Andrea Božić in conversation with Maren Butte and KirstenMaar
Published in: Butte, Maren, et al. Assign & Arrange, Methodologies of Presentation in Art and Dance. Sternberg Press, 2014
The piece After Trio A (2010) by dancer and choreographer Andrea Božić developed from a dialogue with Yvonne Rainer’s famous dance from 1966, Trio A: in Božić’s piece, two dancers are assigned to learn a sequence from Trio A without ever having practiced it before.1
Onstage, two screens of the same size are installed in the background, hanging at different heights, and right at the front, a small monitor sits facing the stage. At the beginning, the text projected on a screen to the left explains that the two dancers, Félix Marchand and Litó Walkey, “will see the original dance phrase of Yvonne Rainer’s Trio A for the first time tonight. They are asked to learn the phrase during the course of the performance, copying from the monitor onstage.” And this is what happens over the following fifty minutes: the process of rehearsal and repetition, which conventionally remains invisible to an audience, is displayed onstage, resulting in a presentation of the learned sequence at the end of the evening. First, Marchand enters the stage and turns to the monitor, whose image is invisible to the audience. He starts moving while his concentrated eyes seemingly follow the movements on the monitor. After a while, the video is projected on a screen behind him, showing Yvonne Rainer performing in a black training outfit in a video shot by Sally Banes in 1978. It becomes clear that it is her movements that Marchand is following. The performance is marked by typical learning behavior: tentative movements, a-rhythmic flows, breaks, repetitions, and leave-outs. His fragile and fragmented dance is recorded by a camera placed next to the monitor, and this footage is being transferred to the right screen via live feed. Now the second dancer—Litó Walkey—enters the stage, but, instead of turning to the monitor, starts to imitate Marchand’s movements onscreen, translating his moving image through her body. Changes in tone or quality of execution become immediately obvious because of differences in gender, body shape, and training. But the differences are also an effect of the specific structure of the copying system arranged on the stage.
At the end of the performance, the video projection is omitted, and both dancers try to capture the movements from their memory. It is here that striking moments of failure, of hesitation or stagnation, of reflection, or jumping to another moment of the choreography manifest the gaps in the process of remembering most obviously. Watching the piece, the observer starts to reflect on these processes of rehearsing, learning, and exercising in dance, which—in spite of the use of mirrors, video cameras, and digital software—often function via a direct kinaesthetic transfer and bodily mimesis.
From time to time, particular phrases are displayed on the screen: “No to spectacle,” “No to virtuosity,” “No to transformations and magic and make-believe,” [...] “No to involvement of performer or spectator.” These citations are an explicit reference to the well-known historic document that Rainer wrote alongside the production of Trio A in 1965, the “No-Manifesto.” Here she criticizes conventions of dance-performances, theatricality, and expression, which were specific to modern dance culture. At first these catchphrases seem to perfectly match Božić 's aesthetics: the minimalistic arrangement and non-spectacular learning are not at all virtuous or seem to evoke any sort of make-believe.
The original dance piece that Božić refers to, Yvonne Rainer’s Trio A, is neither ruled by the tension of classical ballet nor by expressive gesture or the contraction and release of modern dance, but by non-virtuosic, minimalist movement sequences of walking, turning, jumping, bending, or rotating of singular body parts, indirect gesture, and shifts of balance. There are no climaxes; there is no reference to dramaturgy. Rather, the movements show an equality of body parts and a seeming consistency of energy. The piece is considered emblematic of the early period of postmodern dance or, more specifically, of the Judson generation of the mid-1960s. But what makes this piece so significant is the fact that in contrast to other well-known works from that time—e.g. Parts of Some Sextets (1965)—it is nearly the only work from the early years of Judson that has video documentation. Even if the video was produced in 1978, over ten years later, by Sally Banes, and even if Rainer herself is quite critical of that recording, at least there is evidence of these movements and their succession.
