2023 Experimental Choreographic Research Resident
in conversation with Ira Ferris
Devika Bilimoria, a multi-disciplinary artist from Naarm, was our 2023 Experimental Choreographic Research (ECR) resident in partnership with Performance Space, exploring the next stage in the development of their durational performance installation Offerings which is described as “a ritual-like game of dice” where randomisation is used as a key choreographic agent to reorient and agitate the postural and material elements of ritual. In its past iterations, Offerings was a solo performance but Devika has long contemplated the possibility of opening this work up to other performers. The ECR residency provided the opportunity to trial this new idea out, and she invited artists Shareeka Helaluddin and Leo Tsao to join her in the process and see the work translate into their bodies. Towards the end of Devika’s two-week residency in the Drill Hall, on April 19, our Critical Path Producer Ira Ferris set down with them for a long and detailed chat about the origins and the new stages of this work.
IF: Your work ‘Offerings’, which this ECR residency is based on, brings together chance practice of dice rolling with elements of Hindu ritual. What inspired you to look into the relationship between ritual and chance?
DB: The instigation of this work comes from a moment I had with my grandparents in a temple in Birmingham, England. My background is Indian from Gujarat, and my grandparents moved to England from Kenya about 60 years ago. They are practicing Hindus and have been frequenting this temple for a really long time. It’s quite a large and ornate temple with luscious carpet, chandeliers from the ceiling, and lots of sculptural idols. One of the sculptural idols is called Shiva Lingam. It is the most abstracted representation of Lord Shiva, who is known as the Lord of Destruction but also creation of the universe. This one was a black stoned waist-height Shiva Lingam. And… one of the Hindu practices of worship is called ‘puja’ which is the offering of flowers or the bathing of particular sculptural idols. For example, in a temple, where there’s a Shiva Lingam we’ll offer fruits and flowers and then pour milk and pour water and recite particular mantras while doing so. What was striking in this particular temple is that there was a yellow garden hose wrapped around this Shiva Lingam, and to the side there were cartons of plastic milk bottles. And I was watching people perform the puja, perform the bathing of this black sculpture, and it looked quite absurd. Like, picking up a garden hose to do this other gesture from a different sort of tending. And using these plastic bottles as a vessel to transfer the milk onto the deity. I wondered: What’s going on here? How is this possible? How is this allowed, this feels quite unorthodox. It had me thinking about how rituals change, how objects around ritual alter through time and through, I guess, industrialization. And it had me probing, what else could be altered; what is important in the action of ritual? And it was then that I locked into the gesture of offering. I recognised this is what is important – what’s happening with the body within the ritual. Doesn’t really matter what the vehicle happens to be, whether it’s the hose or the bottle; it’s the gesture. So, I started to become quite obsessed with the gestures of offering…
IF: Which is a performance of offering…
DB: Yeah, the performance and the body’s relationship to idols and how we orient ourselves toward idols. Like, how is body organized in ritualistic spaces? Particularly, I was interested in how else the body can perform puja or offering, that is not sitting down cross legged facing an idol. I was quite interested in the posture. Some of the postures I play with happen within ritual and some don’t. For example, in puja I wouldn’t be on my side singing Alanis Morissette throwing palms of honey. Though, I might kneel but I would never be on my side. So, I was interested in the gesture of offering through a randomised score which allows for an unorthodox manner of offering.
IF: You have identified four key gestures of offering. What are they?
DB: I have identified four gestures that come from my experience with puja, but they also exist across cultures and contexts. There’s a non-secular but also secular realm in which they occur, and I really enjoy that – from the quotidian gesture of pouring milk onto cereal to pouring milk onto an idol.
So, the four gestures I’ve identified are: Bowing, Placing, Pouring and Throwing. For instance, throwing of rice could happen in a Hindu ritual as we’re reciting names of the Lord, but there’s also throwing rice at a wedding which is kind of a common thing. And with ‘bowing’; I see it also as a form of pouring – there is something about the gesture of bowing that is a pouring, that is related to surrendering; this kind of emptying of the self through the head, meeting the earth and shifting of gravity.
IF: Where does the element of chance come into the whole picture? Do you see something chance-like in ritual, or something ritualistic in chance-based practices?
