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Dissertation 2011-12 Final Report

To explore the experience of space through design & performing arts Research Question: Does juxtaposing the processes of finding idioms, investigating space and creating narratives in architecture and contemporary dance enhance their experience?

Author: Virkein Dhar 4th Year, Sec-A A/1989/2007

Research Guide: Madhav Raman Research Coordinators: Dr.Ranjana Mittal, Prof.Jaya Kumar


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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I would like to thank my internal guide Madhav Raman for being supportive in my attempt to venture into this unknown territory of my research and guiding me in formulating and structuring the final outcome. I am grateful to my studio coordinators, Dr.Ranjana Mittal and Prof.Jaya Kumar for giving me the freedom to choose my topic of research and proving me with their invaluable comments. I offer my deepest gratitude and love to my family, without their continuous support and warmth; this dissertation would not have been possible. I greatly cherish the freedom my parents have given for me to do all that I wished for. I would also take this opportunity to thank all my teachers over so many years -dance and otherwise who have showered me with all their knowledge and helped me define who I am today. I would also like to thank Shinjita Roy for her everlasting invaluable discussions, Mridul Dhar for my last minute transcriptions and Roshni Khanna ,Rashi Kapoor for their undying support and lifting up my spirits whenever needed.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS:

Chapter 1: The Prologue 1.1 Introduction 1.2 Research Question 1.3 Need Identification 1.4 Scope 1.5 Limitations 1.6 Research Methodology

Chapter 2: The Processes 2.1

Finding Idioms

2.2

Exploring Space

2.3

Creating Narratives

Chapter 3: The Connections 3.1

Design and Performing Arts

3.2

Past and the Present

3.3

Existing Collaborations

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Chapter 4: Personal Interactions 4.1

Interviews

4.2

Analysis

Chapter 5: The Finale 5.1 Conclusions

Appendix - Interview Transcripts

Works Cited Bibliography

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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS:

Illustration on front page: Dance in a tube, Tokyo (Source: http://www.ne.jp/asahi/tokyo/sd/4_tubework_e.html)

Illustration 1: Church on the Water, By Tadao Ando (Source: www. archdaily.com)

Illustration 2: Tadao Ando’s Water Temple, Awaji Islands (Source: www. 2.bp.blogspot.com)

Illustration 3: Baha’I House of Worship, Upolu Island, Samoa (Source: www.seereeves.blogspot.com, www.sacred-destinations.com)

Illustration 4: Baha’I House of Worship (Lotus Temple), New Delhi (Source: www.spirittourism.com, www.flikr.com)

Illustration 5: Just Add Water- Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company (Source: http://www.shobanajeyasingh.co.uk)

Illustration 6: Upright Human body, space and time (Source: Book- Space and Place, By: Yi Fu Tuan)

Illustration 7: Cry, by Michael Popper (Source: Published paper: Embodying architecture, studying dance)

Illustration 8: The Magnanimous Cuckold, by Liubov Popova (Source: Published paper: Embodying architecture, studying dance)

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Illustration 9: Aide Memoire, by Rami Be’er (Source: Published paper: Embodying architecture, studying dance)

Illustration 10: Hand Drawn Spaces, by Merce Cunningham (Source: Published paper: Embodying architecture, studying dance)

Illustration 11: The Integration of Movement (Source: Book- Movement and dance in early childhood, By: Mollie Davies)

Illustration 12: Laban’s Effort Graph, Laban Movement Analysis (Source: www.wikipedia.com)

Illustration 13: Rudolf Laban (Source: www.wordpress.com)

Illustration 14: Labanotation (Source: www.wikipedia.com)

Illustration 15: K.T Ravindran (Source: Samad dialogue 2011)

Illustration 16: Ashok Lall (Source: Samvad dialogue 2011)

Illustration 17: Navtej Singh Johar (Source: www.abhyastrust.com)

Illustration 18: Anusha Lall (Source: www.facebook.com)

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Illustration 19: Performance: Moving Target (Source: http://www.dillerscofidio.com)

Illustration 20: Moving Target- Use of Mirror and Visual Projections (Source: http://www.dillerscofidio.com)

Illustration 21: Cultural Park for Children in Egypt (Source: http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/childpark.htm)

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Chapter 1 The Prologue

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1.1

INTRODUCTION

‘Space’ is a concept that is central to many areas of study and has varied meanings attached to it. It is through the interface of bodies and spaces, that we perceive the world around us and our relation to the world. In such a case, spatial organization becomes the common ground to recognize the significance of space and its effects on human behavior. Architects have an intrinsic responsibility to design and create in order to enhance the living conditions of the human being. This does not limit them only to the concept of providing for the basic living needs but also dwells into the idea of how the human body and mind, experience the environment it creates. Human spaces thus, reflect the quality of the human senses and mentality. The practices of Design and Performing arts, specifically Architecture and Dance thus provide various commonalities in their processes of creation, as a means to explore these varied experiences of space. In reference to an average human body, the only contrasting feature is a dancer’s ability to merely amplify the experience of space, with the help of a magnified set of movements through their ability to move with an awareness of the whole physical self. Three points of contact have been identified between the practices of design and performing arts as part of the research - the first being the process of finding idioms, second as the exploration/ investigation of space and third as the process of creating narratives. These eventually lead to what one calls the experience of space.

“Space and place are familiar worlds denoting common experiences. We live in space. Place is security, space is freedom, we are attached to one and long for the other.” (Tuan, 1977, p. 3) VIRKEIN DHAR


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“Space is transformed into place as it acquires definition and meaning.” (Tuan, 1977, p. 136) Throughout the life of a human being, from when it was an infant to adulthood, feelings and ideas concerning space and place grow out of life’s unique and shared experiences. Through the steady accumulation of responses stimulated over the years, place can acquire deep meaning for the adult. In such cases, familiarity or the unfamiliarity of surroundings plays an important role in the definition of space. The retrospective nature of the human mind aids the design of spaces that acquire a meaning and purpose for the body itself. In addition, the logical and emotional contents of various architectural forms, spaces and images are subject to a set of cultural circumstances which are unique to each person’s life. Although for each of these forms, spaces and images the meanings may be different, corresponding to different types of cultures, but it is still possible to derive its essence through idiomatic expressions. The fundamental relationship of movement and space stands as a common ground for experimentation in architecture and dance. The spatial qualities in architecture are defined by movement. The dynamic quality and expression of a space is read by the body in view of how it moves in space. This movement may be designed, directed and intentional, or the intuitive motion of the body in a free flowing space. It is through the investigation and imagination of the movement in architectural spaces that define its experience. Movement forms the basis for a dancer’s orientation and experience in space. For a dancer, the real bodily movement and also the extensions of the same which we make in imagination, define ‘space’ in modern contemporary dance. As designers of space, the pattern of movement which we imagine to create needs to keep in mind the perception of the same by the human mind, and its sensations by the human body. This body-mind experience of space leads us to define the quality VIRKEIN DHAR


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of a space and give it its identity. In the absence of a human context, the spaces we create are merely just physical matter; its presence in the process of design is what makes a space ‘living’. A space completely supports its function only when that function is effectively utilized. An efficient organization of the features that form part of the functions, involves an experience that is initiated by movement and amplified by textures. Innovative articulation of thus designed spaces creates a narrative in the experience of the subject. For both an architect and a dancer, building such a narrative in their designed objects/spaces and choreographies, proves to be the effective implementation of the earlier processes involving symbolizations and investigations.

“Dance is fundamentally about creating an embodied narrative in which the dynamics of the physical human form communicate meaning to an audience” (Chappell, Embodied Narratives, p. 160) When experiencing and making meaning through this embodiment in either dance or architecture, it is important not to be limited by an understanding of narratives as linear storytelling; rather derive a deeper understanding that stems from a sense of empathy- to get an idea of what it feels to be in someone else’s shoes. Thus, the three aspects of idioms, exploration and narrative building in the practices of architecture and dance are utilized in this research to venture on an exploratory path of spatial organizations through time.

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1.2

RESEARCH QUESTION

Does juxtaposing the processes of finding idioms, investigating space and creating narratives in architecture and dance enhance their experience?

1.3

NEED IDENTIFICATION

Between the Modernist movement in both architecture and dance, to the PostModern globalised world of today either or all of these common features described above, seem to have diminished within the creative processes. Traditional architecture operated within society as a type of literal narrative. Symbolism was extremely explicit and enjoyed a universal meaning and understanding, which is not as evident today. The modernists increasingly practiced the principles of rationalization and detraditionalisation. The solitary objective was to achieve the functional aspects. The presence of extreme distinctions of white/black or good/bad resulted in a lost relevance of the fundamentals of creative practices. With the speed of technology and varied systems of broadcast, a new connected global world has emerged. This has resulted in blurred cultural boundaries and has potential to construct a pioneering tradition of fundamentals that transcend sociocultural, economic and physiographic boundaries. However, the constant need for simplicity does not let the complexities of space reveal themselves, which thus overlooked symbolic references and embodied narratives.

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Within such a framework, the want for excellence and the constant need for clutching to traditions prove to be a paradox in the process of creation. Moreover, identification of these processes in research has their basis in the author’s personal process of design and creation. The author having a passion for both- design and dance, realizes a constant unconscious connection between the two, which may share or utilize the processes that are contained in either.

1.4

SCOPE

This research is an attempt to explore and observe the knowledge and understanding of space and spatial organization from two different practices that are: of design and performing arts by means of finding commonalities and divergences between the two. Corresponding to the larger realm of design and performing arts, only the practices of architecture and contemporary dance have been taken into consideration. There are many aspects that may be common between architecture and contemporary dance in the context spatial organizations. But the three processes that have been identified to be detailed upon are:  The process of finding idioms  The process of investigation or exploration of space  The process of creating a narrative These form the first part of the research. The second half aims to investigate the relevance of these processes and their cultural resonance, in the globalised world that exists at present. Inquiries into the creative and exploratory characteristics of the practitioners of architecture and VIRKEIN DHAR


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contemporary dance, keeping in mind the factors and philosophies that affect each; intend to direct an objective dialogue that would supplement the particular mode in which space is experienced and expressed. The author aims to find a basis for experimentation and collaborations between the two disciplines.

1.5

LIMITATIONS

The research is based on an exploratory methodology of the various philosophies and concepts surrounding the subject. The author recognizes the different ways of thinking of practitioners and theorizers, as well as the presence of many common areas of research between the practices of architecture and dance, but limits this study to only the three mentioned above. Major findings would be based on secondary sources that have been able to critique the concept in question. Due to the subjective nature of the research, information from primary sources would not provide a whole picture of the fundamentals, rather only an individual opinion which is ‘a’ part of the whole. Dance exists today in enumerable number of forms and is practiced by various people in a diverse manner. From traditional to modern and regional to global, practice of dance has an extremely diverse character. Keeping this in mind, the author would limit the extents of this research to Modern Contemporary Dance and its practitioners. Due to the absence of well documented dance- architecture collaborative projects in India and also the limited experimentation in the field of contemporary dance, most examples cited in the research would be from outside of the Indian subcontinent.

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The research does not delve into the past, rather directs its conclusion towards the future, nonetheless keeping in mind the effects of history. The conclusion is directed towards a supplementary view and dialogue however, does not propose solutions.

1.6

RESEARCH METHODOLOGY:  Use of secondary sources to develop the documentation of diverse outlooks by theorizers and critiques on the proposed aspects of research.  Primary research in the form of Interviews: o Interviews with the practitioners of architecture to bring out their individual ideals in the creative process. o Interviews with the practitioners of dance to find their individual philosophies in the creative process.  Analysis of the various principles used by individuals today in the two practices to formulate a directed discussion.