The video illustrates the movement quality that was so striking at that time, and which Rainer defines in her essay “A Quasi Survey of Some Minimalist Tendencies in the Quantitatively Minimal Dance Activity midst the Plethora, or an Analysis of Trio A.”2 Here she confronts dance with the minimalist art-object. She emphasizes factors like “energy equality,” “found movement,” “neutral performance,” and “task activity,” and stresses the minimalizing and eliminating of elements, which helped to question the role of the author. The activity itself was more important than the demonstration of character. In the execution of movement, there were no climaxes, but rather continuous transitions between the singular phrases. The presentation was not performed in a mimetic, psychological or expressive regime. Frontality toward the public should be avoided; instead, the performance aimed at an attitude, which Rainer described as “being a neutral doer.”3
In her answer to this, Božić delivers a thrilling examination that reflects on the former modes of artistic production from a contemporary point of view. One of Rainer’s statements, “Dance is hard to see,”4 is explicitly referred to here: The ephemerality of dance is reflected upon within the complex learning processes. What we see is not the choreography but the appropriation process, in which different time layers and aesthetics overlap. Rainer’s Trio A does not rely on mimetic appropriation of dancerly form, but Božić's piece displays a process of appropriation. In the original piece, phrasing played an essential role, and Rainer emphasized that between the singular movements there should be no pauses, but they should linked by continuity and duration; these qualities are successively de-constructed in Božić's piece.
When she developed Continuous Project—Altered Daily in 1970, Yvonne Rainer posed a question: what happens if we put a rehearsal situation on stage? Now, this question seems to be taken literally in Božić's After Trio A. But here, this “staging rehearsal” is not about the processes of negotiations within a group, as it was at stake in Continuous Project—Altered Daily, a piece which could be seen as a predecessor of the later Grand Union, the performance collective of former Judson dancers and choreographers who worked together from 1970 to 1976. The aspect, which is at stake in After Trio A, rather touches already mentioned questions of rehearsing and practicing, which are of essential relevance for the performing arts. Repetition and transformation are inherent to the everyday practice of dance. They are means by which familiarity with a certain movement material and the identity of an individual dancer emerge. To expose this process implicates an alternative idea of virtuosity, one that resonates again with the phrase “No to virtuosity” from the “No-Manifesto” displayed on the screen.
The strategies of appropriation in this piece are reflected on the level of changing media and its temporalities. What happens within the processes of transfer between the bodies, respectively, and between the body and the video? The failures of exact reproduction by Walkey and Marchand break the continuity and mark differences. This interval could also be read as a “productive interplay between historic document and live- performance.”5 In the complex layering of the old video take and the actualized versions, time seems to be condensed into a conglomeration of multiple conceptions of time.6 In the 1960s, production processes in the arts changed fundamentally. In dance, not only the use of pedestrian or everyday movement or a non-narrative presentation was included, but also manipulations of time were essential to these changes in production.7 Rainer’s early works, Parts of Some Sextets (1965), for example, show that by the mid-1960s she already had a strong sense of timing. By relating a task- based time to a measurable timeframe, linear time and duration, and modular and serial structure, she proved an extensive sensibility to think in sections and structures. In After Trio A, the juxtaposition of historical document—which demonstrates continuity and duration—and a fragmented time-structure makes these choreographic procedures become visible anew.
Different time levels seem to meet in After Trio A—this becomes evident in a specific aesthetic structure. The layering of a repetitive dance structure, a simultaneous video feed, and sound elements implicates another form of timing—a specific form of displacement or a sort of visual echo. Reproduction technologies in dance practice as well as the procedures of repetition are used as a tool for transformation—and for verifying our relation to dance history. The notions of re-production, of displacement, dislocation, or echoing could be taken as critical but respectful modes of this dialogue with dance history, which has not yet passed.
Interview with Andrea Božić
Maren Butte and Kirsten Maar: Why did you choose Yvonne Rainer’s Trio A to work with? And since you don’t call After Trio A a reconstruction or a re-enactment, what does it mean to you to designate it as a dialogue?
