Start, live, decay: like fire: OPENLAB session Friday 13 December 2013

OPENLAB Friday, December 13th


Present: Antonio de la Fe, Tara Pilbrow, Verena Schneider, Thelma Sharma

To notice the beginning, development and end of movement

This session raised some questions about what counts as a beginning, how we endow an action with the sense of it beginning, choosing to separate it from the ever-present flow of the moments.

If there was a sequence of repeated actions, how much did that dull the sense of a new start? When was it possible to experience an ending? Could there be a real pause or emptiness of some sort between actions? Were there satisfactory and unsatisfactory endings? Was the idea of musical structures useful?

I attended to the adjustments of my body in space and leant into them, expanded from one place into another, was caught by a sound and took that as a new beginning, while seeing it lie on the momentum from the past. I watched my focus shifting, allowing a mood to expand through the body. The endings of each impulse were cut off , as the new one took over: there was no bell-shaped curve of start, fulfilment, decline. Collage, rather than narrative. I could experiment with seeing an impulse lead to a complete phrase. Within that, always overlapping aspects of breath, mood, spacial occupation, relationship to the environment, including others.

Exercises of leading a partner with eyes closed and pausing, began the session. Andrew Morrish uses these to increase attention. We wrote to assimilate in some way what had been experienced.
There were also exercises to focus on what we attended to or chose to attend to. Rosalind Crisp introduced this type of exercises to me. In partners, we were director and mover, and the directions I used were: leave that, stay with that, let that fade. What I noticed to stay with or leave could be different to what the director might be thinking of. The satisfactions of staying with or letting go of varied too.

It seemed that beginnings were often easier to embrace and realise than were endings. The session also gave only passing attention to the whole development and flowering of the impulses.
So an investigation on the borders.

Thelma Sharma

Making sense of things: OPENLAB session on Friday 6 December 2013


This session, I decided to bring along my newest toy -a service bell, in the shape of a dome, with a button on the top- one that usually sits on a desk to call someone to come to you. We all gave it a go, pressing it, imagining who or what we wanted to arrive. Or as doorbell, waiting for our friend to answer the door for us. Nothing to do, just wait, and expect, or feel how we feel.

This session we were myself, Valentina Bongiovanni, Natasha Weinberg, and Antonio de la Fe.

We practiced a score of moving and noticing the beginning of things (inspired by a score from Rosalind Crisp). Each time I thought of a new thing, each time the detail stretched further and expanded out.  The waiting becoming the doing.

We shared our physical sensations through talking, to our partners.   We talked out loud what we were physically doing, in real-time, while we moved.  We mirrored each other’s face expressions, trying to find the journey together… ‘Do I really look like that?’… The continuing feedback from ourselves and each other gave more detail, more colour, sensation and feeling emerging from the gaps. It was like a metronome of my attention, telling me about my sense of time and action, moving them in and out like a kid playing with a long spiral slinky.

We practiced automatic writing and shared this in speech and movement with each other. Pouring out our body, images, strategies, and conversations through the labyrinth of gaps. I wondered how much of my selection and choice was affected by how I ‘knew’ my witness. Waiting at the door and thinking, what do I know of this person I am meeting, who is meeting and seeing me? I played with different angles of looking and interrogating a thought, of cajoling it or grooming it into becoming present for myself and my audience.

Then, we ended with another score. One person moved, while the other witnessed and let out a stream of words describing feelings and images. I was inspired by Authentic Movement to use a non-imposing phrase to start each sentence, to emphasise the interpretative (rather than prescriptive) nature of the description- “I see you… (e.g. feeling excited) / (e.g. as a bird in flight)”. I wondered, who is making the meaning? ‘You, me, talking?’