Hej! My name is Julia Giertz, I’m a choreographer and sound-artist and I’m also a big fan of environmental science, like physical geography on a macro-scale. However, my focus here will be on choreography as a sort of auditory, physical experience.
Within my field of choreography the interaction between “dance and music” is fundamental. The relation between the auditory soundscape and the visual, choreographic landscape is thoroughly explored and well mapped.
Yet, I feel as if dance, one of the most powerful physical tools we have, often fails in physically activating its audience. The whole thing becomes a rather passive, near removed experience for everybody who is not dancing.
As a result of this feeling of detachment, I have started to focus on transmitting a physical experience of sound to the audience in my work with music – investigating the direct physical impact of sound on the sensing body.
It is a research that explores ways to liberate sound from its role as a distant accompanying element, to instead be the catalyst in generating physical movement in the actual bodies of the audience. It is a research of dance as vibrations in the body, dance as a way to engage through the extended touch of hearing and dance as a sensory affective process within each and every audience member.
Sound can’t be argued with. Sound is constantly moving through our bodies. Light can travel through a complete vacuum, but sound requires matter; like air, water or other bodies. Sound is movement and a multitude of vibrations inside and outside of us. It requires us.
As human beings we can lock out light quite effortless by closing our eyes or shutting the blinds. However, we cannot lock out sound as easily because, compared to other senses like vision, taste or smell, our perception of sound is extremely difficult to locate. The deaf dead Beethoven used to lean his head on the piano, composing music by feeling the vibrations, and the deaf alive drummer Evelyn Glennie once said, “Hearing is basically a specialized form of touch. At low vibrations the ear is inefficient and the rest of the body’s sense of touch takes over.” You trying to sleep when your neighbour is having a late night techno party know this feeling.
So, an urbanized world we are constantly, although rather unconsciously, affecting each other through the physical impact of the sounds and vibrations that we produce. But, in the society we know, we live through our eyes. In our digital, semi-virtual world we are spectators, voyeurs and witnesses. In this passive state we become increasingly disconnected on an interactive, physical level. Therefore I like to further explore the possibilities of choreography as an active experience, rather than reproducing our society’s default, which would be serving a passive audience another visual effect, or “screen”. Think like this; the performing arts are unique mediums, holding a great potential for an embodied resonance through a collective experience. By researching the physical qualities of sound, I’m finding ways to induce choreography in the real, sensing bodies of the audience. (yum)
I’m currently working together with Danish chorographer Marie Topp, since we both have a shared interest in investigating the relationship between kinaesthetic perception and the physical impact of sound. We have been collaborating over the past two years, in the two works “Forerunnig” and “The Visible Effects of Force”. The piece The Visible Effects of Force will be shown at Dansehallerne in Copenhagen 8 – 10 April. Come and feel the vibrations.