Andrea Božić: After Trio A was commissioned for the COVER#2 Festival in Amsterdam in 2012. The organizers invited several choreographers of a younger generation to cover a piece of their choice from dance history. The question of how to deal with the concept of “covering” was also left open to us. I was immediately interested in the idea yet at the same time found it challenging. Yvonne Rainer and Trisha Brown’s works sprang to my mind, as my dance education at SNDO (School for New Dance Development) in Amsterdam was very much impregnated with post- Judson approaches. I read a lot about Rainer’s work, but had hardly seen any of it on video, simply because there exist very few recordings. I only had a few black-and-white images in my mind. While reading about her work, however, I always felt an affinity for her way of thinking about dance and have noticed certain similarities in choreographic strategies. The affinity was not based on liking her work (as I had not seen it) but liking her thinking about dance. Shortly before this commission, I had made a piece called Nothing Can Surprise Us, in which I had asked three performers to copy the movements of characters from catastrophe movies from a monitor live onstage within a performance. I was interested in exposing a process that performers go through onstage within a complex environment. I presented Nothing Can Surprise Us at a conference in Exeter at that time, and Ramsay Burt happened to be in the audience. After the presentation, he mentioned to me that Yvonne Rainer had recently made a new piece where she asks a dancer to dance a phrase copying from a monitor on stage.8 I think that both my and her piece was made in the same year, so this is what I mean by the affinity of strategies. When the invitation to make a cover came, all of this landed together into an idea to make a performance in which the idea of covering someone else’s work would be made legible, visible, and investigated by the performance itself.
Why cover another person’s work at all, and is it possible to cover another person’s ideas? Is it possible to understand what the other person’s interest was? How can this process of engaging with another person’s work be made visible in a live performance, with all the questions and discoveries that emerge from it? The idea to ask two dancers to learn a sequence of Rainer’s Trio A live during the course of the performance by copying from a monitor onstage emerged very quickly from that context. I proposed it to visual artist Julia Willms, who is part of my team, and she immediately liked it and expanded on the idea. I decided not to attempt to re-enact a performance I had never seen but to use the material available around it (a YouTube video of the dance phrase, Rainer’s and other people’s writing about it) to stage a process of reconstruction of the “original,” while at the same time staging a “dialogue” with that original. In that sense, all the misunderstandings would be able to enter the stage as well and become visible through the dialogue. I was thus not interested in reconstructing or re-enacting, but in covering the principles or interests that made Trio A into what it is, at least to the extent that I could intuit and understand them. Trio A was built around the ideas of continuity and spectatorship.
I decided to cover those two principles. We looked at everything in the making process through the filter of those two words. In her writing, Rainer herself identified the tendency in all Western dance toward a type of phrasing where all moments are subordinated to a climax and subsequently a release in the dance. Trio A was a kind of a “No!” to this. The continuity in the phrasing of Trio A was then based on a certain non- hierarchy of all moments, on a movement sequence where nothing is repeated and all moments are equally valid but they are not monotonous. The “investment of energy” into the movement is what makes it specific and precise at every given moment, but none is in service to the others. The other principle, that of spectatorship, had to do with Rainer’s statement that the relationship between the performer and audience is inherently narcissistic-voyeuristic. The audience looks at the performer “expressing” or telling something about him/herself. Rainer was apparently also reacting to the expressionist dancing of the generation older than hers (which she admitted to not having seen very much of live) and to the subordination of the dancing body to a narrative in ballet. In that sense, she decided to stage a performer who is doing “task-like” activity—even though Trio A is not based on a task but consists of choreographed dance sequences. The dancers here were not performing a functional task but were working, in my interpretation, on certain energy modulations within the dance phrase, and the audience observed this working process. In order to emphasize this, Trio A was made in such a way that the dancers would never look at the audience, and when the phrase would bring them to face the audience, they would close their eyes. I imagine that this task-like silent movement and the inverted gaze gave the live Trio A dance a very intimate, contemplative, and intense quality. For Rainer, and for me as well, these two principles were heavily politically impregnated—they are pretty existential questions and applicable to every human interaction. I was drawn to Rainer’s work probably through a similar affinity toward a structural interest and away from expressionist dancing.
MB and KM: After Trio A is marked by different kinds of relationality and referentiality. How did you reflect on the questions of authorship within your processes of appropriation?
AB: I am mentioned as the choreographer of After Trio A in the programme and I am the author of the whole project called After Trio A in collaboration with the team that has worked with me on specific aspects of the project (Julia Willms, Robert Pravda, the dancers, and the lighting designer). Yvonne Rainer is mentioned as the choreographer of the original pieces Trio A and “No Manifesto,” which After Trio A covered. The question of authorship is an interesting one, as it is already implied in Trio A. The phrase itself is less than five minutes long, and Rainer herself danced and presented it in various contexts: on its own, as part of the The Mind is a Muscle evening; as Trio B. It was danced by a large number of naked people, wearing only American flags as protest against the Vietnam war. I understood that Rainer later referred to the phrase as something that could be used by anyone; however, the phrase is very specific and precise and not so easy to learn at all, let alone by trying to learn it from a monitor. Rainer took six months to work on this five-minute phrase. Trio A is a complex manifesto itself. When I asked Rainer for her permission to cover her piece, she replied “go for it,” however, “with proper credit and attribution.”
