Reduction & Regeneration (Updated: 01/09/18)

“This is how it should be done: lodge yourself on a stratum, experiment with the opportunities it offers, find an advantageous place on it, find potential movements of deterritorialization, possible lines of flight, experience them, produce flow conjunctions here and there, try out continuums of intensities segment by segment, have a small plot of new land at all times.” – Deleuze and Guattari¹

Reduction & Regeneration by X are terms coined by Rhizome Lee.² Movements can be modified in a variety of ways. Pick a qualia and expand or decrease it. Major qualities for instance may include speed, size, density, weight, age, fluidity, flexibility, strength, humanness, emotion, craziness/weirdness, beauty, intensity, presence, health, and ego. Maximum reduction can take on the form of maximum downplaying, whereas maximum regeneration can take on maximum exaggeration.

To Deleuze and Guattari, Reduction & Regeneration by X could be thought of as deterritorialization and/or reterritorialization of the usual or typical (human) attribute of something, which are movements in which one leaves or reengages a territory. Both can also be thought of remaking and/or extending the territory.¹

Refering to the above Deleuze quote, a stratum is something (or territory) already solidified or standardized whether socially or habitually, e.g. typical watching eyes. When these typical watching eyes stratums are deterritorialized to a severe degree, for instance, it may become dysfunctional or rotten eyes. The line of flight is the reduction and/or regeneration used as a tool. Continuums of intensities can be endless modifications of intensive differences/properties, e.g., temperature, odor, color, which will certainly change the feel/quality of these eyes.

We can think of the typical stratum as something we simply copy or mirror. We can then remix or edit what we see. Within the remix, there will always be something taken away (reduced) or added (re/generated).

Example Reduction & Regeneration by X Gradient: Flexibility

In a gradient, go between more or less flexible.

Exercise 1: 1 to 10

The participants find a movement pattern and one person goes down a list of modifiers (one of the Xs such as speed, strength, humanness). For each one, 1 to 10 is called out. Make 1 the least of the characteristic and 10 the most, e.g. for human, 1 would be least human and 10 the most.

Exercise 2: Duality

By the sound of a stick, the participant switches from the polar opposites of the X in question, essentially utilizing only 1 or 10.

Exercise 3: Gradient

After, you can play with the gradient by for instance requesting a shift from 3 to 8, etc. in one’s own timing.

Exercise 4: Reduction by Time (For Entire Piece)

Take 5 or 10 minutes to do a piece, whether it is choreographed or in free resonance or inbetween. Then do the piece again, but reduced to 2 minutes, then reduce to 1 minute, then 30 seconds, then 10 seconds, then 5 seconds.

Reduction as Fermentation & Distillation

To Frances Barbe, distillation implies something that becomes more potent due to reduction. Barbe asks, “When is it captivating and when is it boring? What is the ‘result’ of distillation on stage? What effect can it have?”³ How do we take the ordinary and reduce it to something extraordinary? Lesser often does not have to mean of lesser value.

The following butoh concept was inspired by Rhizome Lee: (1) Juice; (2) Wine; (3) Brandy. These three states will denote forms/levels of transformation and/or depth that we can enact upon a qualia. Let us take the example of the facial expression. The general facial expression, for instance, of sadness, is something everyone can easily identify. What happens when we go underneath and refine or sublimate the general association? If we swallow the juice, can we turn the juice into wine? Can we then turn the wine into brandy? What happens when we swallow sadness? What comes of it? Can we create wine? Can we create aged wine? Brandy? Aged brandy?


¹ Deleuze, Gilles, and Félix Guattari. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. London: Continuum, 2004. Print.
² Lee, Rhizome. Behind the Mirror, Butoh Manual For Students. 2010. Print.
³ Barbe, Frances. The Way of Butoh and Contemporary Choreography: Reflective. Writing on Choreographic Research. n.d. Web. 20 April 2010.