What’s My Frame?

Matt Gough replied to my call to action in “What’s in a Name?” and posted a couple responses on his tumblr, Quodlibet: here and here.

He asks: so i’m wondering how anna frames her work … why the preference for video dance, and what is her genre?

Well, as my blog is aptly titled, my frame moves around a lot. I
started out an experimentalist. I was just excited by what I could do
with a camera that I couldn’t do with live choreography. I was mostly
influenced by Maya Deren,
and her extensive experimentation with choreography for the camera. My
definitions of dance and choreography were always quite wide, but
having a camera to look through blew them open even further.  I could
capture movement wherever I found it and through editing I could shape
it anyway I chose. The movement didn’t need to be executed by humans. I
could create viewable dances literally out of anything, and in fact my
first two videodances were edited from footage of trash found on the
streets of Brooklyn.

"Trash Processional"

< “Trash Processional”

Then I just wanted to experiment with the actual frame of the camera’s
eye, forgetting about editing for a moment. I was interested in
choreographing long shots where the movement outside the frame was just
as important as the movement in the frame. During this time I made the
opening credit sequence for “Move the Frame” the TV show which was one
long pull back shot through a row of dancers whose hands and bodies
framed the moving shot. I also made “Untitled States of America,” a
solo in which the camera is sitting on the ground for most of the
piece, and I choreographed the dance based on what the camera
could/couldn’t see of me.
Move the Frame

< “Move the Frame” opening credits

I’ve come around to being more interested in narratives and character
development. My two most recent projects have been about couples and
the dynamics between them and their inner/outer selves. I’ve also been
exploring film styles such as silent film physical comedies, and the
poetic/iconic styles of 60’s Soviet-Armenian filmmaker Sergei Parajonov
and American Independent Jim Jarmusch.
Fünf 'n' Twist

< “Fünf ‘n’ Twist”

what’s my genre? Right now I would say I probably still fall under
experimental, but stylistically it’s experimental narrative, or
non-linear storytelling. However if I’m speaking to someone who has
never seen my work, I also need to preface my description by saying
that it is videodance. If I don’t say this then I feel like the most
important aspect of my work is not being expressed which is that it is
a form of media coming from a kinetic sensibility.

I like
“videodance” as a name because it sounds both current and of the
future. It fuses both the way people are already thinking about media
with the older art form of dance, and radically shifts one’s notion of
dance from performance art to media art. Videos are ubiquitous right
now and becoming more so.  We know what a music video is, most feature
films are shot on video, tv is video, everyone has a camcorder or has
used one. Video is exploding on the internet with Youtube, mash-ups,
vlogs & blogs, and a torrent of user-generated content.  I think
that video is also a more immediate and interactive media art and this
echoes the experiential/physical aspects of dance.

Matt made the
great observation: “i think the difference here is that anna is
thinking in terms of genres and I am thinking in terms of art
movements.” I think this is true, but I’m frequently confusing the two
myself. I’m sure that they often overlap, but I would love to hear what
others think about this. Are we talking about a genre or an art
movement here? I’ll post my thoughts soon…


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