She wrote: What your dancers will come up with from the video of Trio A will definitely not be the Trio A that I or one of the authorized transmitters would teach. Keep in mind that Trio A cannot be learned properly from a video. However, I am sympathetic to the idea that a dancer attempts to learn it from a video RIGHT IN PERFORMANCE, if that is your idea, so that the audience can see the discrepancies and process simultaneously. As you seem to know, I have done that myself (in a re-vision of Balanchine’s Agon several years ago).
For me, the idea of authorship as it appears in working with her choreography is very important for the question of “transfer” of knowledge. In order to really enter into dialogue with Rainer’s work,
I need to be able to grasp the specificity and precision of it. Only then can it really get into a dialogue with my own ideas, and only then can certain transfers happen. This process, for me, did not have so much to do with appropriating authorship, but rather with transferring certain artistic experience and thinking behind the work. This, for me, was the real engagement that emerged from working with Rainer’s material, and it has profoundly affected my process. Rainer’s work is minimized to the essential and sharpened to a certain core, and this has resonated powerfully in my practice. This is where the real question of individual authorship lies and dissolves at the same time.
MB and KM: This explains why After Trio A is neither a cover nor a re- enactment but is more dedicated to the principles of Rainer’s choreography. Did you mark the form of a dialogue by using the relational word “after?” And why did you write a manifesto of your own after Rainer’s “No Manifesto” and her own revision from 2008?
AB: I was interested in revisiting those questions from a perspective nowadays: where are we with those questions today, starting from my own artistic practice and fascinations and relating to the context I live in? In that sense, the “after” in the title of After Trio A refers both to doing something after Rainer’s text (if we see Trio A as a text), and revisiting those questions forty years after Rainer and her generation posed them explicitly through their work.
Rainer wrote the “No Manifesto” alongside Trio A, but the two were not meant to directly explain each other. I myself work with a combination of physical, conceptual, textual, and sensorial material in order to create a complete work. I am interested in working with a “double attention,” where working with two or more focus points or languages at the same time creates a more dynamic picture than each of these aspects separately. When I mailed Rainer, she also sent me her “A Manifesto Reconsidered,” which she had written a few years earlier (in 2008). It was indeed her own revisiting of the “No Manifesto” from that point of view. Within the idea of revisiting Trio A from a perspective of 2010, it was only natural for me to write a kind of response to the “No Manifesto” and “A Manifesto Reconsidered,” thinking along those lines. I reverted “No” to “Yes” because I felt that the generation of 1960s has already “undone” certain questions by radical “No-to” approaches. At the same time, I felt that many of these questions still had not really been dealt with until today, that they still remain the same, that they have not yet become a lived reality, and that we have not yet experienced a paradigm shift—that we are still in the same postmodern era of thinking as they were the 1960s, only perhaps at a different specter of it. It feels like things are shifting, but at the same time the questions and issues remain the same. The “Yes” prefix was an attempt for me to try to think about the notions rejected by Rainer in her manifesto from a perspective of, “If not that, then what?” So, from a kind of a projective perspective, maybe proactive perspective, it became a question of how to identify what could replace that which is rejected, not as a fixed proposal but rather to open space in this direction of thinking.
I integrated quotes from the “No Manifesto” into After Trio A, the performance, to provide another layer, to shed a different light onto what is happening onstage at the moment of the text’s appearance. It worked as one of the parallel lines of the performance, where it provided one of the counterpoints to the learning activity of the dancers and the growing spectacle around them. The three lines created a dynamic field in which many issues of this dialogue become observable, and this is the actual choreography of this performance.