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Chapter 2 The Processes

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2.1

THE PROCESS OF FINDING IDIOMS

Linguistic idiomatic references are used extensively by people on a daily basis. These may be characteristic to a certain group of people or culture, or make meaning to a larger audience. The origins of many are unknown but still resonate within people. Even though a person might be unaware of the exact meaning of an idiomatic expression, the manner in which it is expressed on most occasions would be enough to convey its significance. If we assume in the practice of design and performing arts, it is the use of such idiomatic language that gives meaning to its outcomes, this brings us to the relationship between body and its implications that are created in reality. From traditional to contemporary forms, dance has always emphasized on symbol creations and recollections. These are responsible for the intimacy that develops between performer and audience due to the use of idioms that resonate with both. As architects, we sometimes tend to forget the power of such expressions. A concept on paper that does not account for its effect in physical form to the user would then deem impractical. “The concepts that govern our thought are not just matters of intellect. They also govern our everyday functioning, down to the most mundane details. Our concepts structure what we perceive, how we get around in the world, and how we relate to other people. If we are right in suggesting that our conceptual system is largely metaphorical, then the way we think , what we experience and what we do every day is very much a matter of metaphor.� (George Lakoff, Mark Johnson, 1980, pp. 201207)

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Metaphor is typically viewed as characteristic only to language, it is perceived to be as a matter of words rather than thought or action. For this reason people tend to overlook its importance in everyday use. On the contrary it has been found that the ordinary human conceptual system, in terms of which we think and act, is fundamentally metaphorical in nature. Intuition and idioms thus become an important part of everyday living. Culture for each person rests on his/her individual experience. Each event, object or person that has been in contact- physical or metaphorical is embedded in intricate cultural networks. Every individual acts in this network and in doing so progressively constructs a personal history. This constitutes a biographical system of reference. Thus, every action or experience relates to other actions or events, near or far in time or space. These references can be real situations or actions, subjective experiences which may also be emotional and various ideations such as analogies, contrasts, ideas or fantasies. (Boesch, 2001, pp. 479-482) The study of subjective experiences and psychoanalysis suggests convincingly that long-past or apparently unrelated events maybe surprisingly influential, often without one being conscious of them at the moment of impact. For example, the explicit use of water in Tadao Ando’s Church on the Water and the Water Temple is of significance due to his belief of a profound relationship between water and the human spirit which is attached to a pleasant memory. Described by the architect himself- “A stream called the Isuzu river flows through the compound of the Ise Shrine. I find the sight of its pure current very moving and beautiful. Revisiting the river brings back memories I had almost forgotten in the intervening years. Water has a strange power to stimulate the imagination and to make us aware of life’s possibilities.” (George Dodds, Robert Tavernor, 2005)

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Illustration 1: Tadao Ando’s Church on the Water

Illustration 2: Water Temple, Awaji Island

At times the performance of a particular action itself maybe more important than its outcome. The presence of contrasting cultures across the globe creates an idiosyncratic web. However, the ability of humans to adapt to different cultures even though the origins of their own may be extremely contrasting, points to the idea that even in the absence of the understanding of the literal meaning of actions, its essence is preserved, which thus resonates among a varied set of people. For example, the Baha’i faith has temples in various parts of the world. Their basic ideology governing the designs of each remains constant- essentially the temple must have nine sides and a central dome. However, the architectural manifestations VIRKEIN DHAR


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of each temple differ with its regional environment. The temple is open to all people, symbolizing the diversity of the human race and its essential oneness. Even though one might not be a follower of the Baha’I faith, a visit to any House of worship would invoke a feeling that resonates among all.

Illustration 3: Baha’I House of Worship, Upolu Island, Samoa

Illustration 4: Baha’I House of Worship (Lotus Temple), New Delhi VIRKEIN DHAR


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Examples as above are quite limited when it comes to architecture. However, Modern Contemporary dance today increasingly uses idioms and its interpretations in their conceptual framework. Idiomatic and metaphorical expressions are vastly exploited in different parts of the world. In the book, Dance Space and Subjectivity, Valerie A.Briginshaw (2009) demonstrates the broad relevance of dance as a subject of study that can illuminate other areas of cultural practice as well. For example, in Shobhana Jeyasingh’s choreography in 2009- Just Add Water, the varied cultural background of the dancers was interpreted in its culinary forms. Her choreography talks of food becoming the melting pot of the world in an era of global migration. “We may carry cooking traditions with us, but when we arrive somewhere new we have to eat the food” (SJDC, 2009). Shobana Jeyasingh has long been mimicking that process in her choreography, taking her basic ingredients from Bharatanatyam (Shobana is of Indian origin and trained in the traditional form of Bharatnatyam) - one of India's oldest dance forms - but blending influences from western dance. In Just Add Water, she examines both forms of integration in a single work. Her six dancers come from different parts of the world, and when they enter the stage each is muttering a monologue about their favourite dish and moving in their signature vocabulary - martial arts, south Asian or classical ballet. Food and dance seem inseparable. As the dancers draw closer together they exchange recipes and moves. But as Jeyasingh orchestrates links between their languages (a pirouette dovetails into a south Asian turn) she shifts the work towards a choreographic Esperanto where all combine. (SJDC, 2009)

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Illustration 5: Just Add Water -Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company, 2009 “Objects and events are never isolated from other objects or events within the field of culture.” (Wagoner, 2008, p. 468)

Social representations operate on the level of generalized meanings that organize people’s concrete encounters with the world. A thing becomes socially meaningful, a part of a culture, when it is anchored in the field of representations. Bartlett (1932) found that images easily linkable to representations always tended toward their conventional form. For example, subjects when they heard the verbal stimulus ‘lightning flash’ almost always drew a regular zigzag, as lightning is conventionally represented. In this case, there is a set pathway between thing and representation, which is triggered instantaneously and proceeds rapidly. These conventional linkages both establish the world as a group and enable straightforward communication among its members. However, when the link between thing and representation is not so immediate and intuitive- the possibilities of creativity open up. By making nonintuitive links between representations and things, a link for which there is no immediately available pathway, we generate new meanings for both representation VIRKEIN DHAR


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and thing. Symbols are thus generated out of a dynamic schematizing process between the object as the generalized meaning and its context in which it becomes objectified. (Wagoner, 2008, pp. 466-474) To be known and have meaning a thing has to be situated within the field of representations. Society provides us with conventional linkages between various things and their symbols when experiencing them. Nevertheless, with the creative use of communication to create novel linkages, one can generate new perspectives and meanings, thus elaborating its illustration. Keeping in mind, the power of representation and language to create new meanings is infinite but at the same time one is constantly constrained by these same tools. This interplay between constraint (conventional automatic expressions) and creativity (creating new idiomatic expressions from the conventional) in everyday thinking opens up an innovative and fresh outcome to creative design. Rather than hiding behind the constraint of diversity, one needs to exploit its endless possibilities.

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2.2

THE PROCESS OF EXPLORATION OF SPACE

Spatial experience is dynamic, and relies not on what is constructed (ie, the building materials) but on what is not constructed. . .’Space’. “Aristotle defines space as a container of things- a sort of succession of all-inclusive enveloped, from what is ‘within the limits of the sky’ to the very smallest, rather like Russian dolls. Space is, therefore of necessity hollow, limited externally and filled up internally. There is no empty space; everything has its position, its location, and its place.” (Meiss, p. 101) Space acquires meaning when in contact with the human body. Human presence thus becomes the central point of all exploration. Space is essentially experienced by the body and the mind. Sensation pertains to the physical body, the senses; it is intrinsic, irrational and unstable, often mutating and moving. Perception, on the other hand, is of the mind it is rational, extrinsic, static and with clear distinctions between subject and the object of perception (Erwin Straus, The Primary World of the Senses). For very long the visual sense has dominated over the other senses of smell, hearing, taste and touch. This can be attributed to its ability to make a larger fraction of the people aware of a spacious external world in habited by objects. The modern architectural environment caters to the eye but it often lacks the pungent personality that varied and pleasant odors can give. Touch articulates another kind of complex world. The human hand is strong, agile and sensitive. It uses hands to explore the physical environment. Sounds, can convey a strong sense of size (volume of space) and of distance. In persons with visual imparities, their auditory

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senses develop an acute sensitivity to sounds. They use sounds and their reverberations to evaluate an environment’s spatial character. People who can see are less sensitive to auditory cues because they are not so dependent on them. However, it is possible to argue that taste, odor and even hearing cannot in themselves give us a sense of space. But it is unquestionable that each of these in combination has qualities that enrich a person’s comprehension of the world’s spatial and geometric character. Tactile perception on the other hand is able to convey certain spatial ideas without the support of the other senses, depending only on the structure of the body and the ability to move. Space is given by the ability to move. Movements such as the simple ability to kick one’s legs and stretch one’s arms are basic to the awareness of space. Moreover, by shifting from one place to another a person gets a sense of direction. Humans essentially do not possess the ability to recognize their orientation in space. Rather they train themselves by practice over time that thus lets them master orientation while in movement. People of different cultures differ in how they divide up their world, assign values to its parts and measure them. The manner by which this is done varies enormously, nonetheless shared traits that transcend cultural particularities exist and may therefore reflect the general human condition. If we look for fundamental principles of spatial organization we might find them in two kinds of facts: the posture and structure of the human body in space, and the relations (whether close or distant) between human beings. One organizes space so that it conforms with and caters to his/her biological needs and social relations. (Tuan, Space and Place:The Perspective of Experience, pp. 34-36)

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Illustration 6: Upright human body, space and time- Space projected from the body is biased toward the front and right. The future is ahead and up. The past is behind and below.

Most of the time, the human body is unaware of its imposition on the scheme of things due to its presence in space. It only notes its absence when it is lost. Then what does it mean to be lost? One follows a path into the forest, strays from the path, and all of a sudden feels completely disoriented. Space is still organized in conformity with the sides of one’s body. There are the regions to one’s front and back, to one’s right and left, but they are not geared to external reference points and hence are quite useless. Front and back regions suddenly feel arbitrary, since one has no better reason to go forward than to go back. Let a flickering light appear behind a distant clump of trees. One remains lost in the sense that one still does not know where one is in the forest, but space has dramatically regained structure.

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The flickering light has established a goal. As one moves toward that goal, front and back, right and left of the body have resumed their meaning. One strides forward, is glad to have left dark space behind, and make sure that one does not veer to the right or left. (Tuan, 1977, pp. 34-36)

Even in the process of the bodily explorations in space, the earlier discussed (see 2.1) the expressions of retained memories or interpreted dreams adds to how the body defines the space around it. Frontal space is primarily visual. It is vivid and much larger than the rear space that we may experience through non-visual cues. The frontal space thus manifests into something that is ‘illuminated’ because it can be seen; the back space then becomes ‘dark’ even when there is light all around because it cannot really be seen by the body. The same can be manifested in physical form of designed spaces as ‘sacred’ or ‘profane’. The front is often interpreted as the future which is good, and back as the past that is bad. The same may be said for cities. Ancient walled cities were planned in such a manner that certain routes were used for royal processions on triumphant occasions and thus boasted of imposing front entrances. During the Renaissance, urban centres of political importance constructed magnificent front portals over walls that no longer served any military purpose. The monumentality symbolized the power of the ruler. It also functioned as an ideogram for the city, presenting a front that was meant to impress visitors. However, in the modern city the impression of front and back is quite hazy. It is developed by the volume of traffic flow in regions rather than architectural symbols, which maybe the region which is home to the centre of economic or political power.

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The idea of attached meanings to space creates the phenomenon of ‘space’ that becomes a ‘place’. Place exists at different scales. It may arise from the attachment of the human self to a particular space through experience and embodied memories across time. Movement through time extends the body to become familiar in its surrounding environment, acquires definition and meaning thus transforming a space into a place.

“Place is a pause in movement.” (Tuan, 1977, p. 138) Time and space are directed when one is actively planning. Plans have goals. Music can negate a person’s awareness of directional time and space. When people dance they move forward, sideways and backward with ease. Music and dance free people from the demands of purposeful goal-directed life, allowing them to live in what Erwin Straus calls ‘presentic’ unoriented space. (E.W.Straus, 1963, p. 33) Dancers move through space, feel the space, relate to the space, and become one with the space. Architects on the other hand, perceive space conceptually. Within the framework of the three aspects that are in discussion in this chapter, the process of exploration of space is one where the contrast between perceptions of dancers and architects varies explicitly. Their particular perceptions are a result of their personal relations to space. One’s relation to space is influenced by a lifelong process of acquiring knowledge and understanding through experience and thought. Usually a person is not even aware of their particular perception, it is an unconscious process. In her architectural master thesis- Conception of space in dance- another view on the architecture of dance theatres (2008), Mirella Kersten organized a workshop to investigate the bodily relation with space in practice by carrying out certain exercises

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in different spaces with fifteen participants all students of architecture. The exercises consisted of simple movements and tasks such as forming compositions in space, imagining lines in the different spaces and orienting oneself after spinning around. After each exercise the participants were asked to fill a questionnaire. Conclusions were drawn out of the questionnaires, experiences of the observer/author and conversations with the participants. In general, they concluded that a person measures space by relating to other objects or people in it and characteristics of the walls help find reference points in a room when in motion.

