Understanding that we are part of an interconnected whole where there is intimate relationship between the micro and macro has led to my deep investment in exploring contemporary scientific theories in relation to my dance and performance making practice.
I am nearing completion of a practice-based PhD at University College Chichester (awarded a student bursary) exploring emergent systems as compositional model for creating dance-based performance. This formal research came out of long term collaboration with the composer Daniel Biro that initiated interest in Chaos, Complexity and its structuring similarities to improvisation performance work.
My research thus far has involved activites with scientists such as Professor Igor Aleksander of Imperial College (research residency at CAMAC, France 1999) and Dr. Daniel Glaser, ICA Scientist in-residence Emergence (2002), with artists and computer software/hardware designers exploring networking possibilities in the creation of emergent performance eMerge (LMU, ICA and CAMAC 2004) and most recently creating emergent performance (without digital interface) in collaboration with Nick Rothwell for networking rule systems Bird, Bodies (2005) Baby (2006) and Troop (2007). These last have involved the use of the Isadora software and audio systems in creating multi-disciplinary performance. My research has been presented in a variety of formats: papers, articles, performances, seminars.
As a choreographer I create touring dance pieces that could also be called contemporary, digital, dancetheatre, where the work is to some degree a self-organising system. An essential component of a complex system (and one that can exhibit emergent behaviour) is that its elements have a history. This is created from the multiple strands of experience, skills and testimonies of the dancers who create it with myself and other artistic collaborators. They result in a new narrative presented in a variety of media -text, movement, image, dance - and in a variety of structuring patterns, denoting postmodern and fractal performance and therefore relationship between art and science.
The work is created using improvisation, ritual and creative visualisations as a route to unveiling embodied memory/ experience, to express original and idiosyncratic testimonies/narratives through text, action, movement and dance.
These raw ingredients feedback and affect the whole. They weave into a performance whole using rule-based systems that network the material and performers into new, unpredictable outcomes.
Those that are successful are retained, crafted compositionally, and remain as fixed choreography. Some parts of the work remain as open systems and the piece is created anew each performance. As the performers experience the work in new contexts they create new interpretations/constructions/narratives in real time. This kind of work that is neither exactly improvised nor choreographed and suggests emergent performance and is akin to say, jazz, and natural systems such as birds flocking, fashions forming.