Troix Chaises, Deux Libraires, la Feminine and le Masculine, l’Ensiegnement de Ranciere?
AERA Arts-based Educational Research SIG Presentation (2014) by Donald Blumenfeld-Jones
At AERA 2014 I presented a dance/poetry/theoretical musings ABER work. In this short writing I simply want to describe the situation, at this moment, for ABER work at AERA (and perhaps, by extension, at most research conferences) as well as what I wish to do next with this work. I was assigned a smallish room designed for perhaps 30 people. It was filled with chairs as well as a table up front, a round tall table for speaking and another smaller table with a projector and, in the corner of the room, a screen for the projector. None of these tables could be moved. This left a narrow half-space up front. Even with moving the chairs together with minimal room for people to sit, the space was tight and crowded. While I had planned that there would limited space for movement and had, as much as possible, designed the choreography to not take much space, it was much more constrained than even I had considered. Additionally I had not planned for the following eventualities.
- There would be no sound system to properly project the music for the choreography.
- This I take as my responsibility. Actually the tech people were able to plug the iPad into the room system but, after they left, something happened and we had to rely on the very low sound of the iPad.
- The floor would be carpet over some sort of very spongy pad that, as with foam moved under my feet whenever I changed position. This made performing the movement challenging.
- Space so tight that I was right next to the audience in very close quarters, again throwing off my ability to move as large as I would have liked.
- The inability to have any rehearsal time in the space to be used. Because there was no real rehearsal time in the space, my co-presenter, who has no experience doing theater, had to learn his role quickly. While he did well, I did have to cue him (the head nods) and this takes away from maintaining the sense of the piece.
- The moving of chairs created the situation that people could not see some of the dance or see it in quite a blocked manner. In other words, the sight lines were terrible.
Ideally I would have had the words memorized so that I might speak them more directly. In the next instantiation of this piece I am going to have the words recorded so that I don’t speak at all but, rather, move in some prescribed improvisatory way while the words are being heard. In this way I maintain my stance as a dancer and the words become music, along with the more conventional music. The movement will not be illustrative of the words but be counter to them.