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Diary of an Image (2014)

DD Dorvillier / Zeena Parkins / Thomas Dunn

Diary of an Image was a reflection on the making of image, or an image – the image of a history, the image of a community, the image of a dance, or a dancer – in playing with these representations the piece slid into becoming a kind of mirage of future and past.


Diary of an Image was shaped by Zeena Parkins's music – a live and electroacoustic score – centered on the grand piano which has lived at St. Mark’s Church for over 30 years. The piano, the resonance of the sanctuary, and St. Mark’s Church itself were kind of characters in the piece, as were the steps which Katerina Andreou and I danced, the mirrored silhouettes of three important female figures in my artistic career (Jennifer Monson, Jennifer Lacey, and Sarah Michelson) designed by Olivier Vadrot, and the light designed by Thomas Dunn which slowly transformed the entire space over the course of the piece.


The space of Diary of an Image was made for listening, looking, and thinking. It was filled with the contrasting sounds of loud printing machines, the silent rhythms of our movements, the mysterious reverberating chords of the old grand piano, the communal copy machine in permanent residence on the mezzanine. The audience was invited to sit around the edges of the dancing area, on cushions on the floor, upon which the pages of the platform catalogue were printed. The audience was literally sitting on the text. The lights made a simple yet spectacular cross fade from sunset on the inside of the sanctuary, to a kind of bedtime sunrise finale, shinning in through the stained glass windows, from outside the church, slowing down and stretching time.


Diary of an Image began with the Morse Code Opera, where a curious friction was produced between language's sounds and it's meanings. The Morse Code Opera was a minimalist choreography for sound, light, and sculptures and brought Olivier's silent icons into the realm of the sensible. The mirrored figures had a conversation in a code language we could recognize but not understand. After this, in silence, and in the presence of my mirror girlfriends, I performed a simple vertical and rhythmic dance, then Katerina Andreou followed with the same but this time with sound, then both of us simultaneously, with more music and more silences. There was no narrative and no representation, but the piece talked, asked questions, hesitated, meandered, and most importantly gave a space to think about things.

Concept DD Dorvillier

Music Zeena Parkins

Dances DD Dorvillier and Katerina Andreou

Figures and Flags Olivier Vadrot

Lights Thomas Dunn


Producer Tymberly Canale

Technical Director Christine Shallenberg

Video Documentation Iki Nakagawa

...some writings on Diary of an Image in Diary of an Image - DD Dorvillier - Danspace Project Platform 2014

Moving through the inexhaustible world, Judy Hussie-Taylor,
Some types of dances, DD Dorvillier
DD Dorvillier & Jenn Joy in conversation
The other ear, Zeena Parkins
Violence to a kiss, Jenn Joy



June 6 - 7 and 12 - 14, 2014 Danspace Project (New York, United States)

June 19 - 20, 2014 June Events, Atelier de Paris / Carolyn Carlson (Paris, France)


“On October 21, 2012 I attended a panel discussion, following a presentation of Steve Paxton’s Satisfyin’ Lover in the atrium at MoMA. Jerome Bel was there too, and Ralph Lemon. The scene had a kind of silly energy and it was very crowded. It seemed like the audience was waiting for an answer to a question that would never come. People nodding or looking around to see who was there, or chit chatting in the back, or petting their cell phones. Then Steve broke through and simply said: “From 1962 to 1967 I worked with walking and standing.” I thought: “Yes, you did that, and you can say it.” He could understand what he was working on then, he could say it now, and maybe he could then too, but in a different way. He was talking history but also artistic process, and self-knowledge. I became obsessed by the quote and the context in which it came about, the social and historical complexity of the event at MoMA, the icon Steve Paxton, the ambiguity between what’s history and what’s now, the tenacity of working on something so obvious and simple that it's almost invisible for five years or a lifetime, and the impact of that work now. It’s so simple, but it’s the basis of human locomotion, walking and standing, the difference between being somewhere and going somewhere. The quote became my mantra – not because I too am working with walking and standing, because I’m not really at all, as you can see – but because it was so definitive, so clear, and so absolutely necessary to him. I began using the quote to create numerous algorithms for scores for skipping sequences and arm movements, for chants, for generating series' of numbers and patterns to help me make decisions in general. In the end it has remained a pilfered and bastardized text, which appears in our Morse Code Opera, spoken and sung by these shiny mirror girls. I hope you will forgive us Steve and I respectfully thank you for so simply being able to say what you were doing, and for having done that thing you said you did, with walking and withstanding.”   DD Dorvillier - June 5 2014, New York City

Production: human future dance corps (USA) and Stanza (France) Funding: Doris Duke Performing Artist Award; Danspace Project; LMCC Extended Life Program; Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, Florida State University (funded, in part, by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation); French US Exchange in Dance (FUSED); Live Music for Dance, New Music America; James E. Robison Foundation. Residencies: ICPP Wesleyan University, CT; PS1/MOMA, NYC; Entre cour et jardins, Dijon; Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, Florida State University; Atelier de Paris/Carolyn Carlson; Studiolabs at Ménagerie de Verre, Paris; STUK Kunstencentrum Leuven; Performing Arts Forum, St. Erme.


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