Monday, February 12, 2007

training (the) quartet pt. 1: protocol of mirroring

Having specified the quartet formation, let me introduce the protocol in the context of this ensemble: mirroring. Well, I’ll be calling this thing ‘mirroring’, but when one is mirroring another, it can, for example, mean any of the following:

sharing affinity with
creating similitude
corresponding with
correlating with
This is the elemental behavior within these exercises. When one improviser mirrors another, the improviser modifies their behavior to correlate in some way to the behavior of the other. Mirroring may be implemented as imitation or impersonation, behavioral or stylistic equivalence, etc. Don't get too dogmatic about this, improvisers will find various (creative) ways to implement this idea.
A simple arrangement of the quartet is in a circle in which each improviser mirrors the behavior of the improviser on one side (behavioral information is passed in the opposite direction).message-passing in a quartetThis sounds simple, and it is, but we’ll be developing and twisting this idea as the training continues.

some (unanswered) questions:

Does the concept of mirroring hold up to scrutiny?
Given that improvisative interaction may encompass juxtapositions, contrasts and contradictions, how can we engineer, or justify, such simple affinity? Mirroring is somewhat an arbitrary protocol, but I find it easier that others to explain and implement. I’m, however, very interested in hearing of alternatives.

Is the dualism embedded in this protocol (similar OR different) culturally restrictive?
Yes, it is, and this will come to haunt any ensemble, particularly those composed of inexperienced improvisers. Does anyone have any solutions?

Can interaction, under any circumstance, really be thought of as unidirectional?
Of course not….

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