Monday, 17 March 2008

Indeterminacy and the roaming body; a non-present potential to vary.

How often have you been in conversation with someone in the street, when you are visited by the feeling that this person with whom you are dynamically engaged would rather be somewhere else, or indeed that while ostensibly they appear to be with you, they have actually already left the scene?

How often have you been in conversation with someone in the street when you are visited by the feeling that despite the dynamic shared with this person, (If not a stranger to you, is this scenario more or less likely to occur?) either;

you would rather be somewhere else
you have to be somewhere else
you have trouble being fully committed to the moment
your inner ear is listening more closely to your internal dialogue and the compulsion to leave
your body is restless
your intent is sliding away
your presence in this space is becoming virtual
actually, you are still partially here but your roaming body has already left
the above states do not necessarily have anything to do with the person with whom you are talking ...

Have you never had an intimation of any of these suspicions?

3 comments:

idiom said...
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idiom said...

I found this extract in an old article "Moving Wisdom: The role of the body in learning". Peggy Hackney in 'Transforming Education; In Context Journal', 18, 1988, pp 26. I thought it was intriguingly relevant to your latest post:

"How do you respond to these questions? At this point you might find it instructive to jot down associations, including pictures, images, sounds, feelings (both positive and negative), thoughts, concepts, beliefs, "shoulds"... anything you find clumped together with the word "body."

To discover how your body relates to your own knowledge and intelligence, draw a picture of yourself. Indicate on the drawing where in your body your intelligence for different areas of your life resides. If you need some help getting started, ask yourself questions and let your body tell you.

* When I know that another person and I are (are not) on the same wavelength, where in my body do I know it?
* When I know the decision I'm making now is the right (wrong) one for me at this time, from where in my body does that knowledge emanate?
* When I know the research I'm currently involved in is on/off target, where is that knowledge coming from in me?
* When I know my colleagues haven't quite gotten to the crucial point in their thinking on an issue, how do I know it? Where are the signals coming from?
* When I am generating ideas for a project (teaching a class, making a design, creating a piece of art), how do I know which one of the many ideas to follow through to the end? Where in myself do I know it?
* Continue on your own. What knowledge is vital for you? Where does it reside in you and how do you get to it?

nomads.hat said...

Hi Idiom, Good to hear from you again. Your post is very interesting. It brings into focus for me the study of Somatics which briefly, is awareness of the body, by the body, from within the body,
(See my earlier posts 2007).

Artists and those who work with the body, frequently seek for strategies and modes of expression which may externalise the internal.

I find the questions posed by Peggy
Hackney* quite fascinating from the point of view of perception and 'body-mind'- that view of the world perceived by the body, with body if you will, as an active antenna.

For me (as a tutor and a dance artist) they suggest an alignment and possible equivalency with an internal (but which can in part be externally observed) movement approach called the 'small dance'. I have practiced this approach with Nancy Stark-Smith (one of the co-founders of Contact Improvisation Dance in the early 1970`s). I suggest this parallel because in the 'small dance' the practitioner 'arrives' in their body through an inventory of internal sensing. One shifts awareness progressively up the body, spending time with each location - in other words making mental 'pictures' - a kinesthetic 'drawing' of one`s own body.

Intriguingly the tenor of all these questions on the list comes close to the scenarios with which I am working, in the sense that they pre-suppose that we are capable, not only of experiencing these phenomena but more relevantly, measuring and appraising them in some parts of our body.

My investigation though, involves identifying ways to make these findings visible and particularly, in the case of what I believe is a phenomenon which is so subliminal as to be almost relegated to philosophical query.

But let us try it:

1) In which part(s)of your body do you register the awareness of the desire or need to move away from a meeting or engagement?

I will come back to this question.

2) Can we in fact, decide? Is it not more accurate to suggest that movement away is inevitable, executed irrespective of any inclination to stay, in a way that we cannot control?

Hackney`s questions are aligned with the former of these, in a way which empowers us and fends off the sense of an underpinning tidal pull in the middle of a city which is constantly sweeping us on, away to the next (and the next ...) engagement with a person or place, event or task.

*(I believe Peggy Hackney has been an associate professor of dance at Washington University and is currently Assistant Director of the 'Moving On Centre' and a nationally-recognized authority on Laban movement analysis and Somatics)

Thanks Idiom.