TRACES is a framework for an ongoing exploration of water. Through site-responsive movement, these performance projects unpack ideas around the interface of human and natural boundaries while channeling the dynamic equilibrium that water seeks. Rivers and streams are constantly changing course, redistributing energy and carving new paths. In a parallel way, dance movement pathways are also not fixed, with some slight variations every time a choreographic phrase is performed. Just as maps of abandoned channels and meandering paths can be an artistic visual story of the ever-changing river, these works seek to capture the movement of human bodies along with the dynamism of water bodies. This series of choreographic works uses stream dynamics and river morphology as a point of departure that, when performed, create large drawings as an artifact of the dance. Movement pathways are recorded on paper on the floor in various media, mapping the unique signature of each performance and, abstractly, the water body that inspired it.
In 1890, celebrated explorer John Wesley Powell proposed that the new western state borders be defined by watershed boundaries, rather than the straight lines we now know. Today, the continued disconnect between dynamic hydrological systems and the fixed, inflexible human structures and systems applied to them grows more and more problematic in the face of global environmental change. We continue to build in a way that doesn’t allow for change, with sea walls, flood walls, and gray stormwater infrastructure being the focus of our planning and investment, rather than the fluid, adaptive, resilient systems we need.
TRACES aims to catalyze and encourage a view of water and human systems that allows for dynamism, flexibility, agility, and resilience – and to visualize and engage water in a way that encourages a shift away from static, straight-edged approaches.