"We meet aliens every day who have something to give us. They come in the form of people with different opinions." - William Shatner (Captain Kirk from the original Star Trek series)
The goals of "Xenomorphia" are:
1) To create a solo choreography in collaboration with dancer David Norsworthy that is an embodied conversation with the artistic contents and spatial/organizational schematics of Lillian H. Smith Library's world-renowned Merril Collection of Science Fiction, Speculation, and Fantasy (please see: https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/merril/)
2) To extend an existing choreographic methodology - developed in dialogue with real nonhuman bodies (at zoos, gardens, and museums) - to an arena in which nonhuman bodies are represented through illustrative and textual means (science fiction and fantasy literature)
3) Create a work informed by cultural difference and invested in an ethos of diversity that emerges from both in-situ (library-based) and ex-situ (studio-based) research
The premise of "Xenomorphia" is a dance made out of fragments of different authors' and artists' representations of diverse forms of "alien" life within the pages of national and international works from over 200 years of science fiction (the first work of "science fiction" is identified by scholars as Voltaire's "Micromégas" ). "Xenomorphia" will be created through collecting numerous specimens/descriptions of "alien" life from speculative fiction from the Merril Collection (with the assistance of its research librarians) and then creating imaginative movement phrases based on the kinaesthetic/sensorial reactions these descriptions evoke. The collected movement phrases will then be organized into a choreographic score through reference to the spatial positions of the works within the catalogue/architectural system of the physical library space. Once in the studio, the organization of the library space will be mapped onto the dance space and the choreographic phrases enacted in the order/placement in which they appear in the Merril Collection. Through these means, the dance will reference both the imaginative experience of interacting with the contents of these books, and the embodied means by which these contents are contained and organized in space.