hypertext dissertation - by Robyn Stuart

Emergence in Rhizomes

Rhizomes is unique (see History and Background). In Rhizomes III the Pc and Vc were entwined, crafted together in a manner, which created a whole for each scene that was much more than the sum of the parts (emergence). A sometimes obvious and sometimes subtle 'narrative' emerged to be ‘read’ by viewers of a scene, which could not have happened without the Pc-Vc relationship. Examples are:

1. Jemma’s Pc through the Transition phrase was quite ‘ordinary’ and yet became a poetic journey in combination with the Vc, which had been intensely crafted to take her through a series of different worlds (then I added Stephanie and Rachel relating to their sections of the Vc, to create a quite powerful complex dialogue between all three performers and the Vc, Transition Phrase in Rhizomes III).

2. In Stephanie’s Wild Improv, a game emerged between the Vc and her movements playing with and at times catching the Vc.

3. In Trio Pendulum Swing the three dancers appeared to travel despite hardly moving from centre stage because of the moving Vc. As other scenes were intercut individual dancers appeared (to me) to be catapulted into different worlds for a moment, leaving the others behind, despite still being in close proximity to the others.

4. In cutting between Jemma’s Avatara and Rachel’s GSVI, I hope a beautiful poetry of two individuals searching simultaneously in separate worlds emerged.

5. In cutting between Entangled Interquirk and the Escher Duets, I believe a story of Rachel being torn by two very different relationships (worlds apart) emerged.

6. Stephanie's 8Shapes also gained a very special poetry (to me and Curson), when combined with the Vc. Her slow yet quirky movement seemed to be completed when dressed in the bizarre landscape of the Surreal World.

Combining the scenes altogether in the peculiar order that was Rhizomes III enabled the emergence of further ‘narrative’ and a felt journey to be experienced by a viewer that was beyond simply viewing the scenes separately. Rhizomes I was formed from a linear order of a set of scenes. It had a very different feel to Rhizomes III, not just because there were some new scenes with a new order. But, I believe primarily because there was an interweaving of the worlds (the Vc) and scenes in a manner highly unusual for live performance work. There were rapid parallel cuts, edits between worlds with concommitant dramatic change in Pc, and transitions into new scenes or worlds while a single dancer remained onstage. Scenes could be revisited very briefly with impact while the dancers flowed through them, rather than changing dramatically themselves. The whole flow and structure of Rhizomes III was not solely reliant on the dancers' movement. I felt a rhythm and dynamic from the combined Vc and Pc, beyond these as independent elements. This was in part related to my enhanced kinaesthetic response to this 'work' compared to other contemporary dance (see Performances as References) (a significant proportion of our audiences have also reported such kinaesthetic experiences, from Questionnaires). Pc which filled the stage when performed with the Vc, looked pallid to me without the Vc.

Emergence is not simply creating an aesthetic pattern out of the scenes created for Rhizomes, but is most importantly creating new property/ies (Lucas, 2005a), which could not necessarily be predicted prior to combining the Rhizomes elements! So exactly what new properties have emerged in Rhizomes III? The more filmic 'narrative' that we predicted (see Introduction to Rhizomes) has not yet fully emerged, although I believe there is a clear potential 'emerging'. I believe that this 'work' is still under development and is too young to divulge really new properties, yet. But I equally believe that we are at the tip of an iceberg of possibilities. When looking at Pc separated from the Vc, I now feel a profound loss of something unidentifiable; and I believe that Pc designed specifically for Vc may best be crafted with a new aesthetic attached to it compared to that widely used for much Contemporary Dance (e.g. Random Dance Company, and Troika Ranch). For example, I suspect that Pc may require greater breath or space between movements to allow the Vc time to hold the stage as well. Despite feeling that it is too early to define emergent properties of Rhizomes III and this 'work' in general, I believe that Rhizomes III has still emerged as an altogether unique performance-work out of recombining and mutating existing material into formulating a new adjacent possible. BUT see ‘Work’ and ‘Work in Rhizomes’..

3.4 Home Page, 'Beginning', Conclusion, Acknowledgements, References, Rhizomes Performances, Performances as References

alKamie are members of Chisenhale Dance Space.
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