OPENLAB session on Friday 8 April 2016: “Borrowing Some Principles 2”

For this session we were in the studio Inés Alonso and myself.

I decided to bring the notion of beginner’s mind and of letting go from what we (think we) know in order to learn and change. These principles seem to repeat and to be seen from different points of view within the frame of Klein Technique.

How did proceed during the session?

We talked and discussed, we continue talking and discussing and somehow gesticulating our conversation but in a way that involved the whole body… or maybe I should say something other than gesticulating.

On the one hand, these things we did didn’t quite added communicative value to our conversation in the way that automatic gesticulation normally does. One could say that we were allowing the conversation to influence our doing, although this doing was somewhat subtle and small in size. As though we were marking. As though there was much more movement within our imagination than allowed to physicalise.

On the other hand, I think that they were gesticulative because, like during gesticulation, the process was primarily automatised, almost out of our “main-stage” conscious experience. These gestures were at level that could have been access at any point if we would have wanted to focus on them but at the same time the were principally invisible for ourselves.

And in fact paying no (close) attention to the doing and still doing it felt quite refreshing somehow, and our conversation was really interesting for both of us.

At some point we also decided to stop talking and tried to figure out by continuing at it what it was that thing we were doing.

My notebook is covered from a few things I wrote from ideas I was having whilst moving:

  • If at any one moment you notice that you have had an idea about doing something (about what to do next) and you are not already doing that thing, then it is already too late.
  • This doesn’t imply you cannot go next and do that very thing. You have the choice to still go and do it. However, if you chose to do it maybe notice that it is in fact a total new/other thing; a different thing to the one from the idea.
  • What else could we do? We could also acknowledge what we were actually doing at the very moment we notice we were having the next thing to do idea. Noticing the idea probably obliterated the noticing of the actual thing happening, and rendering into nothing (at least for ourselves, for the world of our choices and of our experience possibilities). However, by acknowledging the thing that was actually happening and that was actually the thing being done at that very moment we bring them from nothing into a no-thing kind of thing. By acknowledging that no-thing  kind of thing we give the attention that it deserves and having an idea and not being doing it isn’t a problem any more because it is then not a failure at the task of doing.



  • Like Fear & Courage, Perception & Action could be seen as two sides of the same thing.
  • I remembered something I read about the fact that developmentally action precedes perception [I also remembered this during the Klein Technique™ workshop in New York and I took notice of it on my notes from it]. BUT!… What happens if it is true that action precedes perception?
    •  This understood not only as in an action comes always before the perception of that same action.
    • Understood also, but yet not only, as in an action precedes always a new perception [I know, this is a sort of chicken and egg ontological problem… because even when perceiving something may cause a responsive action, there should have been a first action of directing oneself towards perceiving – towards the environment, towards oneself or towards both – that preceded both the perception of something (whether object or event) and the (un)consequent respond to this particular something].
    • But maybe understood also in terms of learning: as in learning new skills oar as in learning a new way to do something old… as a way of doing things more efficiently or more effectively, for example. Or simply as doing things you weren’t able to do before…

OPENLAB’S residency at the Public House 2012

In 2012 Hiru Dance Organisation run for a second edition their project Public House.

For this occasion they imagined to move into a retail unit at Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre for an entire week. Throughout the whole week they would have a daytime programme of one-day long artist residencies as well as a eve programme of performances.

I was invited to join as a day resident. And as I day resident I proposed to run a hybrid between workshop and performative interventions.

On that day Eleanor Sikorski as a member of Hiru Dance Organisation took pics and filmed part of the workshop and the first intervention: Breakfast.

Here you can see some snippets of what we were up to at the beginning of our day at the Public House 2012


The plan for the day could be read on the Public House blog as follows:

Friday 13th July, 10.30am – 6.30pm

Participation free, by application only.

OPENLAB is an experimental movement and performance research lab lead by Antonio de la Fe. OPENLAB explores the idea of presence as a trainable performance skill following practical exercises and tasks inspired by studies and theories about consciousness and mindfulness.

