rethinking why performance matters through the matter of performance
3. Potentials of Performance

30 May 2012

A Collection of Loose Ends

Dialogue partners

   Mariella Greil is a choreographer, dancer and performer. She is currently working on her practice-as-research PhD at Roehampton University with the title 'Being In Contact: Encountering A Bare Body' ( and is Managing Editor of the e-journal activate (

   Emily Sweeney is a movement artist and has collaborated with sound artist Bilwa as Perpetual Movement Sound since 2006 (


A brief introduction to Emily and I – a "curated relationship"

   We met because various people, independently from one another, thought that our work would benefit from this encounter. It was the dance-maker Eva Karczag who first mentioned Emily as a potential collaborator for me; Nicole Bindler spoke about her; and finally it was Gene Coleman who invited us for an improvised performance event at the 15th Street Meeting House in New York City as part of Soundfield Festival 08. It was special for me to first dance with Emily—we literally met onstage, and only after performing did we speak to each other.

   In the dialogue project How We Deviate With we will dance, talk and write about issues of relationality, choreographic practice and performance, and the immanent potentials inherent in these. We are both dedicated to a collaborative rather than a strictly two-way dialogue. From the beginning, deviations and repetitions have interwoven throughout the texts passed between us until singularities and authorship blur—becoming a Deleuzean line of flight rather than a well-structured argument between two individuals.

   The links we make occur not so much through the frontal lobe, but rather in the older, more intuitive and motor-sensory parts of our brains; it is these subliminal potentials that this dialogue will explore. These potentials are not (yet) packaged; we are not working from an aesthetic that requires us to tie up our ideas and present them in a frame. Instead, we trust in collaborative practices and the willingness to be lost together, and we promise to have no conclusion before the process, holding onto our senses as tools for sense-making and reflection.

   So what do we do? In short: we practice what Jean-Luc Nancy theorised—we abundantly deviate from and with.


Studio practices: 3 scores

Score 1: Eyeballs resting and finding supporting surfaces in the other’s body

   The proposition is to explore the rooting of the shared dance in the oculomotor nerve and its sensory and motor root, replacing the eye activity with the activity of rest. The focus is on the anatomically specific practice of letting the eyeballs rest in the orbits and tracing the sensory and motor root all the way along the spinal cord to its origin near the coccyx.


Eyeballs rest and hang



Eyeballs swing softly



Eyeballs orbit


Score 2: Orbiting impulses

   In this score, one partner stands with the eyes closed, while the other walks an orbit around her. At any point, the orbiting partner may step in and offer an impulse, which can be resolved by the central partner in any way—she is tasked only with tracing the full pathway of that original impulse, defining for herself what a single impulse is. The “orbiter” may shift the pace or direction of her pathway at any point. Her orbiting allows for a constantly shifting perspective; it proposes the sense that we are entities circling one another to great effect, capable of interjecting with a diversion or deviation at any moment.


Score 3: Performing the lineage of our collaboration

   Each partner performs an improvised solo that attempts to evoke her version and experience of the collaboration between the partners thus far. Props from past works can be made available.







Video excerpts from our studio practice of these scores



A collection of loose ends: texts


The Hybrid We—a performative text
Open PDF


Eine Suchbildbewegung (search image movement)
Open PDF








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