DB: So ‘chance’ arose through a wonderful spidery brain mapping moment. Once I had identified these gestures of offering, I became interested in their etymologies and how else do they take place in the world. ‘Chance’ entered this work through the gesture of ‘throwing’. I was thinking about things like throwing dice, or throwing rubbish. Lots of it was initially about rubbish, throwing things away. But in association to throwing dice, chance came up and I started researching chance-based practices in Western art, such as Fluxus and Dada movements which have been crucial to challenging conventional modes of making – challenging orders, hierarchies, ways of thinking… And so, going back to your question – what do I see as the kind of crossover between ritual and chance? For me, it is an element of indeterminacy. That’s what I was really really interested in. And you know, lots of project research covers quantum theory but also traverses ideas of how and why rituals came about. And some of that research suggests that they are a way of housing time. That time is chaotic, that the world is chaotic, and creating rituals is a way of creating a home in time, which is something that Byung-Chul Han, Korean philosopher, speaks about. Many people understand aspects of ritual as delineation of sacred and profane, imminent and transcendence, and I was really interested in how these dualities can coexist in making a work where something can be imminent but also transcendent. And yeah, indeterminacy is a really important factor in this because chance is all about indeterminacy and not knowing. And life is too. It just is.
IF: And in the Western world we are made to believe that things are certain. We are educated to have answers to everything and rewarded for it. And it’s interesting that the Fluxus artists you are mentioning were interested in spiritual or ritual-like practices, such as Zen Buddhism. They were questioning the western trope of scientific certainty, looking towards the unknown and therefore uncontrollable. And this ‘lack of control’ takes me to the question about the materials you perform with and how they affect your choices. But before we go there, for those who haven’t experienced your performance, could we describe its dramaturgical arc: what happens in the space, what are we seeing or witnessing?
DB: The work is called Offerings and it’s durational performance installation that takes place upon a cleared floor that could be set in a gallery or a theatre. The arc is an endless durational game of dice that is comprised of multiple directives which I like to call a score. The way the score is generated is through rolling of two dice which I roll seven times, and based on the numbers rolled I create an instruction made through seven categories.
IF: Then based on that score you enact an action by entering a demarcated space which is outlined within the larger space… What are those seven categories that you’re working with? And how did you come up with them?
DB: The categories are: posture, direction, gestures, materials or items, the vessel, a constraint category, and a vocalization category. This whole work has been made over a year. And these categories were mostly there right from the beginning. Except the vocalization category, which came in later in the iterations although I was thinking about it for a while. I’ve never done vocalization before. My practice is visual based, but I have a training in theatre as well as dance. So, I have some voice training, but I’ve never used it in my art practice. And I realized that I’m missing a very crucial part of the Hindu ritual, which is mantra or recitation.
I’m not a practicing Hindu anymore. I’m quite secular, but spiritual secular, if that makes sense? And I have memories and lingerings of this practice within my body, because I grew up in a really pious household. And this artwork is kind of questioning what is it to have these ancestral choreographies in my body, as ritualistic traces. I had a desire to jumble and mix those orders, and also question the hierarchy of the body and the orientation of the body. The forwardness in the backwardness; what it means to be ‘facing’ something. So, in Hindu ritual you’re always facing something, you’re always oriented toward an idol or a god. But I wanted to know what happens when there is no god, there is no idol, there is no specific orientation toward. And so that’s where one of the categories – direction; the four directions – comes in.
A crucial part of the work is about finding a place to question the boundaries of ritual, to question how it is experienced by the person performing ritual, but also how it’s seen. I’m not making another ritual. That’s not my intention with this work. It is performance-based and art-based, but it’s also task-based. I think that’s what’s important to the energy that’s brought to the space. And that task is to offer these randomized collections of categories that come from ritual into the void.
IF: So the offering is enacted through randomization, which comes back to that question of chance and its relationship to ritual…
DB: Yeah, I love what randomization as a chance method does with the puja elements of order and structure. That randomization uses that order and structure, but also rearranges things. Randomization is how I came to respond to that question of how else can I orient my body in space, with familiar materials that come from the Hindu worshipping practice. And those materials are: flowers, honey, kumkum, rice, ghee, milk, and fruit. And so, this work is an accumulative installation. The demarcated space begins very sparse, empty. For me, it represents the void. And through repetitive action of rolling dice and enacting the score, offering the material into the void, the accumulation takes place. So: I roll the dice, a seven-word score is determined by this randomization, I enter the space, I offer the items, I exit, I roll the dice, another seven-word score arises, and I go back in the space and offer again. And then it just keeps going back and forth between rolling the dice and enacting a newly generated score.
