Q&A: DD Dorvillier talks about her Danspace Project Platform series

DD Dorvillier masterminds a four-week Platform based on her work at Danspace Project

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How did you come up with the Solo Performances portion of the platform?
I wanted to make events that include people that I’m working with now and in the past—people that I love—who would come together and present something that was already made or simple to make. Something they could do with limited resources.

So these solos are their own?
Yes. The first night is Jennifer Lacey and Sébastien Roux. He’s presenting Inevitable Music #2, which is a listening session basically. It’s not durational: It has a beginning, a middle and an end, and it features recordings by New York, Berlin and Paris artists. I invited Jenny Lacey to do something dealing with the fetish objects of my work. I gave her the blue bucket from No Change [or “freedom is a psycho-kinetic skill”] and the tantamount of the blue bucket that was made by Gelitin, so she’s making a performance out of these. The next night is Jennifer Monson doing a solo, which will be magic. I think it’s dealing with a new project that she’s doing, which I’m part of too, which is called in tow. Zeena and David Zambrano are also crossing through it. But this will be a solo of materials from that project. Elizabeth Ward is doing her Vitus Dance. Jennifer Monson and Elizabeth are so different yet so intimately a part of my work and my life that I really wanted to put them together. Then Heather Kravas and Walter Dundervill—they had a chance to dance together in Danza Permanente, but Heather was pregnant and had to step out, so I wanted to put them together again. I thought they were nicely matched in their extremeness. They’re each making new solos. The final performance features the three dancers from A catalogue of steps: Katerina Andreou, Oren Barnoy and Nibia Pastrana. They’re elaborating on solos they’ve already presented for St. Mark’s. I wanted to give them a chance to show their work, and I wanted to be able to see all of these artists’ work one night after the other. It’s kind of a selfish thing! I’m really looking forward to these four nights. It’s a way for me to put these people and their artwork in relationship and to understand a new aspect of them. Even though Heather says she’s basing her piece on all the scores and ideas from my work, it’s Heather’s response. That builds work. It’s not just me that makes a work. That’s how I function and that’s how my work is created: through this interaction with other people.

What’s been the biggest surprise about this platform?
How personal it is. How resistant I am to it being so personal and intimate. [Laughs] I guess it’s how much I suspect it’s going to have an impact later. It’ll be interesting to see in ten years how I created this response. I think I’m rather slow, but I have very quick impulses. So I said yes and then it took me a while to figure out what I was doing and by the time I figured out a little of where we would go, it was almost time to get it done. I’ll be interested to see what it produces for me in terms of my own knowledge and experience with it. I was really surprised by A catalogue of steps. Every time I opened the box, I was like, Oh. The dancers will have learned a one-minute fragment six months ago that they come back to and practice, and they’ll look at the video and say: “Wait—you’re doing that?” And it’s a solo of mine, and it’s one little detail that changes everything, like my head is turned. Now we’re starting to realize that pretty much anything I do, I do on purpose. Even though it looks like all that stuff I do is by accident—no! I’m pointing to the corner, and I’m not just sticking my arm out. In the corner there is such-and-such person that I’m thinking about or an image that I’m going toward. For me that was pretty surprising to realize that there was so much information—not so much about how precious I am about keeping the same information, but there’s so much detail, and it’s not useless detail. You could construct a narrative or a history based of those details. But also just the fact that that’s how you could build something, which I kind of abandoned in my work since 2005: that empirical procedure and very internal way of building things. Now I see that there’s a lot of information in there. To be really sophisticated and keep going forward I have to contend with that knowledge that I have. That’s really exciting.

What does it feel like to look at yourself in old videos?
At first it was jarring. I was really self-conscious. I got really sad, because I felt old. But I got over it. I feel like I get to see the choreography. For years I would make a piece, and then I would get the video and be humiliated, and then I would make a new thing and never look back. When I made [2005’s] No Change or “freedom is a psycho-kinetic skill,” I decided this can’t be a piece that I can’t look at. Since then, all the works have to stand on their own. With A catalogue of steps, I wanted to deal with the fact that I had run [away] every time I made a piece. I’m still not interested in having those early works go on Vimeo. [Laughs] But now I can look back and treat the work the same way I talk to somebody just starting out. I look at it with those eyes, and I’m learning about myself in the process: how to perform, how to keep going on and why to keep going on.
Platform 2014: Diary of an Image by DD Dorvillier is at Danspace Project is May 21–June 14.

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