Morning Conversations at MIT

Eight podcasts of the Morning Conversation serious; part of Adesola's residency at MIT hosted by Prof. Gediminas Urbonas with ACT, in The Center for Art, Science & Technology. <blockquote>March 2021</blockquote> <a href="">Visit the Publisher</a>
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Eight podcasts of the Morning Conversation (Choreographing the City) serious, part of Adesola’s residency at MIT hosted by Prof. Gediminas Urbonas with ACT, in The Center for Art, Science & Technology.

These podcasts are the result of the Morning Conversation series held in the Fall 2020 Choreographing the City class, offered by the Art, Culture and Technology Program at MIT in partnership with Theatrum Mundi and Professor Richard Sennett. The course was taught by Professor Gediminas Urbonas, and MIT Center for Art, Science, and Technology visiting artist and choreographer, Dr. Adesola Akinleye. 

Dr Adesola Akinleye’s residency looks at emerging lexicons for movement in urban space that connect to ideas shared across dance-making and choreography to city-making and building community. This series of eight episodes is hosted by Dr. Adesola Akinleye, Professor Gediminas Urbonas, and Chucho Ocampo Aguilar. 

Podcast episodes with: 1) Ellie Cosgrave,  2) Diane McIntyre,  3) Richard Sennett,  4) Arianna Mazzeo,  5) Hūfanga ‘Ōkusitino Māhina,  6) Scott L. Pratt,  7) John Bingham-Hall, 8) Liz Lerman

Episode One – Bridges: discovery and togetherness

In this first episode of Choreographing the City, Dr. Adesola Akinleye and Professor Gediminas Urbonas discuss discovery, togetherness, bridges, and power within choreographing and engineering with Dr. Ellie Cosgrave. Dr. Cosgrave is a lecturer in Urban Innovation and Policy at University College London’s department of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Public Policy, and co-director of the Urban Innovation and Policy Lab.

‘The conversation sets the scene for why this inquiry of Choreographing the city and reflects the frameworks to enable practices (such as dance and engineering) to come together without just re-establishing the same old issues but in each other’s spaces. The conversations suggest noticing constructions for how discovery, power and encounter offer starting points for how to arrive in the togetherness of collaboration across interdisciplinary inquiry. We also discuss moments in terms of the poetics of encounters with weight.’ – Adesola

Read Episode One notes and references here: 

Episode Two – A different kind of preciseness: ‘It’s about the movement’

In this second episode of Choreographing the City, Dr. Adesola Akinleye and Professor Gediminas Urbonas are joined by eminent choreographer Dianne McIntyre. The conversation continues thinking about the differences and similarities across choreography and engineering raised by the first morning conversation (Bridges: discovery and togetherness). We begin to discuss processes for composition. 

‘I begin the conversation by overviewing a common assumption that choreographic-thinking could be positioned as challenging the rigidity of rules and regulations inherently in both architecture and engineering. However, there is also preciseness (including rules and at time unfair regulations) in dance. I ask renowned choreographer Dianne McIntyre to expound on this further. As the conversation progresses the intension of movement and the coming together of space, moment and human body further underlines my residency’s suggestion that the collaboration across disciplines is not about the production of coming together but about the better understanding of processes that interdisciplinary inquiry can nourish.  We also note that the transaction of choreographer, dancer and musician exemplifies the wider transaction of being present in Place.’ – Adesola

Read Episode Two notes and references here: 

Episode Three – Resistance and double-barrelled aspiration

In this third episode of Choreographing the City at MIT, Dr. Adesola Akinleye and Professor Gediminas Urbonas are joined by urbanist and writer Richard Sennett in the third of Akinleye’s Choreographing the City residency morning conversation series (with a discussion question from Alan Boldon). 

‘The conversation interrogates the notion of how “double-barrelled aspirations” (in this case within choreography or architectural practices) strive to both create within their own discourses and at the same time become available for those outside their practice. We discuss how the methodology for this by its nature speaks to the political. The conversation suggests ‘raw problems’ can inform epistemologies of resistance. The conversation begins with Richard Sennett further describing the 1960 and 1970 post-contemporary dance scene that Ms. McIntyre introduced in the previous conversation.’ – Adesola 

Read Episode Three notes and references here: 

Episode Four – Courage and the Unknown

In this fourth episode of Choreographing the City at MIT, Dr. Adesola Akinleye and Professor Gediminas Urbonas are joined by lecturer in design engineering Dr Arianna Mazzeo. 

