The Figure of Wavering Convergence is one of several ‘figures’ identified and named during a sustained period of collaborative live exploration (involving various studio-based improvisatory and performative practices) within the frame of the artistic research project Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line (2014 - 2017). This ‘figure’ is recognized as the dynamic of constantly shifting attention and connection experienced within a triadic model of collaboration, where the intensity of the one-to-one relation (see in Figure of Vibrating Affinity) becomes unsettled by the presence of a third attractor/distractor.      


Drawing on shared experience and examples from the process of collaborative artistic research, Emma Cocker, Nikolaus Gansterer and Mariella Greil engaged in the practice of conversation-as-material to ‘flesh out’ a language for describing the Figure of Wavering Convergence. This involved a process of corroborative dialogue, where conversation was oriented to collectively arriving at a vocabulary for expressing both the what-ness and how-ness of this specific figure, its particular essence and ‘mode of being’. 


The recorded conversation was transcribed (See extract from partially edited transcript below). Selected fragments of the original transcript material (bold in the text below) were then rewritten / reworked into a dense poetic description for the figure (See right). The inclusion of the transcript below attempts to ‘show’ the relation of the original conversation and the resulting vocative text, alongside indicating something of the ‘attitude’ practised within the conversational practice itself. As such, the invitation to the reader is to glimpse or scan rather than necessarily read the transcript material in its entirety.


Extracts of transcript (partially edited)

