JOURNAL is a process diary, monthly digest of choreographic work as well as containing reflections, dialogs, notes and contemplations. It subscribes itself to diverse formats and forms, changing as it goes along, and shaping itself out of the requirements of the moment at hand.
It Felt Good to Remember

Location: dance studio at Gessnerallee 11, Zürich
Trust status: high
Camera approach: low-fi
Editing approach: no edit, one-shot cinema, direct cinema
Danced by: Verónica Garzón Toldos
Score by: Katja Vaghi
Camera by: Marjana Krajač
Concept by: collaborative of Marjana Krajač, Katja Vaghi and Verónica Garzón Toldos

VERKÖRPERUNG starts with a static wide frame of a dance studio. A dancer is entering the image close to the camera point, so the frame is capturing only a dancer’s lower legs. A leg movement floats in to the formal 5th position, finding its way with turning and spiraling that resonates throughout the rest of the body. Camera follows a spiral motion in an opposite direction, as well as spiral idea of the movement, creating its own flow, enwrapping a dancer. Arriving to the upper part of the body, we are now seeing chest, shoulders, neck, hair, chin, neck, fabric of the dress, skin, eyes. At one point, a dancer arrives towards a camera, holding a notebook with a pink pen. Last sequence shows a dancer grabbing a pen, holding it with her mouth and then reaching towards camera (that we now recognize as a build-in computer camera) and pressing a stop button at the computer bar. A frame comes to a short freeze. This is the end.

Memories of a dancer, a direct interview

Verónica Garzón Toldos: «What I remember is that my body wanted to be good, to do good, to show parts of the legs clearly, showing my expertise of the clear body direction. At the same time, there is a search for a continuation of a movement or stop in the sequence, that took place at the moment a camera started to turn in another direction. Camera constituted another pair of eyes, documenting me without mercy, so I was simultaneously judging myself, questioning expression of my feet. So there was this negotiation between relaxation and tension, some confusion entered my mind. On another note, I like confusion: there is something interesting in taking a decision in the moment, instantly. This gaze of a camera, sort of a «gaze not being a gaze», but a camera lens, there is something hard about that. Even when a memory is gone, the event is registered by the camera, there is now a possibility of a second view in another medium. While I was dancing I was already aware of this situation that will take place in another medium. So I experienced a «body that lives», in a way that I feel connected; there is something like a potential of an emotional repair, emotional restoration, and a danger of it. Exposition of the body in which a camera can take that information and turn in to the data. Ephemerality throughout the lens of the camera. In general, I am working towards being less confused when it comes to being recorded. I had always mixed feelings towards that confusion, how to experience a feeling of an observer and then also how to survive that condition. I am much more comfortable with a live gaze of a live eye, although that live gaze can be even more violent. But nevertheless, there is some relation to it that makes it bearable, an encounter that allows a certain lightness. —Thank you for asking me about my memory of that filming sequence, it felt good to remember.«

Research Academy at Zürich University of the Arts took place in July 2017, and was inviting 12 artists; choreographers, dancers, video-artists, documentarists and theorists, to explore together on the topic of Documentation and Beyond in performing arts. A research resulted in layered collection of materials, protocols and procedures regarding a dense and complex questions of moving image, camera, video-phenomenology, documentation of artistic work, documentation of the process of artistic work, ethics of camera and ethics of collaborative exploring of that field.

Published: 24/07/17

VERKÖRPERUNG is a video research artefact created on July 17th 2017, at the Research Academy at Zürich University of the Arts. This text is a meta-data expanding on it; information and traces that are accompanying the segment, its research questions and memory traces.