Choreographic Objects

Synthesizing Whitehead and Deleuze, Erin Manning  (Always More than One) explicates William Forsythe’s notion of choreographic objects.

First, it’s important to clarify that choreography isn’t just something that professional dancers do.  “Choreography happens everywhere, all the time.”  Our lives are immersed in “everyday choreographies.” (91)

Choreographic objects can take their departure from any “everyday object: a balloon, a piece of cardboard, a mirror” (92).  The choreographic object opens the question of what else a body can do, a question that calls for experimental movement.  How does the object create open situations for movement experimentation?  “The choreographic object activates experimentation and play by bringing together the pastness of experience (the object as we know it) and its futurity (the object-ecology in its novel unfolding)” (95).

For Manning, choreographic objects are relational, ecological, participatory.

They extend beyond their objectness to become ecologies for complex environments that propose dynamic constellations of space, time, and movement.  These “objects” are in fact propositions co-constituted by the environments they make possible.  They urge participation.  Through the objects, spacetime takes on a resonance, a singularity: it becomes bouncy, it floats, it shadows.  The object becomes a missile for experience that inflects a given spacetime with a spirit of experimentation.  We could call these objects “choreographic objectiles” [in Deleuze’s sense of objectile] to bring to them the sense of incipient movement their dynamic participation within the relational environment calls forth. (92)

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