Illustration 6: Workshop investigating the bodily relation with space in practice. By Mirella Kersten for her master thesis.

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The workshop gave an experience of the basics of orientation in space. While dancing, a person is in quick motion and has to decide quickly what movements to make in which direction. Dancers as they are trained in moving through space are fully aware of the instruments they use while orienting themselves. With the fixed planes, lines or points and the geometry of the space, they intuitively determine their position and direction. Another example where movement in dance is used as a means of studying the body-space relationship is in a paper named Embodying Architecture, Studying Dance, by V.Safak Uysal and Markus Wilsing at the University of Bilikent, Faculty of Art, Design and Achitecture in Turkey. In this the authors make use of an analogy to contact improvisation technique from modern contemporary dance, referring to the body and space as two partners in contact to study the ways in which they relate to each other. As they share weight and move in constant flow, one realizes the experience of the other as an extension of one’s self. This differentiates from other approaches in which the bodily experience is already presupposed as being apart from space. Contact improvisation is a dance form which focuses on “establishing a physical and kinetic familiarity” with one’s partner through senses of touch and on “engaging in supporting each other’s weight” as the two partners move in constant flow. In contact, the geography of the body is regarded differently than it would be in other movement techniques. Rather than distinguishing the body by its parts, contacters think “more of the body surfaces as planes of support”. (Bronet and Schumacher 1999). The tactile experience of getting-in-touch with the other’s body is what constitutes the essence of contact, as the ongoing flow resulting in continuous movement is accompanied by a sense of flowing of one into the other’s body “which feels like an extension/part” of the one through touch (Potuoglu 1996).

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Through the partnership of body and spaces in contact, a new entity is created called ‘bodyspace’. This changes its positions by transfer of weight between members. BODYspace

the total weight supported by only the body

bodySPACE

space becomes supporter to lift the body off the ground

BODYSPACE

space and body work in perfect co-operative companionship

bodyspace

meet in total denial of each other- negative body in a negative

space

BODYspace – Space as background

Illustration 7: Cry, by Michael Popper

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BodySPACE- Space as motivator

Illustration 8: The Magnanimous Cuckold, by Liubov Popova

BODYSPACE- Space as partner in dialogue

Illustration 9: Aide Memoire, by Rami Be’er

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Bodyspace- Space as mental counterpart

Illustration 10: Hand Drawn Spaces, by Merce Cunningham

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2.3

THE PROCESS OF CREATING A NARRATIVE

If novel, fiction, comic, and folktale tell the story by texts and picture. If painting and photograph tell the story by a great picture. If movie tells the story by moving picture and sounds. Architecture tells the stories without texts, but by geometrical form, space, and materials. Narrative could be translated into architectural form by envelope materials, route, event, rooms, and also smell, sound and light effects.

From Latin, narrativus means telling a story. In mid 16th century architecture from Latin, architectura means the art or practice of designing and constructing building. Started from both of these definitions, narrative architecture means an art of designing and constructing building to tell a story. (Wordpress) Assuming every design is defined by and gives definition to social narratives that influence the behavior associated with the designed spaces or objects, then all designers, like all designed objects ‘tell stories’. These being the manifestations of inspiration that words alone cannot convey. Design is permeated through narratives because it is constituted within a field of communications – formal, psychological, idiomatic, ideological and theoretical. There is a need to conceive one’s design departing from a story, or interacting with one, rather than ending with one.

The concept of narrative design is defined by architects in the Journal of the college of Architecture and Design at Kansas State University- dedicated to ‘narrative architecture’ (1988) as “Many architects have something to say, a story to tell. There are a variety of means architects employ in expressing their own, or their client

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values, thoughts, wishes, beliefs, and desires. They often communicate a unifying theme elaborated throughout the “plot”. Some of the storytellers of our discipline choose to relate the entire story in a single design, while others “write” continuing sagas in which each building is a sequel to the last. Others, whether consciously or not, allude to earlier work by masters or to vital vernacular traditions. The architect’s tale can be as captivating and powerful as the writer’s. The best narratives give building added meaning and encourage people to become involved with and to cherish works of architecture”. (Luis Porter, Sergio Sotelo, 2004, pp. 1-2)

Through the examination of the creation of narratives, the logical and emotional contents of architectural forms and images are subject to a set of cultural circumstances which is part of each person’s unique life. As discussed earlier, this unique condition arises out of the individual’s life experiences. In the setting of life, characters and events are inscribed which when experienced reveal the plot. Although the meanings in architecture are different, corresponding to different types of culture, it is still possible to approach, understand and create architecture as a narrative discipline, one that might not give explicit meanings to the user but resonates its expression among the mass. The creation of such a narrative may not always be in the form of a linear storytelling, rather communicate a complex feeling generated out of the sequence of events. As Kerry Chappell points out, dance is fundamentally about creating an embodied narrative in which the dynamics of the physical human form communicate meaning to an audience. (Chappell, p. 160)

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When experiencing and making meaning through this embodiment in dance, it is increasingly important to not be limited by an understanding of narratives as direct storytelling, rather also take into account the possibility of the dance to be plot-less. The dance may not appear logical, its meaning must be derived from a more complex kind of narrative that may emerge, be felt or even impossible to put in words. It is this kind of complex embodied narrative, experienced by performers and felt by an audience that is at play when dance is able to contribute to communicating similarly complex ideas pertaining to important socio-cultural issues. Whether we experience dance as a performer or as an audience member, there is something special about the encounter that cannot easily be translated into words. It is difficult to explain any shift that may have occurred, but it stems from understanding via lived bodies rather than text or spoken words. It makes one rely on his/her embodiment, something non-dancers are perhaps not used to engaging with and interpreting. There is also the ability to sense a movement or moving from within, there is the ability of a dancer to ‘think physically’ and then the capacity to move with an awareness of the whole physical self. (Chappell, p. 161) As receivers of a designed narrative in either contemporary dance or architecture, one is required to make meaning out of information through materials and bodies. When the mind is not trained to look for gestures in such bodily movement, it is easy to call it without logic. But to truly understand the essence of what is designed one needs to be aware of the nexus of elements that wrap these into one.

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In contemporary dance a further layer of complexity is added since one is not dealing with pure dance genres such as Bharatnatyam , where each movement constitutes a sign that can be translated, or classical ballet where if one is educated in them, established codes communicate. The audience must actively engage to make meaning out of these complex communications in contemporary dance performances. There are generally four elements at work within a dance piece- movement, performers, sound and space. Choreographers connect the different elements in different ways- some integrating them, some juxtaposing them, thus developing different styles of connection. Although dance communicates the choreographer’s ideas, it also contains layers of meaning created by the participants in the event, including the performers and the audience. It is not a simple case of sending out a clear message to be received by one and all. (Chappell, p. 166) A contemporary code will consist of carefully designed combinations of the four elements: different movements, performers, sounds and use of space. At times use of these codes will create embodied narratives that tell a story, but at other times they will create embodied narratives that are complex and not limited by narrative as linear storytelling. Within the dance, these embodied narratives are also combined with the choreographer’s “attitudes, preferences, emphases, interests” (PrestonDunlop, 1998, p. 14). As stated earlier, the dance may not appear logical; meaning gleaned from this combination of different embodied narratives, attitudes, preferences, emphases and interests emerges, and is felt, but is quite often difficult or impossible to put into words. Yet this does not mean it is not understood by performers and audience alike. It is felt and understood in an embodied way. This resonates the power of the narrative to create something more personally and socially profound.

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Chapter 3 The Connections

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3.1

Connections between Design and Performing Arts

The body as a system exists in collaboration with the environment. This environment encompasses the space around us- physical as well as metaphysical. The sensational and perceptional qualities of a space within the precincts of the body and mind define its qualitative character. In 1934, Lewis Mumford saw in the demise of mechanistic thinking the possibility of a gentler, more “organic” modern architecture based on the new concepts of “form, pattern, configuration, organism and ecological relationship”. (George Dodds, Robert Tavernor, 2005). If one examines this organic thought through the physical concepts of posture and movement, it offers a visible criterion by which relationships between body and space can be explored. Between the complexities of the uniqueness of human movement, the body- which is the instrument of action becomes central in the classification of movement analysis. Giving colour and form to the instrument of the body are three categories:  Dynamics, which relates to how the body moves  Space, which refers to how the body inhabits and uses space  Relationships, which identifies ways in which the body acts and interacts with people and objects. (Davies, 2003)

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Illustration 11: The integration of movement- a general classification of movement

Within the framework of this classification, a deep rooted connecting link between design and performing arts can be noticed. The body in action, design, articulation and fluency becomes a vital part of all movement activity be it spontaneous or in response to structured situations. In the design of spaces in architecture, or the creation of movement in contemporary dance, the relationships of the body must act as the central character. In modern architecture, the quality of a space must be defined not just by its particular function but the extents of the function outside of its boundaries and its connecting links with the surrounding. For this transition, movement design is what characterizes the quality of the said spaces and gives a visual contact between the

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exact and the abstract. In the process of articulation, a design may create parts that lead the movement, parts that highlight the movement or parts that limit the movement. Distinctions of symmetry and asymmetry, shapes which may be narrow or wide, stretched or shortened, curved and twisted, linear or angular are used as instruments in the process of creation, that in association with each other that result in system of movement in the space. The same can be true if produced in reverse. In modern contemporary dance, closely articulated movement patterns that are created in response to an existing space and its surroundings can help in defining its quantitative and qualitative aspects. This has been experimented with in site specific dance performances, wherein a dance is created with the theme of the place it is performed in rather than in the limited extents of a perfectly manicured dance studio. This provides a fresh inflow of movement ideas that are fluent in that particular space. The performance as a result, does not depend only on the skill of the performer but also the relationships he/she creates within the form, with the extents of space around them. Actions of the body that traverse through time and space may either be in successive motion or play simultaneously to provide a whole experience, and which may not be read accurately in parts.

"Movement shows the difference between space and time, and simultaneously bridges it. Therefore movement is a suitable medium to penetrate more deeply into the nature of space, and to give a living experience to its unity with time." - Rudolf Laban (Laban Guild for Movement and Dance)

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Laban Movement Analysis (or LMA) is a system for studying, understanding, describing, and notating all aspects of bodily movement, devised by Hungarianborn dance artist and theorist Rudolf Laban. LMA has four inter-related areas of principle study: Body, Effort, Shape, and Space. It is a dynamic and evolving set of principles which provides a language with which to describe and direct movement experiences. It focuses attention on dynamics of movement, spatial range, and principles of physical development and coordination.

Body: This category studies the structural characteristics of the body in motion (including where in the body movement begins, the sequence in which various body parts move to carry out a given action, and the connection of body parts to one another.

Effort: Also known as dynamics, this category examines the specific ways in which movements are carried out with regard to inner intention (for instance, how the action of reaching for a glass differs from the action of punching someone. Although the movement sequence of these two actions is very similar, Laban found that they differed in terms of physical characteristics like strength, weight, and “flow.�)

Shape: This category studies the ways in which the body changes shape while moving. There are several sub-categories, which combine to describe static poses the body takes, as well as the varying shape of the body in relationship to itself and to its environment.

