Identities In-Between; Choreographing the Haptic

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:19
Location: Seminar 33 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Florence FIGOLS, Concordia University, Canada
We perceive the other mainly through our gaze and by listening to their voice; manifestation of the visible and the audible body. In the blink of an eye, we configure and try to situate the other. How does construction of alterity unravel if we suspend sight and audition before we can name, categorize, identify him / her? Linking James Gibson's work on perception with my artistic practice, this paper echoes the sensible knowledge developed through choreographic experimentations held in spring 2015 in Montreal and in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I used choreography as an aesthetic means to pursue sensorial investigations stressing the haptic perception; the interplay between touch and kinesthesia in order to highlight the liminal space of the in-between.

In Montreal, I collaborated with two dancers from different cultural backgrounds, they never knew who their partner was; they were blindfolded and could not talk in the presence of the other. The suspension of sight and hearing allowed to intensify the haptic perception and its modulation as an ongoing flux destabilizing and re-composing alterity. After each rehearsal they documented their inner experiences in order to articulate their sensory journey. While their recorded testimonies gave access to the complex interrelation between the senses, the attention and the imaginary, their drawings (through the activation of fine motor skills) left a visible trace of the kinesthetic experience.

Inspired by Edouard Glissant's "Poetics of Relation", the choreographic material developed in Montreal found a new "identity in motion" encountering different performers and sensory context in Puerto Rico. In collaboration with five dancers, who knew each other, I pursue working on "choreohaptic" propositions, in order to open spaces for other possibles relations, cross-breeding the here and there, while rehearsing and performing in the colonial patio El Arsenal "del Instituto de la Cultura Puertorriquena" in San Juan.