Movement Drawings is an ongoing research project that explores the relationship between movement and drawing through symbols. Drawings are used as visual tools to inspire movements. Movements are interpreted with drawings as choreographic scores. A combination of drawings becomes a creative dance. A dance becomes a visual landscape on paper and in space.
It is a project that develops in two directions. One as a choreographic tool that researches the infinite meanings of visual symbols. The other as a creative tool that serves the public to connect with their body and imagination.
This project has been shared with the public in various contexts: workshops, performance, exhibition and personal interviews. There is a general guideline for how to read the Movement Drawings (see immediately below). However, through personal interviews, other interpretations by different people have also been recorded, and with their consent, shared here (see below).
It is a wish that the Movement Drawings project could be an online resource for anyone who is interested in exploring the body creatively.
How to read the Movement Drawings:
1. Interpret the drawing as the body (a body part). The drawing inspires the shape of the body.
Choose the shapes you would like to work with. Find the shapes in the body or body parts. Clearly describe the shapes. Play with arriving into shapes between movements. Use the shapes in stillness. Transition and arrive into stillness. Repeat the shapes in between different movements. Observe the transitions into shapes. Find different ways to transition into shapes. Explore direct transition (efficient) and indirect transition. Explore different speed in the movements. Arrive into the shapes in different locations. Repeat or add more shapes to work with.
2. Interpret the drawing as the energetic quality of a movement.
Choose the drawing you would like to work with. Describe the energetic quality it inspires you, for example, round, smooth, curve, spinning, wavy, sharp, diagonal, flat or straight. Find a shape (could be the same drawing that inspires the energetic quality, or a different shape) and apply the energetic quality in arriving into that shape. Change the arrival shape but keep the energetic quality in the movement. Play with different arrival shapes. Lose the arrival shape, only keep the energetic quality in moving. Add pauses. Change speed, texture, size, body parts.
3. Interpret the drawing as the movement path in space (on 2 dimensional surface like the floor, wall or invisible surface. And in 3 dimensional space).
Choose the drawing you would like to work with. Choose a body part, for example: the hand, head, nose, foot, knee or shoulder. Choose a type of surface you would like to draw on. Use this body part to trace the chosen drawing on the surface. Repeat the tracing. Play with the scale and time. Notice what the rest of the body is doing, what are the possibilities for the rest of the body that is responding to the movement of tracing. Play with the idea of which body part is initiating and which body part is following. Switch and alternate. Explore different speed and texture. After the exploration, keep following the natural rhythm and creative movement the body is now making. Lose the restriction of tracing particular drawing. Don't control, don't interfere the body's new movement path, don't judge. Keep opening, keep follow the intuitive movement that is happening and keep resting into the movement.
4. Interpret the drawing as lines and forms in space that are perceived to be there but are actually not. They occur as spatial spatial projections when energy is thrown into space through the dynamic of the dancers’ performance. Their focus - in face or chest, or energy projected out beyond their fingertips, out beyond the thrust of the knee, for example - creative virtual lines through the space. (Reference: Dance and the Performative, p.86)
5. Interpret the drawing as a movement symbol to transform the state of body and mind.
Choose the drawing you would like to work with. Recognize the drawing as symbol of a state of mind, for example: peaceful, still, spacious or joyful. Go into meditation and rest in the state of mind. Let the body respond to this state of mind. Don't create any movement. Let the movement come. Observe the movement arise and fall, allow empty space.
2 May, 2017
In an afternoon in Korea, I asked Mikk if he would like to be the first person in the Movement Drawing collections. He happily said yes!
I asked him which drawing among all did he find most interesting. He looked at all 27 drawings, then chose this one (right).
Me: Why do you like this one? Is it because it's simple or straight or direct?
Mikk: It's like "Going up!"
Me: What do you mean "Going up!" Can you describe it?
August 14, 2017
Left to Right
Up and Down
A to B
Helsinki to Tallinn
Near and Far
Here and There
Dark and Light
Rise and Fall
Seeing and Be seen
Witnessed and Witnesser
The line and I
August 21, 2017
When I asked Fred to interpret a Movement Drawing, he let me choose for him. I chose the one like a star. He made a short improvisation of the star in his studio in Brooklyn.
Fred and I had been collaborating together on drawings for over a year. We first met at the FigureWorks Gallery in Brooklyn where I was the figure drawing model on Saturday morning. Later, I continue to pose for him at his studio. We often tried drawing short poses, sometimes even with me in slow movements. It was a very interesting experience for me, as a dancer, visual artist and as a person who practice meditation, to observe my body and another person's perception of my physical expression.
When finding a pose, there was always a sense of physical focus, some kind of energetic quality. It was never about getting into a shape, but into an expression. I often felt that they were stillness in the fast fleeting moments in life. I was fortunate to taste them slowly through figure drawing.
We have also played with figure drawing with the Movement Drawings concept. In this photo (above), Fred was using his paint brush as a conducting baton, making a movement in the air. I would intuitively respond to the movement with a physical gesture, then he would draw this gesture onto paper. We went back and forth, creating new gestures and recording them, until the drawings overlapped and filled the space.
June 9, 2017
At Amrita House in Kathmandu, Movement Drawings project was introduced to group of locals through a performance exhibition. After the performance, the audience was invited to interpret Movement Drawings and collaboratively creative a short choreography.
The concept of using multiple Movement Drawings to create choreography was presented with a semi-transparent drawing book displayed on a light table (top right photo). There was a Movement Drawing on each page. Through layering the pages, drawings overlap and created a visual composition. The contrast of light and dark through layering also created a sense of focus on certain drawings, giving an impression of a main theme.