Aurélie Dupuis

Ph.D. in progress

Proto-choreography describes a process of collective production of space that involves hitherto unconsidered dimensions of matter and imagination. As a concept, this neologism guides both our case studies methodology and the formulation of alternative tools for architecture. Our research starts from a definition of the city as both a physical and mental support for our cognitive and imaginative operations, mirrored in our affects and actions in and towards that same city we also produce. Defining this multiple and ongoing production of all matter within the city, the common, and to underline its dynamic condition, we will talk about a common in motion. Today, its expression is being undermined by algorithmic governance, the last step of a biopolitical project interfering in our imaginative and spatial cognition processes to exclude difference. The architectural project as proto-choreography, considered as an arrangement between environment and imagination, may be a useful strategy against these dynamics. Choreography is considered as a set of norms bodies pass through and re-enact, simultaneously revealing those rules’ supporting role and the power of differentiation and imagination contained within those moving bodies. That movement of differentiation where relationships are reconfigured holds an unexplored architectural potential. The proto- prefix seeks to underline that, introducing the notion of an anteriority structuring what is happening, and places choreography ahead of a process modulating reality and our relationship to the sensible. By paying attention to this virtual dimension of matter, proto-choreography is able to disturb the inertia of habits while supporting their collective unfolding. To unveil this, we will seek to understand how a collective process of space production can be structured around gestures as carriers of motion and the imaginal field they summon. To this end, we will highlight the shared field between architecture and contemporary dance, especially around the notions of gesture, notation and drawing. Through the deployment of proto-choreography as hypothesis, the establishment of derived concepts in two major study cases and the formulation of methodological hypotheses capable of serving both as critical support and experimentation in contemporary contexts of collective spatial production, we aim to propose and test new tools and practical approaches for the architectural discipline and to open up the spectrum of situated practices and processes participating in the imagination and production of urban commons.

1. Yvonne Rainer, Score for “Trio B, Running” from The Mind Is a Muscle (1966-68), Graphite and ink on paper, The Getty Research Institute. 

2. Yvonne Rainer, « Parts of Some Sextets », March 6th 1965, Hartford (Connecticut). Photography of Peter Moore, VAGA, New York City.

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