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Anouk LLaurens Eligible Member // Teacher
IDOCs » About Lisa Nelson's work
This is an article i wrote about Lisa Nelson's Work. She is one of my source and I find it useful to have a small presentation of her work and its background to share with my students.

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About Lisa Nelson's work by Anouk Llaurens[1]


a- Background- environment - Influences


In the 70s, Lisa Nelson started to film with a video camera. The use of the instrument taught her a lot about her learning patterns. Simultaneously, she discovered the book “The senses considered as perceptual systems” By G.G Gibson. Behavioural psychologist, Gibson looked into how the organization of the senses and each sense organ was action and how those action where tied very deeply to the survival needs of whatever the organism was[2]. Fascinated by the concept of Survival, Lisa translated Gibson’s descriptions into movement explorations and into her own experience. Shortly after Gibson she met Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen and the experiential anatomy. She became interested in knowing more about how the body systems dialogue with one another. Her interest into how the body learns was also triggered by her stepfather’s work, Ernst Von Glasersfeld who was a radical constructivist[3].


b-“Tuning scores”


Lisa Nelson organized ways of exploring how we look at dance and how it affects our dancing. How does desires arise when you are looking at dance, or looking at human beings? (Desire might be replaced by irritation or needs), and how do you survive your own looking? Lisa Nelson calls her work “Tuning scores” to describe an on-going activity, human behaviour and also animal behaviour, of how we have to be tuning into what is stable and what is changing in our environment in order to survive. And when we find that something isn’t changing sufficiently, what can we do to provoque change?


In the “Tuning score” all of the players are both actors and observers so it creates a kind of unfolded eyeball where there is no outside and no inside. The idea is that everything, in the image space, is visible to somebody. The game is set like a dialogue where the players are a cycling back and forth from being in action and being in observation. This setting plays as a feedback system that affords the players to get direct feedback from their actions. Playing “Tuning score” Is not about being accurate like a video camera can be. There is always accident and there is always the viewer.


“Tuning scores” is a communication system that allows each participant to taste their taste and to communicate their opinion to each other. The players are using an operating terminology coming from choreographic and editing practices to act directlyon the composition arising and tune the image in order to compose an experience that makes sense for them. The most frequently used calls are: enter, exit, pause, Repeat, Sustain, Reverse, Replace, Redirect.This practice questions, dance, composition, perception, desires, opinions, vision, and the possibility of being an individual taking part in a community. It values inhibition as a way to encourage the emergence of new forms.


[1] The information fort this text are coming from a Lisa Nelson interview for

Conducted in New York by Marlon Barrios Solano (February 15/2008) .Video editing by Ashley A. Friend.

[2] The behavior, the movement of each creature is deeply tied into how they get information that they need to survive.

[3] Radical constructivism is an unconventional approach to the problem of knowledge and knowing. It starts from the assumption that knowledge, no matter how it is defined, is in the heads of persons, and that the thinking subject has no alternative but to construct what he or she knows on the basis of his or her own experience. What we make of experience constitutes the only world we consciously live in. It can be sorted into many kinds, such as things, self, others, and so on. But all kinds of experience are essentially subjective, and though I may find reasons to believe that my experience may not be unlike yours, I have no way of knowing that it is the same. The experience and interpretation of language are no exception.”

p.1 - ‘Growing Up Constructivist’, in, ‘Radical Constructivism - A Way of Knowing and Learning’. 


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thank you, it was good to read a bit more about this process especially to listen to you at the panel discussion.

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(inactive user) Eligible Member // Teacher
Very Stimulating Foundational stuff here. The unfolded

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Valencia James Eligible Member // Teacher
Thank you for this article! I was introduced to the Tuning Score by Eszter Gál in my final year project. For the past few weeks I have felt a pull back to using the score as a way to make sense of some research I've been doing with movement derived from algorithm. So coming across this feels like a sign :) Thanks for including the background influences- I'll be digging deeper into that too.

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Francesco Scavetta Eligible Member // Teacher
Inspiring reading! Good to get a refreshed insight into the influential sources of Lisa Nelson's work! Thx

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