Phantom Limb Company

The New York City-based Phantom Limb Company, founded by composer and marionette maker Erik Sanko and visual artist Jessica Grindstaff, is critically acclaimed for its reinvention of traditional theatrical forms, incorporating marionette puppetry, music, and large-scale installation in order to probe issues of contemporary life.

Since the success of their first marionette play The Fortune Teller in 2006, Sanko and Grindstaff have collaborated on numerous original theatrical works with such diverse artists as Ping Chong & Company, Ulrike Quade, Geoff Sobelle of Pig Iron and rainpan 43, and Mark Z. Danielewski.

https://vimeo.com/phantomlimbcompany

Jessica Grindstaff is a multimedia artist. Known for her tiny Victorian taxidermied shadowboxes, wax and chalk paintings, she has most recently taken her micro-universe macro through the medium of installation and set design.

Erik Sanko is a lifelong musician, and has played with The Lounge Lizards, John Cale, Yoko Ono, They Might Be Giants and his own band, Skeleton Key. Erik also has always made puppets, first for his own amusement, then for art collectors, and now for theatrical productions.

69˚S.

Inspired by Sir Ernest Shackleton’s harrowing expedition to Antarctica in 1914, Phantom Limb unites puppetry, dance, film, history, and photography with contemporary music to create a stunning vision of the great arctic continent—past, present, and future. Dim light plays across a lunar terrain dotted with icebergs. Shackleton’s crew, played by half-life-size puppets, struggles to survive in this vast landscape, putting into stark relief the power of endurance and camaraderie and the price of knowledge. With sound that combines the junkyard dog aesthetic of the band Skeleton Key playing live, a score recorded by the Kronos Quartet, and glacial field recordings, 69˚S. mines the inherently bittersweet and complex nature of the Shackleton experience and what the future may hold for this fragile environment.

Tesseract by Charles Atlas, Rashaun Mitchell, and Silas Riener

Tesseract, a full evening theater performance created in collaboration with Rashaun Mitchell + Silas Reiner, consisting of Act 1: a stereoscopic 3D dance film and Act 2: a live dance performance with 3 live cameras mixed by me using VDMX and projected on a scrim in front of 6 dancers.

Charles Atlas

This project began at EMPAC in Troy, NY and had its premiere at The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and had a brief US tour ending at Brooklyn Academy of Music in December. This piece will be shown in Europe sometime in 2018.

What is a “tesseract”?

“The hypercube or tesseract is described by moving the generating cube in the direction in which the fourth dimension extends.”

Robert T. Browne, The Mystery of Space

Robert A. Heinlein’s 1941 novella And He Built a Crooked House describes a California architect who designs a house based on a four-dimensional cube, a tesseract, comprised of eight cubed rooms.Unbeknownst to him or his clients, however,an earthquake has caused the invisible fourth dimension to shift prior to their first tour through the building. The tesseract house then takes its new inhabitants on a disorienting journey through multiple rooms, perspectives, and timescales that ends with another earthquake-induced slip of space/time as they are dropped with a jolt into the desert landscape of Joshua Tree National Park. 

Charles Atlas, Rashaun Mitchell, and Silas Riener’s Tesseract charts a similar course: worlds shift and flip, and dancers spin and fall across unstable planes.

Parallel timescales are reflected back on themselves, and emotions run high as speed, scale, and gravity refuse to remain constant.

This journey starts from the perspective of 3D stereoscopic vision and progresses to the performative dimensionality of the theater stage. Although the artists had previously worked together with Merce Cunningham, Tesseract marks their first independent collaboration, and like the architect’s project in Heinlein’s novella, this ambitious work is conceived of as a chance to explore the potential of imagined architectures that can drift from cinema screen to proscenium stage. 