IF: Which creates a very acute sense of rhythm or rhythmicality. Is the length of each action same or similar? Is the length determined by any of the categories?
DB: Yeah, there are two kinds of timely categories. One arises from the constraint category which has: eyes closed, backwards, lingeringly, mouth open, hastily, and no hands. Some of these elements exist in ritual and some don’t. The other is felt through the vocalization category: sing, recite, hum, tone, silence, breath and noise.
IF: This work evolves, or accumulates, over a long period of time. Sometimes you perform for about three hours and one of the things you are interested in, within your practice, is duration. Working with time as an element or a material. I’m curious about this interest, and what happens to your performing body, and to the work as an entity in itself, when we allow for that length of time?
DB: I really like looking at duration in this work as another form of chance. I think that something collapses in duration. I think some people might call that entropy.
I was curious about what happens if the materials remain over time, contrary to the bathing aspect of puja. So, in my experience of puja, you offer these materials and they have a lifespan of maybe just a few minutes or a day. You might put some ghee on top of the Shiva Lingam and then wash it straightaway with water. So, there’s this kind of cycling that happens; it’s quite short. And I wanted to know what happens to these materials if they don’t get washed away. What happens if they sit there together? What happens if I walk on them? What happens if I lie on them?
IF: So you see the durational part of the performance pertaining to both you being in the space performing actions, but also this moments in between the performances when the materials are left in the space without the presence of your body?
DB: Definitely. It’s so much about material trace, gestural trace, intercultural trace. Every single item has that in the world. So, this could be thought of a microcosm of that.
IF: Is this where the littering aspect comes in, as well? At the beginning, you were talking about the connection between throwing dice and throwing rubbish. And what is left in the space could be read as a mess, or chaos. In one of the posts that you have done on Instagram the other day, you did speak about working with chaos.
DB: Yeah, very much so. And that’s what I really love about this work and going back to that idea of play between the unbridled and the uncontrollable, but also the constraint and the structure of the score. The score offers a strong structure. Like you said, there’s a strong structure that you can witness. The rhythm of the performance. Which oscillates between making a score – embodying the score; making a score – embodying the score. But what I love so much is that chance itself is not about complete openness. Structure is very important to creating improvised works – you’re setting up the space and the parameters for the improvisation to take place, or the unknown to occur, which is another way that I see the demarcated space and the void. Like, the void is the place where the unknown can occur, can arise.
IF: This unknown now increases as you bring two other bodies into the space. That just opens it to a whole other dimension of uncontrollability. Which is what this current research residency here at Critical Path with Performance Space is all about – expanding this from a solo work into the work with two other bodies. So firstly, I’m interested when within the development of this work have you started entertaining the urge to involve others? And what does that do for the work? Why does that matter, I guess, for what the work is about? Because as a solo, the work is so intimate, so it’s an interesting choice to open it up.
DB: Some previous works of mine have focused on participation. And I see participation as a really interesting social form of art. I like the way it brings people’s bodies together, with intention. There is an implication and a responsibility that takes place amongst bodies, that I really enjoy. And in the infancy of this work, I was thinking how it would be amazing to do it as a participatory experience where people could create their own little ritual. Come in and throw the dice, make a randomized moment, and then create their own experience of a randomized ritual. So, it’s something that’s been in my mind for a while – How can it be with other people? And then, I was delivering a crit at uni and someone said, ‘why don’t you do it with more people? I can see it with more people.’ And I was like: Yeah, totally. Let’s do it with more people. How do you do that? How does that happen? So, when I saw the call out for your Experimental Choreographic Research residency, I thought this could be a chance to make this happen. And it was.
So much of this work is about what is already existing in my body, so I wanted to bring in other bodies to see how this work could be read or felt through people who may have experiences with Hindu ritual or may not. And it’s been unimaginably wonderful. I have been smiling so much, watching other performers in the space with me; seeing the humorous elements of the work that feels so internal and deeply personal. To see it translate into someone else’s body; it’s quite magical. And there are so many surprises.
IF: Tell me about some of the surprises.
DB: So, I’m working with Shareeka Helaluddin and Leo Tsao. Shareeka is a stunning sound artist, and also works on FBI radio presenting ‘Race Matters’. And Leo is a choreographer and a video artist and gorgeous performer. They are a really great combination who have brought an open presence and sensitivity to the work.