The Figure of Wavering Convergence … formerly figure of fluctuating coupling. Fluctuation makes me think of the birds. And their swarmings and how they are fluctuating in different groupings. Fluctuation is to change continually or to shift back and forth, to vary. To move back and forth in waves […] This figure marks a shift from that of shared vibration (Figure of Vibrating Affinity it introduces a third, the beginnings of others beyond the two. So we started with the triad, the three. And what this introduces is an inescapable instability  at one point we talked about this as the figure of the instable triad, where there is a movement always between close connection and the shifts of distraction […] The sense of inclusion and exclusion becomes more explicit. Whilst Figure of Vibrating Affinity has shared vibration, has this quality of sustained absorption in something together, fluctuating coupling or wavering convergence has this capacity for distraction or interruption within it […] There is this component which is not held within the bond, that is either trying to establish a bond or pull the attention away […] It is pulling, drawing … attracting, linking. Maybe linking is more connected to the shared vibration. This figure is more to do with the pulling away of one of the others. There is a desire for connection but it can also be a form of attention that breaks away … (T)he pulling has more or a hook in it  it is a bit like fishing. Shared vibration (Vibrating Affinity) it is more balancing, and in that sense linking […] The fluctuation is the active dynamic of the figure  at one point we changed it to fluctuating coupling but wavering convergence is better. You could look at the word coupling  coupling is also a lot like shared vibration. The point of this figure is that the coupling is fluctuating. Fluctuating  shifting. It is a move  it is a shifting. So one way in which coupling is shifting is that there is a pull of attraction elsewhere, so a distraction … so it shifts from being attracted to distracted. Like a break of attention, or a pull of attention elsewhere  so one of the forces that you could describe in this configuration is that of distraction. Or there is a force that is coming in, that is distractive … the forces of attraction and invention and interruption are also there. You could also describe this in terms of relationships  you have a couple. There are different ways that the couple can break up. Their eyes can wander. Or someone can intervene. The figure can also work in this way. So it is about approaching and approximation. And this can be as you described  distraction coming from the inside out or from the outside in […] One of the qualities that I would associate with it is that it is permanently instable. It never reaches a point of stability  it is volatile. How about fluctuating grouping rather than coupling? That is why wavering convergence works because it describes this momentary coming together, though not in the same way as the dynamic of pull and distraction. Maybe Wavering Convergence is the overall name, and fluctuating coupling is an example within … a kind of under-figure. So part of the description for it, but not the title […] Wavering Convergence with a tendency towards forming fluctuating couplings […] Fluctuating coupling fixes it too much in the realm of relations and especially what we might think of as more normative relations […] Shared vibration still has this level of ambiguity, whereas fluctuating coupling … is perhaps more normative […] Wavering is nice because it also has this unstable ground.To sway, to flutter, to become unsteady, to begin to fail or give way, vacillate. Similar to fluctuating: vacillating — there is a vibration, but a different kind of vibration. It is to switch between to and fro, or push and pull, this movement which is like the will we / won't we. To waver in mind or opinion, indecision, irresolution, unsteadiness. Oscillate or fluctuate. To sway from side to side physically. It also has hesitation in it  to not be sure of something. (W)ithin that what emerges is a different kind of commitment. If Vibrating Affinity has a com-mitment, the commitment of Wavering Convergence is more shifting. Shifting commitment, not in a judgmental way, but more about being drawn by attractions and interruptions. Shilly shally. To deviate, to alternate. Shilly shally is a variation of shill I / shall I.  Shill I / shall I … will we, won’t we. Dilly dally. Willy wally. Shilly shally. Shilly shallying […] Shall I, shall I  a repeated question, shall I? So this indecision within options, do I commit here or do I commit here. Should I stay or should I go […] There is the connotation of letting go, instead of grasping at a connection … this is also true of the collaborative nature of working. It is not to do with the possessive - you can allow those movements to happen […] Leading and following … leading and following, following something else, leading to somewhere else, it is just becoming more complex. It is also about opening up potentials. Seeing those and catering for them. Supporting. I am looking up interruption  because it feels part of this figure. Now I feel I have to interrupt because there are two other words, which came up through this  which related more to the Figure of Temporary Closing. One is cessation. A temporary or complete stopping, discontinuance. A delay or inactivity. Temporary cessation. A cessation of hostilities, a pause in hostilities. So it has the synonyms of stop, halt, suspension, stay. And also intermission. Or interval. Cessation. It has the word to fall in it from Latin, cadere, to cut also. Also kill. Cessation […] and intermission has the qualities of leave off. Also pause and stopping, pausing of some action. But there is interruption in the Figure of Wavering Convergence. How is it different? Interruption  break of continuity, the continuity of the coupling  this is broken. To cause to cease. To stop in the midst of. Interfere. Rupture. Discontinue. Obstruct […] The figure is performed with openness  there is an alertness to the call of others. You know, so you are dancing and you are always ready to take the next dance. […] A move of circulation. Or it could be done in a way which is much more interruptive, that there is a force that is breaking and rupturing […] Obstruct, to cease to perform, to intervene. This dual dynamic  is it describing the force of openness or the force of obstruction? […] To block, to be in the way, to hinder. Depends what kinds of performativity you were trying to create […] What is comes back is the original figure. You were both doing something together which was intimate, and I kept rolling the paper through the middle to try to get your attention. So this is something of this unstable dynamic within it, which describes both a meeting point and also a disruptive tendency, this doubling […] This push and pull dynamic is also within a wider social sphere is interesting. So maybe convergence I might look at that again to see. So convergence, to tend to meet in a point or line; to incline towards each other.Inclining together  to come together. What is incline? Incline. Mental tendency. Slant, slope. To deviate from the vertical or horizontal. To bend or bow towards. From old French incline  to bend, to bow down. Inclinare  to cause to lean.To turn, divert, into something, bending into something. Incline one’s ear. To listen, especially willingly or favourably. To be disposed to something. Inclination  condition of being mental disposed. Disposed. It is again this way of attention, no? You are paying attention to something … Inclining, disposed, leaning in. Leaning, bowing. Disposition. To tend, in a physical sense. Paying attention, tending, then this shift of attention. Or pull of attention. Wavering attention. There is also a dis-incline. Incline and dis-incline. Does that mean in a way that describes your availability or your ability of directing your attention? So it is more the ear, to the side, where you have … a tendency through which you get in touch with the world. Inclination. To tend is also close or in the neighborhood of to care […] To intend. Intend. Intent. Intend is to have in mind something to be done or to direct the eyes or mind is the archaic. In French it is a word used for hearing. Intendre. To direct one’s attention. To stretch out or extend [..] To be zealous, to literally stretch out or to extend. Have in mind a purpose or a plan. Intend. It is actually also in relation to think  to conjecture, to propose, consider. From in towards. Intendre. Intend and extend is interesting. There is something to do with this folding of the attention in on a relationship and also this folding out to others, which is happening. So both a centred and a peripheral attention are being activated. To stretch forth, to stretch in various directions. Of or relating to movement that is stretched or held. This is extend  this is tendu. To stretch the attention to all sides […] There is something about this desirable stretch of attention to others, and expansion of attention. On the other hand, an ethics of commitment, something to do with letting go of one relationship, the skillfulness of letting go of one relationship in order to engage another. What is the nature of that movement like?

Above: Textual-visual description of the ‘Figure of Wavering Convergence’, in Choreo-graphic Figures: Deviations from the Line, pp.192 - 193 

Text: Distilled/reworked transcription by Emma Cocker, based on recorded conversation between Emma Cocker, Nikolaus Gansterer, Mariella Greil. 

Drawing: Nikolaus Gansterer

Design: Simona Koch


See ‘Figure of Wavering Convergence’, in Choreo-graphic Figures: Scoring Aesthetic Encounters, Journal of Artistic Research, Issue 18, 2019 [link here] for an assemblage of audio-visual ‘documents’ showing some of the singular examples of this figure in action, the live(d) experiences that the practice of conversation-as-material attempts to reengage, distil and enliven through language.

Below: The video below is a screen recording of an exploration of the ‘Figure of Wavering Convergence’ within the online exposition Choreo-graphic Figures: Scoring Aesthetic Encounters, in particular to show how the textual distillation generated through the process of conversation-as-material becomes presented as part of a wider assemblage of research documents. Click on the image below to play the video, and in the bottom right corner to enlarge the view.