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Illustration 12: Laban’s Effort Graph, Laban Movement Analysis (LMA)

Space: Laban’s theories about spatial relationships constitute perhaps his greatest contribution to movement studies. He described a complex system of geometry involving solid and crystalline forms and the structure of the human body, as well as the spatial patterns, pathways, and lines of spatial tension between them. Laban believed that some ways of organizing and moving in space were more “harmonious” (theoretically and aesthetically pleasing) than others, and that people could learn to refine their range of movement to optimize this Space Harmony. (Marlowe, 2008)

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Illustration 13: Rudolf Laban

(Rudolf Laban found a fascination in observing people's movements in all aspects of life. His analysis of movement is based on anatomical, spatial and dynamic principles - what the body can do, how it does it, how it relates to space, and how the quality of movement affects function and communication. The analysis is flexible, providing a means of observing, understanding and describing movement - both quantitatively and qualitatively - which can be applied to all forms of movement and areas of body movement research. Consequently, Laban's work has been applied in a number of fields: dance creation, performance and teaching in both professional and community contexts; dance therapy and dance for special needs; psychology, anthropology and ethnology; acting and drama; dance, drama and gymnastics in education; industry and management.) (Marlowe, 2008)

Laban created the principle of ‘free’ or ‘absolute dance’ where the fundamental means of expression for dance were drawn from the rhythm of bodily movement and its spatial and dynamic components. He encouraged his students to work in less physically restricting environments and experience a new way of life- dancing in the open air, free of solid material boundaries. The implementation of his theories in collaboration with others, created endless possibilities of defining a style that simultaneously broke and established boundaries. Performance within such a style then creates a association not just between the dance and the dancer, but also the audience and the space as a whole.

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Illustration 14: Labanotation

The use of Laban’s movement theories creates a fresh avenue not just in the performing arts but could act as a fascinating tool for the design of spaces as well. Movement allows for the capture of architectural perceptions, and helps occupants of a space piece together stimulus such as sight, sound, smell and touch. Even the height and position of an occupant’s head, eyes or ears impact how they perceive a building or space- thus influencing not just how they interact with it but also how they remember it and explain it to others. When certain systems overlap or flow to lead occupants on an experiential journey through a building, a narrative is created in three-dimensional form. By doing this, one gives the occupants freedom to project themselves into the designed spaces, so they can interpret the design by personalized reactions to the elements that form them. Directed movement of the human body influences not just the design but also a person’s physiological, intellectual and emotional perceptions.

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“Dancing and architecture both specifically invoke looking at issues of boundary, space and time, movement and experimental abstract relationships. Dancers and architects are both also involved in the act of making stable, concrete proposals at the same time as they strive to make sense of the unstable, conflicting and complex social situations in which designs are embedded.� (Nayak, p. 3) If we assume, in architectural endeavors space is designed keeping in mind the pattern of movement, and in contemporary dance productions movement is designed keeping in mind design of the existing space, the results would always create an experience of space that is vibrant and unique. The author in search of such a dynamic process that creates a whole experience of body and mind in space thus explores the idea of juxtaposition of the methods used in the two disciplines of design and performing arts, with the help of movement and its related theories.

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3.2

Connections between the Past and the Present.

Dance history in India as well stretches beyond 2000 years and has left its traces in ornamentation on architecture, that serve as living museums that have survived through the centuries. Hindu temples serve not just as a knowledge bank for the art itself, but also are a means to trace how the dance has evolved through time and its significance in the cultural traditions of the people. The traditions of dance have a very close connection with the temple in India. It is believed that the temple was where the dance developed into a form and it is the temple which provided a space for the dance to take place. But this can only be defined in the category of Indian classical dances which are based on the common aesthetic of Natyashastra- the grammar book of Natya or drama, formulated by Bharata Muni sometime between the 2nd centuries BC. In Natyashastra, the role of space in dance has been clearly defined and similarly, the formulations of spatial configurations have also been elaborated in India in what is known as the Vastushastra. When read in conjunction with another, a complete understanding of spatial principles and their various ways of implementation can be achieved. This of course, is particularly specific to the various Indian classical forms of dance only. However, in this research the exploration involves only the modern contemporary dance that evolved in the early 20th century. Its origins have been a rebellion against the rigid constraints to classical ballet traditions. In Europe, Mary Wigman, Francois Delsarte, Émile Jaques-Dalcroze, Rudolf von Laban, Aine developed theories of human movement and expression, and methods of instruction that led to the development of European modern and Expressionist dance.

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While the founders of the Modern dance continued to make works based on ancient myths and legends following a narrative structure, their students, the radical dancers, saw dance as a potential agent of change. Disturbed by the Great Depression and the rising threat of fascism in Europe, they tried to raise consciousness by dramatizing the economic, social, ethnic and political crises of their time. Merce Cunningham a former ballet student of Martha Graham, introduced ‘chance procedures’ and ‘pure movement’ to choreography. Both Postmodern dance and Contemporary dance are built upon the foundations laid by Modern dance and form part of the greater category of 20th century concert dance. Whereas Post-modern dance was a direct and opposite response to Modern dance, Contemporary dance draws on both modern and postmodern dance as a source of inspiration. (Briginshaw, 2001, 2009) Recent developments in the field of contemporary dance provide a path for spatial explorations which are the starting points of movement. I such a situation, the space in which the dance is being conceived become extremely important. This can be defined by the term site-specific dancing wherein the choreographer uses the existing paths and patterns in a particular space to create movement that is not just in that space, but also read and understood only in that space itself. Outside of that space, the reading would be partial. This is a concept that has been greatly explored in a quest to look for new opportunities and inspirations to create movement in dance with the help of architectural built environment. However, in this research it is the reverse that one tries to explore.

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There are however, limited numbers of experiments that architects as spatial planners have conducted to use the technical body of a dancer in space, to visualize a design, to investigate its endless possibilities in the creation of space definition.

“The recent changes in modern architecture are perhaps as radical as those separating the 1920s from their predecessors. True, we share our vocabulary with this period of yesterday, but the same words now have a different meaning and often basically opposite meaning. We still speak of functionalism, but while then it meant exactitude, now it means flexibility. Those two are opposite concepts.� (George Dodds, Robert Tavernor, 2005) Flexibility has become a central architectural virtue of the new paradigm: flexibility of form, configuration, use, appearance and even of identity. Design of such a space proves to be a great challenge for an architect.

The author believes, in the design process of most architectural projects, there is little opportunity to study the construction of space from a movement point of view, while in many performance projects, there is little time to contemplate the influence of the physical environment when acted upon individually b either discipline. But the collaboration between the two where one utilizes the theories of another can facilitate an enhanced quality of work in both fields.

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3.3

Existing Collaborations

Many theories have developed within the separate realms of architecture and dance over a period of time. It is always an exciting journey to venture onto a path where many a time the two coincide and share time and space. Within such a framework, the possibilities of collaborative projects find a way. A few such collaborations between architects and dancers that may have utilized the theories of either or both fields in the implementation of a design idea are exemplified below, which may be considered to be successful in their outcomes by various user groups.

Calatrava was commissioned to both engineer and design an enlargement of the heavily trafficked Stadelhofen Railroad Station in Zurich in 1983. Despite the complicated technical issues of building on a narrow site of a busy station whose service at no point could be interrupted for construction, and additionally, being under the nervous pressure of being in charge of both the engineering and the architecture of the project (a fairly new double responsibility), there was no damper on Calatrava’s creativity. In a 1997 workshop lecture at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Calatrava shared with the students and professors in attendance: “In addition to relating the station to the functioning of the complex and to the urban context, I began for the first time to experiment with the ideas of the body and anatomy. I thought about gesture. I started with my hand and the idea of the open hand, which signifies sincerity and openness. From the open hand tuned palm-sidedown, I chose the area between the thumb and index finger as the shape of the column, which you then see repeated several times throughout the project.� (Rosenberg, 2010)

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This quote alone encapsulates the complex nature of Calatrava’s process and practice. Without losing sight of the requirements of engineering and architecture, his work is inspired by the form and movement of nature, translated and related through symbology, analogy, metamorphosis, and metaphor.

In 1996, Frédéric Flamand, a Belgian choreographer started reflecting on the relationship between dance and architecture, both of them being arts that structure space. For “Moving Target”, he chose to work with New York architects Elisabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio, gaining inspiration from the uncensored notebooks of Vaslav Nijinsky, one of the first classical dancers to build bridges with contemporary dance. The choreography was recreated in 2010 with the Ballet de Marseille.

Illustration 19: Performance- Moving Target

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Moving Target reinterprets the changing definitions of the "normal" and the "pathological" as well as processes of normalization. Unlike the proscenium which separates the audience from the narrative space of the stage, the interscenium, composed of a 45° mirror/projection screen over the stage, splinters the gaze of the audience and allows for a plan view of the stage in which dance patterns and structures are more clearly visible.

Illustration 20: Moving Target- Use of mirror at a 45 degree angle and visual projections.

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When combined with a video projection, the mirror synthesizes dancers into video space. Live and pre-recorded dancers can enjoy two types of hyper-virtuosity: live dancers are freed from the confines of gravity as the mirror reorients everything by 90°, the pre-recorded dancers are freed from the confines of bodily physics as their actions are produced through morphing technologies. In addition, an optical tracking system follows pre-determined stimuli and draws real-time figures that are projected onto the mirror. (Rosenberg, 2010) In the early works of Diller and Scofidio, a certain conceptualization of the body and how it relates to space appears to be important. Their interpretation of space differs from the predominant modernist models that existed. Space is not considered as a void but always attached to geographies, histories and policies. In response to an interview they say “ …when we think about an intervention in space like an act of architecture, we always think of ourselves as visitors to a problem that existed before us, and therefore it’s up to us to think backwards and forwards through contemporary filters”.

While Diller and Scofidio bought an architectural viewpoint to the choreography of dance, architect Abdelhalim Ibrahim Abdelhalim collaborates with dancers to bring the perspective of the dancing body to the construction of architecture. The Cultural Park for Children in Cairo, Egypt, is a drastic contrast from the Cartesian aesthetic of the modern cityscape. The floor plan is a patchwork of spirals and elaborately intertwining circles of different sizes and other geometric figures. The architecture is playfully evocative, inviting its audience to move, touch, and climb its walls, steps, and open windows. The design is intended to “encourage exploration and empirical learning through architectural form,”138 which invites both visual and physical engagement.

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Illustration 21: Cultural Park for Children in Cairo, Egypt

The genesis of this work of landscape and architecture was a shared effort of the architect, Abdelhalim and the community of the Abu al-Dahab neighborhood. In order to gain support for the project from the community, Abdelhalim approached the Minister of Culture to propose that a festival or building ceremony be held. Rather than presenting blueprints and models that were bound to be meaningless and uninspiring to the community, local artists, musicians, and dancers were invited to choreograph a piece that could be performed by local school children to describe the scheme for the design and construction. The architect writes that “The building ceremony was thus not simply an empty ritual but a dynamic process where the static order of the original blueprint became flexible.�(Rosenberg, 2010)

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Illustration 22: Cultural Park for Children in Cairo, Egypt

The resulting architectural landscape is one that reflects the movement that inspired its creation. Its forms are built to the human scale and made accessible to human movement through their curvilinear geometry and the rhythmic pacing of their organization.

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The review of the project in Architecture for a Changing World claims: An important lesson of the Cultural Park for Children is that is the unsaid in architecture, which is often the most important thing. Rhythm is a basic theme that unites all the disparate parts of the project, and gives it strength. (Rosenberg, 2010)

The “unsaid� in this project is the sense of movement, or kinesthesia, exuded by it. The space is a perfect environment for children to engage haptically and optically in their experience of space and the geometry of form. A sense of experience is created not just in the visual sense but in response to the other human senses in the flow of movement through space.

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Chapter 4 Personal Interactions

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4.1

Interviews

Professionals in the field of both architecture and contemporary dance have been chosen for a further insight into the three aspects of discussion in this research. Interviews with two architects and two dancers were undertaken keeping in mind their personal ideologies that define their work or practices. These are as follows:

K.T. Ravindran is a practicing architect and urban designer based

in

New

Delhi.

He

graduated

from

the School of Architecture and Planning, Chennai and did his post

graduation

in

Urban

Design

from

the School ofPlanning and Architecture, New Delhi. He has been a faculty and the Head of the Department of Urban Design at the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), New Delhi for over two decades now. His practice includes design of Greenfield cities, cultural buildings and memorials, as well as urban conservation. He is the founder president of the Institute of Urban Designers, India and is a member of the academic boards of a number of universities in India. He was the Vice-Chairman of the last Environmental Impact Assessment Committee of the Government of India and is currently the Chairman of Delhi Urban Art Commission, a statutory body mediating aesthetics, environment and heritage in building and development projects in Delhi. His research interests include contemporary urban history, indigenous urbanism, vernacular building traditions and sustainability and urban form.

