Cover Mobius Devices

RESEARCH

Möbius Devices is a performance practice as research developed through the MFA Creative Practice at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, which interrogates the tensions between somatic, sonic, and cyclical processes in a space of collaborative mediation with technological devices.
As a performer and researcher, my desire is to develop, with professional collaborators, a modular methodology which can include a wide range of audience, able and non-able people, young artists and different cultures, to expand the shared agency to different viewpoints, voices, and lexicons. I can foresee developing from a performance practice to a methodology that can be taught via workshops and seminars modules, presented in high-schools, engaging with a diverse range of local communities.

The research explores the potential dissolution of boundaries through amplified listening experiences, to cultivate interconnectivity, proximity and intimacy in a performative arena. Engaging with a somatic approach to voice through cyclical methodologies, this thesis illustrates the personal journey of a rigorous and disciplined practice of wondering, where the continuous questioning has been at the base and at the end of a self-generative process of creation.

The practice generated methodologies of amplified sensing through headphone listening, the stage becomes a place where agency is shared, and where the audience witness performers in the act of creation of imaginary, sonic and physical-scape.

A collaboration of human and non-human, performance as a medium for liveness, real-time composition, to foster the conditions for the variety of materials and identities to unfold and expose.

As a Möbius strip, which has no end and no beginning, the research is still alive and generates questions as propellers for new beginnings.

What I intend when I say: it is a ‘wondering practice’

I wonder. 
During these two years, I found myself deeply involved in the practice of wondering. 
As a verb, “to wonder”, as far as I understand it within this practice, expresses the meaning of both being surprised and entertaining questions. 
This action requires the will to be affected, touched, proven wrong, to turn the preconceptions into new viewpoints, new landscapes to work on and from, that will be again challenged and transformed. During the research I found myself repeating the phrase “I wonder…” multiple times, as a starting point for movement and when beginning a sentence, as a point of contact. Wondering has become a practice that looks for encountering similarities and differences, a disposition towards transformation and continuous speculative turns, celebrating exceptions, inviting the un-planned to be part of the practice. The verb “wonder” expresses the attitude to maintain the aliveness of a continuous transformation. 
The process over time has revealed a methexical1 cyclical development that found its manifestation in the name of Möbius Devices, which expresses a continuous loop of motion experienced in the research through somatic, sonic, spiritual and technological spheres.

1 Methexis: Greek word that means a communication, participation, often used in a theatre domain.

The voice and the creation of a -scape

One of the researchers and therapists that has influenced my methodology in approaching vocality and the perception of internal space of breath is the work of Ilse Middendorf (1910-2009), who devoted her life to develop the breathwork process known as Atem Tonus Ton2. When I first saw a person singing and utilising her approach, it seemed that the voice was coming out from all the pores of the skin. This has been the primary impulse that led me to study this practice. I learned her process-based approach to breath and embodiment of the voice for three years, understanding how to perceive the vibration of the voice and the tone of the body where the breath finds support and space. In my experience, giving voice and listening to the most intimate hidden places is a way to come back home, to find the center, to discover the hidden folds of the self. When the voice arises from a grounded place, it acquires more colours, as Christina Kapadocha, a London-based actress and movement educator describes, the voice is “written by the body and closely bound up with the place of utterance” (2021, p.100-101), revealing depth and nuances of a human being. As I understand it, listening to the voice means listening to the story of a body. 
Voice is a place where cultural and personal traces expresses, the mouth is the place where the voice will open up to the exterior and express.
Who’s voices are heard? How do we listen to the voice?
What is unsaid? What is the soul saying?
Working with the body and the voice is a political act, from sound to voice and formation of the language, through the act of the mouth to shape consonants and vowels, which than becomes a meaning. Travelling through these three realms allow us to step into the imagination, creating new pathways with the movement, restoring or revealing, allowing the unconscious to appear and be seen and accepted.
Unravelling the collective unconscious, finding differences and points of contacts between sounds, voices and languages, creating an inclusive and differentiated-scape (soundscape, cultural scape, emotional scape, architectural space, physical scape, utopian and dystopian scape).

2 Atem Tonus Ton: literal translation from German: Atem: Breath, Tonus: Tonicity Ton: Voice

The use of headphones for the performers and the audience: what I intend for amplified sensing

During the last two years of research, I started introducing amplification, headphone listening, large diaphragm/headset microphones and looping systems as a methodology that I called amplified sensing.
As in somatic practices, the paradox here lies in the fact that, if externally the exploration had an inward focus, it synchronically allowed a connection with the external world. This practice revealed that the more I listened to myself, the more I could connect with someone else and the environment. The hyper-awareness inward, strangely open things up. All the way through the research I noticed that by magnifying and amplifying the nuances of the self, they became audible. The intention has been to magnify the details of the inner state, to highlight the corners of the self while the self was synchronically exposing to the other: while being in touch with my vulnerability, I was sonically witnessed, by myself and others.
The headphone listening practice revealed to me that the act of listening to the amplified breath and to the amplified surroundings created an unusual perception of the self, modifying the sense of proximity of space, while the feedback loop acted upon the perception of time, creating destabilization and confusion which then allowed and opened the door to a movement quality that was not preoccupied with aesthetics.

