perception of passing time. It strikes me that a dancer's specialised sense of the duration of motion and sound in space and time is an analytic competence, in the way that a sense of pitch is to a musician.
In purely pedagogical terms one of the aims of the exercise is to by-pass the often strong ambition of a student or dancer to produce movement that is unique, original and exceptional and which seems to block and stifle their spontaneous kinetic reactions. In the mirroring exercise, though, one dancer is asked to improvise a simple unit of movement for their partner to copy immediately. This first dancer is released from anxiety or pressure to produce "interesting" movement as I ask him or her neither to reflect nor worry about the movement since the task lies rather with the second dancer in mirroring. The second dancer, too, is released from anxiety as he or she can be absorbed in immediate, unselfconscious repetition, neither interfering with nor inflecting the material given. Once two dancers find the momentum of exchange in this exercise, a fascinating split second dialogue emerges of instant kinetic reactions without forethought. A wealth of content is revealed for me through this process of rapid repetitions which I find more rarely when a dancer is focused on material that they are composing.
I have been bringing this exercise into my choreographic research workshops as I am struck by how revealing it is of the split-second accuracy by which we retain a sense of movement observed. What intrigues me about this simple mirroring exercise then is that anyone watching, be they workshop participant or observer, dance professional or otherwise, will know absolutely if there is a discrepancy between the phrase and its "mirror", so long as the mirror begins on the instant that the first finishes. Likely no one will be able to pinpoint a discrepancy to a changed foot or shoulder placement; what they will immediately grasp, I feel, is any rhythmic deviation. However, if the second dancer hesitates for more than a second or two before responding, then the phrase is lost. No viewer can be sure any longer of the mirror's accuracy.
My sense is that this mirroring task points to how, immediately after you watch a phrase of movement come to a close, there may be a few moments when an echo of that movement is briefly still available in a viewer's brain. A dancer can execute a replay of the phrase, I think, by reacting in that exact moment when this 'echo' is available to them. An observer likewise recognises the replay, or its discrepancy against the lingering resonance in their mind of the initial movement.
|Hamlet rehearsal, August 2003|
For me, then, this mirroring task brings to light something about brain function that is not confined to dance competence although I only became aware of it and consciously use it as a choreographer ordering time and movement into dance as a sequence of resonant units. In my perception of each passing moment I feel there is a fleeting sensorial echo prompting my anticipation of what will follow; it is against my sense of both echo and the expectation set up by the echo-source that I react choreographically.
Arc Dance in rehearsal, Summer 2003
Time provides an organizing structure […]'9
Research student Niki Pollard and I talked once about how I experience this notion of movement resonance as strictly time-based, sensed rhythmically as the punctuation of movement. Our conversation ran something like this:
NP: What do you think allows us to retain a "resonance" of a short episode of dance movement? I am thinking that this ability must in part be acquired as well as innately cognitive. For example, it seems that it will be easier for me to retain a sensation of an episode produced within a dance cultural tradition with which I am already culturally familiar. I wonder too how far the way that one retains that brief resonance will differ according to habit and training. For example, if I were trained in a Laban-based mode of movement analysis, might I at one level automatically process what I saw in terms of the movement's "effort" qualities?10 By my conscious observation of these qualities I would produce an immediate schema, a shorthand interpretation of the phrase, by which I could perform my mirror?
KB: Certainly there is some culturally-acquired dimension, but what I find is interesting is how 'echo' and 'resonance' belong to the realm of the ear, though we are dealing with dance, a visual medium (all the exercises in the seminar were performed in silence). In my experience the most difficult and important aspect to training a choreographic eye is the awareness of movement, rather than dancers' bodies, as our compositional material.11 It is movements and motion that are combined, juxtaposed, arranged, contrasted, deconstructed, not limbs, torsos and feet. Auditory, more than visual, metaphors seem to grasp this temporal nature of motion. Indeed, I often observe dancers "sing" the phrasing of their steps, marking them through simultaneously in hand gestures.
I would say then that this immediate resonance of a movement unit is configured temporally in terms of sound, although one is only conscious of seeing: you make it something that, if I can put it like this, you can hum. For me, it is something to do with being able to discern pulse from the weight shifts that a dancer makes. These shifts give downbeats. By seeing where someone has their weight initially you make this kind of audio paraphrase, and so can somehow "sing" - and retain - the rhythm for where their weight arrives.
