Landscape architect Noël van Dooren’s promotional research is on the reflection of time in design drawings. He organizes workshops where the phenomenon of ‘time drawing’ is explored. He recently started working with choreography students of the School for New Dance Development (SNDO) of the Amsterdam School of the Arts.
How does one explore choreography in a drawing? And how does one reflect ‘time’ in that drawing? Noël van Dooren (former Head of the Department of Landscape Architecture at the Amsterdam Academy of Architecture) presented these questions to choreographer and theatre maker Manolis Tsipos (1979) who teaches at the SNDO. The factor of time has a crucial meaning for a choreography, but making a drawing is not straightforward.
Tsipos is enthusiastic about the cross-breading between choreography and architecture and the role of drawing when thinking about the design of choreography. ‘Drawing time is quite abstract to choreography students. How does one capture a choreography in a drawing? What does this drawing express and how does it relate to a performance?‘
In the workshop, choreography was discussed in light of architecture drawing. Van Dooren: ‘This resulted in a surprising amount of questions in the opposite direction: Is it possible to draw buildings ‘live’, in the sense that the drawing, the building-process and the building itself can together form a performance? Can architecture and landscapes come into existence as sub-products of a continuous reflection in a drawing, that grows and shrinks? Can the drawing-process be seen as a dance, and what kind of architecture does this lead to?
‘The workshop with third year choreography students led to some interesting results. Unexpected questions were posed with regards to drawing, time, space and performance. These questions are groundbreaking in terms of their abstraction. While an architectural drawing is linked to a project and is “finished” when the project is finished, student Clara Burdet keeps on drawing in a continuous reflection on her life, where her drawing can “cause” a performance at any moment in time”, says van Dooren. ‘This is relevant, as her drawing does not depict, but causes something instead.
‘Nicolas Roses Ponce was grasped by the idea of a dancer leaving shadows, and the possibility of representing those shadows. He uses his thumb as a stamp that leaves fading traces. The drawing is hence an ex-post registration of a conceptual idea, but possibly also an a priori representation that elaborates on the quality of an idea.
‘Ana Romih used her drawing to reconstruct a past performance. This posed the question of whether translating a performance to another medium, with all the problems that accompany such a translation, also brings new insights? Louise Vanhaverbeke made gorgeous designs of performances that have a role on stage during the performance. ‘An interesting idea, says Van Dooren. ‘His drawing was an attempt to make a “score” that describes how words and movement unfold over space and time. As soon as the drawing becomes a score, interesting questions arise from the perspective of the architect, regarding the relation between the drawing and the stage. Is the drawing (partially) a map? And is time measurable, like in a musical score, or more like a suggestion subject to interpretation?
'Yui Nakagami also made beautiful drawings, but she does not see them as representations or sketches. Drawing mainly offers her mental space for meditation and reflection that helps her in shaping a dance performance in her mind. Her drawings were directly readable as a performance,’ says van Dooren. ‘And her physical way of drawing was a dance in itself’.
This workshop was a cooperation between landscape architect Noël van Dooren and the School for New Dance Development (SNDO). The SNDO is a faculty of the Amsterdam School of the Arts. Van Dooren conducts his promotional research at the University of Amsterdam.