Translation duets #7: translating to voice

Note: As part of my final project for Bodies on the Line, a graduate seminar taught by Dr. Harmony Bench in the Department of Dance at OSU, I’m documenting the process of creating a series of duets that address repetition, interchangeability, translation as commentary, and the body as an archive. You can view all of the blogs in this series here.

After learning that the way Daniel liked to move was connected to dancing at concerts, I had him annotate his re-creation of his physical actions at a concert while performing them for me in the studio. I loved the intensity of it, how Daniel could really lose himself in the movement, at moments describing the scene, and at others describing his physical or emotional experiences. Here are sections of Daniel’s improvised text and movement. He’s listening to a song called “I’m Not Part of Me” by Cloud Nothings.

At the next rehearsal, I had Daniel annotate his experience at this concert again, this time, without the use of his body, or the expressive use of his voice. Then, he had me annotate a phrase Daniel and I made together, talking through some of my intentions for creating this material.

In the final performance, we each spoke the other’s text by listening to it on headphones, Wooster Group-style, attempting to take on the other’s inflection and tone. This added a few more layers of translation to our process: translation of movement between bodies, translation of experience to voice, translation of voice to phone, translation of voice on phone to another’s voice.


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