I wonder if, for example, the figuration, ethnicity, training or costume of a dancer coming from a for me different tradition might "blind" me from seeing (' hearing') that he or she is dealing with the same issues of motion, stillness, pace, rhythm, weight, pressure. Without wishing to universalise, this seems a micro-level to much dance, although one that never exists except as mediated by a physicality and cultural ethos that may either alienate or enthuse us.
NP: In the studio, when you begin to choreograph a dancer's nascent, improvisatory material, are you basing your choreographic judgement on an audio paraphrase? As a dancer (albeit non-professional) I have always been curious about how a choreographer can watch me exploring an idea or instruction and immediately grasp whether and how my emerging movement can be workable for the piece they are creating. In your task, I suppose that what the second dancer can (or cannot) mirror might at least give a rule of thumb indicator of the level of detail a choreographer can recall and for how long.
KB: I think your question is right. As I watch I superimpose counts, not as a metre but to mark out the resonant units, according to what I see as ignition and closure points in a dancer's material. Hypothetical start and end points. In the middle of someone's phrase, I can say, "one", as if that was where it started, and "two" where I want it to stop. By those counts I can remember exactly where things occurred; I have a sketch with which to work, with which to make other points of insertion.12
* Curiously, recent research in cognitive psychology seems to parallel what Brandstrup is saying about how he tracks his perception of a potential dance element in terms of what he perceives as its emergent temporal structure. It is believed that 'time provides an organizing structure that helps identify different entities […S]eparate parts of the body such as limbs, torso, and face, move together synchronously to a split second […] All the stimuli, be they auditory, visual, tactile or proprioceptive emanating from the self share a common time structure. Now this ability to amalgamate one's own senses temporally overlaps with the ability to discern from them the perception of similarities and differences in what is seen and heard in another person.' See 'Coherence of temporal structure' at attachment.edu.ar/amodal.html
|Hamlet rehearsal, August 2003|
A three second window
Arc Dance in rehearsal, Summer 2003
In research workshops13, Brandstrup has speculated that his idea of "echo" or "resonance" may be the result of what cognitive psychologists have termed echoic memory,14 one of the brain's transitory memory stores that enable a subject to remember short duration stimuli briefly but accurately. Without aspiring to the laboratory, Brandstrup's mirroring task has an empirical edge since it draws attention to the fact that an audience will, albeit momentarily, remember highly accurately, what they have just seen. Research is ongoing into these cognitive mechanisms, with some results suggesting that echoic memory could only allow stimuli to be retained for up to two seconds, or perhaps only half a second, which might be too brief to account for a dancer's ability to mirror or for Brandstrup's rhythmic grasp of what he sees.15
One implication of both the mirroring task and scientific findings is that an audience will not be able to draw upon fleeting memory of what has gone before to make sense of what they are watching if the dance is not, as Brandstrup puts it, punctuated every few seconds. That is, if a "unit" in the dance, however that is defined, goes on without change for more than a few seconds, Brandstrup believes a viewer loses their thread of concentration. A viewer's engagement, he feels, is strongly influenced by the anticipation they bring from their sense of a previous moment's resonance, yet a moment will only resonate, he believes, when it is clearly marked by ignition and closure.
Other theories of why a viewer's engagement might falter could lie in (perhaps related) cognitive mechanisms, such as the "orienting response" first described in 1927 by Ivan Pavlov16 which is understood to be a survival mechanism that predisposes an animal to be alert to sudden change that might signal, for example, prey or predator. In a different research context Ernst Pöppel, has commented that '[i]f two stimuli have to be compared with respect to their subjective intensity, they have to be presented within a temporal window of up to three seconds.'17 As Brandstrup too found, if the two events - be they audio stimuli in Pöppel's experiment, or movement and mirror in Brandstrup's workshop task - are more than a few seconds apart, an observer can no longer judge them comparatively; the first event becomes more or less perceptually lost. Interestingly too, Pöppel writes that 'typical movement patterns of different mammalian species have a strong tendency to last on average three seconds' as do the 'spontaneous intentional acts' of humans cross-culturally.18
In the workshops, Brandstrup had asked the dancers to consider what it might be to produce a single "unit" of movement for their partner to mirror. The significance of marked endings for memory capacity is more strongly indicated when the dancers instead produced what they considered to be a series of two or three units of movement. Typically, the mirror phrase faltered if the units seemed long or indistinct for a viewer.