MB and KM: Trio A is not a task-based piece—it is completely choreographed. The fascinating thing about this dynamic field in After Trio A is its openness and potentiality: even the dancers do not know what it is going to happen or what it is going to look like at the end. This can also be very intimidating, we assume. In an interview with the dancers after the show, we asked them how it felt to “perform rehearsing,” and they did not talk about continuity but about the difficulties they had, which resulted from the regular disruptions and the procedure of alignment.9 Thus, questions about how to appropriate movement come to the fore. The acts of copying from the screen or respectively from another dancer’s body differ fundamentally, as we finally see, when the dancers “fail” the last repetition. But they fail on a different level: Whereas video projections seem to be similar to the training mirror, the learning from another dancer resembles the basic procedure between a teacher and his disciple—the process of transferring from one body to another. In 1966, Yvonne Rainer described how her “body, weight, mass, physicality remain the enduring reality”;10 years later, dance scholar Ramsay Burt ascribed to the Judson dancers a specific “embodied sensitivity,” which resulted from the use of everyday movement and the task- based approach.11 Against this background, we have to ask what it means for younger dancers to be between these modes of choreographic procedures and differentiated bodily techniques today. Could you tell us more about the assignment of copying live and about the preparation and training process with the changing dancers?
AB: In After Trio A, there are two different conditions for the dancer. One always copies from the monitor, where a two-minute excerpt of Rainer’s phrase is looped about twenty times. The other dancer always copies from the first dancer, but sometimes s/he copies from the video recording of the first dancer and sometimes from the first dancer directly. The first position is more stable but requires precision in picking up the material and responsibility not only to learn yourself but also to be as clear as possible for the other dancer learning from you (while you are learning). The second position is complex because the phrase that you are learning is in the process of being learned, so it is constantly slightly changing and modifying. Besides, you shift between the recording of the dancer to take it live from the dancer, which is an extra complication. Learning from the body of another dancer or from a video image are very different approaches, and one has to constantly shift between these two and fill in the gaps. The principle of this choreographic chain is based on covering the principle of continuity: Although the original phrase is looped a number of times, there is never repetition, as the relations between the two dancers and the two dancers toward the original phrase constantly change, as the phrase is being slowly embodied. Twice in the performance, we stop the loop: once in the middle of the process and once at the end of the performance. For those moments, I ask the dancers to dance whatever they remember from the process, and to dance it as openly and precisely as possible: to try to follow the chronological line of the phrase rather than skip around the material, and when they do not remember what comes next, to hold and wait until they get it. The first time we stop the train, I ask them to work together on remembering the phrase, to collaborate. In the last part of the performance, I ask them to do it with their eyes closed, not looking at each other but following their own memory. In this way, we actually get two different solos, which form an interesting duet in relation to each other, and a trio with the original phrase. I also ask the dancers to observe the following during the whole course of the performance: to try to be as precise as possible in their bodies (not to mark the material), to keep trying to get more and more information about the phrase and not to guess or interpret, to try to embody the phrase during the course of the performance (not leave it in the form but try to understand where it comes from in the body, also based on the reading they did beforehand and their own dance history). And foremost, I ask them to be open and transparent about their own process at every given moment onstage. Indeed, this is a very challenging thing to ask from a dancer because I ask them to do the opposite of what we normally do as dancers: to dance something they have not prepared in rehearsal but to dance the process of learning itself. However, I make sure to explain that the performance does not in any way try to stage a process of competition of who has learned it better, and that even if there is judgement forming in the audience, that there is also empathy with the learning process. I talk to the dancers about strategies of how not to be affected by such thoughts during the performance. The dancers feel very exposed in this process, but also very curious and challenged to do it. Once the intentions are clear, the work emerges. I must say that I have been quite fascinated by how all of the dancers we worked with have managed this process, how transparent they managed to make it, and how, precisely at the same time, they worked. All of the insecurities that emerge from the process of exposure are usually dealt with right on the spot in surprising ways. For me, it is a gift to be able to witness such a process with all of the complications it entails, and I am grateful to each of the dancers for it.12
MB and KM: The movements are being accompanied by a particularly composed soundscape by Robert Pravda. The musician and composer creates a mixture of sounds and noises live onstage. In this soundscape, he tapes and replays, accumulating the acoustic layers. From time to time, Pravda himself enters the stage and pulls a string to which a speaker is attached, which rises and then crashes down when he lets it slip out of his hands. In Trio A, there was no accompanying sound. Traditionally, dance is seen in close relation to or is even dependent on music, and that was one of the reasons for Rainer to eliminate music at that time.