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Ashok Lall is Principal of Ashok B Lall Architects in New Delhi, India. He studied architecture and fine arts at the University of Cambridge, in the United Kingdom and also studied at the Architectural Association (AA), London, where he obtained his diploma in 1970. He held the position of Dean of Studies of the former TVB School of Habitat Studies in New Delhi from 1996 to 2007 and is currently a visiting professor at the Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University (GGSIU), New Delhi. He is actively engaged in the development of the architectural curricula for the Indian context, and contributes regularly to national professional journals in architecture. He is a member of the Committee for PhD Studies,School of Planning and

Architecture

for London Metropolitan University.

In

addition

and to

external membership

Examiner of

various

professional bodies, he is an active advocate of sustainable architecture in India. His practice has won a number of awards for architecture and international competitions including three nominations for the Aga Khan Award for Architecture. The practice has executed projects for educational research institutions in many parts of India, and specializes in low-energy sustainable architecture.

Navtej Singh Johar is a Bharatanatyam exponent and a choreographer, whose work is unique in that it freely traverses between the traditional and the avant-garde. Trained in Bharatanatyam at Rukmini Arundale's, Kalakshetra, at Chennai, and with Leela Samson at the Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, New Delhi, he later studied at the Department of Performance Studies, New York University. Johar has performed at prestigious venues all over the world and has done extensive work with several prominent international companies and choreographers. VIRKEIN DHAR

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recognized as a cutting edge choreographer whose work is sensitive, compelling, witty and layered. His work includes solo and ensemble works. Apart from classical Bharatanatyam it includes contemporary performance pieces, street-theatre, performance-installations, site-specific events, musicals and spectacles. Being a dancer and a yoga practitioner, his perspective is very body-centric; and he finds Indian cities to be disrespectful if not contemptuous of the human body. Johar finds the haphazard urban conditions, sweeping oversight of ground reality, disregard for the needs of the real people, perfunctory superimposition of foreign ideas, no attention-to-detail, colossal waste of resources, unreasonable laws and policies, basically the “suspension of common sense on Indian streets,� humorous yet unacceptable! In 2004, Johar started the Abhyas Trust: a nonprofit organization dedicated to yoga, dance, urban design and the care of stray animals.

Anusha Lall works in the field of classical dance and contemporary performance in New Delhi. Anusha’s interest in dance spans choreography, performance, teaching and research. Her recent choreographic works, Sambodhan, Vyuti and Tilt have been inspired from the movement vocabulary of Bharatanatyam and attempt to discover fresh dynamics and create new perspectives in the way that it is performed and viewed. Anusha collaborates with artists from other disciplines such as theatre, video, architecture and sculpture to discover new impulses to create work. She is director and founder member of Gati, a Delhi-based forum for dance practice and research.

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The questions that formed the basis of the interviews have been stated below in the form of a questionnaire. But each led to a discussion which may not have been a direct answer but led the author in a particular direction for interpretation. These are detailed as transcribed from the audio recorded interviews in the appendix.

QUESTIONNAIRE FOR DANCERS Q1. In a single line, how would you define your contemporary dance today? Q2. What inspired you to break away from the traditional form of dance in which you have been trained, to create your own contemporary vocabulary? Q3. How important is it for a contemporary dancer to be trained in traditional techniques? Q4. How does your dance relate to audiences? Are there any specific features, processes or aspects of your dance that ensure it to be relatable to a broad spectrum of the audience? Q5. Are there a set of steps that you follow from the conception of an idea to its conversion into choreography? If yes, does the sequence of these processes play an important role? Q6. Is the use of idioms and symbolism part of your translation from an idea into movement? If yes, how do you define these idioms? Q7. What processes form part of your exploration/ investigations in regard to space (physical space) in your design? What is the role of such investigations? Q8. The traditional dance forms emphasize on storytelling. Is that prominent in the contemporary form you practice as well?

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Q9. Does a narrative play an important role in your design translations? If yes, how and why?

QUESTIONNAIRE FOR ARCHITECTS Q1. What is your philosophy of design? What is the role of space in your designs? Q2. The practice of sustainability emerges from our traditional cultural roots. How has this changed or evolved? (Methodology) Q3. How does the translation of your philosophy into design affect or relate to the people who view or use it? Q4. Is there a set of principles or processes that are used by you in the creative process? Does the sequence of these processes play an important role? Q5. Is the use of idioms part of your design translations? If yes, how do you define these idioms? Q6. What processes form part of your exploration/ investigations in regard to space (physical space) in your design? What is the role of such investigations? Q7. Do you see a new or continuing trend in architectural design over the past many years of your practice? Q8. Does a narrative play an important role in your design translations? If yes, how and why?

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4.2

Analysis

DANCERS: QUESTION Definition your dance

ANUSHA LALL

NAVTEJ JOHAR

of Finding a methodology to I don’t have one way or style, most investigate a particular idea of my work I try to understand the meaning of dance. Dance differential. Inspiration to Challenge the final Why we have to embellish dance. break from the presentation of the dance within the classical form I cannot traditional form and how the raise questions about it. To examine repertoire is constructed. it I need to step away from it. The classical form has become a national idiom and property, that becomes precious, which becomes problematic for me. Importance of For me it has been my Depends on what kind of dancing training in a richest resource. Helped you want to do. You don’t have to classical form playing with the navigation be a ‘dancer’ to be a dancer. of not just physical space Walking is also a dance. My training but imaginary space. certainly has helped me, it has given me body conditioning, my movement definition and exposed me to an aesthetic. I deeply appreciate that aesthetic and glad I have been through the classical form. When I do my contemporary work, I try very hard for it to not look like the classical form. Intention of the dancer is important. Definitely the non-classical literate person’s mind will be freer because a lot of brainwashing goes into the classical training. Depends on what the dancer’s aesthetic is and how technique oriented it is.

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Relation to the Change in presentation to audience the audience as a challenge. In her choreography Tilt, she challenged the frontality of performance and brought the audience closer to the performer, engaging them in the energy and experience of the dance itself.

Presence of a sequence of events from idea to implementation

Different in each case. Have not yet evolved an elaborate and clearly articulated idea. The idea forms in collaboration with the body which gives movement for which you may not always have words for. You then don’t need to rationalize it. It is also less verbal and more experiential.

Use of idioms

For me Bharatnatyam is the idiom that is what I play with and against. Small things that trigger references. Use of symbology that comes from mudras, the actual shapes that the body makes. A mudra takes you into a world of meaning, a shape on the other hand; it references the tradition and reservoir of physical body movement. Each has a deep meaning for me, the muscle memory triggers a while set of other sensory memories.

VIRKEIN DHAR

My dance is introspective, and the process of introspection can be meaningful which then develops a quality to attract people. Common thread lies in the examination of the classical form. Goes back to the history, socio-political, poetry of dance in each piece. Discontent with the presentation of dance. Examine my love-hate relationship between the way dance is perceived and marketed. Different every time. Very often I know the end result, but the approach can be drastically different and vice versa as well. But more so with the first. For example, in Fanaa I was clear about my idea of presenting the poetry of classical dance in a completely non-classical manner and my approach was thus led by this. On a conception level, I am very clear so the process becomes very simple. It can be an abstract narrative, nonlinear narrative but it is always narrative based. So when there is narrative, there is a language and so there is symbology. Sometimes I borrow directly from the traditional, and sometimes don’t borrow directly and I feel this is doable so I do it, consider it a possibility. As long as the sincere intention of the person comes across, then I will be with them through this journey. It’s not important the audience understands everything; it depends on your degree of engagement.


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Process exploration

Process creating narrative

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of Departure and arrival in and out of this imaginary space. Ownership of a space where you locate yourself in the centre of the space. You generate movement from this centre; send out trajectories of energy in various directions. Also this space is artificial; it only signifies the presence of the original façade of the temple. So in the absence of the architecture from which the physical vocabulary is generated, and you are only reading the dance partially. I tried to recreate that in Vyuti, but it did not reflect what wanted. In Tilt, the form extended to explore how to make fronts of all directions, and find ways if the form is take to the corner rather than the usual of the centre. of Pick up a contemporary a narrative which has contemporary relevance and use the same physical language to express it, but this is a limited kind of translation. I would love to play with mudras and expressions, but I don’t have it yet, to use them without going into clichéd narratives and translations of contemporary. I imagine I could go abstract. on the other hand, I believe the body is always divulging some narrative and that

The space plays a very important role. All spaces have their own energy depending on how they are designed and constructed. For most parts we tend to do the same thing in different spaces, but it is never really the same. Like if I am dancing in a Kamani or a India Habitat it makes a world of a difference. To have a control over space is a huge luxury which I don’t have. But I do know there are spaces that are more conducive to certain performances.

Storytelling a prominent aspect of my work; could be straight or abstract. Because what I want to say is from life. And life works in a narrative. Then what I do is either support it or counter it. I also like the idea of stretching the narrative. Playing with the pace and sequence of the narrative’ juggling it. And especially if you are looking at putting elastic in the narrative. Focusing on a particular thing rather than the whole scene, this opens up many more narratives within it. Allows for observations and insights which get overlooked because the narrative goes at a certain speed


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requires a different kind of reading. And how you deal with not just physical space but with temporal spaces. Use of timing, the breaking of a rhythm all creates a narrative. For me, physical space generates an emotional narrative and vice versa. Abstraction has the power to make a big emotional impact on someone. Like just an abstract image can tell a story. As an audience, if there is some transformation, it might not be a story narrative, but there still exists a very rich narrative even in abstraction.

and time. But if you play with time, and take one part of the narrative, and stretch it that makes is very exciting for me. My abstract work is more to create energy which then eventually gets absorbed in a narrative.

ARCHITECTS: QUESTION Philosophy of design

ASHOK LALL

K.T RAVINDRAN

Ambitions- to find an aesthetic I only react to external stimulus; I expression of what I call don’t have a personal philosophy. intelligent deployment of resourcesmaterial and otherwise, and to establish prototypical solutions which enhance qualities of life. Importance Principles and methods were and implicit in traditional cultures, but evolution of in the contemporary world sustainability material cultures and conditions are significantly different. So you have to make explicit the theory of the relationship between people and usable space and the VIRKEIN DHAR


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environment. With that understanding you have to innovate; the old ways do not meet present requirements. The issue of the relationship between means and ends is one of the defining characteristics of this age in terms of human society. The other being the principle of equity. To draw the expression of aesthetic value from the application of these two principles, that’s the challenge. That is when you are responding to the nature of the times, when you are not simply being willful or exercising your artistic licentious prerogative. You are actually applying your imagination and that is what distinguishes architecture as an art from many other forms of art because it has a primary connection to the reality of day to day life.

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Relationship If you go back to the Bauhausian with the user abstraction of elements of design, the deployment of these elements with relation to building and comfort, exploration of spatial configuration which then relate somehow the building to the greater realm of nature. And I find that when you incorporate these and the craft of making in the building it gives a sense of wellbeing. About well crafted products- things in which you can sense how they are made, it’s not mystical or mysterious like in pottery, that produces a human relationship, and that is a very important value.

Presence of a set of principles or processes

VIRKEIN DHAR

It is a bit of a fuzzy process. It’s about informing one’s self of the complexity of the problem. It’s like jiggling so many balls at the same time. Waving structures of arrangement and form. You find yourself configuring solutions; the synthesis happens subliminally, it has so much to do with practice, experience and immersion. Immersion is terribly important. Metaphorically, it means that you have let the complexity of the situation for which you are designing enter into you through every single pore of your body. It is the fullness of that awareness which you find the appropriate responses. You cannot find that appropriate response if you are

Understanding the user group. In a performance space, the user group is different from the performer to the person promoting the theatre. So there are three stakeholders under the ‘user’ category, and each has a different aspect that needs to be looked at in terms of design. The promoter will want to take care of the technicalities of the theatre, the performer would want a space that is unbinding and limitless in terms of movement, and for the audience the form and view would be of importance. Like the Ramlila in Benaras called ‘Ramnagar’, the audience gets immersed in the devotion of the performer rather than just being a viewer from outside, which is very dependent on spatial definition.


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Use idioms

not immersed in it. For me, it has to come to a vibrant, humming kind of restful resolution. of I wouldn’t want to call it idioms but I would say there is some kind of consistency that seems to have emerged in the design work that one does. It is a notion of lyricism and gentleness that seems to be the pervading sensibility. For me, drama, grandeur, tension- it doesn’t come in my work; which is very much a personality trait I guess.