Aptly, Brandstrup's sense of a unit of movement defined by a rhythmic structure of weight-shifts also seems paralleled by Pöppel's findings.
If one listens to the beats of a metronome, one is automatically drawn into the perceptual habit of accenting each second or third beat, thereby structuring the continuous metronome beats subjectively into a rhythm. By positing a subjective accent to each second beat, for instance, two successive beats are perceived as a unit (Szelag et al, 1996). The question then arises what the temporal interval can be up to which such units can be formed. It turns out that two beats cannot lie further apart than two to three seconds to allow subjective accentuation. Beyond this interval, it is no longer possible to mentally connect the second to the first, i.e., the first beat has then already disappeared into a perceptually not directly available past. Ernst Pöppel, 1996 19
In these terms, the mirroring task indicates something both of how an audience will give attention to a dance performance and of how a choreographer can inflect that attention (questions surprisingly sometimes not discussed by dance scholars more focussed, for example, on formal analysis of a performance's aesthetic and affective effects.) I am struck then firstly by the detail of Brandstrup's anecdotal understanding of how he invites the engagement of a future audience, an understanding developed pragmatically from his observations of his studio practice, and secondly that his wording finds several close parallels in recent scientific literature.
Might one be able to say that in becoming aware of how he prompts an audience's engagement by manipulation of time, Brandstrup's long pragmatic experience of making successful performances for live audiences participates in an enquiry that other disciplinary fields, such as neuroscience, define as enquiry into human perception and attention span?
|Hamlet rehearsal, August 2003|
By imitation we may feel what another person felt […]'20
Kim Brandstrup and Niki Pollard
There is a striking coincidence that by "mirroring" Brandstrup becomes aware of what seems to be the brief perceptual window theorised by neurology, since mirroring behaviour has itself been addressed by science for its role in the emergence of intersubjective experience and empathic behaviour. The cultural connotations of an instruction "to mirror" are multiple but carry distinctively less sense of human agency than related instructions to "repeat", "copy" or "imitate" (consonant with his sense that mirroring bypasses a dancer's deliberation). One connotation may be of Jacques Lacan's "mirror stage"21 in human infant development given Brandstrup's strong layman's interest in psychoanalytic writing.
When Lacan first presented a paper on "the mirror stage" in 1936 he drew upon the 1931 research of Henri Wallon about babies' reactions to seeing their mirror image.22 As Brandstrup uses it, however, the force of mirroring is not in a phenomenological experience of seeing your mirror self but of the mirroring that is fundamental to our social interactions for how it underpins empathic responses. Brandstrup's interest in mirroring then is closer to that of, say, Donald Winnicott, both a psychoanalyst and a paediatrician, who watched infants and mothers interact and wrote in 1971 that a newborn child sees itself mirrored in the loving gaze of its mother.23
Mirroring behaviour seems innate to humans and is now thought to be crucial to the development of empathy, fundamental to social behaviour. Neurologists are currently investigating "mirror neurons" that 'can represent in an individual's brain, the movements that very brain sees in another individual, and produce signals toward sensorimotor structures'. 24
"We don't learn to imitate. It is part of our biological nature and we are born to imitate," said [Jean] Decety. "We believe empathy has roots early in life. It may be linked to imitation, which we know babies do from a very early age." [said Andrew Meltzoff]. 25
Although little is yet understood about our capacity to mirror behaviour that we see, it is thought that it 'involves an "amodal" perception in which visual information about another organism is immediately transformed into a motor schema in the perceiving subject.'26 This transformation goes some way to describe what might have been happening in the Prolegomena workshop when one dancer imitated another.
Still further enriching the implications of the mirroring task, some researchers are beginning to argue that the experience of empathy is at least in part consequent to amodal perception rather than to abstract thought about self and others as was previously believed. For example, it was discovered that:
[A] sensory area of the brain called the secondary somatosensory cortex, thought only to respond to physical touch, was strongly activated by the sight of others being touched[…] The brain simply transforms what we see into what we would have felt in the same situation[…] It seems that the brain not only generates a visual sense of what we see, but also activates other sensory components to give us a complete "sense" of feeling for what we are observing.
