[-empyre-] (E)MOTION FREQUENCY deceleration et al

Elisita Smailus elismailus at vtxmail.ch
Sun Oct 30 11:33:51 EST 2011

Dear all,

In some way, in the past two weeks, after having engaged more in the discussion forum in the first (and partly second) week, I was asking myself - beyond Nilüfers question of "who are I/we to talk about decelerating culturally or anything about society and culture?" -

Who am I to talk/write in this forum with so many highly qualified discussants… but in the same moment, I was fascinated (and overwhelmed) by the inputs – and tried to follow some (or will try to keep up with some of the discussion impulses also after the end of this month), i.e. with the impulse of

Erin Manning in her book 'Relationscapes' comments that there can be no beginning or end to movement, stating that:
>>Movement is one with the world, not body/world, but body-worlding.>>
and referring to her mentioning the “significance to the preacceleration state” as the “state before acceleration, where 'energy flows through the body'... (quoted by Birringer), I think of pre-effort stages in the development of the infant’s dynamics and movement quality (like in the Kestenberg Movement Profile – a research branch which developed from Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analysis).

When we are in the womb, we float and do not think yet (we presume) – but may this floating experience (which in Labanese terms would mean a combination of  sustained or suspended time/light weight/indirect, flexible, multifocussed space) be reacquired beyond thinking during life-span’s moving practically and… perhaps also virtually??? The effort factor Flow in LMA is supposed to have transformational qualites (adding to other states and drives with a range of bound to free flowing in action) when speaking of possible states and drives in movement quality/dynamics research… … 

Age is metamorphosis (Sondra)  calling on (Ohno’s and our all??) ability to transform… I feel the age, the metamorphosis and transformation also in every day dance. I like the idea of “The present is a valuable meditation, as it embodies the past and lets us brush against the future, what Heidegger called "the ecstasy of time." 

I would like to read: Dancing Identity: Metaphysics in Motion
“Movement is always meaningful, and always expressive (to use an old-fashioned word that Merleau-Ponty liked), always communicating something. Merleau-Ponty has helped me say in several ways why movement always carries expression and meaning, why movement is commensurate with body/self/mind/you/me/psyche/culture/universe/cosmos.”
I like these thoughts of Sondra, and thank you Sondra, for your ‘from Land to Water Yoga’ video (youtube). It comforted me to see practical body movement instead of the intellectual as well as wonderful brain dance we all shared throughout October – Sharing in silence (as I have done in the past two weeks) is well included.

I wish to add that I have developed a movement ritual which I start on the ground (including the six developmental patterns from the Bartenieff work as well as yoga positions - dynamic not static) and slowly but surely end standing. The whole process is accompanied by what I call organic breathing. For me, it is like a westernized Tai Chi based on my personal knowledge and experience of Laban and Bartenieff movement material. And I like to start my day with that. I then have the feeling that I can better cope with everything which is waiting to be done.

I think that this slow flowing movement based on calm and rhythmic movement patterns may well serve deceleration AND still allow effective functioning, without having to stress or becoming breathless. And not everybody is so privileged to take her/his time to do so… and it may change not only the body (in a positive or curative way) but also the way of seeing/feeling/thinking about oneself and the world. For me it is a meditative way to begin the day and to perhaps cope better with my aging body, recuperating from exertion and healing in a similar way to what Olu said: “It wasn't until I started earnest practice in T'ai Chi Ch'uan that my knee problem was solved.” 

As Olu says (although in reference to street art workshops) Meditation “offers not only an internal space to reflect and consider, it also provides a space where we can listen and re-engage with the instinctual values of life, using ‘natural and traditional rhythms...: [Where] science and art have to forge a privileged partnership in the process of deceleration’.

Thank you, Johannes, for introducing splendid participants to the forum. With my background I find especially interesting – also to follow up after the shared month of october - e.g. 
Dee Reynolds, director of ‘Watching Dance: Kinesthetic Empathy’, a research project – from which I had heard – and would have loved to participate in some way or the other.
Her most recent book is Rhythmic Subjects: Uses of Energy in the Dances of Mary Wigman, Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham (Dance Books, 2007) - to be read certainly.

