This was one of my first experiments of looking at the hand gesture ' Alapadma' which means a 'lotus in bloom' in sanskrit beyond its literal meaning or the usage within the codified form. This gesture is also used purely to ornate a pure movement defining lines, direction and also the texture of the 'adavu' or basic step. This experiment looks at how , when a gesture is broken down into many tiny little movements it loses its cultural association and a completely different function and dimension emerges.
This is a short excerpt of an improvisation with 'Gestures while doing nothing' as the motif. It was interesting to observe that the body is expected to behave and be in certain way when it is not in use or not sleeping. If the hand is not used in a movement or choreography there are codified ways of placing it that are aesthetically pleasing . A play of these of these movements .
Shapes and patterns
This short video is my way of understanding a few aspects of the process. A popular way of notating dance has been using the elements of geometry on a piece of paper where the elements of movement are described using shapes, angles, lines and also directions are defined using a referral point in space. It has been fascinating for me to understand that a 3 dimensional art form is notated using a language of two dimensions. It has been true for myself that everything that I perceive visually has been documented in my mind in photograph or video mode. These lines of visual perception are applied and exploited in the art of painting, sculpture, photography and film. One other famous example would be all our id cards having a photograph- An image , more particularly that of the face defining our entire identity.
In this video, I drew a geometrical pattern and found similar gestures that resembled that shape or moved in a particular pattern.
An excerpt of an improvisation done in a public park. A place with no surveillance cameras nor spectators. A place like this extremely difficult to find in my home town Bangalore. Privacy in public space is a luxury that is available in the UK. A culture where people learn, are taught and are expected to respect evryones' private space. I chose to work on a task that uses the soochi or needle gesture. The same gesture is used in many cultures to point, direct and define geographical spaces. People asking for directions is a form of interaction that helps me in differentiating the local citizens from tourists, visitors or foreigners. This gesture surfaces everywhere as a translator for many languages.
Choreographically , observing this gesture reflects the mental image of a geographical space that a person has. In a proscenium space the illusion of distance , height, depth, length, time is created using focus and movement. This gesture conveys the imagery of space effortlessly to an observer. People trace the underground maps, google maps, page numbers , directories with this gesture. It is also used to point, locate and emphasize on details. Once again locating a point in space and time .