POOL SHINE | Maya Deren
POOL Shine Maya Deren Moderation Peter Pleyer, 9.9.15

Maya Deren (1917-1961) is an important character of the American avant-garde scene of the 1940s and 1950s as well as a pioneer in the field of video dance with her movie A Study in Choreography for Camera (1945). POOL will dedicate one evening to her “cinematographic choreographies“ and present a selection of her films. Afterwards will open an exhibition that does not only give a picture of Maya Deren’s cinematographic works, but will also refer to her numerous, yet uncharted theoretical texts und thoughts about film, dance and art in general. This free accessible exhibition will be open during the festival days.

Maya Deren (1917-1961) ist eine bedeutende Figur der amerikanischen Avantgarde der 40er und 50er Jahre und mit ihrem Film A Study in Choreography for Camera (1945) Pionierin des Videodance. POOL widmet einen Abend ihren „cinematografischen Choreografien“ und zeigt eine Auswahl ihrer Filme. Die im Anschluss öffnende Ausstellung verschafft nicht nur Einblicke in das filmische Arbeiten von Maya Deren, sondern verweist auch auf ihre zahlreichen, noch unbekannteren, theoretischen Texte und Überlegungen zu Film, Tanz und Kunst. Die Ausstellung ist während der Festivaltage geöffnet und frei zugänglich.

9. September | Tanzfilme von Maya Deren + Ausstellungseröffnung
19.Uhr, Ticket: 8 €
Sept 10-12 | Ausstellung zu Maya Deren
15.00-18.30 Uhr, Eintritt frei

Konzept: DOCK 11, Sarah Möller, Denise Czerny
Moderation: Peter Pleyer
Presse: Katja Karouaschan
Technik: Asier Solana
gefördert vom Bezirksamt Pankow – Amt für Weiterbildung und Kultur, Fachbereich Kunst und Kultur


A Study in Choreography for Camera

POOL SHINE 09.09.15

Maya Deren

1945, 00:03:00


Still aus A Study in Choreography for Camera, 1945. Mit Genehmigung von Re:Voir

A Study in Choreography for Camera was made by Talley Beatty as dancer, and by me as director and photographer. I had felt that in most dance films the restiveness of the camera – with its closeups, its views from the wings, etcetera – served merely to destroy choreographic patterns which had been carefully conceived for a theatre stage space and a fixed-front audience. In this film, on the other hand, cinematographic space – the entire world – becomes itself an active element of the dance rather than an area in which the dance takes place. And the dancer shares, with the camera and cutting, a collaborative responsibility for the movements themselves. This results in a film dance which could not be performed except on film. 

Maya Deren: Magic is New, Mademoiselle, January 1946

#Title: A Study in Choreography for Camera
#Director: Maya Deren
#Year of Production: 1945
#Duration: 00:03:00
#Choreography: Talley Beatty
#Dancers / Actors: Talley Beatty
#Camera: Hella Heyman, Alexander Hammid, Maya Deren
#Editing: Alexander Hammid, Maya Deren

Ritual in Transfigured Time

POOL SHINE 09.09.15

Maya Deren

1946, 00:15:00


Still aus Ritual in Transfigured Time, 1946. Mit Genehmigung von Re:Voir

A ritual is an action distinguished from all others in that it seeks the realization of its purpose through the exercise of form. In this sense ritual is art; and even historically, all art derives from ritual. In ritual, the form is the meaning. More specifically, the quality of movement is not merely a decorative factor; it is the meaning itself of the movement. In this sense, this film is dance. 

Maya Deren: Chamber Films, program notes for a presentation, 1960 

#Title: Ritual in Transfigured Time
#Director: Maya Deren
#Year of Production: 1946
#Duration: 00:15:00
#Choreography: Frank Westbrook
#Dancers / Actors: Rita Christiani, Anaïs Nin, Frank Westbrook, Maya Deren
#Camera: Hella Heyman, Alexander Hammid, Maya Deren
#Editing: Alexander Hammid, Maya Deren

Meshes of the Afternoon

POOL SHINE 09.09.15

Maya Deren, Alexander Hammid

1943, 00:14:00


Still aus Meshes of the Afternoon, 1943. Mit Genehmigung von Re:Voir

I started out by thinking in terms of a subjective camera, one that would show only what I could see by myself without the aid of mirrors and which would move through the house as if it were a pair of eyes, pausing with interest here and there, opening doors, and so on. This beginning developed into a film about a girl who fell asleep and saw herself in her dream, and it soon became obvious that I could not both photograph and act myself, so I waited until my husband was free to develop further the concept of the film and to execute it with me. 

