I come in the studio and although I’m not late but just in time everybody else is here.
I look around and see Jia-Yu Corti, Sarah Kent, Yong Min Cho, Thelma Sharma and Timothy Taylor. They are the openlabbers of today, as well as myself. I feel nervous as I suddenly realised that I am clearly the youngest of them all, but I immediately remember that this is not an issue because I am not here to teach but to facilitate. I won’t be giving them answers; I just will offering a frame for them to continue their own personal and professional research, possibly around the question of performance, maybe around other personal and transpersonal questions… it is up to them and to chance.
This season I have come with this determinative obsession of exploring the “quadrominium” made by breath, floor, space, and gravity… and today space will take a place at the forefront of the session’s theme.
I start by reading its dictionary definition, a habit of mine (I should read this definitions before I do it in the session to avoid surprises, but I think that if I don’t I won’t be manipulating their meaning in accordance to what I want, or at least I will be open to explore further possibilities beyond my own habits).
We then all discovered that as a noun space has several meanings that may be interesting to explore in the session:
1 A continuous area or expanse which is free, available, or unoccupied:
• [ count noun ] an area of land which is not occupied by buildings.
• (also commercial space) an area rented or sold as business premises.
• [ count noun ] a blank between printed, typed, or written words, characters, numbers, etc
• [ count noun ] Music each of the four gaps between the five lines of a stave.
2 The dimensions of height, depth, and width within which all things exist and move:
• (also outer space )the physical universe beyond the earth’s atmosphere.
• the near-vacuum extending between the planets and stars, containing small amounts of gas and dust.
• Mathematics a mathematical concept generally regarded as a set of points having some specified structure.
3 An interval of time (often used to suggest that the time is short considering what has happened or been achieved in it).
4 The amount of paper used or needed to write about a subject:
• pages in a newspaper, or time between television or radio programmes, available for advertising. [This meaning makes me think of written text as a tool of expansion of language and thinking, and therefore makes me think of amount of mental space as ‘room for/of thought.’]
5 the freedom to live, think, and develop in a way that suits one.
Departing from these definition I proposed to divide the exploration of space in different sections:
Space in/whitin Breathing:
I decide to introduce space by exploring briefly the experience of space that we can have when focusing in breathing. I just pointed out that in pulmonary breathing there is not only an exchange of air between us and the environment, this is also an exchange of space.
Inner space is a recurrent subject in dance and somatic techniques, practices and methods. I just pointed out that the space enveloped by many of our systems such as the respiratory, digestive, sexual, excretory, aural, visual and vocal systems isn’t really considered inner space in biology. Those engulfed areas within ourselves aren’t considered what’s called inner milieu. If we consider internal milieu as synonym for inner space, this space is then a non-space, it isn’t available or free, it is stuffed. However, movement within it is still possible. I suggest: “let’s do [whatever doing is the one that needs to be done in your own exploration] in relation to this inner stuffed space.” I wonder: “Can I really do in relation to this space?”
Out there there is space unlike inside us. The place where no solids or liquids exist, only air. I suggest: “let’s do in relation to this outer space.” Another day I said that from finding space within oneself hunger for doing towards outer space is born. Today I forget about saying this: “space is hungry for more space.”
Out there were only air exists (unless within the planet of which we are also part of). However, air is a gas and gas is also matter. Matter that occupies and pervades through the entire room, the entire building, the entire environment, the atmosphere… Within this atmospheric space the material air can be understood as stuffed. I talk about the concept of place, as having a place in space. I’m borrowing from Julyen Hamilton (again). I talk about place in these terms: as occupying space, reclaiming it from the atmosphere by carving the atmosphere as we move… by carving space. Going into it as we vacate the space that we leave behind us, and that it is occupy in return by the atmospheric air. This does not happen in 3 secuential steps: 1) from my place #1, the space I’m going to carve into (future place #2) has to empty, 2) the transition from place #1 to place #2, 3) the space I left (past place #1) is occupied by air. Those steps happen but only they aren’t steps, they happen all at once simultaneously.
Sharing Space/Showing Space/Answering Questions:
I share the fact that for me this idea of everything, both within and around us, as being stuffed is actually a little bit overwhelming… almost asphyxiating and not really light. I try to allow lightness by reconsidering the idea that at atomic and subatomic level there is more space than corpuscularity, and the fact is that thing don’t really touch, even when we thing we are touching an object outside us we are in fact very far away from that object (atomic-wise)… we feel it there because we feel the repelling forces amongst the different particles that conform matter…
I suggest this to allow lightness but what we actually work on is on doing now in relation to others who are watching. I suggest that we are actually all doing, as a watcher you still do and as a doer you sill watch, even if just slightly. And the task as a watcher and as a doer are respectively 1) what is that thing the other person (who I watch) is doing? 2) what is that thing that I (and the other person watching to me may see) do?
This work of seems very interesting but also felt very short when the time of the session is over.
I also think that by trying to answer ‘what am I doing’ as doer, I stop doing that very thing that I’m questioning. This is I’m not doing any more that thing I was asking about and now if anything I’m asking about it… somehow it seems that the very action of asking takes us outside of the doing… but I wonder whether if ignoring the paradox and continue this work we can actually developed an almost subconscious, non-lingual, way of questioning and so we can be asking-doing…
At the end of the session there are suggestions of doing only that second bit of the session for a whole session. This seems as a proposition for next session.
Come this Friday then, 1st of November, if you’d like to work in the relationship between space and visibility.