The intensive week, so much expected, arrived but a minuscule entity known as norovirus defeated it.
After just 2 days of work I felt extremely bloated after dinner on Wednesday 12 December. What happened after you can deduce by yourselves when you know that norovirus is the technical name given to the winter vomiting bug. The aftermaths took me out of order until last Monday (which means that the open OPENLAB at Agony Art didn’t happen, although it will happen on a next edition in early 2013).
For what I did on the first day of the intensive you can click here to see another post where I talk about it.
I would like to continue here with what I did on the unexpectedly last day of the intensive (Wednesday 12 December).
We had 2 sessions of the intensive:
During the first session we started by doing a slow roll down which would allow us to get in our bodies as well as calm down our minds. Help us to be present. A sort of closeform exercise.
After that we decided to take Chrysa Parkinson’s Art Practice as Ecosystem Questionnaire. We decided to do it in couples and following an interview model; i.e. each person would ask to his or her partner the questions and would write down the answers on his or her partner’s notebook. The idea is that each person would have the answers filtered by another person as a way to minimise your own patterns and possibly getting to know yourself from a different side, a side from which you may not have regular access. I also suggested that each person should take the questionnaire on their own without having read the notes take by the partner first a few days after. The idea was for each person to then compare both sets of answers (if you were there during this session: have you been doing your homework? Allow me to joke about this, you know that there isn’t homework and that it’s entirely up to you whether you would like to continue with this exercise but I thought it would be good to remind people about it nonetheless).
During the second session I facilitated an exercise I had done before with Lisa Nelson at The Conscious Body Meeting in Université Paris 8 last October.
We first followed the exercises faithfully to the one I had done with Lisa except for one difference: I added one extra step. After we stopped for a mini-break, we continue from that extra step I had added to put into practice exercises on sight. The idea was that, if perception is an action, visual perception and the mechanisms involved in the activity of the visual sense can be practiced and trained, and from that practice we could explore in which ways that work with sight may influence our “performing.”
Lisa Nelson’s exercises use different combinations of moving versus stillness with eyes closed versus eyes open. Together with the different combinations possible during the exercise, Lisa would invite us to become self-aware of what it’s happening. It seems the exercise invites you to become aware of the relationships between intention and action and of your own patterns.
Short description of Lisa Nelson exercise:
. Eyes closed / The only instruction is to get physical (this can be understood and interpreted personally) / 5 min.
. Eyes closed / Moving, voluntarily / 3 min. / Whilst doing this asking yourself: “How do I know that this (I’m doing) is moving?”
. Eyes closed / Still, voluntarily / 2 min. / Asking yourself: “How do you know that it is stillness?”
. Alternating between eyes closed whilst moving and eyes open whilst still / Always trying the best you can to keep this combination as a voluntary action / Slowing down the pattern / Speeding up the pattern / Asking yourself: “What’s the order of events? What does happen first? Do I stop moving because I have opened my eyes, or do I open my eyes once I have stopped moving? Do I start moving because I have closed my eyes, or do I close my eyes once I am moving? Does the pattern repeat or is it different each time?”
. At this point I added en extra step or, to be more correct, an extra question: “Bringing the attention to your eyes, what does happen with them when you open them? Can you keep the eyes still? Can you do it at the same time that your body freezes? Pay attention to the motion of the eyeball within the eye socket; pay attention to the motion within the eye at the level of the iris and pupil. If you can’t do that alternatively pay attention of whether the image you perceived as you open the eyes moves or shakes; pay attention of whether the image refocuses once you have open the eyes.”
. Alternating between eyes open whilst moving and eyes closed whilst still / Always trying the best you can to keep this combination as a voluntary action / Slowing down the pattern / Speeding up the pattern / Asking yourself: “What’s the order of events? What does happen first? Do I start moving because I have opened my eyes, or do I open my eyes once I have started moving? Do I stop moving because I have closed my eyes, or do I close my eyes once I have become still? Does the pattern repeats or is it different each time?”
Short description of the exercises with vision:
. Openform throughout the exercise
. Become aware of not only that we see with the eyes but on how we see with the eyes: movement of the eyeball in eye socket, movement of head and neck, movement of all the body; movement in the iris and pupil (focusing)
. Chose an object to look at as you move, change to another object
. Binocular focusing: Use your hand to focus on it, can you attend to the objects you see beyond your hand and which are out of focus? Focus in the objects beyond your hand but keep the hand in between, can you attend to the hand out of focus in front of you?
. Binocular focusing: Focusing on a point in space closer to you than the object in front of you. Focusing on a point in space beyond the object in front of you. You can picture in your “mind’s eye” that point to facilitate. Notice your own body (how does your body feels?) as you focus on an object, somewhere on the space closer to you or somewhere on the space beyond the object
. Monocular focusing: Cover one eye with one hand and repeat the exercises on focusing described in the last two points.