Abby Levine in the house!

Beginning right after Thanksgiving, Abby Levine will be returning to the Egg for an artistic residency.  Here is what she says about her project.  

I understand the body as something that cannot fully abstract, cannot turn into lines and movement, cannot lose its referents to the world. This is the condition—constraint and richness—of working formally with dance. Music, by contrast, is often spoken about as an unavoidable abstraction. A musician may try to represent something through sound, but there will be an inevitable loss of legibility. Composer and fiddler Cleek Shrey and I have been discussing the term “gesture,” the different ways it is thought about in contemporary experimental music and dance. This shared term serves as a way to speak across the different relationships to abstraction and representation in our disciplinary forms. Gesture carries connotations of expression and communication. We consider these more traditional valences, as well as other possibilities, including composer Denis Smalley’s more open idea of gesture as “the trajectory of an object through time.”



Our proposal is to begin from music and dance’s different understandings and assumptions about gesture, and to trade techniques and conventions to create a shared language that unsettles both. Cleek is a striking physical presence when he is playing. The functional work of his fiddling is both sculpturally complex and evocative. In recent collaborations with composers, I have experimented with making choreographic choices starting from the sound they produce. I create physical forms in which weight and shape are determined first by sound and rhythm. We will experiment with these incursions into each other’s visual and sonic territory, looking to create a cross-pollinated (or maybe polluted) gestural language that neither denies expression nor settles in representation.



Continuing my ongoing experimentation, we will work with a reduced sound and movement palette, interested in exposing the frictions and correspondences of each of our contributions and making visible the accidental expressiveness that emerges from forms over time.

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