Sunday, December 7, 2008

Along Trails and Shorelines

3D Photo by Gerald Marks

During the iLAB 2008: Dead Horse Bay project, our collaboration explored developing non-traditional models for communicating environmental concerns and promoting discourse on the byproducts of human waste. We examined ways that lens arts, dance and mind/body movement practices such as the Alexander Technique can contribute to the act of raising environmental awareness; literally and figuratively, personally and publicly.

3D Photo by Gerald Marks

During these events, the role of movement was considered through a wide range of contexts: within and beyond kinesthetic performance as a channel for artistic expression, as means of engaging in individual perception of oneself and one’s environment, and as the progressive development of ideas towards a particular end such as environmental perception and advocacy.

3D Photo by Gerald Marks

To see a slideshow of 3D photographs by Gerald Marks click here.
To see a slideshow of photographs by Ryutaro Mishima click here.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Artifacts and Dancers

Video by Paul Johnson
To see more 3D videos from Paul Johnson, please click here.

Monday, September 29, 2008

About the October 12 Event

1:00 PM to 3:00 PM: Low Tide Dance Installation along the shore and throughout upland trails
3:00 PM to 4:00 PM: Discussion of ideas, reactions and snacks
4:00 PM to 5:00 PM: Individual site exploration. Sunset performance begins around 4:45 PM
5:00 PM to 5:30 PM: Sunset performance concludes on dune

3-D Photo by Gerald Marks


1. Eyes Closed
- Responding to smells and sounds
- Getting a sense of scope and volume of the site through these senses
- Spend some time on the ground locating the volume of your own body using ground as a reference

2. Eyes Open
- Notice and respond to details of shape, color, visual depth
- Horseshoe crabs have five sets of eyes- imagine you have five sets along your spine
- Right eye sees blue, left eye sees red
- Associate movements with shape or color

3. Dredging and Filling
- Body fills with berries, squeeze them out
- Body fills with oil, oil seeps out of skin
- Body fills with glass, crushing and breaking glass
- Bones to bone dust
- Let all integrate

4. Mirroring
- Texture, density, movement direction and quality
- Embody, can be all changing or pick one to explore

5. Cultural Forms
- Allow pedestrian movement or choreography that you remember or are currently working on to become part of your experience
- Notice the differences between “organic” and “cultural” ways of and reasons for moving

6. Memory
- Partnering the past and present- select a moment of memory of the site from the last event (or from earlier today) and follow the memory through movement being aware of today, the sun, air, smell, etc.

7. Awarenes
- Let all of the above integrate as you move towards the shore

3-D Photo by Gerald Marks


- Start on the ground (be very careful of glass) thinking of all of us as an island land mass
- Start slowly shifting and reshaping the land mass
- As we move towards the dune, movements get bigger, off the ground, further apart, but with the idea that we are still part of a land mass

3-D Photo by Gerald Marks
All events are free and open to the public. Dancers include Rebecca Brooks, Tamara Riewe, Colin Stilwell and Sarah White.
Video, Film, Photography or any other form of visual documentation are all welcome.
See you there,
Jerry, Sarah and Angel

Sunday, September 28, 2008

On the 9/14 Event

Sarah White, September 14, 2008.

In this second event, with the intention of exposing the site to the observer, movement became both the activity of the observer and the thing being observed. Dancers began in the upland area, of the site on one of the three trails intersecting the site from Flatbush Avenue to the shoreline. Each dancer was placed in a separate location along the middle trail. Observers passed by the dancers witnessing them react to, and exist inside of the landscape both aesthetically and sensorially. In the distance between encounters with dancers, the vegetation and nature of the trail revealed itself even more, not only as the frame around the performers but also as the frame around the observer.

Along the trails, the history of the area is less obvious, lying far beneath the visible ground and unreachable by tidal water. For the observer, although covered by green pathways, the pollution of the site was foreshadowed to an extent by the dancers’ white hazmat suits. The obvious connotations of toxicity created a kind of odd, eerie and subtly dramatic contrast to the serenity of the trail’s vegetative canopy.

Biba Bell. September 14, 2008.

Eventually, the dancers moved away from their individual positions and gradually coalesced as a group, making their way from the narrowness of the trail to the openness of the shore. There, their movements began to change as the physical limitations of the trail gave way to the more spatially open, unobstructed and windy coastline. Their approach built in a manner reflective of an incoming tide. Their motion became less metered and it exploded impulsively, unchallenged by the spatial restrictions of the trail. They proceeded forward, curling, balancing, collapsing, their dance eventually leading them into the water …

Biba Bell, Rebecca Brooks, Tamara Riewe and Sarah White. September 14, 2008.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

After Thoughts to 8/16 Event

2pm, near low tide. At low tide, my physical presence and faculties feel more reliable. The light is strong and the shore is broad. Masses of un-degraded glass, metal and rubber spot the shorefront, artifacts of distant and not-so-distant pasts. Carcasses of marine life are deposited as high as the highest watermark. There are the fresh remains of two baby sharks. Horseshoe crab bodies strewn everywhere have left their ancient elegance as a gift to the living. This is their spring breeding ground. These failed to make it back to the ocean. I wonder what became of their children.

