Motion and emotions through heterogeneous geographies: Embodied research methods in site specific screendance

Heike Salzer, Ana Baer, Jack Laidlaw, Jessica Smith

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


In this session four international artists from different corners of the world will share their artistic practice in the form of screendances and music compositions, which have been developed out of an associative process of ‘experiencing space’ in extraordinary landscapes, sites and locations. From January to March 2015 the installation Extreme Landscapes including work of all artists, has been exhibited at Dance City, Newcastle (UK) before touring to venues in the US.
The session explores the author’s personal emotional connection to particular spaces and the intuitive and direct responses through visceral and sensory associations, which form stimuli for the making. The screendances have been created in contrasting locations, in caves in the United Kingdom, on the big dunes in Colorado, and in the challenging environment of ice, snow and geothermal fields in Iceland. The videos engage with movement/choreography on the screen via composition, editing and a distinctive creation of space via the rhythm and interlinked relationship of the original sound/music and image.
Ana Baer (US/MX), Jack Laidlaw (UK), Heike Salzer (GER/UK), and Jessica Smith (UK/HK) will screen and play extracts of their work illustrating their individual responses to space and place. Drawing on the ‘model of influence’ in site specific choreography by Hunter (2010), Edmunds (2010) ideas of spatial influence in filmmaking and Schafer’s (1977) soundscape studies and notions about the relationship between sound and place, the four artists will consider the methods and practices they have employed in their work. These range from embodied research methods, emotional and social economic considerations of changing landscapes and emotional impact, to the ways in which sounds of places can evoke strong emotions in all of us.
While all artists engage and are influenced in different ways by space, the work shares the common objective of portraying and illustrating humanity via embodied arts practice, and the dissemination of research via practice. As Norman argues that ‘Screendance can speak to our shared humanity by articulating particularity and difference, in so doing, referring us back to our own bodies and our particular perceptions of space: It is through the sensuous world of the body, through our eyes, ears, skin, muscles and organs, that we see, feel, and respond to all that happens, the body is the ground from which all our knowing of the world begins.’ (Norman, 2010)
The authors argue that this application of embodied phenomenological research methods and the dissemination of it via screendance as artistic outcomes are an innovative contribution to practice as research in Dance and as such a contribution to current interdisciplinary arts practice. (Kramer, 2012)
The session will engage participants in an interactive discussion involving aural, visual and tactile explorations considering the panel members experiences of spaces, sounds and emotions.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


  • Emotional geography, Screendance, Embodied research methods, Site specific

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