There’s so much room for improvisation and responsiveness in this work, and one of the things that stood out to me was: when does the score begin and when does it end? And how does someone read the score and interpret it with their bodies? So I’ll read out one of the seven-word scores that could be: on front, south, throw, rice, hands, lingeringly, mantra. And so, watching Leo start at the edge of the demarcated space on his front immediately, really enthralled me. When I’ve been performing it, I would walk in and then take the position of being on front. But it was so beautiful to see someone just dive in, get ready for the chaos, be on front of their body pushing through all the material that was already there – pushing through milk, pushing through the red kumkum powder. Just that sort of embrace of the chaos and the mess. Leaving traces that I haven’t yet made.
IF: So the work opens up for you, in terms of what can be done, what can be imagined? Including other performers opens it up to the other kinds of ideas and imaginations that are not necessarily present in your body, but are now becoming present because of being shared and seen through the action of others?
DB: Yeah, yeah. There’s definitely a drawing out of internal imagery or imagination or experiences.
IF: And I’m also thinking how this inclusion of others may refresh the work, or your experience of it… Because the full number of potential combinations is not that large, is it?
DB: It’s about 131,000.
IF: What!?! Of these ones?
DB: Yeah. 131,721, I think. Yeah, those are the potential possibilities of seven-word combinations.
IF: Oh wow, I didn’t think there would be that many, looking at this page of yours that lists the categories. Ok, well then the thought I had is totally irrelevant. Because one of the things I was wanting to say was that maybe given that the number of combinations is relatively limited, you may start getting bored performing this piece over and over again. Or you might start outsmarting yourself because it’s likely that you’ve already come across these combinations, these scores, multiple times. So, adding other people to perform alongside you could open up the work for you, so it becomes less known again; so you become interested in it again. But if there are so many combinations then this thought does not apply.
DB: I love that you are saying this, though. Because it reminds me of this awesome moment I had while performing the work last year. And it’s related to that question you had about duration and what happens in duration. There was a moment when I performed this work last year – on the last day, last hour – where I encountered this feeling of hollowness. I didn’t know what I was feeling. I was like: What is this feeling? It felt as if I was not here. Although I had grounded myself and did all the presence-ing work I usually do. In the work I ring the bell prior to each dice rolling, as a way of clearing the tempo and energy from the previous offering.
IF: So the bell is like an alarm to centre you back into the beginning? To empty you?
DB: Yeah, yeah. Another form of demarcation. Because when I do an offering, it’s very sticky. I’m very deep in there and the residues of what has just happened are resonating in my body quite loudly.
So, this time I rang the bell and I was like: What is going on? And then I realised: Oooooh! I’ve reached this! I’ve reached the place of pointlessness! And it was beautiful because I had written about it, theoretically, but I didn’t know that it was arising at the time, and then I recognized it!
IF: So that place of pointlessness felt like you didn’t know where else to take the work? Like a dead end?
DB: No, I was still focused on doing the work, but I was no longer clear why am I doing this work? Cosmically, geologically, socially, politically, personally. All of these didn’t register anywhere.
IF: That would be a scary place to be in?
DB: Yeah, but also beautiful.
IF: Like, I could stop now?
DB: No I could stop. More like, I know that I have to keep going and that there’s a job to do, but it was… Maybe pointless is the wrong word. Maybe it is that it was: Oh, this feels arbitrary.
I think it’s the thing of repetition. I think that’s what it is. You know when things are repeated over and over again, you get that weird sensation of: what is this, I don’t know where this belongs anymore? Because there was so much drive and so much reason and purpose behind it. And I was thinking that part of the collapse in the durational aspect of it would be reaching a place of pointlessness.
IF: Like, collapsing of the purpose … I have also contemplated the idea or a sensation of ‘transcendence’ in relation to this work. It felt – perhaps because of that repetition – that the work could be meditative for you? Because there are these clear sections that are physicalised in a repetitive manner – sit down, roll the dice, write down the score, stand up, enter the space, enact the score, exit the space, sit down, roll the dice, and so on – which could lead to that transcendental state of losing yourself so to say; losing the consciousness of yourself. So, you are now just performing the action.
DB: It’s interesting because that very much did happen after every session. I would definitely feel otherworldly. But there’s something about the bell. And there’s something about my way of rolling the dice. So when I roll the dice, I’m Devika. I’m just being casual. I’m just rolling the dice. It’s not heightened or stylized. And then when I perform the task, all I’m focusing on is delivering the offering. That is all I’m doing. Responding to the instructions that I have been given. I’m not trying to be ritualistic or ritualise anything. While I’m in the demarcated space, it is a performance body in a way but I’m not performing ritual as such, I’m just performing a task.