This one-day OPENLAB is aimed at professional and non-professional performers alike, people interested in taking an experiential approach to the phenomenon of performance. Participants will be led through various performance practices geared to enhance their mental and physical awareness of what performing throws up.

Over the course of the day there will be several action-performances.  These events will explore, through performance, notions of consciousness and perception, highlighting such experiences with a view to better enabling participants to share these with their audience, altering the normal frame in which they commonly happen.

OPENLAB participants will be invited to take part in two of the three action-performances at the beginning and end of the day giving them the chance to put ideas explored in the morning and afternoon sessions into practice.

10.30 – 11.30am   Action-Performance I: Breakfast

12 – 2pm              Morning Session

2 – 3pm                Lunch Break

3 – 3.30pm           Action-Performance II: After-Lunch Chat, Antonio with Mariana Camiloti

3.30 – 5.30pm      Afternoon Session

5.45 – 6.30pm      Action-Performance III: End of Day Improvisation

The lab will take place inside The Public House, a living room installation within a glass-fronted shop unit. It is a public context, a visible platform.

Participants need to be comfortable doing exercises wearing blindfolds and earplugs (under supervision). People with a physical or visual impairment are welcome to participate – please inform Antonio of any requirements you have so that these can be accommodated. Breakfast will be provided as part of the first action-performance.

It started as plan but as the day continued  things changed a bit of direction. However, the description above is quite accurate apart from a confusion with times and the fact that by the end of the day people were so tired that the improvisation with all participants became a very quiet one… instead, it became mainly a conversation between William Molyneux and John Locke from which there isn’t appropriate documentation.

OPENLAB session on Friday 8 April 2016: “Borrowing Some Principles 1”


Just before Easter 2016 I travel the first time to New York in the US.

The reason for my visit (and the perfect and most sensible excuse to allow myself to cross the pond and finally see this iconic place) was the Klein Technique™ Teacher Certification Program 4, which I have decided to join after studying with Susan Klein, mainly in workshop situation, for several years (at least since 2010).

After an intense week at Susan’s studio I returned to London with a lot of new information, as well as revisited information in which we delved in more deeply. These more theoretical information is about the technique and about the principles and models that are use to explain it, to consider whilst practicing it and to apply as a pedagogic approach when teaching it. This gave me the idea to consider exploring the same principles we went through that week but doing so outside of the form the technique generally takes, especially in the emblematic rounding down exercise that we could strongly identify with this work. This is what I meant with the “Borrowing Some Principles” that I gave to these series of sessions.


On  this first session borrowing some Klein Technique™ principles and bringing them to OPENLAB’s openform model this is what I decided to work with:

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 15.19.43

Reproduction of a diagram drawn in a workshop with Susan Klein in London on 26-30 October 2016.


With this model (typos and all) base on a dichotomy (which if you are a pure physicist you may have some trouble with) Susan tries to explain the process of change as in the idea of finding more efficient ways of moving. By saying in this way I’m summarising a lot and things can get somewhat superficial. You can unfold this in depth and in different ways but with this diagram Susan tries to give us a hint of why change is so difficult to achieve:

We need to work by bringing to a middle place between energy and structure. We are looking for change (which is in the energy side) but change can only happen in the now (which is in the structure side).

But in this way Susan is also telling us to embrace the paradox.

For Susan Klein, although I would dear to say our ability for continuous learning, is full of paradoxes. Learning is a paradoxical activity; an activity that it is difficult to pin down and that as soon as it seems to be understood how it happens, and this how is articulated, it moves to a new place where our just-found explanation renders obsolete and inappropriate… or, even more, counterproductive.

To this session attended Eve Stainton and Robert Vesty as well as myself.

I didn’t really take any notes during the session but at some point I rumbled for a bit and I recorded that.

Here it is:

I hope it is helpful.

More “Borrowing Some Principles” should be coming soon.