Artist Statement & Research Interests:

I am a movement artist. Movement implies transition; it is not static. It is about the in-between – the interstitial connections from one place and one person to another. These connections can be human or virtual, concrete or energetic, direct or mediated by technology. In relationship, a new entity arises from the juxtaposition of different things, be it words, images, or people.

Movement generates a collective consciousness through shared kinesthetic experience. I am drawn to the early use of dance to serve important functions in the community in this way. Danced or ritual experiences have been the means for social bonding and transcending the physical for eons. I investigate how they may now be transmuted into current contexts. 

Since the proscenium stage was developed, a radical change has been brought about in dance by the shift from participation to spectatorship. The proscenium arch created a divide that is difficult to permeate, leaving communal connection to be experienced primarily by the performers onstage. What happens when an experience, that was originally participatory, shifts to a performative event in which there is a subject and object, rather than a merging of the two? How does this divide created between seer and seen change the experience of those present, and how might it be bridged? 

 

These dualistic terms of subject/object and seer/seen evoke categories that meditative practice is designed to merge. Despite this inherent divisive construct in performance, sometimes the state of pure focus required to perform will actually generate a meditative effect. The performer becomes anchored in that exact moment in time; everything else falls away. However, this is a more singular, internal fusion of subject and object, rather than interpersonal.

These ideas connect my studies of Ashtanga Yoga in India over the past fifteen years, with performance, and now guide my research as an artist/scholar. Since 2010, I have received five PSC-CUNY Professional Development Fund grants to continue my research into the connection of the physical and meta-physical through the embodiment of Eastern philosophy in the form of yoga. I apply my knowledge of these practices to investigate how they may be utilized in performance to alter the state of consciousness in both the performer and observer, blurring the lines of distinction between the two by turning both into active participants. 

I define movement not just as dance, but as anything that is viscerally engaging, such as interaction with an immersive cinematic, sculptural, or even mundane environment, but most importantly, in relation to other people. The single still frames of a film that become motion when projected sequentially are a visual metaphor for this shared human experience of movement. Individually, they are static and alone. As a group, the juxtaposition of images creates new ideas through their interrelationship with one another, time, and light. Using this perspective, I also apply the idea of transitional movement connections and their resultant new transmutations to cinematic and interactive artwork. 

Although my research interests and their manifestations cross disciplines, countries, media, art and academics, I find their conjunctions and consonances to be stimulating. They all converge in well-prepared, receptive ground where their interaction causes new work to emerge. In this way my research process reflects the subject matter itself. 

© 2018 by Lori Brungard

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