IF: Which is interesting to consider… You know, you say that while you’re rolling the dice outside of the demarcated space, on its edge, you are simply Devika and not performing. But the thing is that you are still performing, because we still see you. The attention is still on you. And that’s for me where you bring to our attention the mechanics of the performance – performance as a form of ritual. Seeing your work made me realise how ritualistic the performances are. The way we enter the space, the floor on which we perform which is like a pedestal or an altar, in some way… So in your work, it is as if we are seeing both behind the curtain and in front of the curtain. We see you on the edge of the performance space performing this decision-making process which informs what will happen when you eventually enter the space. And still we don’t know what that decision was, we don’t know what the score is. Are you imagining that we are guessing?
DB: Yeah, I think there’s a lot of guessing that happens. And I really like that this score-making process is quite private. There was a rendition that I did last year where I wrote the scores on a wall so everyone could see it. And it was a whole different game. It was actually more of a gaming, because then…
IF: … then we would judge you…
IF: … are you performing it correctly.
DB: Yeah. Yeah. And I quite liked it because it brought the viewers into the stakes of what was happening. But then through deliberation and many conversations, I realised it’s an indexing that’s happening twice. And it doesn’t need to happen twice. It happens purely with the body. So just performing it is enough and keeping the score to myself is important for the surprise and the uncertainty that is experienced in the viewer.
IF: One person who saw the development the other day told you, in fact, that they prefer not knowing the score. Do you know why that was, did they explain?
DB: I think it’s just about the mystery, and that guessing game. Because it’s reading. I think what’s happening when we go to shows and performances, is that we’re always reading. But there’s a very active kind of reading and curiosity that takes place in this work. And I think that’s what they were enjoying.
IF: Another thing I wanted to ask, in relation to working with two other performers… I was wondering whether there is communication between the three of you during the performance? Or are you interested in the randomness of non-communicating, and the incidental harmony or incidental chaos that is created through that?
DB: Yeah, that’s beautiful. Because that’s so much of what I experienced on Sunday when we were all together. There were these moments of, yeah, incidental harmony. Like at one point, we were all facing north, humming. There’s just an extra level of chance and coincidence and meeting and encounter. In the solo work the encounter is something else. But in a group work the encounter is multiplied by the number of people, and also the density of the space. And the accumulation is three-fold now; so it becomes faster and quicker.
In terms of communication… We are each in our own world with the scores. We’re making and delivering our own scores, independently and simultaneously. We don’t communicate verbally with each other or look at each other directly. But we see each other with our periphery and relate to each other in the space. So there is a level of consideration of how to place yourself in that relation – Do you go and join that other body? Do you stand next to that body? Do you choose to be contrasted and stand at a corner? There are all these different ways of approaching how one enters the demarcated space. Because there’s so much decision making in this even while its chance based. I just love that. Choosing the decision for indecisions.
IF: Yeah, the human agency that is playing out. Because you could give these scores to a robot to simply enact, but instead you have this human consciousness of performing an action.
DB: Definitely. And lots of that is: desire. The one thing that this work reveals is your desire for what score you might want to show someone. You might think ‘Oh, okay, this person is in the audience, I think they would like this or I think they would like that’. Or I really want to have a score that does this or that. For example, when I first showed you the work, I had ‘lingeringly’ twice and I was like: Oh, not ‘lingeringly’; everyone’s going to think I move slow every time, and having that one repeated is not what the work is. It’s much more textured than that. So, I recognise that at times I desire to do something hastily because it’s funnier or I want a funny combination. But I can’t choose that. I mean, I can choose. I can choose to defy the whole score. But I just love how it reveals…
IF: … Controls you in some ways.
DB: Mmmm. But also reveals what you want … And that you can’t get that.
IF: And in terms of the size of the demarcated space. Given you have involved a couple of other bodies, did that mean that you have expanded the parameters of the demarcated space, or is this the size of the space that you perform in solo as well?
DB: I think it might just be slightly bigger. Yeah, I think it’s just slightly bigger. And also, you know, within this residency, I had a list of ways that I wanted to work with people. Thinking about the different aspects that could be shifted. Like thinking about shifting the scores, shifting temporalities, shifting the space. Wondering if we all offer into the same space? Do we offer into our own spaces? Do we have our own collection of items each?
IF: Do you each have two dice?
DB: We all have our own dice, yeah. But I was considering: does someone else throw the dice for you? Does someone else make the score?