Report on the work of Christian Keysers et al, 2004 27
In the context of Brandstrup's enquiry, through the mirroring task, into the duration of audience attention, this research suggests that cognitive mechanisms which allow a dancer to mirror may also underlie the affective engagement an audience can feel empathically during a dance performance.
Sequencing an instant
In this paper, with the help of Niki Pollard, I have tried to share my practical speculations on time and perception from a choreographer's perspective. Through the Arc workshops and more explicitly here, I and the participating practitioners began, I believe, to realise how our skills and sensibilities as dancers and choreographers give us an unusual awareness of the split-second consequences that perception of one passing moment has on the next. It is on the basis of this superimposed perception that we make choreographic decisions.
The Romantic idea of an artist's sudden flash of inspiration, while incoherent in today's theoretical climate, does capture this extraordinary speed with which a choreographer's decision follows an instant of movement seen, one event following another. Through the workshop demonstrations of the mirroring task, however, observers were also made aware of the temporal precision to their own perception of movement. As I have discussed here, each movement perceived remained briefly present in considerable detail to an observer, regardless of dance training, as an 'echo' or 'resonance' modifying how they perceive the next moment in ways that they would otherwise be unaware.28
Building on the aspirations of the research workshops which prompted this article, I am inviting dialogue from colleagues across many fields engaged in creative, aesthetic or scientific enquiry into experiences of temporal sequence in the observation of human movement. My choreographic enquiry continues.
'Prolegomena to Choreographic Action' (2001) Research workshops facilitated by Kim Brandstrup, 18-23 June 2001, Jerwood Space London. Refer to www.arcdance.com
Calvo-Merion, B. Glaser, D.E., Grèzes, Passing, R.E. & Haggard, P. 'Action observation and acquired motor skills: an fMRI study with expert dancers.' Cerebral Cortex Advance Access, 22/12/04
Dissanayake, Ellen. 'Antecedents of the temporal arts in early mother-infant interaction.' In Wallin, Nils L., Merker, Björn., Brown, Steven. (2000) The origins of music. London & Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. Pp.389-410.
Libet, Benjamin (2004) Mind time: the temporal factor in consciousness. London & Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.
Malmgren, Helge (1998) 'Moving towards the other'. Published at www.phil.gu.se/fu/theories
Meltzoff, Andrew N. & Prinz, Wolfgang (ed.) (2002) The imitative mind: development, evolution and brain bases. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
O'Conchuir, Fearghus (2001) Report on 'Prolegomena to choreographic action'. Refer to www.arcdance.com
Pöppel, Ernst. 'Reconstruction of subjective time on the basis of a hierarchically organised processing system.' María A. Pastor, Julio Artieda (eds.) (1996) Time, internal clocks and movement. Amsterdam, Lausanne, New York, Oxford, Shannon, Tokyo: Elsevier. pp.165-185.
Robarts, Jacqueline. Brandstrup's thinking is indebted to his observation of Robarts' work with music therapy as it was featured in a BBC Proms documentary in the late 1990s.
Sloboda, John (2004) Exploring the musical mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Tharp, Kenneth (2001) 'Diving at 110mph!' Report on 'Prolegomena to choreographic action'. Refer to www.arcdance.com
Webster, Richard (2002) 'The cult of Lacan' http://www.richardwebster.net/thecultoflacan.html
Zeki, Semir (1999) Inner vision: an exploration of art and the brain. Oxford: Oxford University Press
'Coherence of temporal structure', date and author unknown, published by the Buenos Aires Attachment Research Center, found at attachment.edu.ar/amodal.html
(2002) 'Neuroscientists searching for roots of empathy find brain regions involved in learning by imitation. University of Wasington, reproduced at www.empathogens.com/empathy
(2004) 'Empathy may not be uniquely human quality', 24/4/04 Newscientist.com
With thanks to the participants of the Prolegomena choreographic workshop and to Fearghus O'Conchuir and Kenneth Tharp for their workshop documentation which prompted ideas for this article. With thanks also for their support to Arc Dance, ResCen and Christopher Bannerman, Middlesex University, Professor Susan Melrose, Professor Alexandra Carter and the Arts and Humanities Research Board for their research awards to both authors.
