Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Reflection on improv. at Symposium on 9th Dec

Since we worked intensively in Tokyo, already almost a month has passed. My memory is becoming vague. Before the experience is washed out by other more recent experiences, I have to leave something here, hoping this would lead a thread that I can grab to recall what I was working on in the days when I was completely soaked in the creative process of Ukiyo.

In terms of my character making, the last improvisation I did there was at the symposium on 9th December.

The only and the most important thing I have to hold onto is LEAVES.
The sound of leaves.
The texture of leaves.
The smell of leaves.
..and what do I associate from them as personal experience?
(cf. My entry on 8th Dec)

In G-sec where we had the symposium, there were no leaves. Only the virtual leaves on screen, which we cannot touch, and which don't smell.

How can I transform the virtual leaves more sensorial by my performance so that the viewers can share my sensations I had experienced?

This was my big question. What can I do apart from relying on the virtual information on the screen?

A minute before performance, Oded, the sound expert, suggested to use a piece of paper to create similar sound that leaves would make.
This, totally makes sense to me.
This, kind of transformation is essential in art.
This, is even better than having actual leaves.
This, would add another layer of meaning and interpretation on top.

I also had an idea of tearing the paper into pieces during the performance, which, I imagined, would present pieces of leaves, many many of them.

These are enough idea. I was ready to perform. The focus is sensory experience of the viewers. My body movement is no more important than the sound I make or yellow leaves they see on the screen. The light must be off.
The paper must be hidden from the eyes of the viewers, so that they can connect the sound to more dominant visual information, leaves. I stand as near by the yellow leaves as possible, holding a piece of paper in front of me, showing the back to the viewers.

I step back gradually towards the viewers, start teaing the paper, and throwing smaller pieces of paper.

After finishing the paper, my tactile memory of leaves comes in. It tend to be on floor, as leaves tend to be on floor- but it is something I can challenge in future to change the dimension. Perhaps leaves could be not on floor, then how do I react and play with them?

Another thing, actually I was determined in advance was to use my voice. Thanks to Caroline's voice warm ups during the period, my body was more ready to utter some sound. In fact, just before this performance, I was more conscious about releasing tension around my jaw, neck and throat. Usually I would have same consciousness towards the spine, hips and feet.

From my observation, at the moment I have an assumption that the voice is effective when it brings something that I am not expressing with my movement. And unless I want to create top high energy, voice and movement do not need to happen together. They complement each other and they are like two lines of waves.

I used scream-like high pitch voice in this performance, which for me means the peak of emotion.

Photos by Anne-Laure Misme

I have no idea how the viewers perceived my performance, but for me there are some useful findings that probably I can keep and work on more towards more structured performance.

To finish up, I copy and paste some comments from email correspondence among us. Hope Johannes and Michele do not mind...

Katsura started her final demonstration with the (acoustic rustling sound) of leaves (paper), and perhaps the materials, once again, can push you to do more

So i am suggesting that Katsura continue to work with the character she has found, the Mutant Woman in Red, and then explore the transformation to LeavesWoman and the effects this has on her white runway. . And also keep in mind that the fragility of life, of the body, is here mirrored by the leaves. they will rot. The sleeve created by Michele with plastic matter/contours will brittle away, as Michele already implied, to dust. What does such transformation mean in your imagination, Katsura, trails of dust? sounds of dust? ephemerality and evanescence of Ukiyo-e?
Johannes 14/12/09


Katsura, I think I am quite in touch with in terms of leaf dance but wonder what we should design here and what is possible to design now our leaves begin to crumble. Of course I like the crumbling too and I like the partial states of garment for you.
Michele 15/12/09


And here is my response to them.

I would like to remember that the leaves idea came when we went for a walk. The purpose of the walk for me was to find similar qualities and textures of the red sleeves. Now the conversation sounds like that I have two separated characters- red mutant woman and leaves woman, but it is important for me to keep the link between them. Red sleeve transforms itself into leaves. And now I am looking into the possibility to transform the leaves into something else since leaves seem too obvious expression for me and also I see the difficulty to keep them in shape. In the final demonstration at G-sec Johannes mentioned, I did not have leaves and just a moment before the performance Oded suggested to use a piece of paper to make some leaves-like sound. The performance was 100% improvisation as my usual so perhaps I did not make use of all the potential the paper has, but I see this as very possible transformation from leaves. Here we still have to remember the progression from red sleeve - yellow leaves - a piece of paper that is torn into small pieces during performance. If we want we can keep the carpet of yellow leaves and I will keep the tactile sensation of leaves, but I think the garment does not need to be made with leaves.
Katsura 28/12/09


This is where we ended. I will remember to start from here in the next lab on 31st January.


Michele said...

This is great and actually completely along the lines of my own thoughts. I am very keen on heightening sensory experiences of the participant audience member and jad been toying with the idea of removing vision to allow sound to become more pronounced.

What kind of paper would you like? Would you like a garment made of paper that you deconstruct in performance or purely the unformed paper? Remember when you folded the paper at one of our very early rehearsals and also when you peformed a drawing on paper?

katsurabbit said...


Yes of course we can have paper garment! I like the idea very much. I like the focus on sound on paper garment, and also diconstraction of it during the performance. I do like transformation and changing nature of things including garment, which connects to the idea of Ukiyo coinsidentaly.

To be honest, design wise, I cannot imagine anything solid but I think it needs to be along the line of:
red plastic pieces on sleeve- yellow leaves
Because that's the way it's transforming.

I am also happy to involve other paper to fold and make some object or draw somthing on it, or to project some image on it etc. But then it would be along the line of:
red plastic pieces on sleeve- yellow leaves- paper garment (paper could be part of it)- then other use of paper.

So the garment has to come ealier, I feel. What do you think?

Helenna said...


i think the final performance worked well and made sense on how you transform the virtual leaves more sensorial by your performance. oded suggested a wonderful idea to use the paper sound and your movement of tearing matched well with his live sound.

and i liked the big image of leaves on screen and you stand front with your back view in a darkness looks as you are about walk on to these leaves, there is dialogue between...the virtual and the real...

katsurabbit said...

Thanks Helenna.

It is good to know that what I intended was perceived by the viewer to a certain degree.
This is called communication, isn't it, indeed:)