And if Johannes asks whether Dee considers her (body) work to have “a widening effect of cultural transformation and also morphosis? in the political sense in which Jaime requests? or in an aesthetic/meditational sense, or that sensibility which Anna Halprin called 'movement towards life'?”
I would like to ask: WHY or…/or…/or…? And consider that, perhaps, the political sense AND the aesthetic/meditational sense could be combined or be in combination in an ever growing sensible (senses as body sense AS WELL AS making intellectual sense) movement towards life…

Somehow I like the best from David’s selection of possible theories… The Sixth Theory of Creation:
The universe follows infinite, self-sustaining cycles. 
An eternal series of oscillations.
Each beginning with a big bang and ending with a big crunch.
The universe expands for a period of time 
before the gravitational attraction of matter 
causes it to collapse back in and undergo a bounce. 

Perhaps this is due to the fact that also in body work (à la LMA = Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analysis – but not only) we are also exploring the “opposing energies and forces” (David) but thinking of them to be complementary instead of contrasting – or possibly being contrasting and still thinking them to be complementary… paradoxically speaking and dancing alike…

METAFORMANCE - Redefining Relationality
Genealogies of perception: from proprioception to otherception
In all four inputs of Jaime I have found very important and profound insights which have been shared with the forum – and which to some degree I can follow (perhaps better than some of the other inputs of highest qualities which my brain dance or grey matter does not keep up with (sorry to say) ;+)

"Metahumanism proposes an approach to embodied experiences in terms of their relationality, their inbetweenness, to understand reality and ouserlves, not as two independent entities, but as mutually contitutive and transformative relational processes, thus emphasising the meaning of "in betweenness"
The metabody is the relational body, one that is not located here or there, but is constantly moving in the relationality of forces and affects. Reality is thus an unquantifiable field of metabodies in changing and constitutive relation with one another.
The process of reworking relationalities at different levels is what I call a metaformance, which exceeds the dualisms of spectacular control society, and goes beyond perspectivism to introduce immanentism: we are never exterior to that to which we relate, we are never exterior to the relationality itself."

I have just yesterday seen a Swiss-made Sciencefiction film called “Cargo” – very interesting. Remembers me a bit of Matrix, but also lends some ideas from “Odyssee im Weltraum”. What was very intriguing was the notion of a fictious planet called Reah which in the end was only a simulated world, but a “simulation” with so much feeling/sensing also as a haptic sense of reality induced by technology only, i.e.virtually only, not existing really – that it left quite an awesome impression on me (similar to the Darpad/wired.com horrid vision spoken of by Gordana).

In this context I do not know wether to agree (or not) with Jaime on his stipulation of interbodies: 
"The dualisms artificial-real  and virtual-real, doesn't sustain any longer within a body and a reality that we understand in terms of affects and relational forces. The affects displayed in the screen of the computer are no less real than those we have in a physical sexual relation, though they may be of a different modality."

I am not part and knowledgeable of (although sometimes also fascinated by) all the new technologies, new media – and the sight of people in performance installations sitting there with wired heads making music or interacting with something on a big screen to me is somewhat scary. But, in a medical documentary lately, when I saw a young women who through an incident was paralyzed from her neck downward (she had been a painter) being able (through electrodes fixed at her head) to paint again – only through the voluntary brain activity – and seeing her joy in doing so, I really see the many possibilities to use AND misuse new technological possibilities – AND can only hope and trust that nature/culture will progress in the best possible direction… and that technology may be used with “much poetic care”, as Sergio stipulates.

