[-empyre-] Has mediated natures changed your ideas of what communication is?

Meredith Drum meredithdrum at gmail.com
Fri Oct 13 11:38:36 AEDT 2017

Dear Soft-skinned space,

Re Margaretha’s question about communication and work with animals, I have been thinking of somatic communication, specifically dancers, choreographers and movement artists who work with animals, landscapes, environments. This includes Grisha Coleman (hopefully a post from her soon) and an artist + organization with which Grisha and I have worked: Jennifer Monson’s iLand (Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance). 

Jennifer Monson and iLand just published a field guild to ilanding http://www.ilandart.org/purchase-a-copy-of-a-field-guide-to-ilanding/. Some info about her and iLand may be of interest.

One of my favorite ecologically focused dance projects is Monson’s BIRD BRAIN (2000-2006), a six-year research-rich science/dance project following fish, whale and bird migration along the Pacific, Atlantic and Mississippi fly and water ways. Monson and collaborators danced along migration routes, carefully listened and responded to each location, and meet and worked with community groups and scientists. 

Later she founded iLand, commissioning dancers and other artists, scientists, urban planners, architects, park rangers (and many others) to collaborate on scores, and then host public workshops to test, dance and play the scores. I feel lucky that I have co-created two such iLanding events. 

I hope Jennifer and iLand will not mind me quoting one of the scores here. 

for four or more participants 
a location near water

Start at the edge of water.

Become aware of the sides of your body. Imagine that you can sense, hear and feel the space around you through your sides as if you had the lateral lines* of a fish. What can you hear? Can you feel vibrations from the sounds and actions around you? 

Soften your front focus and tune into your peripheral vision. 

Choose a point along the edge of the water some distance away. Note open pathways and obstacles.

Migrate from here to there - darting, schooling, resting in an eddy, hiding, floating - guided by the information coming from the sides of your body. 

-River to Creek iLAB Residency 2010

*A lateral line is a system of sense organs that detects movement, vibration and changes in pressure.

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