Plans, artist research and reflections with regards to all my work produced in my second year of university.
I have found it helpful to use Laban's Eukinetic and Choreutic terminology to align my body to the positions of the statues and the make choreographic decisions of how to morph between these positions.
DESCRIPTION OF HERMAPHRODITUS' POSITION
- Twisted torso
- Left arm pronated in the lateral plane
- Diagonal sagittal bend from the centre of gravity
- Right arm pronated down to fore-arm with a pressure on the fore-arm - palm of the hand reaching out at 90 degrees to the fore-arm
- Focus of head facing down to the right
- Both legs are fixed in the longitudinal dimension, the left leg is extended from the hip to the knee with a 90 bend from the knee to the feet.
- Twisted torso
- Left arm on the upper diagonal plane
- Slight release from the solar plexus backwards but within sagittal plane
- Right arm is bound across body with palm 90 degrees to forearm
- Focus of head into right shoulder
- Extension of hip with bent leg (from the knee) on the forward left diagonal plane
- Grounding of right supporting leg
- Twisted torso
- Left arm on lower diagonal plane
- Right arm bound position - arm bent inwards to body
- Focus of head downwards to right
- Left and right leg cross over in lateral plane.
- Twisted torso
- Arms in upper dimensional plane and bent slightly towards left
- Head turning to right
- Upper torso straight
- Lower torso bending to right
- Knees to the left
- Bound cross of left knee and lower leg over right leg in saggital plane.
- Twisted torso - forward inclination of right hip and backward inclination of left
- Hinge of torso backwards into diagonal plane
- isolation of right shoulder upwards
- left arm in lower diagonal plane with bound inward fore-arm at 90 degrees, meeting at the hip.
- opposing right arm on diagonal middle plane 90 degree angle with bound inward forearm - palm facing the face.
- Focus upwards over the top of right hand.
- Straight torso
- Bound arms - left arm crossing the torso on the lower diagonal
- Right arm crossing the upper torso on a bent horizontal cross.
- Asymmetric right leg, slightly inverted
- Focus to the right
- Slightly twisted torso
- Opposing arms - left arm in diagonal bent lower plane
- right arm in upper diagonal bent plane, with forearm bound.
- left leg slightly inverted in towards body
- focus of head slightly down and to the right
- Forward-facing torso
- Arms symmetrical
- Legs in parallel plie
- Focus down
- Arms bent upwards with a bend in the elbow and hands facing inwards towards the body.
Here, I am experimenting morphing between different statue postures exploring the different:
- direction of movement
- angles of viewing
- movements that make gender distinguishable
I have found that:
- the most effective and interesting dynamics are slow sustained movements between the positions.
- i chose to direct the movement in a way that aimed to tell 'what happened after the painting was taken', an expansion of the scene caught in still image.
- a variety of angles is best as this way the audience get an individual interpretation of my movements.
- muscular tension and direct/downward focus indicates male gender whereas softness in limbs and indirect/upward focus indicates female gender.
- positions that create curves in the body connote femininity whereas positions that fill out curves and create rhombus-like shapes tend to connote masculinity.
CLAIRE CUNNINGHAM - I saw Cunningham's mesmerising 'Give Me a Reason To Live' at Edinburgh Fringe 2015. She is a solo artist who choreographs movement in response to the Medieval paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, exploring and testing the limits of the body and of faith, paying a tribute to the disabled victims of the Nazi Euthanasia Programme. It was a short, captivating piece that morphed through a series of physical and mental tests that required incredible strength and concentration. For instance, balancing 5cm above the ground relying solely on crutches for a long period of time. Her focus and the minimal sound score/costume/set really inspired me and gave a lot of meaning to the work - making it mainly about the trials and relationships that the body is undergoing with the space as opposed to a representative scenario.
I want to use a similar focus within my performance art piece in order to portray the trials of being brought up as a hermaphrodite, as well as drawing upon the myth's portrayal of Hermaphroditus being attacked by the Nymph Salmacis with Salmacis being absent, just to focus on Hermaphroditus.
MARINA ABRAMOVIC -
"Once you enter into the performance state you can push your body to do things you absolutely could never normally do.”
I recently watched a documentary "Artist is Present" which reflects on Marina Abramovic's life and work. It highlighted her "Artist is Present" exhibition in MoMa, 2012, involving videos and installations of all her previous work as well as giving the members of public the opportunity to sit directly in front of her for as long as they wanted. I love the idea of presence being the key component of the work as I find it so captivating. I am interested in learning how to push yourself into a totally different state of mind during your performance that is solely concerned with the concept you are trying to portray and the significance of your position in the chosen space.
I want to use this emphasis on presence at the beginning of my piece. I have chosen to lie totally still for 2 and a half minutes with the audience in the round to draw the audience in.
I have become fascinated by where androgyny features in history and I came across the myth of Hermaphroditus and Salmacis. I have chosen to tie this in with my concept of androgyny and look at the themes that are found within myths: the idea of transition, change and inner and exterior motives between males and females.
I have looked at different ways of expressing the idea of androgyny through myth and reading Ovid's text and looking at art responses to the myth, I have decided I would like to do a performance art piece. I would like to base the piece on the different positions that Hermaphroditus is fixed in, in all of the artworks based on him and morph between these positions.
In these photos, I chose to give myself the freedom to explore the relationships between masculinity and femininity within one person.
VENN DIAGRAMS - I arranged the photos so the faces make the shape of Venn Diagrams, I've portrayed quite a mathematical, shallow approach to the concept of androgyny.
NEGATIVE - I found that by inverting one of the layers, the face could be portrayed as a supernatural being or a thought. This could link to our sexual/gender identity which provokes a lot of thought and research about the psychology of androgyny. By rotating these layers and playing with facial features as if they were additional markings to the face, I have created an effect of the expression of a presence/thought of their identification with the opposite gender that they actively portray.
EYE AS CENTRE - I chose to crop the Venn Diagram photos to focus on the overlapping section of the photos. It was interesting to be able to identify two people within one eye. Also the portrayal of one eye creates the sense of unity as a meaning of androgyny.
MARKINGS - I found that eliminating colour, inverting one layer and rotating it showed markings on the face that gave a historical, primitive connotation of androgyny. Like almost wearing the other gender as tribal paint. Drawing on the idea that you need the uniform of the opposite gender to function as your own gender.
I have chosen to explore the physical features that make the gender and sex of a person distinguishable. I am fascinated by the androgynous scale and the idea that someone can possess either strong features true to both sexes or how someone can appear to possess neither. My first thought has been to collect headshots of people of both sexes and experiment with different ways of combining male and female characteristics, focusing solely on the face.
Using Adobe Photoshop, I combined 2 layers of faces that had similar features. I began with Ramzi's face and added a second layer of Robyn's face. I altered the position using the stretching and moving tools as well as the opacity of the second layer. The change in the opacity was the variable that I manipulated to produce a progression of to a more female looking face, increasing the appearance of second layer of the bottom. The final photo of the scale had an opacity of 50/100, so it was the combination of the 2 faces. I erased any parts that didn't fit together.