The Encyclopœdia Project

Dancers: Sophie Lavigne, Tanya White and Guy Trifiro | Photographer: Georg Anderhub

My initial idea was to assemble a living encyclopedia of movement, one that was completely personal and amateurish – intentionally arbitrary, without any scientific pretensions. I wanted to continue the serial aspects of my work that I'd been developing over the past few years, and to invite other artists to join in. It was also a case of wanting to retain and preserve a piece of the work produced by today's artists.

My plan over the years is to build a number of series around various subjects, themes, and parts of the body. The reference to "encyclopedia" in this project also implies its diversity; I would really like to go beyond the movement intrinsic to the body to reach movement in the broadest sense, in thought and human activities: art, leisure, sports.

The first parts of the project, DOCUMENT 1 to DOCUMENT 4, will unfold over a period of five years. To some extent, this is a trial period during which the shape of the encyclopedia will emerge, along with a system and certain conventions perhaps. For now, the material is being developed through free association of ideas. Each DOCUMENT, which may include dance, exhibitions, video documents, and texts, will revolve around a central theme and confront the body with one or several ideas. For the first project, DOCUMENT 1, the notion of "motif" was the central axis. Here I'm referring to the sections based on tools, flowers, and knitting.

DOCUMENT 2 is a work on abstraction, on useless movement, free and surprising. How does a movement retain our attention? Time and space, the fundamental concepts of dance, are pivotal in this regard. DOCUMENT 2 is a laboratory and despite its pre-established choreography, the execution and interpretation are constantly renewed. For this piece I've integrated works by Vincent Dunoyer and Thomas Hauert, newly created for the dancers of my company. Also included is an excerpt from a performance revolving around the encyclopedia, which the dancers and I gave in Berlin in August 2000, in the company of critic Johannes Odenthal. In addition, I had the chance to include a video copy of the film by composer-filmmaker Thierry De Mey, Musique de Tables, which adds to the 270 movements for the hands included this year in DOCUMENT 2. These elements for the hands are in continuity with a series found in DOCUMENT 1; I am referring to my own series of 50 hands on the floor, and to Jonathan Burrow's video Hands.

This piece is presented without any logical thread, in the way one might leaf through a book.

The Encyclopœdia project consists of bringing together, in an extra-ordinary way, works and artists in time and space. For the duration of the event they will interact, converging within my own work. This encyclopedia is thus a tribute to both life and artists.

Lynda Gaudreau

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