We’re making flipbooks!
August 23, 2010, 12:01 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

We’ve been looking at practitioners of different disciplines to see how they treat time in their work. Choreographer Merce Cunningham used a stopwatch. He expected the dancers to perform each work in a specified duration without any sound cues or other external time-keeping devices. The novelist Jonathan Safran Foer manipulated the speed and direction of time in his story-telling. In Everything is Illuminated, he juxtaposed the forward-moving narrative of small town with the story of a backward-looking, history-seeking protagonist. Both narratives move along until they collide and collapse in one pivotal moment. Historians, according to Michel Foucault in The Archeology of Knowledge, are, in the modern age, interested in disruptions and interruptions in historical narratives, as opposed to their predecessors who posited totalizing theories of linear historical narratives. Former finance consultant Nassim Nicholas Talib, in The Black Swan, shows that history does not happen in the linear narratives which we often study in school. Instead, he says, “history jumps.” The unexpected alters history more than any other event. Thus, it is impossible to predict. John Malkovitch closes The Dancer Upstairs by juxtaposing a young girl’s dance (to Nina Simone’s “Who Knows Where the Time Goes”) with her father’s delayed reflection and rapid facial reaction to a long hardship. Some earth scientists and archeologists speak of eras and eons, time periods delineated by major historical or geological events but also somewhat arbitrarily defined.

These varied practices, theories and understanding of time show that narrative is often our way of framing and thus understanding time periods. Whether it is the sun passing over the sky or the growth of a sunflower, we need a story to help us sense the passing of time and the amount of time passed. Documentation helps us capture and/or tell the story.

If I want to understand a 25-year period of urban growth in New York City as well as the time it takes my lungs to fill and empty with air, perhaps I should document and juxtapose these two stories.

We’re working right now on capturing narratives through images. We’d like to put 2-4 of these narratives together in one flipbook. These flipbooks will be in both video and hard/paper format. The videos are easy to distribute and share with you; the hard copies allow you, the flipper, to determine the speed and direction of the action as you flip through the pages.

We’ll be posting a bunch of photos and links to videos here on the blog. Feel free to comment or offer your own ideas of narratives and juxtapositions.

One large questions looms.  How does one capture the experience of movement in images? We’re working on it . . .


Revised Meeting Schedule
August 17, 2010, 10:18 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Please note the following time changes to our scheduled meetings  . . .

Tues, Aug 17, 8-10am
Sat, Aug 21, 9-11am
Sat, Aug 28, 9-11am
Tues, Sept 7, 9-11am
Tues, Sept 14, 9-11am
Tues, Sept 21, 9-11am

Announcing Public Meetings
August 1, 2010, 1:17 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Join us in East River State Park, Brooklyn, as we explore our perceptions and understanding of time through movement and choreography. Feel free to move with us, talk with us, or just observe.

Tues, Aug 17, 8-10am
Sat, Aug 21, 8-10am
Sat, Aug 28, 8-10am
Tues, Sept 7, 8-10am
Tues, Sept 14, 8-10am
Tues, Sept 21, 8-10am

June 11, 2010, 12:04 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’m a dancer. I like to understand things through personal experience. Dance has been my way of consciously seeking and discovering information and cultivating an understanding of the world and of myself. The knowledge I gain is palpable, felt, immediate.

I’ve been making site-specific dances, informed by history, cultural studies and architecture, for the past couple of years. I wanted to work with a geoscientist who could give me another perspective on place. I found Christopher Small through his website.

Chris works with remote sensing, among other tools. He creates images, based on the amount of sunlight reflected off of the Earth’s surface, and can consequently measure the amount of urban vegetation in a place like New York City. He can then compare images from different times and look at the amount of vegetation growth or depletion that’s happened over a span of up to thirty years.

Of course thirty years is only a minute fraction of the time span that we consider when we discuss climate and geological changes.

Meanwhile, I am twenty-eight years old. The longest dance performance I ever did lasted 18 hours. Most last only 15 minutes.

I want to understand time, as it relates to urban development and environmental change. I want to know what urban growth is beyond facts and figures. I want the information that I learn from Chris to be palpable, felt, immediate.

So I’ve asked Chris and fellow dancer Deborah Black to embark on an investigation with me. Over the next couple of months, we’re going to pool our research and ways of understanding together. We’ll start by describing our methods and our ideas to one another. We will dialogue, document and move with one another. We’re going to find out  how information inside of our bodies can be shared and laid on the table next to information documented in papers and visual images. Our pool of information will inevitably juxtapose different time spans – that of an instant, a few minutes, a season, a decade, and a lifetime. We’re going to imagine that we can then understand each of these different time scales in multiple ways. We will position ourselves as scholars seeing the world as both participators and outside observers – taking measurements of ourselves, from both inside and outside of ourselves. We undertake the task knowing full well that we will not accomplish the impossible or imaginary but with the expectation of discovering something along the way and being able to share that with you, our virtual audience, and a real-time audience on-site.

Join us. First, keep up with this blog. This will be the only blog post for a while. We’ll be kicking it into high gear in August and September. More blog posts will come then. Second, tell us who you are. It’s more fun to write this if we are writing to you – not shouting into the anonymous virtual world, wondering who’s listening. So e-mail us ( or post your own comments here. Third, come join us on site. We’ll be meeting in the East River State Park in Williamsburg, on the East River between North 7th and 9th Streets. We’ll post some of our meeting times here so that you can come and participate as you’d like. Talk with us. Move with us. Or just listen in.

The catalyst for this project is an iLab residency. Thanks to the organization iLand for making it possible. Check out what other iLab residents and community members are doing by visiting

-Diana Crum