I am alert to my senses of balance and vision. These broken pieces of glass and dead marine life that await my every step insist that I be so. This is what this place is telling me. I must remain alert. Alert to the senses; alert to neglect. The things we have neglected threaten us and are easy to dismiss; easy to never confront again. There is an awareness gained in effort and confrontation that is lacking in comfort and isolation. We have to perceive something to be reminded of its existence. We have to move to it and move inside of it in order to perceive it. Here I perceive evidence of culture and human behavior embedded in the shore. Excess, forgotten efforts to curb consumption, a seemingly irreversible obsession with putting products into the world.  

We have barely moved beyond these methods of dealing with refuse. How would our behavior change if we visited our waste once it left us? ... Instead, we cover it, sweep it under the land, throw more land on top and hope the earth doesn't notice. What more does this site tell me about our behavior?..We avoid a lot. We disregard what is no longer of use to us. We move operations elsewhere and expect unresolved issues to resolve themselves. We choose to remain at low tide when the flats are expansive and there is a comfortable distance between the tall imposing grass and the water line. We value comfort. We avoid failure. We often fail to admit failure and present success as if it exists in a vacuum. Our failures can be beautiful. We have choices.

Does the condition of this site matter? Does it matter that glass and metal and rubber and hardware that forces of water and wind and earth's rotation can't remove are littered across this beach? Does it matter that they have been here for nearly 100 years and that they will be here for 100's of years to come? That we are creating more and more of them every second. 

There are other beaches that accommodate our needs more simply; for personal, physical and spiritual renewal, entertainment, vanity, sanity, tranquility, perspective. This place, although surrounded by a persistent natural beauty, is full of forgotten waste. This garbage does not lend me tranquility, entertainment, physical and spiritual renewal ... perspective, yes, sanity, in a way. A reflection of my own actions and the cultural actions I have chosen to engage in. Why not just leave it a site unseen and let it exist outside of my reality. There is a depth in confronting and rectifying one's actions that speaks to our ability to evolve. We have built many systems -judicial, social, religious- to allow ourselves to do this. And they are all intended to keep us connected to something that is larger than our own personal interests and private realities.

3-D Photos by Gerald Marks

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ideas We Are Exploring

3-D Photo by Gerald Marks

For this project, we are looking at the parallels between the processes of raising awareness at a public level regarding the nature and condition of a site and raising awareness at a personal level regarding movement experience and balance.

In drawing parallels between public and personal awareness, we are interested in seeing how or if one’s knowledge and perceptions of site and self affect one’s understanding, appreciation and valuation of the other.

Through guided exploration, movement, in this case, will be used as a resource for assigning values (natural, environmental, social, historical, archaeological) to Dead Horse Bay. These values ultimately determine the site's cultural significance and frame the actions required to enhance or preserve that significance. Thus, in the first engagement, movement will not be used as a performance act per se, but rather as a means of responding to the environment and as an agent of change that can be experienced by both dancers and non-dancers alike.

We will direct this movement-based, awareness-building process by focusing on body structure and sensing while referring to the site's natural features: the swinging and bending of the invasive phragmites; the cyclical advancing and retreating of tidal movement; the subtle, barely perceptible curling of seasonal snails; the aged color of sea creatures stranded along the shoreline; the ad hoc layout of emerging debris; and the alignment of sun-setting and moon-rising as the day comes to an end.

We suspect that, as site values become integrated into the participants' own movement experience, they will become familiar with the character and condition of the site and develop an understanding of the need for advocacy on behalf of the site's improvement beyond the level of abstraction.

This natural scene, with its evidence of planned and unplanned man-made interventions, also provides a unique scenario for visual documentation to create a fund of imagery attesting to the site's significance and movement as an agent of change.

3-D Photo by Gerald Marks

Sunday, July 20, 2008

About Our Collaboration

3-D Photo by Gerald Marks

This is a close collaborative process among the three of us, each having an active interest in every aspect of the project and how each other's work defines and enriches our own professional perspectives. Our collaboration stems from combining our interests in understanding and interpreting nature, causality, evolutionary change, structural integrity, assigning value to experience, and examining cultural behaviors; each contributing from the models and points of view of our respective fields.

Angel Ayón's work as an architect and preservationist focuses on the assessment and understanding of remaining physical evidence as an evolving and degraded yet still valid manifest of the past and as a determinant of current cultural significance.

Issues of time, evolution and space are also intrinsic to Sarah White's work as a dancer, choreographer, teacher and practitioner of the Alexander Technique. Sarah's work assigns new meanings to the kinesthetic relationship between the human body as a whole, its individual parts and the spaces it inhabits during a measured time lapse. As a movement analyst, she looks at patterns and potentials in movement experience that are affected by both internal awareness and outside influence. One of her areas of focus as a “mover” is the notion that through conscious movement practices one can develop a new understanding of their structure and function, which in turn leads to a new kinesthetic experience of the above and a newly assigned value to this experience. Similarly to Angel, the movement practices that she works with are intended to preserve the value and integrity of the human structure, its freedom to move and quality of experience. They are also about recognizing cultural influence on individual movement habits and conscious involvement in personal change and evolution.

Gerald Mark's work as a visual artist documents nature's constant metamorphosis and captures -to the slightest detail- the three-dimensional structure of both organic and inorganic worlds. Many of his images reveal the inherent aesthetic values in bio-structures. His work also comes out of a love and reverence for nature and cycles of change.

3-D Photo by Gerald Marks