The word tesseract is derived from the Greek tessares, or four, and aktis, a ray of light. Atlas, Mitchell, and Riener’s Tesseract alludes not only to the romance of science fiction’s beaming rays, but also to light as the principal element of cinematography, projection, and theatrical technique. The artists combine aktis with the fourth dimension, usually understood as time. However, there is an extra-dimensionality here that is revealed through the interaction of the real and the imaged, the live and the recorded.

https://empac.rpi.edu/index.php/events/2017/tesseract

https://vdmx.vidvox.net/blog/charles-atlas-tesseract

The full cast of “Time out of Time” has been revealed!

For young people in Jordan, whose talents lie in performing arts, there is often one major factor that disrupts their ability to create: a massive lack of opportunity, within the educational sector, and within the working field.

In direct response to the needs and wants – such as artistic presentation, education and collaboration – of Jordan’s dance community, INTERNATIONAL DANCE ENCOUNTER AMMAN(IDEA) is born to support and promote independent artists and art projects.

After nearly 30 rehearsals, “Time out of Time: A Special Place” as a dance piece in progress will be presented to Jordanian audience in Al Shams Theater on the forth day of IDEA.

The full cast of ” Time out of Time: A Special Place ” is:

  • Director/Choreographer: Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh
  • Assistant Director: Xiaoman Ren
  • Dance: Emran Alamareen, Daniel Issa, Nadeen Dabass, Kate Port, Ziad Hajir, Anas Nahleh, Oliveira Jara
  • Visual Arts: Golnaz Behrouznia
  • Sound Designer: Francois Donato

The images are taken by Mohammad Emad in Studio 8 during one of the final rehearsal.

“Time out of Time” animation story board

  • Creation: Golnaz Behrouznia
  • Date: 7/22/2019
  • Scene 1 : opening – Solo Anas : 1’30
  • ○ Image : No
  • ○ Sound : No
  • ○ Lights : 1 spot on each side of the stage facing Anas at low intensity
  • First round of ritual : 1’30
  • ○ Image : Dual shapes with saturated matter
  • ○ Sound : low noisy drone evolving (from Amman city ambiances
  • ○ Lights : same as previous + a side spot a the opposite of the dancers entrance facing them, low intensity.
  • Second round of ritual : 1’20
  • ○ Image : small particles and drops shining , apearing and disapearing at different places of the screen
  • ○ Sound : development of the previous low drone with medium and high resonnant parts of the spectrum.
  • ○ Lights : same as previous
  • Third round of ritual and forming the line : 1’25
  • Until Kate joins Anas, everything remains the same but starting from this point :
  • ○ Image : liquid matters joining together and build a single floating mass above the head of the dancers
  • ○ Sound : a new layer of sound is added with inner cyclic movements
  • ○ Lights : same as very beginning
  • Second round of ritual : 1’20
  • ○ Image : small particles and drops shining , apearing and disapearing at different places of the screen
  • ○ Sound : development of the previous low drone with medium and high resonnant parts of the spectrum.
  • ○ Lights : same as previous
  • Scene 3 : the universe / orbiting – 1′ – Part 1 :
  • ○ Image : the water disapears and the circle multiply itself and we have several circular elements spinning
  • ○ Sound : low motor like sound is divided in several tinny ones with same dynamic shapes at a higher speed.
  • ○ Lights : side spots on the floor
  • Part 2 :
  • ○ Image : a giant vortex appears progressively and “eats” the whole image. ○ Sound : acceleration of the sounds going to merge in a single strong low frequency.
  • ○ Lights : is disapearing progressively HERE we propose to move the part «Zig-Zag» after «Equalizer» and have like 2’ of images and sound only.
  • Scene 4 : Compass – 1′
  • ○ Image : No
  • ○ Sound : percussive sequence upon notions of rebounds and offset which tends to structure a rythmic pattern
  • ○ Lights : side spots on the floor
  • Scene 5 : Equalizer – 2′
  • ○ Image : a mass of spaced drops apears on the whole screen. It allows to see the dancers and at the same time immerges them in a kind of aquatic matter
  • ○ Sound : development of a rythmic pattern
  • ○ Lights : side spots on the floor
  • Scene 6 : Zig-Zag – 1′
  • ○ Image : 2 strips with straight lines moving in opposite directions at different speeds
  • ○ Sound : de-construction of the rythmic pattern by use of shuffling and stretching of the sound matters/
  • ○ Lights : side spots on the floor
  • Scene 7 : End of the ceremony – 1′
  • ○ Image : vertical lines apearing very progressively and concentrated in the middle to create a surface almost round (gathering and crystallization of the liminal matter)… then the image disapears with the first snap of the dancers.
  • ○ Sound : Breathe morphologies thinner and thinner but at the very end, a big and quick crescendo of noise with a clean cut just before the snap.
  • ○ Lights : side spots on the floor at low intensity first then same screscendo as sound.
  • Scene 8 : Break the trance – 1′
  • ○ Image : No
  • ○ Sound : The first snap to the dancers trigs a very stable soft low sound during the Daniel’s solo. As the group is stepping backwards, a pulse is started and lasts until the end of the scene.
  • ○ Lights : side spots on the floor medium intensity
  • Scene 9 : 2 groups – 3′
  • ○ Image : Two big semi-circles on the side of the screen are spinning and inside them several little semi-circles or small vortex that group them together
  • ○ Sound : variation around a pattern of 3 elements derived from the count of the dancers mixed with a breath-like sound following a slow panning from left to right and back
  • ○ Lights : side spots on the floor low intensity
  • Final scene : the layers of liminality
  • A proposal for a scene without choreography – 1’30
  • A very dense and immersive matter made with a multitude of shapes but it becomes slowly a single big one that invades all screen space. A big wave of intense drops. Then this is covered by a layer of folds which comes down from the top on the whole screen.