Gunavadigam- the formation of the quality is what iconography is about. In the case of Shiva, the qualitative dimensions are given a different form in the iconography. That is why one temple typology is different from the other. They are articulated differently because in each location, Shiva has a different bhava. The mudra which represents that bhava, is then the idiom and narrative is the qualitative content of that. Guna is given formation through a material form, so an intangible idea is given a tangible form. Process of The design of the physical space In reality the subdivision of sensory exploration comes from the state of and perceptive exploration is immersion as well. something we create for convenience of understanding. They are not actually separate. We are unable to experience the totality of it. “To conceptualize is to falsify”. We break the different components and correlate them to call it a concept. The more you divide it the more you go away from the totality of the experience. Direction is a very important aspect in building spatial form. In dance it is not as important, but no traditional performer will ever perform facing south, contemporary dancer can face anywhere. So the cardinal directions are crucially connected with the qualitative content of the relationship between different components which is also a changing aspect with change in VIRKEIN DHAR


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location.

Presence of a continuing trend over time

Hundreds of them, so many people doing so many things. I would believe there is no common thread that binds it together. if there has been a kind of significant new departure from what I have been practicing which is very traditionalist, in what you call exploration of materiality, form and space; and that exploration has taken two divergent directions- one that I would like to emulate is where the production of form and space is born of physical principles of efficiency and economy; of working intelligently with the laws of nature. The other is where the exploration happens irrespective of natural principlesthey are simply the making of form and space. The latter I find is not essentially architecture. Essentially architecture needs to be intelligent and; Intelligence for me is an ability to respond to changing circumstance with great efficiency of means. Well that is also the principle of life and it applies to architecture. Process of For me narrative is the pattern of creating a day to day living and activities, narrative coming and going, sometimes the narrative is about allocating status and character to various events and happenings in a building. Something is given more importance than another; something is presented front on and others from the side. There VIRKEIN DHAR

It is a kind of a freedom to recognize that you are a free particle in this universe. But no particle is entirely free. The freedom is then just an illusionary freedom. However I don’t subscribe to that all binding practices. I am ready to do anything. I want to be a truly free particle, which is neither offended at being guided nor will I feel curtailed if I am guided, and nor do I feel that I should not do something. So it’s a question of how well you react to your context, because what we call destiny is also just a cumulative context in which your action is part of that context.

You create the destiny- the narrative. Then there is what we call co-incidences that come together. Every point is a point of convergence of what is apparently accidental to us because we are not able to read the pattern in which it has occurred. And there is a response from us, which is conscious. A modern dancer is


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are nuances that you may call the rituals of life. So the narrative is not something that is outside the day to day life of the project, it is found from within that reality. It is never metaphorical and it also never significant. It’s actually quite banal, but it would still have certain nuances which are felt when you have been around for a while. A person who comes in as a spectator may not be able to catch or experience those nuances. it is a patterning of spatial relations, what you see and don’t see, how things are juxtaposed and there are simple tricks like facing or not facing that ritualize the relationships between places and actions. The way life will be lived is very consciously visualized and the design swings about that.

actually moving like a free particle and is experiencing a certain kind of freedom. You can experience this in a Kumbh mela- you lose concepts of time and space. You are in the midst of so many people in a vast area, everything is one way and you just go with the enormous mass of people that you lose sense of day or night. You cannot turn around and walk away from the most bizarre stuff you have seen. It is like an assault on your sensibilities. And when you come back you feel completely free. And the sanctified spatial definitions are connected to specific times.

K.T. Ravindran : There are many ways by which spatial concepts are tied to human actions. So when you stylize the action, it becomes a form of choreography. And when it is codified to communicate a specific idea it becomes a form of dance. That is where the idiom comes into play. So an underlying idea is turned into a concept, that concept is turned into a series of actions that gives you the idiom. It is the content that drives the idea. Idiom is only the instrument of expression of the idea. And the concept is what gives it a form. And then the narrative is connected to the quality of the idea or object, but in a relational form. These qualities are defined relationally rather than just intrinsically. And then the relational qualities are what give you the narrative. Narrative also has content and a form. How these can co-relate to architecture is what leads to an exciting track of enquiry.

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Chapter 5 The Finale

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5.1

Conclusion

In exploring the theoretical necessity and practical possibility of collaboration between dance and architecture, space and time emerge as common mediums in which both exercise and operate. A built environment that is constructed in the language of only the Cartesian aspects of space is eliminating the human body as a unit of measure for its qualitative characteristic. To be able to act upon an idea in the true sense, one needs to take into account not just its functional characteristics but also its qualitative individuality. One way of achieving this is by the process of immersion into the idea at work, wherein the body and a mind work in coordination to generate an outcome that is involuntary and natural rather than forced. Within such a framework of creative process, every creation thus created embodies something of its creator. And if the intention of the creator stands to be true to itself without the use of any artificial external stimuli, the creation in itself would have the qualities that provide for an enviable experience. As discussed in earlier chapters, idioms are a tool for expression in both architecture and contemporary dance. These may be local to a specific place or transcend geographical boundaries; it may be understood and used by an infant or an adult in relation to its environment. For us to understand these nuances, we tend to divide

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the expression as a whole into parts. Without the use or implementation of the processes of finding idiom, exploring space and creating narratives, the experience remains read incomplete.

At this point, the quality of the creation plays an

important role in its sustenance and its affect on the sensibilities of the human body and mind. For both the architect and the dancer, space must define itself not as a void that needs to be filled, rather as a means to an end. The dancer in space introduces the consideration of time- time at the scale not of the universe but of the human i.e. the movement of body in space. This reveals a quality that traditional, static proportions and measures can never achieve. It places in the hands of the architect a new material- the fourth dimension which is no longer simply a reaction to the regularity of time, but time transcends as an integral and spontaneous player in the conception and creation of space. The properties and definitions of this space are then as malleable as the space itself. The choreographer assimilates and adapts an existing space. It contains and defines the different possibilities of moving through that space, of interacting with it, of being inside it or of traversing through it. A dancer may allow himself/herself to enter into a relationship with that space.

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If architectural design aims to create a specific form for the buildings that one lives in, dance has the ability to embody a sense of dynamism and mobilization within that living environment. Movement can allow for a completely different understanding of both architecture and dance. Through the inversion and reversal of prevailing paths and patterns, through a new coding and re-functioning of everyday spaces in which one lives, contemporary dance refers to the potential of architectural spaces as an opportunity for movement. From a dance-theory perspective, this potential of architectural space is tapped by the form of dance to turn this potential into a motor for movement; which then contributes towards sensitizing the kinetic senses. Keeping in mind the knowledge of various types of movement, technology, anatomy of the body and functions of each, a dancer would be able to interact with the architecture by drawing on the elements that are contained within its boundaries. These may be the structure, materials, compositional characteristics or functions. From such a position in time and space; axes, views, directions, locations and paths offer motivations for movement. The dancer trained in the manipulation of body through time and space, explores all the potential orientations and interactions between the two. This process of discovery in turn reveals certain experiential qualities of inhabiting a space that would otherwise remain unseen. Although the extremes of potential will perhaps never physically manifest in that space, a range of conceivable movements and VIRKEIN DHAR


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interactions nevertheless exerts its force on the sensations of space. The possible relations between space and the body become part of the spatial experience whether or not they are actually employed. The body is pushed and pulled by the possibilities of its movement in space. Being able to see these possibilities through the dancer- the explorer of space and time provides another important layer of understanding of the built architectural space. It is at this intersection of space and time where one seeks a dialogue between theories in architecture and dance, a dialogue that is oriented around the architect’s and the choreographer’s practices of finding, exploring, creating and dancing. The real test of such a hypothesis would be in the actual implementation of the conceptualized ideas presented in the research paper, in practice. Experimenting with the idea of concepts of movement and haptic sensibilities available in contemporary dance theories to use them as the basis of architectural design would then bring about a greatly insightful outcome. The author’s still desires a deeper and broader understanding of the topic than the scope of this particular research can allow, and thus considers this study as just the beginning and definitely not the end.

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Appendix – Interview Transcripts

ANUSHA LALL A1. “Investigate an idea”. Its not a line its only three words ! Finding a methodology to investigate a particular idea. A2. Actually I don’t see myself as breaking away from my training. So my education in the form that I learnt it was a very comprehensive education in a particular technique. In bharatnatyam you learn just little steps little sequences of movements. Only after five to six years you start to put these small movements together into items and a lot of the training is in just how you put them together. And what happens to the body when you transition from one movement into another. So you start honing transitions and that is what one is actually continuing to do. Finding movement sequences and finding ways of bringing them together. What I have come away from , if anything is the structure of the final presentation of bharatnatyam. The way the repertoire is constructed in bharatnatyam for performance. That is something that doesn’t appeal to me very much. The technology of the form and the basic brickwork of the form are still very appealing, that whatever change has happened is purely a process of looking back at the form from the outside. To familiarize with it again, to see what is it that still appeals to me – physically or emotionally. The attitude wasn’t ki isko kisi tarah todna hain. It wasn’t a reaction in that’s sense at all. It was more like a dialogue which had to be on new terms. And because it was on new terms it led to certain kind of extensions, distortions. The VIRKEIN DHAR


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volumes changed, the nuances changed. Why I wanted to dance, changed fundamentally. My relationship with presenting to the audience changed. Who do I become, why do I perform, and definitely the relationship with creativity? So when I was doing years and years of education as a bharatnatyam dancer, it was a technician , it’s about honing the technique and being able to replicate that with as much perfection. And when I came back to it, it was very much with the idea of being a creator. Then it is another kind of engagement, engage emotionally, aesthetically. V :Is this change a factor of time? As a bharatnatyam dancer you have a very different kind of ownership of the form. At least the way I experienced it, the form was something that was outside of myself, it had a very definite boundary and it had been transmitted to me and within that and if I wanted to become creator, it was within this boundary. The definitions remained the same , I could just change a little here or there. That is what I would have done had I not travelled away. In a matter of time, i would have been a creator in a particular way. A3: Personally it is my richest resources. And that is because a traditional form, traditional ancient form in particular is not just playing with the navigation of physical space it is also playing with the navigation of an imaginary space. And so what you call idiom, the symbology , the narrative the mythology layers and layers of information that are present there, are all resources that one can play with. And you know that a small indication can trigger that reference. All I need to do is make this lotus (shows the gesture of a lotus with her hands) and because of our memories and how we watch bharatnatyam you know the lotus supports the universe, supports Krishna etc. that fund of memory and knowledge that people have and you have, it is a collective shared imagination. You can as a physical being constantly access this cloud of information and trigger these responses. for a contemporary dancer, I find this combination of dealing with physical space and VIRKEIN DHAR


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the imaginary space very exciting. To be able to go in and out of these two spaces. And also then that kind of performance is received is very different. For someone who has watched bharatnatyam, would also be doing this- travelling between neutral spaces and between very very highly suggestive spaces that are formed by tradition. A4: so I will talk about my last work that I did, which is called tilt. And in tilt, I made some very different decisions about how I wanted , they were all to do with the audience. One was I did not want the audience to sit only in front. So that whole frontalilty I wanted to challenge and that is to do with how the form is experienced ,because if a form that is designed to be a frontal form and it now has suddenly got to deal with all these others fronts, then how does it change, for me that was an interesting change. Secondly, I really wanted this distance between the audience and the dancer to be reduced, so I really brought them very close together, so that the energy that is generated by a dancer’s body is out there. So normally what happens is it travels a long distance, a dancer generated energy but conceals it at the same time, conceal it in an aura of ease and calm. You cannot see the sweat or the breathing. So what I experience as a distant audience member is the affect of something, but don’t feel the change in atmosphere. Its very visual but not experiential. Its another kind of experience of course. The first part of your question is harder to answer because it depends on who your audience is , so who receives what kind of information, to what degree. This was a piece that was not narrative, it was tough for a lot of people , it was abstract. Abstraction is something that doesn’t fit comfortably, you want to make a story or a reason, make meaning into what you see. In tilt what I imagined, that the audience would question what they saw, the identity of what they saw because the form was designed to move in and out of bharatnatyam. It was not about joining two things together . somewhere if the form was extended , then somewhere it was recuperated. So I was hoping for VIRKEIN DHAR


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people to have this sense of seeing the familiar and the unfamiliar always together or side by side. Going back into familiar territory and challenging that. So in that sense it plays a lot with memory, of how one remembers the form. A5. Its been different in each case. I have not done so much work, so I don’t know if I have evolved something that I prefer and have elaborated. But the biggest difference is whether you are dancing yourself or not. Because when I find I am dancing myself, then the idea forms in very close , almost parallel to the body exploring the idea. So the body contributes to the idea, it keeps going in and out. Also because you are working on your own body, everything does not need to be very clearly articulated or defined , so there is always room for expansion , where you don’t feel attached. If you find a very god movement idea that you don’t have words for, you don’t need to rationalize it or intellectualize it, that’s relationship is very interesting. And that is also less verbal, not articulated through words, its experiential. It is very unformed .