IF: This could become a part of the category as well.
DB: Totally. Exactly. This is a part of the participation that I kind of want to move into. Like, does an audience member become a participant and then maybe this work doesn’t even move until somebody else creates a score for me, or us. It can kind of happen in these different ways. And I like that it’s going back to dice, you know; there’s so much chat about AI and I like that this is kind of old school and with the body.
IF: Another curiosity I had is the decision to leave this tiny bit open [points to the gap in the demarcated space where the tape is not sealed], so it looks like a potential entrance or the doorway. And from what I experienced the other day when you showed us a 20-minute version of the performance, which contained a couple of actions, you have never actually entered through that space or crossed it. So can you tell me a bit about the decision to keep that open?
DB: There’s something about it that’s like inviting something in or out. I don’t know what it is. It’s like an energy exchange.
IF: Between the outside and inside?
DB: Yeah. It’s about this porousness that I’m really interested in when we think about what is sacred, what is profane; what is inside, what is outside, what is imminent and what is transcendent. It’s just something I’m testing out. Because I don’t want to close it. Today I set it up again and I was like, do I want to close it off? And it’s like, no, I really liked the breathing room and I like that there’s also an inquisitiveness about it, and it brings to the attention how people assume what a gap is or that a gap has a function. And it doesn’t have to have a function. And in this new development of the work – the one I am going to share with you and a few others tomorrow – I’m thinking about a way to open up the possibilities of what is contained and what is opened. And I’m using the tape as a way to play with that. That’s like a whole new thing; this thing of boundary playing.
IF: So I have a question… Because, in one of the actions you were performing the other day, you were walking backwards and as soon as you stepped on the line, you immediately stopped performing the action. So if you were to find yourself moving backwards and coming across that bit of the space that is like an opening, where there is no tape, would you keep performing?
DB: That’s a good question. I don’t know. I like that question, though, because I do see that this green tape is a specific demarcation and that I do want to drop off the offering there. The offering drops off at the green, when I’m out, and it begins when I’m in. I think this hole is an experiment, just to see what happens.
IF: Now that you mention the word ‘experiment’, I wanted to ask you a bit about the importance and benefits of residencies like this one by Critical Path and Performance Space which support the experimentation and research, without the pressure of an imminent outcome. Could you reflect a bit on what these kinds of opportunities to simply experiment mean for artists?
DB: So this work Offerings is conceptually tied to the notion of gaps and holes. And I really like that this residency feels like a bit of a hole in my life, a bit of a gap. It’s like a gift. There’s something about its parameters that allows for thinking and making. Residencies are like that. They are filled with so much unknown, and so you can fill them with so many things. You can fill them with pairings of things you didn’t know about, or things that you want to try out. And this one made it possible to engage other artists and to experiment with other artists who have different practices as well. I didn’t want to engage with strictly dancers because I was interested in an untrained body that has experience with ritual.
IF: Which you see in choreographic terms in a way, because of those gestures that are a choreography in itself.
DB: Yeah, definitely. And so, yeah, this has been so generative. And especially this space, there’s just been so much support. And, there’s possibility in the way that the floor has been made, the different types of lighting that can be considered, which spurs other ideas as well. But I think that being here has actually materialized a vision. You know, I’ve had this vision where I want to share this with other bodies and to see what happens and to watch the dispersal of energy between bodies and material. And yeah, this residency has been so generous in offering that.
And also, it’s scary to try new things that may fail. And I think that’s a part of what a residency is about; to offer this really great testing ground.
IF: I’m very curious about the gap. Can you expand a bit more on what you mean by that?
DB: The gap is another way of looking at ideas of indeterminacy. It also speaks to what theorist Margaret Iversen states as the gap between intention and the outcome in art making, which is crucial for chance practices and risk taking. So for example, I’m a painter and I kind of know what I want to paint and I paint it. So the gap between my intention and what I actually do is quite closed. But in this situation where I have an intention, and I’m given time and space, there’s so much more that can take place that I don’t know what the outcome is going to be precisely. And so that kind of stretching between intention and outcome, or known outcome, that is a gap that is crucial to chance making in art practices. There is a suspension in knowing and not knowing what might happen. It all comes back to indeterminacy.
PHOTO CREDITS: All images are by Sarah Kukathas taken during Devika Bilimoria’s development-sharing at Critical Path, April 2023.
The Experimental Choreographic Residency is a partnership between Performance Space and Critical Path.