Dance, sound, visual art and multimedia( July 23 Rehearsal)

  • Location: Osama El Mashini Theater, Amman, Jordan
  • Artist: Sound Artist François Donato, Visual artist Golnaz Behrouznia, Dance Artist Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh, Dance Artist Anas Nahleh, Visual Artist Ren, Dance Artist Emran Alamareen, Dance Artist Daniel Issa, Dance Artist Nadeen Dabass, Dance Artist Kate Port, Dance Artist Ziad Hajir, Dance Artist Oliveira Jara
  • Date: 7/23/2019
  • Duration: 240 minutes

Dance, sound, visual art and multimedia( July 20 Rehearsal)

  • Location: Osama El Mashini Theater, Amman, Jordan
  • Artist: Sound Artist François Donato, Visual artist Golnaz Behrouznia, Dance Artist Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh, Dance Artist Anas Nahleh, Visual Artist Ren, Dance Artist Emran Alamareen, Dance Artist Daniel Issa, Dance Artist Nadeen Dabass, Dance Artist Kate Port, Dance Artist Ziad Hajir
  • Date: 7/20/2019
  • Duration: 240 minutes

This dance production is inspired by Liminality, “a threshold”. Humanistic psychologists describe “the ‘out-of-this-world’ quality associated to liminality a sort of trance-like feeling. Analytical psychologists have often seen the individuation process of self-realization as taking place within a liminal space.

Individuation can be seen as a “movement through liminal space and time, from disorientation to integration…. What takes place in the dark phase of liminality is a process of breaking down…in the interest of “making whole” one’s meaning, purpose and sense of relatedness once more”.

The final result will be a live performance. It will be presented across gallery, stage, and public space.

Dance, sound, visual art and multimedia( July 19 Rehearsal)

Since 2014, Amman based Dance Company Studio 8, has been calling all artists of any discipline (visual, digital, coding, installation, film, photography, painting, art managers, musicians, event managers, students, producers, curators) to work together, to collaborate, to create side by side, loosening boundaries between artistic labels, in favor of a more open and flexible view toward the art experience itself.