NAVTEJ SINGH JOHAR I don’t have “a” style of dancing or, one way in which I dance or make work, I think in most of my work I am trying to understand the meaning of dancing. My work is very dance preferential, it poses questions back on dance, as to why we dance, what are the problematic of dance, why we have to embellish dance so much, all those things… Just that, within the classical form, I can not raise questions, to raise questions I have to come out of the classical and then maybe even create a vocabulary, or deviate from the main vocabulary, to be able to examine the classical form. The classical form is loaded, it is very problematic. Its become a national medium, nationalistic. It is no longer an art, it’s a national property today. So once it becomes VIRKEIN DHAR


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that it becomes very pressured, it has its own pressures, its own impressions and its own policing. It depends on what kind dance do you want to do, which can be something very pedestrian to something very sterilized. So its not necessary, you don’t have to be a dancer to be a dancer. You don’t. Well in my case it has certainly helped me, its given my body conditioning, its given my movements definition. All those things. And it has also exposed me to an esthetic which I would not have been exposed to if had not been in it. And I deeply appreciate that esthetic. So I am glad that I have been through the classical form. But I do my contemporary work and I try very hard for it to not look like the classical. I think both, it all depends on what the persons intension is. Some people know exactly what they want to do or where they want to go. Definitely the non classical trained persons mind would be a lot freer, because there is a lot of brain washing that goes in to the classical forms. it all depends on what there aesthetics is, if they just pretending to be dancers and they are not trained, that’s different , but there are some who don’t really dance, they want to make work which is not technique oriented , like even walking is a technique. So totally depends on what they are trying to do with it. My dance is introspective and, and the process of introspection can be very exciting and then if there is meaning happening, then it has the quality to draw people. The common thread is my examination of the classical form, as I said my work is very dance preferential. It refers to the good bad to the history of dance, to the politics of dance, to the socio political context of dance, to poetry, to classical poetry that is done and danced in the dark. So yes, this is “ ghoom phirke I come back to this” in every work.

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It can be, I give it my own meaning. I am just content with the way dance is perceived or the way dance is presented or the way it is marketed. And all my work I grapple with that, I find it very problematic, so I grapple with the problem of dancing today, and all my work, I have a love hate relationship with it. And I examine that. I put that on the table in different equations, every thing that I love and what I don’t. I would say it is different every time. Sometimes, very often I know the end result I want to get to, but the approach can be completely different, like drastically different. Getting to the same place from two different ways. That also happens, of course the process takes the end result somewhere else too. But the last few works that’s I have done I have been very clear about what I want to say or what I want to take. Well, in fanaa I was very clear in what I wanted to achieve. I was very clear in exploring the classical poetry and how I would do it, not exactly how I would do it, but how I would like to play with the classical work within a completely non classical format, I have done a piece on the ramayana and that again, is a very very physical piece. Talks about the physicality if the object in the Ramayana. So I don’t know if that answers your question but , on a conception level I am very clear. So with the result that the process becomes very simple. My work is narrative based. it can be an abstract narrative, it can be non liner narrative. so when there a narrative there is a language, when there is a language there is a symbology in it. So yes, I do use. Sometimes I borrow directly and sometimes I don’t do it directly, but if I know that this is doable, so I do it. As it gives me the license that this is a possibility. Well that is tricky problem, there are things that they understand and there are things that they don’t. in any the end point, be classical/conventional or contemporary. There are many things I do, even in classical performances people don’t fully understand, or when I see a classical performance I don’t understand everything. But I think it’s the intension of the person if it comes across as being VIRKEIN DHAR


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serious or sincere or not. If he is sincerely jostling, struggling with something , then I am sympathetic to that person, I give him the benefit of doubt. And be with them on their jouney. But if that person is “ upar upar se kar raha hai..” so its not important that the audience understands what you are doing all the time. Its your degree of involvement that translates and engages the audience, if you are engaged, the audience is engaged. That’s my basic thing. If you are engaged, your audience will be engaged. I would like to say, that I does play a role, an important role. I think all spaces have their own energy actually. But depending on how they are designed and how they are constructed. And , for the most part we go and try to do exactly the same thing in different spaces, and that same thing is never the same, because it has been done in a different space and the space inspires , like if I am dancing under the stars it is a different thing altogether, when I am dancing indoors it is different. If I am, the kind of floor I am dancing on, or if I am dancing in a “kamani” or a”habitat” it makes a world of a difference , because the way the space has been designed and the was the space has been used. The energy of the place ..habitat is not a very happy place for performing, because it has got a very serious face. So these thing make a difference. Its difficult to imagine the space, because we have no control over it. We have no idea where we have been invited. So to have a control over space is a huge luxury, and I don’t have that right now. there are some spaces I see and I certainly cannot say no. strikes that, oh this piece will do very well here. Because the space is important. So no I don’t think of the space beforehand, but I do know that, there are some places that would be more conducive for a particular piece. I was doing a piece on the Ramayana, and was in jaipur in a theatre with a round stage, then I felt that if I could perform here. Because it would be perfect for it. I do work with narratives. In my work I think narrative is important. And again as I said it can be a very straightforward narrative or a very very indirect abstract narrative. Because what I want to say is part of life. And life itself is a narrative and VIRKEIN DHAR


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then I can either support it or counter it. I also like the idea of stretching the narrative. Making it elastic, either making it too spread out, so playing the pace or sequentiality of the narrative, juggling it. And specially if you are looking at you know, making the time elastic in the narrative. And just focus on “a” thing as opposed to the whole scene. Then , it opens up lots of other narratives to speak within it also allows for many other observations and many other insights which get overlooked, because the narrative is going at a certain speed, or a sequence. But if you play with time, say I am going to take one second of the narrative and stretch it, then I find that very exciting , as there are many significant moments in the narrative that determine which way it is going to go or what the outcome will be. And they are completely locked in the narrative. And they are very significant moments sometimes. So I like to work with, going through a narrative with a magnifying glass, and just attending to “a” moment. But only my work is that devoted. I have done abstract work as well but abstract work are to create an energy, through movement. But I think even that gets absorbed in the narrative.

ASHOK B. LALL 1. I dint know what the philosophy is but I have certain ambitions in design. The ambitions are to find the necessary expressions, or what I call an intelligent deployment of resources. And to establish prototypical solutions,. That Enhance quality of life, that’s the ambition.

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2. Well the principles and methods are implicit. Because of the nature, or what you call implicit in traditional cultures. But in the contemporary world the material cultures and conditions are significantly different, and so you virtually have to make explicit, the theory of the relationship between people, the consumption, production and use of the space and environment. So you have to make that explicit. And with that theory and with that understanding, you will find that you will have to actually construct new solutions, innovate quite a lot. Today there is definitely a change, and I don’t think that it equals the demands of the situation. I don’t think i gave sustainability a priority, because the issue of the relationship between me and nature Is one of the defining characteristics of this age on terms of the human society, this relationship is one of the defining characteristics, there are other defining characteristics, they have to do with the distribution of knowledge and wealth, being extremely uneven even when the world professes and has accepted it as universal value, principle of equity. So in earlier times the principle of equity was not axiomatic , today it is axiomatic, people will not ask you why you have come to that conclusion. What is the logic behind coming to that conclusion, well it’s the right thing to do

like

honesty,

…………………

you

can

give

reasons

for

it,

………………………..equities and tension and completion and war, and war is an expression of unequity, unequitious relation ships. If you want a world without violence, then you will ask the question why do you need such a world, it will always be that way. You are talking about what nonsense ….!!!!! So what I am saying is that if indeed it is a norm or that is a value, the pursuit of that value, even the practice of architecture, because architecture is also production, ……………………. And finally I feel also that the expression of ,you might call it aesthetic values, or any kind of art in architecture, the challenges . To draw the expression of aesthetic values, from the combination of these two principles, that’s the challenge. That is when you are responding to the VIRKEIN DHAR


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nature with the times, that is when you are not simply being willful or exercising your artistic ………………prerogative , you are …………applying your imagination where it comes, and that is what distinguishes architecture as an art from many other forms of art, cause it has a primrary connection to, pragmatism ,to the reality of day to day life, to resource to wealth..enough said…

3 Oh absolutely 100 percent. There are,, if you go back to the barhaousian abstractions of form and light and space and all those elements of design as they are called, if you go back to all those things. So they are relevant, as they are part of our perceptual mechanism. But the deployment of these elements, with the understanding of the relations hip, for instance between the building and light, sunshine, cold and warm, wind and breeze, building and comfort, building and activity, as per your convenience of something. And even the exploration of spatial configuration , which then relates some how with the link to , greater realm of nature. And I find that, as I incorporate them into the making of buildings, it produces a certain sense of well being for its occupants. Also as I incorporate the craft of making into building and its experience, it creates a sense of well being. One of the wonder full things about well crafted products , or things in which you can sense how they are made, its not mystical or mysterious, you can sense the working of minds hands and limbs or even machines behind the way the things done. Like you are doing pottery, I think that produces a human relation ship. That’s a very important factor.

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5 No I don’t think there is any such thing really, I think its bit of fuzzy process and a lot of the process is about informing yourself about the complexity of the thing, all its aspects, and keep juggling so many balls up in the air at the same time. ………………….Structures, of arrangement in form and the making of things through ones own, you find yourself configuring solutions, which happens subliminally , you are not generally aware of how it happens. And it as so much to with practice and experience. ……………………………and immersion. immersion is terribly important. immersion means, looking at it metaphorically, means that you have let the complexity of the situation for which you are designing, enter into you through every single pore of your body, and if the fullness of that awareness, through which you find the appropriate response, you can not find that appropriate response if you are not immersed in that. An I really feel , that works for me. I am not the one who …………………….i am not that kind, it has to come to a kind of vibrant humming kind of restful resolution, that’s what it has to be. Some one says architecture is a way of life not a career option, these are all meaningless things no..??

6 I would not call it idioms, i would like to say that is a certain kind of consistency that seems have emerged in a lot of the design work that one does, and that has to with , its something which has rubbed off on me from, my working under Mr Stein for many years, and it Is a notion called lyricism and gentleness . that seems to be the prevailing idea, sensibility. And I find my self, I wont put it negatively but that’s what I get drawn towards and I am into , what you might call drama, grandeur . Tension, it does not come in my work. ……………….. is pretty much a personality trait I guess.

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7/9 Yes very much. For me the narrative is a pattern of living, pattern of day to day activities, and goings and comings. Sometimes the narrative is about allocating status and character to various events that are happening in the building, so something is given major importance , and something is given less importance, something is presented front on, something is presented, by the way. So there are nuances that are actually reflections of what you call the rituals of life. So the narrative is not something which is outside of the day to day life of the project, narrative is found from within that reality, that’s the way I tend to operate I for instance would not say that the narrative of something is the “Journey of the Ganges “or whatever.. it is never metaphorical. And it is also never significant, it is actually very pan ague, even though it is pan ague it would have certain nuances. Which is not felt from the outside, but when you use it, utilize it. When you have been around for some time then you got to……………..experiences or “ be in the same village” so to say. So the person who comes in as a spectator may not understand it, because it is not to impress him. So its in the little things that you get used to, you can say it that way. It’s a patterning of spatial relationships and sequencing , and what you see, what you don’t see. How things are juxtaposed or not juxtaposed. And there are simple tricks like facing or not facing, or sitting side by side, these kinds of nuances are in a sense, ritualized to day to day. For example the ritual is that I do not leave the room without combing my hair. So these are those kinds of rituals about places and actions . In my kind of designing, the way life will be lived is very consciously visualized and it swings around that.