Photo of a Performance

What I intend when I talk about PPaR: Performance practice as research

Performance practice as research is a way to explore the ambiguity of interdisciplinarity, to stay at the center of the sphere where different theories and practices meet, to let the practice itself be at the steer wheel, to enhance a state of becoming, specifically for me it has been a way to open possibilities for inter-relationships between theories, objects, machines and humans to emerge. As Karen Barad, an American feminist theorist, writes:

We don’t obtain knowledge by standing outside the world;
we know because we are of the world. We are part of the
world in its differential becoming. We need to come to terms
with how specific intra-actions matter. (2007, p.186)

In shaping my methodology, it was clear from the beginning, that the performative aspect, the presence of an audience and the act of co-participation, was essential to generate new knowledge that was formed from a collective body. For this reason, I am particularly keen in distinguishing between practice as research and performance practice as research since the performative aspect has been embedded in the methodology and the process of creating new knowledge.

The relationship amongst human-non-human-machine

I can trace the urgency as an artist to understand the connection between humans and the technological other. The pandemic landscape has forced us to engage with previously unfamiliar words, such as isolation, lockdown, quarantine, zoom meetings. As a result, social distancing has become the norm. We have been physically engaged in a daily relationship with digital devices, in a post and pandemic landscape, and human relationships have been constantly mediated through digital media and access to the Internet. As I experienced it, lockdown has been a magnifying glass for social privileges, portraying a clear picture of human conditions (a visible difference in terms of living situation and accessibility to the internet to name a few). Since artistic practice needs to address current concerns, it became prominent to critically and creatively engage with the daily technological mediation, constantly present in our lives. The body has been a middle ground, it stood at the center of the practice as a part of a whole, becoming a playground for practice, a place of meeting of flowing data and sound. In the practice, the body is perceived as a metamorphosis and a place where questions can be exposed and experienced, in a collaborative-scape.

WORKS

Still Pouring Sand 7:29

“Still pouring Sand” has been created with personal and found footage revisiting the traumatic Hightide that invested Venice in November 12th 2019. Is a testimoniance, a resonance, a personal experience filtered by creative process by using archive footage and personal footage as main material, both as images and soundscape. The short video has been edited under the mentorship of Becky Edmunds, in the context of Dance and the Moving Image Module during the MFA Creative Practice, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
Archives retrieved from: Istituto Luce: Venezia 1972 VENEZIA L’acqua alta storica del 19 – 12 novembre 2019, 187cm Maltempo, alta marea eccezionale a Venezia suonano le sirene nella città lagunare ”La città delle sirene” di Giovanni Pellegrini
Performer: Laura Colomban
Concept + Editing: Laura Colomban
A special thanks to Becky Edmunds, Alice Gale-Feeny, Michaela Gerussi.

Traceable no further 5:47

“I look for what is hidden, there are reason for hiding, often political ones. If I pull this out, it grows, suddenly there’s a whole forest appearing. Something we feel but which hasn’t been said”
Simonsen, B. (Ed.). (2017). The art of rehearsal: Conversations with contemporary theatre makers. Bloomsbury Methuen Drama an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing Plc.
The act of disappearance in the physical act is represented by the focus or non-focus of gaze and the play between movement and the cessation of movement: the disappeared cannot be represented because they can be “traceable no further” (Ridout N. 2006. Stage, frights, Animals and Other Theatrical Problems). A recall the political implication of unmarked condition.
The performance has been crafted under the mentorship of Zoi DImitriou in the context of Dance and the Performance Making Module during the MFA Creative Practice, Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
Soundscape created during Banff Residency: © Philippe Melanson and Daniel Pencer
Par: Laura Colomban
MFA Creative Practice Dance Professional Pathways 2019/2021
Trinity Laban Conservatoire Music and Dance

Fractures 8:53

“Fractures” is a site specific work born from a Residency at TraiArt, in Parma, Italy.
As artistic response to a moment of fracture an crisis: a body which connects to collective nowadays fractures: the global pandemic as the most recent explosion in Beirut. On 4 August 2020, a large amount of ammonium nitrate stored at the port of the city of Beirut, the capital of Lebanon, exploded, causing at least 210 deaths, 7,500 injuries. The soundscape used are voices recorded after the explosion.
Video selected as finalist at Hangartfest, Pesaro, Italy
Performance creation: Laura Colomban
Performer: Laura Colomban
Video Shooting: Elisa Russo
Editing: Giovanni Fiamminghi
Audio file retrieved from Instagram: @lebanontimes @Ilovebeirut
Production: TraiArt

