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Nichola Hall Clarke

Research project: In/visible dances: Commuters' choreographies as social cartography.

Abstract

Using drawing to visualise movement in the absence of a live body, this project investigates the translatability of human and non-human motion; it engages with the social dimension of choreography (Hewitt, 2005) – in particular, with the movement of crowds in busy public spaces such as commuter hubs. Through an interdisciplinary practice-as-research project that draws on techniques for the analysis, representation, mapping and reproduction of movement (from dance notation systems to cartography and animation), I experiment with movement's relationship with space and time to explore its transformative potentialities. 

This project intends to place the commuter as performer, increasing our awareness of how we connect with our environments. Combining commuters' everyday movement patterns with choreology (dance notation) and mapmaking, it aims to generate a space for thinking about the notion of interrelations and the condition of being ‘on-stage'. 

In experimenting with the translatability of social interactions, I engage with questions concerning ways in which movement can be documented (Reason, 2006) and foreground an understanding of movement as a resilient force in transient times. The rules of a social space and the tactics brought about by the element of surprise (De Certeau, 1988) result in a social choreography that materialises through the aesthetic gesture of walking (Hewitt, 2005) and in the meeting of performance with text.

The practical output of this project will complement my theoretical exploration by intervening in the spatio-temporal configuration of public choreographies: the movement of crowds and individuals will be the focus of my investigation and will undergo processes of translation across media and formats (notation, illustration, animation, embodied dance). Each stage of documentation, reconstruction and reinvention will engage with the ways in which movement can open new horizons of social existence.

Biography

I completed my MA in Drawing at Wimbledon, UAL which led to my research in representing movement in the absence of a body. I have been involved in projects in London which explore ways to capture the body moving, and recently in Gothenburg through contact with a Nordic-Baltic Performance Practice Group. These were projects testing the relationship between ourselves, others and our environment to expand our experience of moving through a space.

I continue to exhibit my artwork at a variety of galleries and social spaces.

Areas of research interest

  • Dance and Social Choreography
  • Animation Illustration
  • Choreology and Cartography
  • Inter-semiotic translations

Qualifications

  • MA: Drawing (Distinction) Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts London.
  • BA: Fine Art Painting (Honours) Wimbledon School of Art, London.

Funding or awards received

  • TECHNE studentship for doctoral study
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