Furthermore to this soundscape, from time to time a juggler enters the stage and performs. So, within this intermedia constellation of your piece, a juggler, a repetitive action with the loudspeaker, and a growing soundscape interact with the dancers. Could you tell us more about your compositional decisions and your decisions to integrate these elements?
AB: The choreography of the performance is based on two interwoven lines: firstly, the dancers doing the task-like activity of learning and embodying a dance phrase, and, secondly, a slow accumulation of elements associated with a spectacle surrounding them. The dancers always keep working and the spectacular elements always keep accumulating, but they are always both present, and in that way they both affect the viewer in their accumulation and make each other visible at the same time. The juggler is a quote from Rainer’s The Mind is a Muscle evening (1968), where task-like activity sections were combined with the appearance of a magician. We decided to have a juggler who would occasionally come in and entertain the audience while the dancers were learning. Every time the juggler came in, one’s gaze is immediately drawn to her and one cannot help noticing her.
The juggler has a rhythm of appearances and disappearances in relation to the learning process and is followed by more elements of a musical: the dancers put on a shiny top, then tap shoes, then a Fred Astaire-like hat, all the while still learning the phrase. These elements are in strong contrast to the Trio A phrase, but at the same time they produce a different kind of fusion with it: the presence of the dancers becomes unspectacularly spectacular. This is not only due to the elements used but also because of the compositional organization of the video and the sound in relation to it. The sound for the performance is by Robert Pravda, and he is linked to the juggler, with his appearances and disappearances from stage. Every time a juggler comes in, he comes in as well and holds the speaker on the rope in the air. When he drops the speaker, the juggler needs to exit, so he exits as well.
The fall of the speaker is an extremely spectacular event in the performance. The sound is a cover of the principle of continuity as well. In The Mind is a Muscle, Rainer let wooden planks drop onto the stage in metronomic rhythm as a soundscape to the piece. Robert, Julia, and myself have worked together for a number of years already and have developed the concept of a “vertical” relationship of sound to other live elements of the performance. This means that it happens in parallel to it but is compositionally related to it. Verticality relates to initially shorter sound incidents (like the falling of the speaker or other short incidental sounds) that “fall vertically” into the continuous process of the dance— this way both separating it and, in the longer run, integrating into it. Robert’s falling speaker and vertical sounds are slowly accompanied by a horizontal line in the sound: a kind of motor, an ongoing movement of noise that has a continuous but modulated drive, much like the dancers do in their process. The modulations of the two dancers and of the motor drive in the sound create a series of off-shifts in a trio relationship. This ongoing motor in combination with the accumulation of vertical sounds gives the space a very spectacular quality; it transforms the space of here and now into a space of spectacle. When it stops twice in the performance, we are almost violently thrown back into the here and now.
MB and KM: Trio A first was performed as a trio by Steve Paxton, David Gordon, and Yvonne Rainer, but because of Banes’s video take, we all know Trio A as a solo performance. In your arrangement, it is in a way transformed into a duet—or, could one see it again as a trio with a medial display and an image of Yvonne Rainer?
AB: Trio A was originally performed as a trio where the three dancers danced it at the same time but not in unison. They would dance it following the timing that their individual bodies needed for the movement, so small individual off-shifts became visible. I only saw Trio A as a solo on YouTube, but I knew that it was meant to be danced as a trio in that way, and I always imagined it that way. Rainer herself played with it and made a Trio B, where they dance it both together and in unison. This emphasized the absence of the small off-shifts, I imagine. These adjustments that are rendered visible in Trio A actually interested me most about this piece: how it made the space of the deferrals visible through its careful choreographic proposition. In After Trio A, all I did was make various off-shifts visible: the off-shifts between the two dancers and their individual off-shifts from the original dance. It is a trio, even if it is danced by two dancers in the here and now, because the third one is present in the mediated image, or in the absent image, or in the theoretical image, but always present through some kind of an image in the room to which we relate what we see. This was my cover of both the concept of continuity and spectatorship: the constellation of what we are looking at is never repeated; there are always different trio arrangements appearing.