Meshes of the Afternoon does start with a subjective camera sequence in which only the feet and shadow of the girl are visible. For the rest the film is the result of one of those perfect collaboratios in which an idea advanced by either person is spontaneously accepted by the other or immediately reconsidered and rejected by both. It was a far cry from story conferences in which the sensitive and delicate intuitions which give real vitality and meaning are somehow lost under the welter of arguments, justifications and analyses. Meshes of the Afternoon is concerned with the inner realities of an individual and the way in which the subconscious will develop, interpret and elaborate an apparently silmple and casual occurance into a critical emotional experience. It is culminated by a double ending, in which it would seem that the imagined achieved, for the protagonist, such force that it became reality. Using cinematic techniques to achieve dislocations of inanimate objects, unexpected simultaneities etcerta, this film establishes a reality which, although based somewhat on dramatic logic, can exist only on film. 

Maya Deren: Magic is New, Mademoiselle, January 1946

#Title: Meshes of the Afternoon
#Director: Maya Deren, Alexander Hammid
#Year of Production: 1943
#Duration: 00:14:00

Meditation on Violence

POOL SHINE 09.09.15

Maya Deren

1948, 00:13:00


Still aus Meditation on Violence, 1948. Mit Genehmigung von Re:Voir

From the moment I saw Ch‘ao-li Chi, who performs in the film, do the first few movements from the training exercises of Chinese boxing I felt that it was perfect for film. The Wu Tang school is based on the idea of absorbing the force of the opponent. It is gentle-seeming and flowing, with a roundness of movement (since extreme extensions are vulnerable to loss of balance and contain static points) and a complete coordination with breathing. But its only value is not pugilistic, by far. Since it exercises the visceral organs it is altogether a fine toning exercise. But for Ch‘ao-li Chi, as for many other Chinese, it is a form of self-cultivation as well. In the constant alternating of positive and negative movement, in such basic concepts as the continual metamorphosis of one movement into the other, it incorporates the philosophical tenets of the Confucian Book of Changes [I Ching] and the teachings of Lao-tsu. […] 

It is the idea of combat, at an abstract remove. It is a meditation on the nature of violence and so involves, in spatial terms, a sharp departure from my previous films. There I used the camera to make the dancer transcend space, to be everywhere and anywhere. In this film the place is an abstraction which is nowhere. 

Maya Deren: Comment by Maya Deren on Meditation on Violence, Dance, December 1948

#Title: Meditation on Violence
#Director: Maya Deren
#Year of Production: 1948
#Duration: 00:13:00
#Dancers / Actors: Ch‘ao-li Chi
#Camera: Maya Deren
#Editing: Maya Deren

The Very Eye of Night

POOL SHINE 09.09.15

Maya Deren

1958, 00:15:00

Eye of Night_1

Still aus The Very Eye of Night, 1958. Mit Genehmigung von Re:Voir

The laws of macro- and microcosm are alike. Travel in the interior is as a voyage in outer space: we must in each case burst past the circumference of our surface – our here-space and now-time – and, cut loose from the anchorage of an absolute, fixed center, enter worlds where the relationship of parts is the sole gravity. When the sun sets, the stars become apparent; when our eyes close out the light to sleep, there rises in the night-eye the constellation by which sleep-walkers plot their incalculable accuracies. By day we move according to desire and decision; by night Noctambulo advances without moving, led by the twins Gemini (as the eyes are twins or as the I of night is twin to that of day.) It is by the dark geometry of such celestial navigation that the day‘s erratic negotiations are corrected and reconciled into the total orbits of our lives. 

The film is in the negative. The blackness of night erases all horizon and, released from the leveling pressure of this plane, the movements both of the dancers and of the camera become as four-dimensional and directional as those of birds in air or fish in water. 

Maya Deren: Chamber Films, program notes for a presentation, 1960

#Title: The Very Eye of Night
#Director: Maya Deren
#Year of Production: 1958
#Duration: 00:15:00
#Choreography: Antony Tudor, Metropolitan Opera Ballet School
#Dancers / Actors: Philp Salem, Rosemary Williams, Richard Englund, Richard Sandifer, Don Freisinger, Patricia Ferrier, Barbara Levin, Bud Bready, Genaro Gomez
#Camera: Maya Deren
#Editing: Maya Deren
#Foley Assistance: Harrison Starr
#Sound: Teiji Ito