research, Ideas, and planning
I knew from the beginning that this will be a complex project that will require careful planning and organization and will present many challenges along the way. While the (extended version) will be performed at the Jack Crystal Theater which is a more familiar setting, I had to find the right room for the (boxed edition) within the Tisch building on second avenue. I wanted a room that will feel small enough to be intimate yet large enough to give the performers space to move around as
that I could project video images onto. I needed a space that I could transform into a mini-theater and will also have enough electric outlets to accommodate lights, projectors, computers and other devices. I found the perfect room which answered all the requirements, but it turned out to be the faculty lounge room. I had to convince some of the faculty members who resisted the idea of turning their lounge into a performance space but eventually they agreed under the conditions that I will only use the room at nights and weekends and will have full access to the room only during the winter break and the performance week. This meant that the majority of my rehearsal process will be done in a studio. It was a challenge but I felt that it is the perfect room for the project and was determent to make it work.
For both pieces I wanted to incorporate a set that will stand as an archival testament for communication devices throughout different stages of development and generations. I wanted to have a live display of the evolution of technology to accompany the choreography which will reflect different ways of human communications and how those interactions have changed with the progression of technology. I set off to collect new and old communication devices. I reached out to the prop-shop at NYU, posted requests on social media to ask for donations as well as search thrift shops and flea markets around the city. Within a few months I had an impressive collection of devices that included: many generations of phones (old and new Dial up phones, rotery phone, office phone, cordless phone, many styles of cell phones etc ), a boom box, fax machine, TV and VCR, typewriter, iMac desk top, Different lap tops, hand held tape recorder and old and new cameras and I was excited to incorporating all the devices into the work.
Finding my cast – I asked five talented dance class mates - Rafael Cañals, Isabelle Dayton, Maclean Frey, Israel luis Miguel Harris, Kellyn Thornburg. I selected those performers, not only because of their dancing skills and technical ability, but also for their strong personality. They are all individuals who are comfortable with improvisation as well as able to engage in a creative conversation to stimulate movement ideas.
For the visual design I planned to have similar images for both performances. I wanted to use video images of urban environment in contrast with nature shots and Instagram feeds, similar to images I used in my installation Trapped. I also wanted to use images of familiar social media icons and create an animation of images that display the evolution of phones. In addition, I wanted to film the performers as they walk through the streets of New York City, showing them walking around and blending into the everyday life of the big city.
For the sound track - I created an orchestrated blend of technological sounds - Typewrites, ring tones, text sounds, printers etc. there were a lot of sounds from generations of phones to evoke a sense of familiarity and nostalgia . I edited the sounds with some voice. I added some clips of phone conversations from movies that related to communications to connect the humanity to the technology
The dates were set for both performances between February and March 2020, and it was time to go deeper into my research and start rehearsals