In this way, the video monitors have an instructional function at the beginning: they serve as a tool for the dancers to copy the dance from (whether from Rainer or from each other). Later, this instructional function disappears, and they act as co-dancers, bringing the images of Rainer, the “No Manifesto,” or the first dancer into the total viewing constellation that is present at that moment onstage. With every new viewing constellation, new relations become visible. At the same time, the video images rhythmically accumulate and disappear, becoming elements of the spectacle, and with their disappearance quickly shift the space into other relations. One of the most important functions of the video is this choreography of gaze, a shift in which relations are looked at. They indeed produce a feedback loop through space and time—from the past to the present—through which the materiality of the dance is transferred with all of the noise that gets in the way. Finally, in their constellation, accumulation, disappearance, and relation to the live dance and sound, they co-produce the total sense of presence of the piece. There is a kind of transfer of materiality happening through the grid, when the dance materializes in the bodies of the dancers via video images but also via the gaps in the images, where the gaps are filled in in the present. I see the video technology in the piece as a kind of grid through which transfer takes place, and at the same time something that creates a co-presence as a co-dancer, even in its absence. In the end, whenever possible in the venue, we fly the screens offstage and the dancers are left on their own in a big room, with no more sound or video, and they dance what they embodied in the process. The result is always a Trio A phrase, a dance that emerged from this process, always deeply impregnated with the personality and history of the dancer who went through the process.
1 The piece, by Andrea Božić and her team, Julia Willms and Robert Pravda, was presented at the Hebbel am Ufer Theater (HAU2) in Berlin on December 7, 2012 as part of the conference “Assign & Arrange: Methodologies of Presentation in Art and Dance.”
2 Yvonne Rainer, “A Quasi Survey of Some Minimalist Tendencies in the Quantitatively Minimal Dance Activity Midst the Plethora, or an Analysis of Trio A (1966),” in What Is Dance? Readings in Theory and Criticism, eds. Roger Copeland und Marshall Cohen (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983), 328.
4 Quoted in Carrie Lambert-Beatty, “Seeing
difficulties,” Introduction to Being watched. Yvonne Rainer and the 1960s (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008), 1.
5 Timmy de Laet, “Intricate Interactions. On the Live-Re-enactment of Documental Relics,” in Moments. Eine Geschichte der Performance in 10 Akten, exh. cat. ZKM Karlsruhe, eds. Sigrid Gareis, Georg Schöllhammer and Peter Weibel (Cologne: Walther König, 2013), 388.
6 For his inspiring considerations to connect these strategies with theoretical reflections by Deleuze and Bergson see: Ibid.
7 Catherine Wood and Carrie Lambert-Beatty both suggest to range Rainer’s choreographic works of that time within a context of post- Fordist modes of production. Cf. Carrie Lambert- Beatty, “How to manage time / Wie man Zeit organisiert,” 27–47, and Anne Wood, “Work and ‘Work,’” 49–63, both in Yvonne Rainer. Space Body Language, eds. Yilmaz Dziewior and Barbara Engelbach, ex. cat. Kunsthaus Bregenz and Museum Ludwig Köln (Cologne: Walther König, 2012), and Sabeth Buchmann’s study on Rainer, LeWitt and Oiticica subsumes their works under the key issues of “Production—Technology— Subjectivity.” Cf. Sabeth Buchmann, Denken gegen das Denken. Produktion, Technologie, Subjektivität bei Sol LeWitt, Yvonne Rainer und Hélio Oiticica (Berlin: b_books, 2007).
8 Yvonne Rainer, AG indexical, with a little help from H.M., 2007. In this piece, Rainer refers to George Balanchine and Igor Stravinsky’s Agon from 1957.
9 Quoted from the public evening discussion with Félix Marchand and Litó Walkey after the show at the HAU2, December 7, 2012.
10 Yvonne Rainer, Work 1961–73 (Halifax: Press of Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1974), 71. 11 Ramsay Burt, Judson Dance Theater. Performative Traces (London: Routledge, 2007), esp. chapter 3: “Minimalism, theory, and the dancing body,” 52–87.
12 Claire French, who danced in the Vancouver version, worded the process better than I could in a text she wrote for her blog. http://clairefrench. blogspot.nl/2012/02/after-after-trio-or-post-post- modern.html, accessed January 20, 2014.