Visiting Artists | March 18- 31, 2018
Desire Lines: translation
After working together as dancers in the Merce Cunningham Dance Company and then seven years of collaborative performance and research, Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Riener came to MANCC to develop their new work, Desire Lines: translation. Their work process engages in the idea of indexing their practice while exploring the nature of transmission of movement ideas.
“Desire Lines” are alternate, unofficial routes or social trails in nature and landscape architecture. They represent an accumulated record of disobedience and transformation. Mitchell and Riener apply this phenomenon to an improvisation practice that maps individual and collective action. The choreographic material is the attention of the performer, a navigation of impulses and adaptive systems. The dance offers shifting and emergent models for coexistence, assimilation, and rebellion. Their choices create a world built of its own desires, a provisional utopia constantly making and unmaking itself.
For Desire Lines: translation, the pair draws connections in the areas of improvisation, collage, task-based modes, mimesis, meditation, and transcendentalism. The work and processes of Robert Rauschenberg, Anna Halprin, Charles Atlas, architect Claude Bragdon, and spirit-medium and artist Ethel Le Rossignol are used as road maps to navigate internal psychological landscapes, external architectural landscapes, and collective desire.
As a part of their investigation into group dynamics and choice structures while at MANCC, Riener met with FSU’s Dr. Jens Grosser, Professor of Political Science with a focus in Game Theory. Riener shared the game-like elements present in the improvisational score for the piece, and Dr. Grosser reflected Riener’s thoughts through the lexicon of game theory, illustrating how the concepts of deviance and equilibrium, and the ways exogenous and endogenous game players impact the outcomes of situations, real or imagined.
In addition, Mitchell and Riener opened the doors of their rehearsal process to the public in four Open Studio sessions, sharing their improvisational practice in both traditional studio settings, as well as outdoor spaces throughout FSU’s campus. Observers were welcome to come and go as needed, as dancers honed their ability to respond to bystanders not necessarily familiar with contemporary dance practices. Two of these sessions took place during the School of Dance’s weekly Forum.
Writer Claudia La Rocco joined Mitchell and Riener in her capacity as artist-in-residence at On the Boards in Seattle. Through a three-year Doris Duke grant, she is creating context around contemporary performance (focused on, but not exclusive to, the artists at OntheBoards.tv), in part through building partnerships with institutions such as MANCC. The Duke award is an artist-led grant, and the focus is on privileging individual perspectives, styles, and voices, approaching the creation of context as its own artistic practice.
Working with organizations like MANCC, and numerous artists and thinkers in the field, La Rocco’s project is an effort to spin constellations of ideas around ephemeral works, allowing individual viewers various avenues into these performances through such materials as interviews, essays, poems, drawings, and archival videos. Some of these materials are pre-existing, while others are being commissioned. While here at MANCC, La Rocco generated written material in response to the ensemble’s rehearsals and showings, and performed a reading of selected passages, in concert with Mitchell and Riener.