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8 There are hundreds of them; so many people are doing hundreds of things. I can’t really pinpoint. Let me put it this way, if there has been a significant new kind of departure from what I have been practicing and doing, which is very traditionalist. Significant departure has been in, what you might call the exploration, of materiality, form and space. And that exploration has taken two diversions, directions. One direction which I enjoy or appreciate and would like to emulate is where the production of form and space and materiality is born of the physical principles of efficiency, economy , of working intelligently according to the laws of nature. So when those kinds of explorations happen, I think it’s fantastic. The other directions is when the exploration happens irrespective of the natural principles, or principles of economy and efficiency. Those happen irrespective, they are simple the making of form and space. Whatever means you use is not my business, its some ones else’s. And there I find its very wayward, I don’t think that’s essential architecture, for me essential architecture has to be intelligent . And even architecture doesn’t have intelligence………….. aware. Intelligence for is an acute ,ability to respond to changing circumstance, with great efficiency and means . That’s intelligence. And I think that’s the principle of life, and it applies to architecture.

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Works Cited (n.d.).

Retrieved

August

12,

2011,

from

Oxford

Dictionararies:

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/space Alboushi, A. (n.d.). Architecture for the Human Condition. Retrieved June 23, 2011, from www.arch.mcgill.ca/prof/berns/arch671/.../thesis/Albloushi_Adel.pdf.gz Andrea Serino, G. G. (2008). Spatial organisation in passive tactile perception. Retrieved August 3, 2010, from Elsevier- Journal: www.elsevier.com/ locate/actpsy Bachelord, G. (1994 edition). The Poetics of Space. Beacon Press, Boston. Boesch, E. E. (2001). Symbolic Action Theory in Cultural Psychology. Culture and Psychology , 479-482. Briginshaw, V. A. (2001, 2009). Dance, Space and Subjectivity. Palgrave Macmillan. C.,

W.

(n.d.).

Numinous

Space.

Retrieved

August

3,

2010,

from

http://www.306090.org/MEDIA/00101.pdf Chappell, K. (n.d.). Embodied Narratives. Retrieved September 3, 2011, from http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/stellent/groups/corporatesite/@msh_peda/documents /web_document/wtx050349.pdf Chappell, K. (n.d.). Embodied Narratives. Retrieved september 3, 2011, from Wellcome

VIRKEIN DHAR

UK:


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http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/stellent/groups/corporatesite/@msh_peda/documents /web_document/wtx050349.pdf Davies, M. (2003). Movement and dance in early childhood. New Delhi: SAGE Publications India pvt. Ltd. Dowsett, H. (2009). Spatial Revolution: Exploring sensory space in the future of architecture.

Retrieved

August

3,

2010,

from

www.api.ning.com/files/Hf01NvdG3gzkTtZst61I2uLAgyr00s7U6ylIjsRHBa4c/Literatur eReviewHDFINAL Drawing Analogies- Supporting Creative Architectural Design with Visual. (n.d.). Retrieved

June

23,

2011,

from

http://depts.washington.edu/dmgftp/publications/pdfs/hi95-mdg.pdf E.W.Straus. (1963). The primary world of senses. New York: The Free Press. George Dodds, Robert Tavernor. (2005). Body and Building, Essays on the Changing Relation between Body and Building. Cambridge,Massachusetts: MIT Press, London, England. George Lakoff, Mark Johnson. (1980). Metaphors We Live By, Language Volume 59, Number 1 (1983). Retrieved September 3, 2011, from University of Chicago Press: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jlawler/L&J-Lg-Review.pdf Kersten, M. (March 2008). Conception of space in dance (Master Thesis). Technical University Delft, Faculty of Architecture. VIRKEIN DHAR


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Laban Guild for Movement and Dance. (n.d.). Retrieved January 8, 2012, from Laban Guild for Movement and Dance: http://www.labanguild.org.uk/aboutus.html Luis Porter, Sergio Sotelo. (2004). Design by Narrative. Retrieved september 3, 2011, from http://www.ierg.net/confs/2004/Proceedings/Porter_Sotelo.pdf Marlowe, J. (2008, November 3). Laban Movement Analysis. Retrieved January 8, 2012, from http://www.loveacting.com/laban_movement_analysis.html Meiss, P. v. (n.d.). Elements of Architecture, page 101. Retrieved August 12, 2011, from

Google

Books:

http://books.google.com/books?id=el6uoMdMiIIC&pg=PA101&lpg=PA101&dq=defin e+architectural+space&source=bl&ots=K9ayND0lQO&sig=ZekaM3rhqzPR44wtFuHsL nxsNvs&hl=en&ei=qBxFToTQGYn3rQf11dj3Aw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&res num=7&ved=0CFAQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=defi Ponty, M. (1962, 2002, reprinted 2009). Phenomenology of Perception. Routledge & Kegan Paul. Pultar, M. (n.d.). A structured approach to cultral studies in architecture. Retrieved August 12, 2011, from Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, Bilkent University: http://www.bilkent.edu.tr/~pultar/Papers/Spacult/Spacult.html SJDC. (2009). Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company. Retrieved November 1, 2011, from Productions- Just Add Water: http://www.shobanajeyasingh.co.uk

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Thomas Riisgaard Hansen, E. E.-O. (n.d.). Movement and Space – Exploring the Space in

Movement.

Retrieved

August

3,

2010,

from

http://www.pervasive-

interaction.org/publications/05_Critical_Workshop_Movement_and_Space.pdf Tuan, Y. F. (1977). Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience. Tuan, Y. F. Space and Place:The Perspective of Experience. V. Safak Uysal, Markus Wilsing. Embodying architecture, studying dance: movement as means of studying bodyspace. Ankara, Turkey: University of Bilkent, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture. Vega, E. P. (n.d.). Experiencing Built space: Affect and Movement. Retrieved August 3, 2010,

from

EPDV

Studio:

www.epdvs.com/ACADEMIC/epdvs

ExperiencingBuiltSpace.pdf Wagoner, B. (2008). Commentary: Making the Familiar Unfamiliar. Culture and Psychology , 466-474. Wan, T. P. (2004). Revealing Expressive Spaces: Transformation of a former quarry to a dancer's retrest centre. MIT Thesis, Department of Architecture , Abstract. Wordpress. (n.d.). Retrieved september 3, 2011, from User generated education: http://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/learning-spaces-schoolas-narrative-architecture/

VIRKEIN DHAR


Exploring the experience of space in design and performing arts 94

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Bibliography (n.d.).

Retrieved

August

12,

2011,

from

Oxford

Dictionararies:

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/space Alboushi, A. (n.d.). Architecture for the Human Condition. Retrieved June 23, 2011, from www.arch.mcgill.ca/prof/berns/arch671/.../thesis/Albloushi_Adel.pdf.gz Andrea Serino, G. G. (2008). Spatial organisation in passive tactile perception. Retrieved August 3, 2010, from Elsevier- Journal: www.elsevier.com/ locate/actpsy Bachelord, G. (1994 edition). The Poetics of Space. Beacon Press, Boston. Boesch, E. E. (2001). Symbolic Action Theory in Cultural Psychology. Culture and Psychology , 479-482. Briginshaw, V. A. (2001, 2009). Dance, Space and Subjectivity. Palgrave Macmillan. C.,

W.

(n.d.).

Numinous

Space.

Retrieved

August

3,

2010,

from

http://www.306090.org/MEDIA/00101.pdf Chappell, K. (n.d.). Embodied Narratives. Retrieved September 3, 2011, from http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/stellent/groups/corporatesite/@msh_peda/documents /web_document/wtx050349.pdf Chappell, K. (n.d.). Embodied Narratives. Retrieved september 3, 2011, from Wellcome

VIRKEIN DHAR

UK:


Exploring the experience of space in design and performing arts 95

Dissertation 2011-12

http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/stellent/groups/corporatesite/@msh_peda/documents /web_document/wtx050349.pdf Davies, M. (2003). Movement and dance in early childhood. New Delhi: SAGE Publications India pvt. Ltd. Dowsett, H. (2009). Spatial Revolution: Exploring sensory space in the future of architecture.

Retrieved

August

3,

2010,

from

www.api.ning.com/files/Hf01NvdG3gzkTtZst61I2uLAgyr00s7U6ylIjsRHBa4c/Literatur eReviewHDFINAL Drawing Analogies- Supporting Creative Architectural Design with Visual. (n.d.). Retrieved

June

23,

2011,

from

http://depts.washington.edu/dmgftp/publications/pdfs/hi95-mdg.pdf E.W.Straus. (1963). The primary world of senses. New York: The Free Press. George Dodds, Robert Tavernor. (2005). Body and Building, Essays on the Changing Relation between Body and Building. Cambridge,Massachusetts: MIT Press, London, England. George Lakoff, Mark Johnson. (1980). Metaphors We Live By, Language Volume 59, Number 1 (1983). Retrieved September 3, 2011, from University of Chicago Press: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~jlawler/L&J-Lg-Review.pdf Kersten, M. (March 2008). Conception of space in dance (Master Thesis). Technical University Delft, Faculty of Architecture. VIRKEIN DHAR


Exploring the experience of space in design and performing arts 96

Dissertation 2011-12

Laban Guild for Movement and Dance. (n.d.). Retrieved January 8, 2012, from Laban Guild for Movement and Dance: http://www.labanguild.org.uk/aboutus.html Luis Porter, Sergio Sotelo. (2004). Design by Narrative. Retrieved september 3, 2011, from http://www.ierg.net/confs/2004/Proceedings/Porter_Sotelo.pdf Marlowe, J. (2008, November 3). Laban Movement Analysis. Retrieved January 8, 2012, from http://www.loveacting.com/laban_movement_analysis.html Meiss, P. v. (n.d.). Elements of Architecture, page 101. Retrieved August 12, 2011, from

Google

Books:

http://books.google.com/books?id=el6uoMdMiIIC&pg=PA101&lpg=PA101&dq=defin e+architectural+space&source=bl&ots=K9ayND0lQO&sig=ZekaM3rhqzPR44wtFuHsL nxsNvs&hl=en&ei=qBxFToTQGYn3rQf11dj3Aw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&res num=7&ved=0CFAQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=defi Ponty, M. (1962, 2002, reprinted 2009). Phenomenology of Perception. Routledge & Kegan Paul. Pultar, M. (n.d.). A structured approach to cultral studies in architecture. Retrieved August 12, 2011, from Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, Bilkent University: http://www.bilkent.edu.tr/~pultar/Papers/Spacult/Spacult.html SJDC. (2009). Shobana Jeyasingh Dance Company. Retrieved November 1, 2011, from Productions- Just Add Water: http://www.shobanajeyasingh.co.uk

VIRKEIN DHAR


Exploring the experience of space in design and performing arts 97

Dissertation 2011-12

Thomas Riisgaard Hansen, E. E.-O. (n.d.). Movement and Space – Exploring the Space in

Movement.

Retrieved

August

3,

2010,

from

http://www.pervasive-

interaction.org/publications/05_Critical_Workshop_Movement_and_Space.pdf Tuan, Y. F. (1977). Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience. Tuan, Y. F. Space and Place:The Perspective of Experience. V. Safak Uysal, Markus Wilsing. Embodying architecture, studying dance: movement as means of studying bodyspace. Ankara, Turkey: University of Bilkent, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture. Vega, E. P. (n.d.). Experiencing Built space: Affect and Movement. Retrieved August 3, 2010,

from

EPDV

Studio:

www.epdvs.com/ACADEMIC/epdvs

ExperiencingBuiltSpace.pdf Wagoner, B. (2008). Commentary: Making the Familiar Unfamiliar. Culture and Psychology , 466-474. Wan, T. P. (2004). Revealing Expressive Spaces: Transformation of a former quarry to a dancer's retrest centre. MIT Thesis, Department of Architecture , Abstract. Wordpress. (n.d.). Retrieved september 3, 2011, from User generated education: http://usergeneratededucation.wordpress.com/2010/08/16/learning-spaces-schoolas-narrative-architecture/

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