The Snark Dance

collaborative choreographies of collective memory

kinetic seance May 11, 2008

Filed under: processing,psychogeography,transportation,treasure hunting — danceswithsnarks @ 11:52 am

The kinetic Seance was a project I did after Futuresonic to expirement with all of the ideas that have been kicking around in my head. It is called the kinetic seance because it wishes to summon the spirits of the dead through movement. In french seance means to sit so there is a nice little juxtaposition at play there.

I decided to set the psychogeography in a graveyard with 10 participants. I brought with me one DV camera, tracing paper, paper, crayons, pencils, watercolors, and roses. I gave each participant a bag with tracing paper and crayons in order to copy any text they found interesting for mapping the cemetery. I thought this was a way to get participants to confront the tombstones. I also porvided them with paper to take notes and a rose (for its symbolic connotations) in order to mark sacred places within the cemetery or to facilitate anything they needed to let go. I had no exact rules for the game. However as each participant returned from getting lost they were told to make notes on the Minutes page. The experiment took place in nuhead cemetery, which is a very enchanting setting and good foot candy as well as eye candy.

Each participant went one at a time with the camera and was led to a random location after being blind folded and made dizzy. They were then told they were free to do what they wanted but had to think about how they wished to feedback to the group afterwards. The original idea was that as more people came back from the walk feedback would increase and cause to the mapping to be a collective reflective process from which I could reflect upon the editing process. But, most of the feedback was pretty silly and time flew by so that two participants were not able to go and two went together in order to get more people to go before we were kicked out. As time constraints grew smaller everyone complained that they were cut too short in their exploration. This to me suggests that the walk should be all day and use multiple cameras so that more than one person can go at a time. Someone also suggested that it would be good to send people out to excavate sound. I have consulted David about this and he has expressed interest in the project.

Also I would like to have a camera myself as trying to find the participants was very disorienting and I often got lost even without being blindfolded. Another thing I was surprised by was how casual everyone was about being in a cemetery. But, then again, it was during the day and I guess I am more superstitious than most. Also I was disheartened by the fact that nobody really started constructing a map with the tools I gave them. When I asked why not, I was told that there wasn’t enough time.

All in all, I think the walk was pretty successful at gaining further interest from all involved. We all agreed that we wanted to continue the project as everyone enjoyed themselves. Furthermore, everyone felt that there needed to be a director and that I should be the whistle blower. Also we wanted to be more disciplined in formulating rules and thought that the project should be continued over the span of a few weekends where participants could come and go throughout the process and more committed participants could develop a rythmic understanding of the space.

Discussion/new projects:

My reason for setting up this project was in order to expirement with getting lost, confronting death, and creating a ritual, game, or narrative collectively. I brought roses as I thought we could play with their symbolism. In the future I would like to think about other symbols or archetypes with which to experiment with constraints and give me clues for editing and creating narrative intersections and intertextuality.

Also documenting sound seperately from the image could help us play with the text of the situation. I am also thinking about how collaborative film making which implements collective rule making might be used in documenting the hunt or actually making the documentation part of the hunt. I have some friends who created the event Shoot London where participants are given question with which they have to answer by creating images to photograph. I have something like this in mind but in using the moving image

All Photos taken of the event, courtesy of moi


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