Time’s markings/marking time/s: Rosemary Butcher’s secrets of the open sea (Revised 2019)

Melrose, Susan and Sachsenmaier, Stefanie ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5485-0607 (2014) Time’s markings/marking time/s: Rosemary Butcher’s secrets of the open sea (Revised 2019). IFTR Conference, University of Warwick, UK 2014 (revised 2019). In: IFTR (International Federation for Theatre Research) On Stratification, 18 Jul - 01 Aug 2014, Warwick. . [Conference or Workshop Item]

[img] PDF - Other
Restricted to Repository staff and depositor only

Download (752kB)


In 2014 Rosemary Butcher’s Secrets of the Open Sea was a new choreographic work merging archive material and current film with live movement. Inspired, she reported, by the perception of form in ruins, the focus of Butcher’s new work was the creation of new histories through her re-engagement with her own past work which was also – far from coincidentally – one history of contemporary dance. We report on Butcher’s creative process with dancer Lucy Suggate, which involved an active enquiry into what remains, a ‘looking at something that has its root elsewhere’, in a process of choreographic notation that shifted forward and backwards in time.

Working with the conception of ‘activities’, Butcher (who died in 2016) investigated the ‘doing of the movement’, aiming to show its construction, rather than ‘finished’ form. This ‘doing of movement’ involved the choreographer and dancer in a simultaneous working of layers of past and future choreographic ‘things’. The work – already then in process – moved away from a central focus on the dancer’s body inhabiting its own space, to work as well with a sense of ‘imprinting’ the dancer’s bodywork onto the floor and into the air.

With these processes in mind, we explored Jean-François Lyotard’s notion of the technical as one constitutive aspect of the art work (‘L’Obédience’, 1988), arguing that in Butcher’s process we could see her engagement with an abstract yet rational choreographic dispositif, allowing us to speak about an inventive ‘dance’ that explored developments in visual art but remained identifiable as such. We discussed how Butcher’s creative process employed a layering of temporal materialities while remaining ‘new’ and drew on Jakub Zdebik’s writing on the productive function of the diagram in art-making (Deleuze and the Diagram, 2012) as well as Lyotard’s “autostructurisation” or ‘working through’ strata of materials.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Research Areas: A. > School of Media and Performing Arts > Performing Arts
Item ID: 26279
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Susan Melrose
Date Deposited: 19 Mar 2019 13:57
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2021 00:56
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/26279

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Activity Overview

Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.