blind spots

… when you’re researching in media res, the new ideas or details or stories that you stumble across are much more useful to you, because you can immediately see the slots where they belong

— Steven Johnson

Writer, Steven Johnson, pushing for getting started writing earlier than you might think. I recognise and encourage this approach to writing. It also supports the critical idea that understanding and ideas develop through the act of writing (as Johnson suggests by including the Doctorow quote).

Writing as a student or academic is about finding strategies to develop your own thinking in relation to what is already there in the world, and then communicating these in a form and manner that is appropriate to those ideas. Johnson’s point is that writing is – rather reflexively – actually one of those strategies.

The same could be said of the act of choreography. It is through practicing choreography that I become aware of – or sensitive to – the gaps of the material and ideas I am developing. Choreography, in this respect, is not an abstract activity. It is sustained activity that requires the same degree of rigour, patience and unswerving commitment[1] as the act of writing.

  1. Which is not to say it can’t happen very quickly.  ↩

2 Replies to “blind spots”

  1. I like the idea of working and coming across ideas as I work as an alternative to having an idea and then working from that. This post is interesting in relation to your Brian Eno post the other day. In dance there is often seems to be a separation between ideas, concepts, themes and working, practicing, process.

  2. Thanks for commenting Seke.

    I agree that in dance there tends to be the habit of ‘having an idea’ (or theme!), then making a work about that, then moving onto the next thing. One of the things I like about the ‘sustained activity’ approach is that it helps me to start understanding the bigger (or zoomed out) questions of my interests and work. In other words, what are the ideas and practices that have sustained me (or stayed with me) over the years?

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