For the November Issue of Grand Re-Union I was commissioned to write a choreographic text. It was an incredible opportunity to find a way to dance with text and words.
If you wish to read the text please follow the link
EARTH / HUMAN BODY / UNIVERSE
Close the eyes to see
Root the body
Down to the Centre of the Earth
Up to the Centre of the Universe
Let the movement travel through
Let the form re-act and re-member
Listen with the hair on your legs
Taste with the hair in your ears
Smell with the hair on your eyes
See with the hair on your skin
Sense / feel / touch with your organs
Let the movement travel through
Let the form re-act and re-member
Allow the shape to blur
Allow the shape to fade out
Enjoy the shapelessness
Enjoy the limitlessness
Keep on dancing the dance of your movement
Let the dance happen between known and unknown and let the movement flow
When it is finished
Lie down for as long as needed
Let the body dream what was and what is coming
With the next breath end and begin
Sitting by the water, I shift the perspective and lie down. The water becomes a wall or a door I could possible walk through. The sky becomes the surrounding, and the cold ground a prolongation of my body. It is early fall and the temperature dropped drastically. My eyes cannot stop wandering into the fabric of water, and the overwhelming strength of it. My body remembers. I can still feel the sensation of my naked body swimming in those very waters yesterday. The ecstatic pleasure of adjusting to low temperature. The moment of acceptance to the surprising new experience and the overwhelming pleasure of crossing the line from comfortable to the unknown. This time, through my eyes, my body is experiencing the memory; the embodied experience is incredibly present and real. It reaches such an intensity that the actual blurs out and all that remains is the water embodied in me.
Twenty-first century, the year 2020.
The future is here, the wonders of the year 2000 have happened, and the collective body of the Earth keeps dreaming its future. What is its responsibility in the act of imagining? Where does the act of imagining situate itself in in the body as we know it? What is the technology of the human body in the XXI century? The technology that humans create out of the body is evolving rapidly. What if the technology of the body was a priority? How will the senses of the body evolve in the future we are creating today? “When one sense stops working the others get stronger”, they say. Maybe in the XXI century humans could start using the sensorial side of the body to its fullest capacity. How would one function if the skin could feel the movement of the other-than-human, of the being that is not physical, like the coming rain? What would it mean to choose an environment in which the body gets the chance to evolve the most? Paradoxically the less “I do”, the more the body gets a chance to develop. The concept of “active non-doing” of Tao philosophy could be a take on how the technology of the body works, the body that is actively occupied with ghost-like activities, invisible but tangible, as a goal for future human body technology. The invisible knowledge constantly accumulated by the body with the use of its senses could be easily missed, just like the presence of a ghost. Could the sensorial experience be the invisible tool to help the body evolve?
As we pass each other, my whole body knows. We stop, take each other’s hands, I recognise the temperature of your body, the softness of your hand. As our eyes meet, we close them and allow our lips to meet. Remembering the kiss, the touch of the lips, the taste and the smell. As we pass each other, I realise our eyes meet and all of it happens, but not in this time slot. This time our eyes just meet and our bodies remember. Maybe another time.
What is the embodied dream our body is dreaming, for today, for tomorrow and for the future we are living? Radical Imagination would be a way in which the act of imagining is challenged and does not follow “the logical”. A year ago it would have been very difficult to imagine that the global economy would be closed for few weeks—yet it has been proven differently. It became a permission to go wild with the way we create fantasy. How does one imagine now when everything is possible? What would be the greatest desire of one’s heart to imagine? Are we ready to do so? It may be the greatest responsibility of ours. It used to be so easy and comfortable to stay with our limited imagination. But what effort does one need to make to envision a great solution, a great next step of this situation, a wonderful other norm than the one we were educated into? How could one imagine with the body and what could the embodied fantasy of tomorrow be?
My body, a human body, the shape I carry around and I am recognised by. What happens when the skin stops being its boundary? What happens when the senses of the body reach far beyond the skin? What happens when I allow my mind to forget that my shape has limits and let the sensory information flow?
Walking on the streets, I realise there is not even one part of my body that is exposed. It is cold outside and my skin is covered from my toes to the top of my head. Even my face, as I am wearing a mask over my mouth and glasses. Not one bit of my skin can feel the air, can experience the temperature. I take my hands out of the pockets, to quickly hide them back in as the cold hurts my skin.
Does the body remember every touch it has ever experienced? Every wind blow? Every nettle it has walked through? All the waters it has swam in? What is its knowledge? What is its memory? What is its wisdom? The knowledge of the body is built from its memory. Not only remembering the experience but creating embodied wisdom from it. Understanding its surroundings and creating the language to communicate with the other-than-human. A language based on touch and the skin’s sensation. Communication with the ghost experience of the body, with the information invisible to the eye but surely tangible to the skin or any other layer of the body. What would it mean to allow the organs to communicate with the plants in the middle of the forest and to differentiate what is nutritious from what could become poison?
There are stars in the bubble coming out of my body as it lays down. When the sound changes, snakes come and clear the space out. At first, they fly all around me, but then they start crossing my shape as well. It is a big relief. Since they can travel through it, my body merges with its surroundings. It is very freeing to be the “empty space”. I feel calm; my whole body gives into this sensation. My body fills up the whole room and the room fills up my whole body. The sound changes again. The snakes, the bubbles, the emptiness all disappear. My eyes want to remain closed. My mouth is eager to let the sounds out. It is too easy for the body to recreate its shape again.
