Independent Project - Outline
2 Words - 'CCTV' and 'Gestures' have been recurring during the entire process of my research. How are these 2 disconnected factors inter-linked and why do they reoccur in the same context as a choreographic idea. A couple of recent explorations have helped me in comprehending the ideology to articulate the connection between these 2 distinct features.
Why CCTV ? What aspect of the cctv camera would I want to focus on?
The cctv represents an observer, an out-sider , a watchful eye. Witnessing the actions within its framework and recording details. It is almost a metaphor to what I feel like in the city. A tourist. A foreigner and an outsider. When you perceive a place as a visitor or as an outsider is when the landscape of your observation changes.. It is an open and hidden gaze that legally records all events . It is a tool of observation where human interaction becomes an element of design as you can zoom out and have a birds' eye view of what you witness or zoom -in to focus on individual details. For eg- Looking at all the traffic signs as movement choreographers and the corresponding movement of people as choreography or focusing entirely on minute individual gestures in a public space.
Why Gestures? More specifically why Indian gestures?
After observing hand gestures of people in public spaces and also within specific set-ups such as studios, classes and private spaces, it has been interesting to notice that many of the gestures that are universal or practical or even aesthetic in nature have resemblance to Indian codified gestures. For example, 'a thumbs up' sign or a 'flat palm' sign.
It has been interesting to register that gestures assign a cultural and political identity to every individual . For a dancer , when the moving body uses codified gestures within the grammar of Bharatnatyam , it becomes associated with the identity of being Indian . The use of these gestures in this entire project reflects my identity in many ways. . The fact that I am an Indian and a Bharatnatyam Dancer is obvious in a simple use of codified gesture. Even as I intend to use it as a movement of the body, an element of design or a geometric composition - the label of 'Indian' is inevitably tagged along . This perception of gesture as a signature of my identity has been an integral part of the process.
Alongside observation, the process involves movement explorations. Setting myself strategies to create movement through use of gestures- Movement sequences based on different tasks are being created in a studio . For example, movement sequences are based on tasks such as
- Use of gestures while doing nothing
-Use of gestures whilst giving direction
- Use of a codified gesture and looking at how people from different cultures use the same gesture in different ways. A thumbs up sign is used to suggest a 'man' in Bhartanatyam while it has different suggestions in the city-scape of London.
-Use of codified gesture within its prescribed usage within the form.
Some of these movement sequence might appear very mundane and pedestrian while a few are very stylized and pronounced. However they all are associated and resemble the codified gestures within the vocabulary of Bhartanatyam.
Execution - Performance
These movement sequences will be performed , rehearsed or executed and filmed in two different spaces. In a public space and also within a controlled space of a studio. The film, thus becomes an eye witness to how the gesture exists within a socio-political-cultural context and also in individual-artistic context. The recorded material or film would be used to understand the nature of gestures as a choreographic tool and also as a socio-politial icon of identity formation.
20 minute presentation + Essay
The footage of the film / performance shall be used to understand and evaluate the findings of the process. To understand the role and affect that gestures have in a public space and also look at it through the microscopic tool of choreography. The findings will be focused on the relationship of the self in relationship to the socio-political set up of a public space and the identity of the self in an artistic imaginative space through the use of gestures.