‘This is an open conversation with questions that contribute to Dr Mazzeo’s thoughts from Joy Buolamwini, Jesus Ocampo Aguilar, Pohao Chi, and Shucao Mo. The conversation includes questions about choreography as embodied algorithm, the importance of the notion of relationship in situating an understanding of embodiment, and the vitality of ‘failure’ as a tool for embracing exploration. The conversation sits alongside the previous discussion with Richard Sennett in looking at the multiple constructions for what choreography can mean. Yet within these meanings, connection, relationship and social responsibility seem to always remerge perhaps they could be considered as core elements for the realisation of embodiment – for the realisation of presence in a situation to which the body is responding. I am interested by the very different uses and meanings for ‘choreography’ that those in different fields attribute to it.’ – Adesola

Read Episode Four notes and references here: 

Episode Five – Improvisations in time/space, form/content

In this fifth episode of Choreographing the City at MIT, Dr Adesola Akinleye and Professor Gediminas Urbonas are joined by Tongan philosopher Hūfanga Dr ‘Ōkusitino Māhina in the fifth of my Choreographing the City residency’s morning conversation series; with comments and questions from Adriana Lear and Maui-TāVā-He-Ako Professor Tēvita O. Ka’ili.

‘In the last conversation the notion of choreography is discussed almost as an instrument in a process beyond it. My relationship with or meaning for choreography is as a method that emerges from methodologies that involve (or even center) around a somatic empirical ontological understanding of being present in the world. To this end Dr Māhina shares understanding for how the human experience is part of the wider web of existence of which I see dance (or the bodily of the somatic) as a method (of many) for meaning making. Thus, choreography is a method for understanding the transaction of self with space/time that is Place. Dr Māhina offers modes for revealing this interconnection and inter separation grounded in Tonga philosophy particularly Tā/Vā-ism. My own methodological framework is grounded in a Lakota (and Yoruba) worldview, of which these indigenous philosophies share some similarities, particularly the sense of interwoven relationship of human with environment rather than human over environment. When we dance, we have an inkling of what it is to be a part of it all.’ – Adesola

Read Episode Five notes and references here: 

Episode Six – Agency and the Demonic

In this sixth episode of Choreographing the City at MIT, Dr. Adesola Akinleye and Professor Gediminas Urbonas are joined by philosopher Dr Scott L. Pratt, with further comments from Ms Dianne McIntyre.

‘In the conversation Dr Pratt discusses his theory on Logic of Place which I have used extensively in my work particularly in the monograph Dance, Architecture and Engineering (Dance in Dialogue). Dr Pratt’s notions of The Logic of Place, boundary, and Logic of Home draws on a number of Native American nations worldviews with interesting echoes of the importance of regarding the intra-connection of land, humans and non-humans as vital (as discussed in the previous podcast with Hûfanga Dr Okusitino Mahina). I feel dance-choreography involves knowledges that allow us to become aware of or make porous the construction for Place that emerges from the conversation.’ – Adesola 

Read Episode Six notes and references here: 

Episode Seven – Scores and infrastructure, instruction and encounter

In this seventh episode of Choreographing the City at MIT, Dr. Adesola Akinleye and Professor Gediminas Urbonas are joined by urban theorist and director of Theatrum Mundi Dr John Bingham-Hall.

‘Moving forward from the notion of agency and things having their own futures proposed in the last conversation with Dr Pratt, this episode looks at a number of research projects combining ideas from urbanism and the arts, carried out by Theatrum Mundi. We particularly discuss how infrastructural ways of thinking can help us understand what makes places work as active forms, rather than finished artefacts. Dr Bingham-Hall discusses looking at scores as offers of possibility and how this notion can be used as an instrumental approach to design. This speaks to the concept of four-dimensional space that Dr Mahina discusses in episode five: how we create art or cities that are four-dimensional (in movement, emerging, ever connecting and separating) seeing the lived-experience (or the matrix of mind-ful-body in environment) as including the temporal in order to be in relationship with […]. To be in relationship with […] being a key notion across all the Morning Conversations and my residency in general.’ – Adesola

Read Episode Seven notes and references here: 

Episode Eight – Into Motion

In this eighth and final episode of Choreographing the City at MIT, Dr. Adesola Akinleye and Professor Gediminas Urbonas are joined by eminent choreographer and educator Liz Lerman.

‘This conversation brings together key ideas I feel have been generated from the residency so far. This includes some of the notions/language that I am taking forward as part of this interdisciplinary exploration of Choreographing the City – part of the lexicon we have been looking for. These key words are power (to and over), preciseness, improvisation/response/spontaneity, connection/disconnection, growth, resistance, boundary (not discussed in this conversation but also included in this list I am taking forward are agency, four-dimensional space, and score). Liz addresses this language in terms of how it manifests in her own practice. Together we share the magnitude, joy and importance of attempting to understand each other at the boundaries, membranes, edges that are perceived in order to shape ourselves/our disciplines/ our cities.’ – Adesola

Read Episode Eight notes and references here: