Edges of bodies: camouflage and the choreographic dimensions of morphology
This practice-based research project develops a novel conception of camouflage to both study and exercise new relational models of subjectivity in choreographic practice. Camouflage is here understood as a process through which the self is negotiated in and through space. Camouflage, at heart, rehearses the problem of distinction: between self and environment, subject and object, and being and appearing. It operates at the threshold of a corporeal localization, osculating at the contours of where the body meets its surrounding, and ultimately surfaces as an interweaving of an interior-exterior, real-virtual, visible-invisible intersection.
The chameleonic term allows for a rethinking of how we take up an embodied relation to our surrounding. And, thus, it is in these interplays of self and environment that this research project aims for camouflage and choreography to interlace. For both camouflage and choreography contain a morphological process of negotiating self (figure) in relation to an environment (ground). Accordingly, this project expands camouflage as embodied knowledge, not in terms of concealment and deception, but rather as sensuous, mimetic and corresponding sense of being-of-the-world. It yields to a phenomenal act of becoming malleable and porous, softening the edges of the subject as a distinct entity acting against the world, and, by shedding light on a new way of being, envisions an enabling permeability, or intertwining, of self to the whole living world.
The practice component of the thesis develops a series of choreographic works under the title of Correspondance. The wordplay alludes to the notion of correspondence as a dynamic, living and ongoing relationship between things, i.e. the ability to co-respond to a world that is always moving. The Correspondance series—through ongoing embodied research—generates a set of choreographic inquiries that engage camouflage choreographically. Alongside the practice, the written component of the thesis develops three chapters triangulating a constellation of the terms camouflage, correspondence and movement by weaving together a trans-disciplinary web of fields including eco-somatics, philosophy, zoology, anthropology, queer theory, indigenous cosmologies, dance studies and cognitive science.
Together, both practice and writing reciprocally generate new embodied and theoretical knowledge through the production of an extended vocabulary of camouflage in movement—a practice-theory lexicon as a speculative choreographic morphology. Both practice and writing demonstrate that it is in movement, that choreography establishes a relational correspondence with the environment, a mobile architecture that allows for an embodied ecology, or inversely, an ecological embodiment, namely to camouflage.
Dr Edgar Schmitz
Dr Bridget Crone