Building on this approach, from 18 to 25 of July 2019, Studio 8, made possible by the support of Al Mawreed Al-Thaqafi, organized a production residency bringing together an artist duet of French sound artist François Donato and French/Iranian visual artist Golnaz Behrouznia. and five performers based in Jordan, with the aim to create a concrete project that is crossing borders of genres and disciplines: dance, performance, visual arts, performative arts, animation, projection, coding, etc.

Prior to the residency, six dance artists have developed 15-20 minutes movement sequences. For the first day of the residency, visual artists, sound designer and dance artists shared their thoughts on the movement-design-in-progress, explored the connections between movement and visual arts, performative arts and sound, installations and dance. For the second day, artists met in Osama El Mashini Theater tasked to expand the possibilities of art through the merging of disciplines in an experimental process of collaboration.

  • Location: Osama El Mashini Theater, Amman, Jordan
  • Artist: Sound Artist François Donato, Visual artist Golnaz Behrouznia, Dance Artist Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh, Dance Artist Anas Nahleh, Visual Artist Ren, Dance Artist Emran Alamareen, Dance Artist Daniel Issa, Dance Artist Nadeen Dabass, Dance Artist Kate Port, Dance Artist Ziad Hajir
  • Date: 7/19/2019
  • Duration: 240 minutes

Dance, sound, visual art and multimedia( July 18 Meeting)

From 18 to 25 of July 2019, an interdisciplinary ensemble of artists who shared a vision to create a dance production that an interplay between a dynamic choreography and an audiovisual immersive environment is presented simultaneously, took a 5-day-residency in Amman, Jordan between dance studio, hotel rooms and theatre. The dance production will be presented to audience in Jordan on August, 2019.

  • Location: Studio 8, Amman, Jordan
  • Artist: Sound Artist François Donato, Visual artist Golnaz Behrouznia, Dance Artist Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh, Dance Artist Anas Nahleh, Visual Artist Ren
  • Date: 7/18/2019
  • Duration: 120 minutes

Part 1: Watching rehearsal videos together

I like the choreography. I like its simplicity. I wonder whether we can restructure it.

Golnaz Behrouznia

There are a lot of singularity in the choreography. What we have thought about creating contrast. We could accelerate or intensify. We though about explore the element of time. We could create fraction of time, distortion of time.

François Donato

Part 2: Brainstorming together

I noticed that the background music chosen for the rehearsal is very mechanic. Would it be a good idea to add something organic, something unexpected, something with a completely different energy? Have you thought about a-surprise-sound?

François Donato

The rehearsal you have seen is the 1st layer we have designed so far. More layers will be added through out the time.

Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh

Part 3: Going through performance storyboard together

I imagine a black background with abstract white animations.

Golnaz Behrouznia

I imagine a series of animations, each lasts 30 seconds to a minute.

Golnaz Behrouznia

How do you image the light on the stage?

Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh

There will be a projector. There will be a moment of darkness, perhaps silence. There will be a moment of bright light on the performers. There might a moment of stillness, just the sound flowing. There might be a moment of when human presence disappears, only digital arts remain…

Golnaz Behrouznia

Bear in mind that my visual animations only make sense when with sound.

Golnaz Behrouznia

Part 4: What is next?

At the stage, let’s not focus on aligning dance, sound, visual art. Let’s experiment and explore on our own and meet again soon.

François Donato

I can imagine myself being inspired by sound and visual art. I look forward to our next meeting, our experiment of experiencing a sudden sound while dancing in our next rehearsal.

Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh

What do think of the costume?

François Donato

I imagine costume either in black or white.

Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh

We are designing an experience for the performers and the audiences.

Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh

Can We Use Golden Ratio as Choreographic Inspiration?

As a mathematical and natural phenomenon, the Golden Ratio has links with the Fibonacci sequence, the Stradivarius Violin, and the Vitruvian Man. The golden ratio has been widely used throughout the visual art, architecture, and music fields, by Mozart and Le Corbusier, among others, however it is rarely utilized within the field of dance.

The relationship of the highly subjective field of dance and the pragmatic field of mathematics has not yet fully been explored.