Kim Brandstrup studied film at the University of Copenhagen and choreography under Nina Fonaroff at the London Contemporary Dance School before establishing Arc Dance Company in 1985. He has created over twenty works for the Arc Dance Company, including Saints and Shadows (Olivier Award nominee), Antic, Crime Fictions, Peer Gynt, Elegy, Brothers, Hamlet, Otello (Evening Standard Award for Most Outstanding Achievement in Dance, 1993) and most recently Hans Christian Andersen - the Anatomy of a Storyteller (2004). His freelance credits include productions for London Contemporary Dance Theatre, including Orfeo (1989 Laurence Olivier Award for Most Outstanding Achievement in Dance), Geneva Ballet, ENB, Royal Danish Ballet, Rambert Dance Company, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal and Afsked for Johan Kobborg. Future commissions will include new works for the Royal Swedish Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet and an evening of opera and dance to Debussy at the Bregenz Festival 2006.
Niki Pollard is currently working towards an AHRB-funded doctorate at Middlesex University concerned with issues raised here of the ways that writing practices approach dance-making. She studied previously at Corpus Christi College Cambridge and the Laban Centre for Movement and Dance.
After note in disavowal
Niki Pollard & Kim Brandstrup
Writing has been an awkward mode of production of knowledge by which to articulate Brandstrup's understanding of the importance of a brief temporal window in choreographic practice. Whereas a reader can scan to and fro through writing laid out before him or her at will, a dance viewer experiences performance as unfolding, falling always into the past. To write that brief present through references to scientific literature, which draws authority from its seeming disengagement, may inadvertently have distanced us from the concerns that prompted the writing, and which only arose for Brandstrup through artistic engagement. We may then ape scientific enquiry and fail to be practice-focused because we have not negotiated - only signalled here - the epistemological and ethical difficulties of writing research of choreographic practice.
For example, throughout the paper, our voices are variously marked as joint or distinct, yet these distinctions are grounded in compromised judgements as to the rhetorical registers that will parse in formal writing to our different perspectives of practitioner and researcher. Our relation with regard to writing and choreographic expertise is asymmetric: Brandstrup is a professional choreographer and not an expert writer, while Pollard is a doctoral candidate, aiming at writing mastery within objectives specific to her research. The authoritative mode of our writing (formal in tone, for example, and supported by a scholarly apparatus of footnotes and bibliography) may displace what should be the primary authority of Brandstrup's inventive professional artistic practice. The inclusion of photographic stills and excerpts from conversation (albeit transcribed and edited, hence modulated into a writing medium) represents our limited attempts to offset this displacement and indicate the mixed-mode, oral economies29 in which Brandstrup operates as professional artist and on which this research writing is premised.
1 Pöppel, Ernst. 'Reconstruction of subjective time on the basis of a hierarchically organised processing system.' María A. Pastor, Julio Artieda (eds.) (1996) Time, internal clocks and movement. Amsterdam, Lausanne, New York, Oxford, Shannon, Tokyo: Elsevier. pp.165-185, p.175.
2 'Prolegomena to Choreographic Action', Arc Dance choreographic research workshops led by Kim Brandstrup, 18-23 June 2001, held at the Jerwood Space, London. See arcdance.com for further details.
3 Zeki, Semir (1999) Inner vision: an exploration of art and the brain. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.10.
4 Melrose, Susan (2003) 'Textual turns - and a turn-up for the books'. www.sfmelrose.u-net.com. See also Karin Knorr Cetina, 'Objectual practice' in Theodore R. Schatzki, Karin Knorr Cetina, Eike Von Savigny (eds.) (2001) The Practice turn in contemporary theory. London and New York: Routledge. pp.175-188.