NEU MA 1:25

NEU MA 9:18

A movement and real-time control based research that takes the shape of an Interactive Live Act. The breath is the main sound material and it also functions as a control interface, by influencing some parameters of the software depending on its intensity and spectral components (timbre). The software performs a real-time analysis on the sound of breath, which is then amplified and processed according to the instructions given by the composer. The choreography is defined by the connection and interrelation with the breath and the software, the movement is born in relation to the sound that it creates more than from aesthetic components. The lighting also respond to the breath data.
Choreography and performer: Laura Colomban
Interaction and Sound design: Giovanni Dinello
Partners: V.E.R-V. (Venice Electroacoustic Rendez-Vous), BURBB (Biennale Urbana)

ABOUT

Laura Colomban is developing through performance-making a bespoke cyclical creative process which integrates circular methodologies through expanded choreography and auditory investigation, specifically creating sites within sites through voice, movement, and sound groundwork.

SPONSORSHIPS AND AWARDS

  • Leverhulme Arts Scholar 2020/2021
  • Leverhulme Arts Scholar 2019/2020
  • Finalist Short Video “Fratture” HangartFest, September 2020
  • Finalist at Prospettiva Danza e Teatro Prize, April 2019
  • Sponsorhip Performing Arts Res Spring 2019
  • Creative Gesture Collective Financial Aid, August 2018
  • O1 Visa – Individuals with Extraordinary Ability or Achievement, September 2016
  • Video Dance Residency WASP, Working Art Space and Production, Bucharest, RO, 2013

EDUCATION

MFA Creative Practice Dance Professional Pathway 2019/2021
Tamalpa Institute 2012/2015
Atem Tonus Ton – Voice and Breath Therapy 2015/2017
MA Graphic Design
International School of Graphic Design 2002/2004
Management of Cultural Production, Università Cà Foscari 2001/2002

SELECTED PERFORMANCES AS DANCE MAKER

Möbius Devices, Berlin, IQ Festival, November 19th 2021
Möbius Devices, Hangartfest, Pesaro, October 21st, 2021
Möbius Devices, London, 21st July 2021
NEU MA #4 April 17,18th, 2019 Hors Lits, Paris, FR
NEU MA #2 Prospettiva Danza e Teatro, Apil 1/2 2019, Padova, IT
Twang! September 15th, HomeFest, Bucharest, RO
NEU MA June 30th 2018, Social Practice, Performance and Education Int. Symposium
at MAMbo, Modern Art Museum, Bologna, IT
MyoBreath Master Digital Exhibit 20th April 2018, Venice IT
[∅∩⊂] Mothership, November 14th, 2017, New York, USA
[∅∩⊂] Picasso Machinery, October 27th, 2017, New York, USA
StäbeTanz, Festival delle Arti Giudecca, September 9-10th, 2017, Venice, IT
[∅∩⊂]: Solo for the Festival “The Living Art”, October 08th, 2016, Vicenza, IT
Threshold: CollabFest – Triskelion Art Center, October 15th, 2015, New York, USA
Tribute to Anna Halprin, Washigton Square Park, August 18th, 2015, New York, USA
Light at Festival delle Arti, September 13th, 2015, Venice, IT
D.E.A.R: at Festival delle Arti, September 14th, 2013, Venice, IT
Unwrapped: Residency and Performance at WASP, November 13th, 2013, Bucharest, RO

SELECTED COLLABORATIONS AS PERFORMER

Performer at Bruce Nauman, Contrapposto Studies, May 20th 2021-December 2021, Punta della Dogana, Venice.
Punchdrunk International, Believe Your Eyes, September 2019
FESTI Group, Blame the Moon, Inauguration Venice Carnival, February 14th, 2019, Venice, IT
The Commons Choir, May Day Hey Day Parfait, BRIC Arts Media, Brooklyn, November 9-10-11-12th, 2017, New York, USA
“Geometrie Instabili” Festival delle Arti Giudecca, September 09-10th, 2016, Venice, IT
“Architetture per corpi”, Festival “A piede libero”, September 18th, 2016, Venice, IT
The Commons Choir, Judson Church, November 23rd, 2015, New York, USA
Molayo Dance Company, Festival Intérieur/Extérieur, June 5th, 2015, Romans, FR
Molayo Work in Progress Performance, Inteatro, September 18th, 2014, Polverigi, IT
Molayo Dance Company, August 30th, 2014, Bolozòn, FR
Venice Biennale, Maria Hassabi “Oo”, Cyprus and Lithuanian Pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale 2013, June 2013, Venice, IT