The mean and extreme ratio, later named the Golden Ratio, was first clearly defined mathematically circa 300 BCE by Euclid of Alexandria.

In Book VI of his Elements, Euclid describes the ratio:

A straight line is said to have been cut in extreme and mean ratio when, as the whole line is to the greater segment, so is the greater to the less.

In the beginning of the 20th Century, Mark Barr termed the Golden Ratio, phi, after the Greek architect responsible for the many Parthenon sculptures such as “Athena Parthenos”, Phidias 2 6. Use of phi, or the Greek letters, Φ and φ, is now commonly used as a reference point when discussing the properties of the Golden Ratio.

There have been connections forming between dance and mathematics education as well as mathematics and dance definition which have furthered both fields.

Why the Golden Ratio? The Golden Ratio is considered to be the “mathematical concept which is at the centre of … discussion,” by many mathematicians and math historians alike.

The Golden Ratio, while being a relatively simple mathematical concept, can be linked to numerous natural phenomena and artistic expressions throughout history: from the number and arrangement of petals on flowers to the beautiful works of music composed by Mozart; from the structures of the galaxies to the evolution of deep sea creatures; from the design of the soccer ball to the architecture of the Taj Mahal. Golden Ratio can be seen in a wide variety of natural and artistic mediums internationally and throughout history.

The Golden Ratio as a Series of Numbers

The sequence 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144, 233, . . . , in which each term (starting with the third) is equal to the sum of two preceding terms, was appropriately dubbed the Fibonacci sequence in the nineteenth century, by the French mathematician Edouard Lucas (1842-1891).

Golden Ratio in Music

Mozart, one of the most timeless and well-known composers in history, was known to show very high interest in mathematics. There are even math equations jotted down in the margins of many of his compositions.

The Golden Ratio can be mathematically defined as a number, a ratio, a series of numbers, and many other forms. Often related to nature and works of art, the Golden Ratio will also be defined by these occurrences. The arrangement of flower petals’ growth and the design of the pentagram are a few of the natural and artistic expressions of the Golden Ratio.

The process of relating the mathematical, natural, and artistic expressions of the Golden Ratio is comprised of three phases:

  • Utilizing the four main components of the Laban Movement Analysis – Body, Space, Effort, and Shape – the mathematical expressions can be related to movement constraints.
  • Relating the natural expressions of the Golden Ratio into choreographic structure.
  • By relating the existing artistic expressions of the Golden Ratio to choreographic methods to create choreographic ideas.

Reference: https://www.charlesgilchrist.com/

Choreographic Process: July 4

Choreographer: Abd Al Hadi Abunahleh

  • Location: Studio 8, Amman, Jordan
  • Duration: 80 minutes
  • Starting: 20:10 pm
  • Ending: 21:30 pm

Dance and Mathematics, while displaying many degrees of separation today, were both founded as ways of explaining and creating dialogue with the natural world.

Mathematics is present in dance.

If mathematics is a study of pattern, then dance choreography can be described using mathematics.

Geometry is perhaps the most apparent subfield of mathematics present in dance. Each dance has its own characteristic way of applying mathematical concepts.

Mathematics originated from the desire to use concrete relationships to better describe and explain the natural world. Modern clock time originated from the mathematical investigations into the relationship between the Earth and the Sun while the modern Gregorian calendar was derived from the relationship between the Earth and the Moon.

The relationship of the highly subjective field of dance and the pragmatic field of mathematics has not yet fully been explored.

Geometry’s inherent connection to the moving body has also been studied by several dance and design scholars. Most important among them are two German artists: Oskar Schlemmer, a Bauhaus influenced choreographer, artist, architect and costume designer, and Rudolph von Laban, founder of the most widely used notation system in dance: Laban Movement Analysis – a system of documenting a dance with symbols or descriptions based on the dance’s effort, time and space. Schlemmer and Laban both kept geometric ideas, and Platonic solids in particular, at the core of their movement and design philosophies.

Geometry and dance are fundamentally connected.