Floor of the Forest by Trisha Brown (LA Experience)

(image source: graphite journal)

On April 21st, I decided to watch Trisha Brown’s, Floor of the Forest dance piece at the Hammer Museum. As I walked around the museum, I found the location where the performance will be held. There was this elevated structure in the middle of the courtyard that is roughly between 4 and 5 feet raised from the ground. And on the installation, very thick ropes about an inch and a half in diameter were tied to it that created a horizontal grid across the surface. Typical everyday clothing like blouses, sweats and shirts in very bright colors was also hanged horizontally across the grid. I found myself very curious when I saw the installation because by looking at it; it will be hard to move around it simply because gravity will be a challenge for dancers to move comfortably. In an eye level perspective, the top bar where the grid is aligned to of the installation now became the datum line for the dancers. Dancers moved their way to the structure and started to dance in mid-air. Above the datum line, I observed that most of their movements were lying down and crawling but in an outgoing piece of clothing that to me suggests some sort of a daytime activity. For example, when the dancers crawled across the horizontal surface it portrayed the action of walking. Furthermore, below the datum line space is shaded because of the hanged clothes blocking the sunlight to go through therefore, suggests nighttime. Moreover, I observed that whenever they are below the datum line their only movement was lying down hanging and eyes closed. The clothing that they were in was stretched down but not touching the ground surface and created this cocoon like space for them to rest. It was very interesting to see how our normal activities like walking, sitting were normally done vertically, but in her dance piece our basic daily activities were performed in a horizontal manner. But seeing those dancers changed their outfit from one to another, I observed that they were bit struggling to find their balance when changing. I think that struggle adds to the drama of what a person encounter when going through a day. Their movements were restricted of mostly going in and out of the clothes and then pose. Their pose for every outfit became an image and the whole performance for me was a collage of a typical day for a typical person.


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