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A Place to Be

Chisenhale Dance Space Artists Programme, 2003

Dance, Film, Sound and the Environment

in research collaboration with the visual artist, Jim Roseveare 

Seki’s interest lies in how a sense of place can be externalised through her movement and presence.  Roseveare’s work focuses on movement, place and time and how these elements can be represented on film and the photographic image.


‘59 minutes and 38 seconds’ 2002 investigated the body and its sense of place exploring the environments of an urban woodland.  Working with the myriad of changes in the animated life of the ‘natural’ environment, the research explored ways of enhancing these subtleties in which a sense of place is derived with a singular body.


A Place to Be examines a sense of place through its social and functional context, which questions notions of the urban environment where members of the public take an active part.  A pedestrian underpass beneath the busy approach road to the Blackwall Tunell was chosen.  A place which although at times is seemingly desolate empty and timeless is filled with presence.  It is a place which can best be described by the Japanese term, ‘Yoinn’ – having an afterglow, a resonance, a lingering presence.  


The empty frame became a stage of unexpected, a group of boys suddenly run through the underpass, laughing, a man enters muttering obscenities underneath his breath, a protective mother shields children – hurriedly walks.  And in between ‘predominant silence’ descends.  It is an erratic ebb and flow of presence, trace and stillness.


Our new challenge is to explore an inanimate, man made environment and to research how it is animated as a place through the interaction of the body of a dancer, the manoeuvre of people, ambient sound and the ‘empty’ frame.

Role of the dancer’s body, type of movement and communication to the public were fully investigated.  Non-prescriptive, non-choreographic, directional  and purposeful walks looped the under and over the path.  Which were also intuitive way of ‘being’ in simple motion in order to avoid the body becoming imposing the place as a stage. 


Two simultaneously static movie cameras, the same recording format as ‘59minutes and 38seconds’ was used to echo a series of projects.  The first camera showing both the busy approach road and the pedestrian walkway leading to the underpass and the second placed half way in the interior facing the exit/entrance and presented side by side.  


Special thanks to;

Chisenhale Dance Space

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