What I’ve been working on this weekend:
I’m in a site-specific composition class, and we’re currently working on film projects set in various significant locations on Barnard’s campus for an installation during the school’s Founders Day event. Between shooting my project and dancing in other people’s projects, this means dancing in staircases, student centers, and gyms (and I wasn’t in the library group).
It also means sometimes coming into conflict with security guards and have to repeatedly explain that yes, we are cleared to be here, no, the building won’t break, and yes, we know it’s not a dance studio–that’s the definition of site specificity.
Personally, I would have liked to catch a security encounter on camera, since my film relates to violating rules and expectations of movement in public spaces. That didn’t happen.
But what’s just as interesting is the reactions of the “normal people” in the space. There are some people who will stop and watch, clap, and ask us questions about our dancing and our project. There are some people who look at us like we’re crazy.
But the majority just pretend not to notice. Of course, they do notice–they do double-takes with their eyeballs and might whisper something to the person next to them–but they just keep walking, making sure not to make eye contact. They maintain the choreographed motion of normality, as if a regular pace and a fixed frontal gaze were enough to preserve the illusion that nothing is off. Like if you keep moving like everything is normal, maybe it is.