Evelyn Ficarra (2)

What is invisible to your collaborator? The first time I considered this question, last year, I found it so difficult to verbalise that I simply sent an image of myself, blurred out. This was a reference to the idea that we might not see each other very clearly, but sometimes that blurriness can be quite compelling.

This year I wanted to try to verbalise my response. What is invisible to my collaborator? First I thought – frankly, not much. This is because one of my primary collaborators is also my life partner. We work together, often in the same room, for hours on end, we see every stage of each other’s process. What could possibly be invisible? Then I thought, what if there were things that were invisible because I wanted them to be, and how thorny it would be to say, out loud, in public, the things that might be invisible, and whether that would be taken as a sign of unsolved problems. Surely the best way to talk about those things would be in private to my collaborator, rather than in public, online. But again, that’s assuming that ‘invisibility’ is bad by its very nature, whereas a degree of blurriness, or mystery, or boundaries, or some aloneness, might actually be a good thing.

Setting those thoughts aside for awhile, I then thought about many other collaborations I have had and continue to have. In order to answer this question ‘what is invisible to your collaborator?’ one would have to be very specific about which collaborator one was talking about, because every collaboration is different. And when we come to invisibility in a bad sense, you would have to give them a pseudonyms because you might be saying things about them that were not complimentary. What is invisible to my collaborator? Why – my brilliance, of course! Why can’t they see what a great idea / piece of music / image this is? My brilliance was clearly invisible to collaborator X who expunged my work from the show without telling me (and I only found out when I attended the premiere) (with my friends) (and my mother), and collaborator Y who literally crossed out sections of my score with a pen, and collaborator Z who never admitted that they didn’t want an equal collaboration, they just wanted someone else to fit in with and amplify their own vision. Though regarding Z, there’s a sneaking suspicion that they may think The Same Thing about me, and maybe I too am actually a terrible collaborator and just want everything to go my way.

And then I thought really to find out what is invisible to my collaborator you would need to ask my collaborator, because how could I possibly know what they see or do not see? But that would be even more absurd because if it’s invisible they can’t see it, so how would they know what it is? So seems to me that the real answer to this question ‘what is invisible to your collaborator?’ is simply unknown. Unless you’re going to get the collaborators in a room and have each one say what they think is invisible to the other and have the other one say “no, I see that, and always have”, or, “oh really? I never saw that, how amazing!” And now the penny drops, of course, one could have a conversation about it all, which of course is what Slo-Mo-Co is trying to get us to do.

Maybe what we can usefully do in response to this provocation, is to make some lists, perhaps like this:

1. A list of things which we hope are invisible to our collaborators:

  • my list: rage; insecurity; hurt; despair that I will never make anything good; how how stupid I feel when I can’t understand technical explanations; how tired I am (as I write this I wonder: do I need to hide all these things?)

2. A list of the things which we would like to know about our collaborators:

  • How do you do that amazing thing?
  • What makes you tick?
  • What are your core ideas?
  • What do you think about my creative work, why do you want to work with me?

3. A list of things, the knowing of which helps collaborators to collaborate with each other:

  • How much time do you need to do things well?
  • What are your best working conditions?
  • Do you like to talk about the process a lot, or is it more intuitive/non-verbal?
  • How much of each other’s work do we need to see?
  • What are the rules around who gets to decide what is in and out of the final ‘product’?
  • Is there a hierarchy here? (Not necessarily a bad thing, as long as it’s clear).
  • More generally – what are your expectations around decision making?

Evelyn Ficarra

Teoma Naccarato & John MacCallum

Yesterday we were lying in bed, entangled, and my belly gurgled. Or, actually, maybe it was your belly that gurgled. We really couldn’t tell whose belly had gurgled, and this made us laugh. It was a strange feeling not being able to locate this gurgle, either beneath or beyond my skin. As I rolled out of bed, away from you, it was not the gurgle but our laughter that stayed with me.

Teoma Naccarato & John MacCallum

Daniel Lichtman

Daniel Lichtman

Dear R and S,

I’m reaching out to see if you would be open to helping me with something (quick). I really appreciate the personal nature of the material I’m asking you to consider sharing with me. It’s pretty humble but I do hope that I am trying to make something that opens up a bit of a space for solidarity, and if this feels right to you, I would credit you and T. Of course it’s fine to be anonymous too. I also really don’t want to ask you to spend more than 5 minutes gathering and emailing me some bits that resonate with what we’ve talked about and that you feel comfortable to share. For example, I made the drawings of V in 1-2 minutes, took snaps of W’s artwork, and spent about 1-2 minutes scrolling through photos of X in Y on my phone. See video above.


Daniel Lichtman

Katya Rozanova

I’d like to propose thinking about an intervention for invisibility that gets in the way of collaboration. Perhaps there is a way to start a new tradition, a practice of sitting down together *over tea* with the specific goal of understanding interpersonal context and sharing acknowledgements before beginning a project together. Full transparency is not desirable or possible and I value opacity (Eduard Glissant!) that allows us to remain mysterious full of potential and have leeway to change and surprise others (and ourselves!) but there are some things that can be made known about ourselves to the group without the danger of being reductive or limiting. This new practice can have prompts and be structured, even choreographed like a tea ceremony so that everyone gets a chance to say their piece regardless of the individual’s personality. Makes it easier for those who normally wouldn’t speak up to speak up and also allows space for reflection and open communication.

