Bodyscape 03

Phase 1/Phase 2:  29/11/2011 - 15/12/2011
Phase 3:  10/01/2012 - 19/01/2012
(This unit is split in two to accommodate the Christmas Break)

Unit Introduction from Course Leader Ephraim Joris:
In antiquity the human body was often regarded as a microcosm of universal harmony; the
dimensioning of columns and rooms were often based on the human figure, extending the
perceived harmonious proportions of the human body to those of the interior. However, this concern for human proportions in relation to the design of interiors, stress a body-centered conception of Interior Architecture & Design, without taking into account the way a body performs in space or in a particular spatial condition. 
Instead of relying on analogy and proportion, sublimating the body to measurement and
representation, Bodyscape 3 sets ‘the stage’ for a design approach where we think of the body as a collection of force fields, or vectors, which affect a space through its performance in the space. 
Here, the design of interiors no longer seeks to engage with an abstraction of the body but looks at how the body can perform as an extension of a space and the space as an extension of the body’s performance (rather than as a representation of it). As such, space ceases to be a mere container for the body and becomes an element of an event /performance that includes the body. 
With Bodyscape 3 we will design ‘body-extensions’ to support certain movement through space for a particular client (dancer). As such setting up a design task were we explore this notion of the body performing as an extension of space and space performing as an extension of the body’s performance as part of a ‘live project’. 
(Edited paragraph from Choreographed Environments by Eva Perez de Vega, 2007)

Phase 1 - Analysis

Students are introduced to the unit with a contemporary dance workshop, with which they work with a team of dancers to explore body movement and devise a choreography. With this choreography, they are to explore the relationship between performance and body and space, paying close detail to specific notions of movement - energy, gravity, tension...

After the workshop, a series of drawings are to be created depicting their new-found knowledge. These drawings become tools to explore specific programmes of dance and movement and should represent both choreography and their insight.

Phase 2 - Conception / The Prototype

To begin conceiving a prototype, the students must create a series of models that explore a series of programmes developed in their drawings.

However, to introduce the students to conceptual model making, they are given passages from Italo Calvino's 'Invisible Cities' and are tasked with creating a model that represents their assigned text. They are also encouraged to use unusual and different materials to start exploring the different textures and properties that are available to them.

Upon completion of the Invisible City model, students must then group up and begin to apply that same interpretive reading to their drawings and start making a series of models to explore and develop a specific programme of movement.

Once a programme has been developed, they are to begin working on a final prototype model with a specific ideal in mind - Does it slow movement? Does it restrict? Does it hang? Creation of this prototype will be aided by a team of performers, who will allow the students to use them as mannequins to test and construct on.

The prototype will then be used to construct a final performative device.

Phase 3 - The Performative Device

Using the prototype, students are to create their final physical device at 1:1 scale.
As before with Bodyscape 01, the work is then to be exhibited to the public in an exhibition-style performance involving a team of performers and lighting and sound technicians (students will be given a lecture regarding the design of lighting and sound).