Hannah Schillinger space as material

My curiosity for the residency „space as material“ is to look at how encounters with the empty space between the things can be the inspiration and the source material for movement, dance and embodied experiences. For this purpose, I would like to research the principle of transmission (here: information being expressed and made perceived through the body as a medium) as well as interaction (here: the body as an entity entering relations to other entities in the space). Next to working with movement and voice, I am inviting collaborators into the studio to find out how video, augmented reality, 3D Modeling and sound can support finding aesthetic relations to this choreographic approach within a creative process. Furthermore, I am hosting a workshop weekend open for interested participants at LAKE in order to share aspects of my practice and to bring it in exchange with different perspectives.

Residency blog posts

space as material / screen play

The residency at Lake Studios is slowly coming to an end and I am taking a little moment to reflect on what has happened this month.

My intention for the residency period was to bridge two researches of mine.

One of them, with the working title “screen play” has actually been initiated at Lake Studios in summer 2022, when I was part of the Digital Body Lab amongst a group of artists from different disciplines. That time, I started exploring the workings of a 360° camera in relation to body, movement and the environment. What started off as a transdisciplinary experiment, led me into developing a practice I have continued to follow throughout autumn and winter of 2022/23. It led me to 12 different places impacted by the climate/energy crisis. I encountered these places somatically and archived the experiences not only through my body and perception, but also with the 360°camera. Amongst them are the “nördlicher Schneeferner”, one of the last glaciers in Germany on the Zugspitz Mountain, the coal mine “Welzow Süd”, the forests in “Böhmische Schweiz” in Czech Republic that have burned down in the fires in 2022, the beach in Lubmin, where the gas pipes Nordstream 1&2 are arriving from Russia and the Lieberoser Wüste, a desert in the midst of Brandenburg.

Parallel to that, I have been deepening and developing my movement and choreographic practice, which for now carries the research name “space as material”. In this practice, I investigate the materiality and the mattering of space. Largely inspired by queer feminist quantum physicist Karen Barad as well as the object oriented ontology (especially the aspect of the hyper objects) of Timothy Morton, I am researching how a human subjectivity is not only intra-acting with other human subjectivities, but equally the material subjectivities as well as the immaterial subjectivities within a spatial-temporal context. Situated within the discourse of New Materialism, I am looking at how the empty space between the things can be the source material and inspiration for movement, dance and embodied experiences.
For this residency specifically, I wanted to look closer at the principles of transmission and interaction. By transmission I mean information received through perception that gets transduced through a moving and expressive body (for example being in a state, being in an imagination or an experience, mostly unfiltered or uncensored, sometimes loss of sense of self or agency). Interaction for me means being response-able to an experience, state or imagination (for example being able to step out of an an experience, regard it as a spatial-temporal entity one is interacting with, being able to dialogue with it with agency to transform or transmute it).
To explore this approach more concretely, I have come to develop a task which I call “Virtual Sculptures”. Virtual Sculptures are spatial temporal entities a perceiving body is intra-acting with, fluidly moving between being it and interacting with it. Virtual Sculptures can be miniatures and consist of simply one movement or be of more complex structures, which make them experiential worlds.
Another aspect inspired by quantum physics (and the principle of virtual particles) that I am currently researching in a speculative manner, is regarding dance not as primarily temporal sequences, but spatial phenomena. I am playing with the imagination that a movement, an experience, a memory or a virtual sculpture potentially already exists within a space and becomes activated and made perceivable through the presence and expression of a performer. Connected to that, I am looking at the locality or non-locality of movement as well as uncertainty of and within it, which plays a large role here.

Within the residency I was curious to share my practice with others, so I facilitated a workshop to dig, question and open this choreographic approach. It was very fascinating to see how the different movement artists translate the tasks into their own bodies in relation to their own intuitive body knowledge. Oscillating between moving, writing and talking, very interesting conversations and explorations unfolded from the workshop.

Next to that, I developed virtual sculptures / worlds from the 360° video material and 3D scans of the encounters with the landscapes. As a travel hopper between different experiential realities, imaginations and emotional states, I am busy exploring the physical-energetic body as a screen and a site in which – just as in the landscapes – destructive and regenerative forces co-exist. I invited the media artist and stage designer Louis Caspar Schmitt into the process, with whom we spent time on figuring out how the movement material communicates with the digital images, reflecting a lot together on ways of editing video and movement as well as concreteness and abstraction within both media. Also the sound designer Vagelis Tsatsis joined the process, with whom we recorded the sounds of remnants of each of the visited places and looked into how sound sculptures could be built from this material.

It has been a very intense and highly creative month and I must say that I really enjoy expanding my own vision through the perspectives of other dance and movement artists as well as my collaborators coming from other disciplines. Tomorrow, on February 26th, there will still be a little sharing of the findings and materials of the residency. I am quite happy about how finally the two parallel researches could merge within this container and I am planning to develop it further into a little work throughout the spring of 2023.

I am also very happy about having shared this time here with Hanako and Naïma, my two fellow residents. I enjoyed being at Lake Studios again and having the time to focus and deep dive into my artistic curiosities while continuously being in exchange and dialogue with other artists as well.

When I write these kinds of texts I always think about how it must be to read them in a couple of years again. But I guess it’s just one step on the way, one snapshot of the process I find myself in – and I am curious to figure out where this work will continue to flow.

Thanks to Marcela Giesche from Lake Studios, to the Pilotprojekt Residenzförderung Tanz “Made in Berlin” der Senatsverwaltung für Kultur und Europa, to my fellow residents Naïma Mazic and Hanako Hayakawa, my collaborators Louis Caspar Schmitt, Vagelis Tsatsis and Vito Walter (who will join the process a bit later), Lina Gomez and Alica Minar for being outside eye, the workshop participants and the space for being so welcoming.