Katya Rozanova

Avital Meshi and Treyden Chiaravalloti

This is a collaborative work-in-progress on a mixed-reality performance titled InVISIBLE. Through experiential play with the technology and a focused research on movement we aim to materialize the hierarchical structure between the individuals who design our digital world and those who live in it.

The work is a duet between an ‘ARCHITECT’ and a ‘USER’ who traverse along the edges of two different realities. The User is immersed in VR (virtual reality) using an Oculus Quest headset. The Architect, who is immersed in the physical reality, holds the remote controllers of the VR headset. While moving the remotes the Architect controls the User’s perceived environment, sketching inside the three dimensional field and designing the virtual world. The User is captive of the Architect’s imagination, directed by the virtual world drawn before their eyes, while exposed to the additional stimulus of their shared physical reality. The Architect is incapable of understanding the influence of their creation, never receiving access to visit the world they create for the User. Both the Architect and the User are driven to hack the system, developing a desire to cross the boundary between their realities.

InVISIBLE examines the collective responsibility shared throughout the diverse roles required for building and inhabiting our cyber mixed reality world. The work interrogates the possibility of VR as a step towards techno-libertarianism, questioning the centralization of technological power and the limited access to become a contributor to the digital architecture of our future.

Avital Meshi and Treyden Chiaravalloti

Shelley Owen & Josh Slater

Screen shot of Garbage In, Garbage Out duet in February 2021 via Zoom

It’s the before moments.
The moments we experience individually whilst together in our practices before sharing artwork. The personal rituals. The preparations to anticipate the moment of sharing.

Working collaboratively, we are aware of these before moments whilst inhabiting a shared physical space. We work through our own rituals at the same time, in the same location. Aware of their external readings, but the internal intentions and processes remain hidden to each other.

Work the body intensely to ground in that space, feel the body and gain control… focus.
Breathe deeply.
Find light and air in a different space, outside this space.
Ready to re-enter.

Digitalising collaboration gave us a realisation of the individual and invisible nature of these moments. The distanced collaboration across new digital platforms offered different processes to connect and develop.

In a digital space, the independent before moments felt isolated and alone. Lacking an external felt presence. The internal intentions are always invisible to each other, but digitally this was more profound.

What about the before moments of collaborators who contribute at earlier stages of the process?

Shelley Owen & Josh Slater

Stefania Mylona

Given that any artwork is in fact research-based the one thing that is often invisible to my performance collaborators in choreographic works is personal inspiration. Where does inspiration come from and how does it invade the work?

Inspiration is personal. It is a unique way of moving with, for and through the artwork.

Inspiration is the cherry on top of the cake or on the side or inside it.

Inspiration comes from a vague place. Inspiration does not come from a specific place. It comes from a place of uncertainty and from an uncertain place.

Inspiration is instant. It happens in the moment. It does not come from memory or from the future but rather from the exact moment it happens.

Inspiration cannot be shared logically but it calls for an absolute necessity of realization.

Inspiration happens you don’t do it.


Stefania Mylona

Johannes Birringer (2)

In my experience, digital performance environments require an acute awareness and knowledge of working methods within such infrastructural atmospheres, regardless of how controlled or how open they are. Yet developing strategies based on experience, or imagining the slow evolution of interactional growth (compost) over time, in collaborative work, often remains invisible to all involved.

This is good, as one cannot predict the composting. Kinetic atmospheres are not controllable either.

Any participants in a production of multimedia digital work need to know the kinds of operations set in motion: how they might behave in a digital performance space, how they act upon objects or steer a feedback mechanism and how they negotiate a capturing dispositif that follows their actions and “translates” them. But who follows whom? Furthermore, how do choreographer, designer, dancer and system negotiate the presence of camera sensing apparatus or the invisible communication between smart devices and algorithmic computation? If most of the processes inherent to the algorithmic are micro-performative, taking place outside of the phenomenal field of human perception, is then not all intermedial composition autonomous, acting according to its own logic (or daimon)?

Johannes Birringer

Manjunan Gnanaratnam

Outside of dance, in other artistic contexts, many aspects of my practice as a musician and technologist in dance contexts, would be considered as invisible, yes, however, 21st century dance, in the early stages of a symbiosis encompassing its inherent multidisciplinary identity, based on its rigorous 20th century collaborative investigations rooted in movement vocabulary and somatics, expects it. Here, the details of my tools and processes, in music and technology/computation are mostly irrelevant, but my scope of abilities, possibilities and investigations, with said tools and processes, in 21st century dance contexts, are expected in all facets of dance… beyond situational collaborations to a seamless symbiosis…to the ritual of a singularity……from the ancient to the new……..the gaia…

Image 1: Movement and Sound: 20th century developments & 21st century directions-  Macro-cycles of complex affect/effect through movement vocabulary and micro-cycles of limited affect/effect through choreography.

Image 2: Movement and Sound: 20th century developments & 21st century directions-  Macro-cycles of complex affect/effect through movement vocabulary and micro-cycles of limited affect/effect through choreography.

Image 3. “Unprepared Piano” – A Sound and Movement collaboration based on movement vocabulary.

“Barker Sessions” 2004-2007 – On movement, sound, computing and optimum creative dialog phenomenon in sound and movement improvisations.

Design of Technology/computation environment for Choreographer Vaness Voskuil’s “SHIFT” 2012. – https://www.vanessavoskuil.com/shift

Manjunan Gnanaratnam