The sensorial way of discovering the future.
I put my nose too close to the rose blooming in a public park. It is safe to smell a public flower? Part of me wants to check if my nose is still capable of recognising a fragrance. Part of me wants to feel the flower and let it take my existence for a journey, albeit one that will last only a few seconds. But the desire for colours, shapes and sensation the fragrance creates is stronger. My eyes close and I am quickly transported into the rose dimension.
My ears are covered and can barely hear what a friend next to me is saying. Luckily, at the sunset hour the birds in the city park get loud and sing their songs with enormous power. My whole body enjoys the inner dance with these black creatures in the sky. My blood gets warmer and goes faster. I am part of this party. My feet can feel the strength of the trees’ roots all around. We are all having a last dance before the night takes over.
“Spiders listen with the hair on their legs”, she said… Can my body also do that? I will only know if I keep trying.
My ears hear a multiplicity of sounds: some are coming from surrounding reality, some from other places, there is no selection. They hear the silence. Ah, how beautiful silence sounds. But not for too long; the next layer of sound opens up. The micro noises and the sounds from far away sing a song and accompany the inner sounds of the body. The heart is keeping the bass, the breath is keeping the rhythm.
The silence of a phone or computer is very loud.
The journey continues on to hearing the visible and the invisible, as to the ear there is no difference. Only the audible counts.
As I taste flowers and fruits that are unknown to me, my brain gets high, my body wants to move, the level of excitement rises. There is a need to process the surprising experience. Everything changes. The new information opens up new habits.
What if I could deliver presumably one new sensorial experience a day? What if such a challenge was the basis of a daily practice? If the body could be recognised as a tool for constantly discovering the reality around it? What if there are more tools in the human body that might have been forgotten?
I reach the river. I drink the water that I am standing in. I lay down and the river covers my body perfectly in a way that my nose stays above the surface. I can sense the same water flowing within and all around my body. My whole body, inner and outer surfaces, can experience the taste of this very water. It does feel ecstatic. The shape of my body is gone; there is only movement. My eyes wonder into the tops of the trees of the jungle and into the sky. The form of me is gone; there is only movement.
There was a vision in each of us for this year. There was a feeling in our bodies a year ago. There was some kind of stability and obviousness of logic, some sort of predictability to the reality that we got used to. Then the surprises began.
My eyes keep looking at the computer screen—“I am working”. Simultaneously, my body sees a very different situation. It can see it with its whole skin, it can see it with its organs, and the vision is as strong and present as the screen in front of me. I look around but the image I am seeking is elsewhere, yet visible and present. My body knows I am not the only one in the room. My heart is calm, as it feels cared for. I want to keep playing the role of a human working on her laptop. But my whole being is enjoying the encounter with this ghost being, ungraspable to my eyes yet strongly experienced and recognised by my body. I let my eyes close. The sensation comes and goes just like waves on a calm sea. Until eventually it goes away
What if the body could give the vision a rest and allow it to be lazier? Sometimes it feels that my eyes forget how to see and they just scan the surface. There are days when the eyes see more when they remain closed most of the time. My eyes get tired of recognising shapes; they long for blurry vision, for unrecognised patterns, for soft edges…
At night I open the door and the light from my room lights up the tree in front of the house. There is no other light as far as the Tatra Mountains. There are only stars in the night sky, showing the Milky Way. On the lit tree I recognise the shadow of my body. It is bigger than the one I am used to. The tree becomes the canvas for the shape I am projecting into the night. I see this shape of mine, but need a moment to get used to it. I am within the tree. I know this view so well in the daytime. How come it feels so different? My mind cannot explain the difference. My eyes are hypnotised and do not want to stop seeing it. I close the door and go back to sleep.
The body communicates its needs all the time. I learned to recognise some of them, others I learned to ignore. Now I try to be aware of the difference between the two, and to recognise the voice of my own body.
The body remembers, the body knows, the body dreams.
I am walking barefoot. It has been a few weeks that I walk barefoot daily in the forest. I leave the house barefoot to go to the beach. I cross the warm pavements in the city barefoot. Walking through the river with no shoes on is part of my walk. I step into a cafe and order my coffee barefoot. Walking with no shoes on makes me realise the importance of the ground I step upon. The soft surface of the mud, the bottom of the lake, the water on the kitchen floor, the snail in front of the house, the stones by the sea, the hot sand by the ocean, the wet grass in the morning. So much information available to me. My body experiences a lack of breath when the surrounding is covered in concrete. My feet miss the exchange with the soil, my body longs for the memory of oxygen exchange. My legs take me once again into the reality of “normal life”, away from the city, where my feet can breathe, where my body can forget its boundaries, where I lose my shape and gain the sensorial experience of being.
DREAMING THE FUTURE
Next time your Eyes are closed
Imagine your most desired future Self
Imagine the most desired feeling that your Body wishes for
Imagine the most desired sensation of your Interconnected Body
Imagine the most desired state of your Earth Body
Imagine the most desired experience of the Cosmic Body
Imagine your most desired future Self
proofreading: Angelica Sgouros