5 Polanyi, Michael (1967) The Tacit Dimension. New York: Anchor Books.
6 Melrose, Susan (2003) 'Textual turns - and a turn-up for the books'. www.sfmelrose.u-net.com
7 Melrose in conversation with Niki Pollard, February 2005.
8 Zeki, Semir (1999) Inner vision: an exploration of art and the brain. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p.10
9 Quoted from 'Coherence of temporal structure', an article published by the Buenos Aires Attachment Research Center (no author or date given), at attachment.edu.ar/amodal.html
10 For information on Laban's work, refer, for example to Laban, Rudolf (3rd edn. 1971, 1st pubd 1961) The mastery of movement. London: Macdonald & Evans
11 I would like here to acknowledge my debt to Nina Fonaroff (1913-2003) who through her choreographic teaching inspired my reflections on the temporal.
12 Curiously, recent research in cognitive psychology seems to parallel what Brandstrup is saying about how he tracks his perception of a potential dance element in terms of what he perceives as its emergent temporal structure. It is believed that 'time provides an organizing structure that helps identify different entities […S]eparate parts of the body such as limbs, torso, and face, move together synchronously to a split second […] All the stimuli, be they auditory, visual, tactile or proprioceptive emanating from the self share a common time structure. Now this ability to amalgamate one's own senses temporally overlaps with the ability to discern from them the perception of similarities and differences in what is seen and heard in another person.' See 'Coherence of temporal structure' at attachment.edu.ar/amodal.html
13 O'Conchuir, Fearghus (2001) Report on 'Prolegomena to choreographic action'. Refer to www.arcdance.com
14 The entry at www.psybox.com comments that iconic and echoic memory 'both apply to stimulus materials of very short duration (in the case of iconic memory, typically 1/20 second); both are central processes, having a degree of overlap with the related processes of attention and perception.
15 See, for example, Muter, Paul (2001) 'The nature of forgetting from short-term memory'. Behavioral and brain sciences 24 (1), 134. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge. Reprinted at http://cogprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk/ Also the entry on iconic memory at www.psybox.com
16 See for example http://www.brain-dynamics.net/about/intro/neuro.php and http://www.simpletoremember.com/vitals/TV_Danger_SCIAM2.htm
17 Pöppel, Ernst. 'Reconstruction of subjective time on the basis of a hierarchically organised processing system.' María A. Pastor, Julio Artieda (eds.) (1996) Time, internal clocks and movement. Amsterdam, Lausanne, New York, Oxford, Shannon, Tokyo: Elsevier. Pp165-185, p.175
18 Pöppel, ibid. p.178
19 Pöppel, ibid. p.176
20 Jean Decety (2002) cited in 'Neuroscientists searching for roots of empathy find brain regions involved in learning by imitation. University of Washington, reproduced at www.empathogens.com/empathy
21 For an account of the 'mirror stage' see for example, Shipton, ibid.
22 Webster, Richard (2002) 'The cult of Lacan' http://www.richardwebster.net/thecultoflacan.html
23 Shipton, ibid.
24 Damasio, Antonio (2004) Looking for Spinoza: joy, sorrow and the feeling brain. London: Vintage. See also, Wolf, N.S., Gales, M.E., Shane, E., Shane, M. (2001) 'The developmental trajectory from amodal perception to empathy and communication: the role of mirror neurons in this process'. Psychoanalytic inquiry, 27 Feb 2001, vol 21, no.1, pp94-112. This article refers to the research of Wolf et al, 2000 and Rizzolatti et al, 1995 on mirror neurons involved in infant 'modal perception' (Stern 1985).
25 Report, author unknown, (2002) 'Neuroscientists searching for roots of empathy find brain regions involved in learning by imitation'. University of Washington, reproduced at www.empathogens.com/empathy.
26 Malmgren, Helge (1998) 'Moving towards the other'. Published at www.phil.gu.se/fu/theories.
27 (2004) 'Empathy may not be uniquely human quality', 24/4/04 Newscientist.com
28 Brandstrup: Arguably, I could point out how one movement sets up a sequence of anticipation for the next by using slow motion video playback. However, by reproducing movement in slow motion the effect and resonance of the movement changes too and so the resonance and pulse of expectation will change too.
29 Ong, Walter (1982) Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word. Methuen: London. Cited by Melrose, Susan (2002) 'Textual turns - and a turn-up for the books'. See www.sfmelrose.u-net.com.
Web design John Robinson
With thanks to Susan Melrose
Last updated 10:00 7th October 2007