Concerning the conjunction of art and science (Sergio brought up) there is a nice article in the German journal Tanz (Aug/Sept 2011) where the “pas de deux” of “choreography and science” is written about (by Thomas Hahn). I would like to translate and summarize some of these fascinating experiments, citing first of all Pedro Pauwels “Sens 3”, a performance, in which information about the equilibrium state of the dancer/performer is loaded onto the viewer which stand barefoot on a sort of “tactile cushion” which is receiving data via body sensors of the dancer. The cushion is full of vibrators which convey in real time the body sensation from the stage to the legs of the audience….

In this way, many choreographers try to convey or share which emotions or feelings the dancer experiencing… But (I ask) does that really function?? The audience/viewer will still always experience something different (more or less similar) than the dancer. The article postulates that this type of communication with the audience often provokes the contrary.

Another example with sensory equipment is Takayuki Fujimoto in Tokyo, who uses electromyographic signals to provoke colourful rotation of the shadow of the dancer (Tsuyoshi Shirai). Fujimoto is interested in perception issues of man in confrontation with the world. With the experiment of perceiving colours of the electronic shadow he wants to explain how our brain produces illusions which we think to be reality, stating that our brain differentiates only three types of light waves. But the variations we create depend on the sensitivity of the retina. It seems that many perceptions are pre-filtered before they even arrive in our brain. Showing these processes we may eventually question and reformulate our relation to the world

Last but not least, the article explains how Anatoli Vlassov (a Russian performer living in Paris) wants to render visible the utmost and invisible inner of his body by swallowing a wireless endoscope camera (PillCam by Given Imaging), which – while wandering through his intestines, provoked by ‘digestive yoga’ moves – projects live pictures on a screen, the membrane of which provokes simultaneously accompanying music-rhythmical beats in this performance, called “L’envers du dehors”. With this experiment he wants to dedramatize the body’s interior and break the monopole of medicine by using endoscopy in dance… through cooperation with Gastrologue Bernard Filoche who is interested in how this influences or explains, designs or records the streams of energy and invisible motions in the body.

There are surely many more examples of other fascinating research and explorations of body movement/dance and (medical) science technologies and devices. Is that what Jaime means with 

"meta-kinetic art-research" ??

On the other hand, I am also very interested in statements (from Akram or other) “on the beginnings of the universe, the time before time, and the "re-creation" of the acceleration of particles at the embryonic moment of the universe and the galaxies?” as Johannes puts it. In this respect, I would like to share something strange (concerning the notion of universal time) which I experienced at the Time Zone Museum in Greenwich in 2009:

Invited (by a note to all visitors) to touch the big piece of a fallen Meteorite (which is supposed and stated to be really unbelievably old) which stands somewhere in the expositional entrance area, I really was emotionally touched (nearly to tears) and sensed some sort of 'electricity' in my arm. After this, I read that this Meteorite had been found in Namibia, which is my birth country…  So the physical touching somehow led (me) to be touched emotionally, not even knowing – but only feeling the intrinsic “being part” of this ancient piece of nature thrown out of the Universe onto our Earth. Does this in any way have anything to do with “kinesthetic empathy”??  Or something to do with “oscillating fundamental strings”?? Or is it just a “symphony that continues to matter”? recurring to Dee, Akram, Sondra…

In some way, for me it also has to do with dancing dead memories and (following Dee) with
“a wake-up call to the living to experience time in a different way” having “implications 
 for how we live in our material environment and how it structures our relation to time”.
Claiming the relational  (also in my opinion) as key in our culture of separations (Sondra), favouring with Jaime non-linear time and dis-affection from cartesian binaries… (Surely not in the same way he approaches the theme) I agree to Johannes pointing out that “it is quite possible (and there is nothing mystifying about it) to link physics, philosophy, dance and architecture”, calling on interdisciplinarity or transdisciplinarity (whatever expression might be better for this interconnected nexus/connex… of strands.

With this last (perhaps a little absurd) contribution from my side to our “networking”, I wish you all a good night and Sunday morning lecture. I’m off to bed – and it is only half past one in the morning (calculating the time change tonight)


More information about the empyre mailing list