I attend ‘ THINKING THROUGH…THE BODY’ a workshop ‘to explore design principles and multi-sensorial movement , seeing, listening, smelling and touching, throughout the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill’, run by Ava Fatah gen. Sheik, architect and researcher from the Bartlett School of Architecture, and dance artist Katja Nyqvist.
‘Drawing on the movement principles of Laban and Forsythe, focussing on how our bodies experience and perceive space and how we relate to other bodies and the environment around us. The workshop will also explore the key role body movement played in the radical pedagogies of the Bauhaus and how it can compliment architectural education in the digital era’
and I am ready…
In pairs we take a ‘ blind walk’ to feel, touch, smell, taste and touch the building, the space, the body of where we are.
In turns we lead each other through the whole space of the building, inside and out. As leader we are also given the choice of choosing a viewpoint, space, object, and asking the other to open their eyes for a moment. This is interesting.
A gift, a surprise, a manipulation…
I decide to walk barefoot, to root, to feel the shift in temperatures of internal, external, threshold floors, and to collect almost forensically, residue dust, tiny stones on the souls of my feet.
The building tips away as my eyes close, and as I move through shifting light, still perceivable through the skin of my eyelids, edges shift and I stretch out my hands, fingertips to create my own.
And then I stop. I let myself move without asking with my hands. I also notice that the brighter the light gets, the more hesitant I become.
I can feel the touch of a hand on mine and at the small of my back, and will trust this. A test.
I feel cool curved glass with my hand and then wipe my cheek across its expanse. It feel delicious. Sounds are pushing in…’the house, the house… ‘ I hear someone say.
And I am handed what I think is a ping pong ball, and as I think to put it in my mouth, as a small child might, I am handed a bat. And so I hit out in the dark and it makes me laugh. I am handed a pair of headphones and feel sweet relief to be able to dive momentarily into a ‘radio space’.
Back in the auditorium space , eyes open, we explore drawing lines in space with our bodies and each other.
And I think, I need more of this. I need more of this…
Although my space is marked out by a pink line on the floor, there is a sense of floating. There are no other partitions and I struggle to feel grounded.
The building somehow invites me to wander.
It feels freeing not to carry anything, not even expectation.
And so I anchor myself in watching a series of projected images previously made, of a scaffolding bolt resting, holding, containing, biting at my body.
I think about leeches.
The lighting in this gallery space is stark and too bright, and tests my focus.
I decide to sit on the dark grey floor and feel quite child like.
I lose myself in the images.
Today I bring with me a large white bag,so big it can carry me.
And it does.
I open it up, and as I do, the sound cracks through the space.
I smooth out its corners and folds, and after a few minutes, I climb in.
I am a stowaway in my own space…
I roll, move, and stretch out its walls out with my hands, arms, head, feet.
I hold the scaffolding piece and the weight of this plays an anchoring role in my movements.
The top starts to fold in over me and all I can see through the crack is the ceiling, and a face that quickly peers in and retracts, unsure what to do.
I decide to make a 5 minute performance, staying inside the space of the bag, letting restriction and the white space shape and choreograph my movement and sense of place.
Yesterday’s images are now projected on to the back wall Of the space.
Again I am taken aback at how quickly new things surface when a new space opens up. These images are a shift, and somehow seem to play a part in opening up new questions.
What plays on my thoughts now, what I seem to be craving, is a wider sense of movement exploration…
How to let/make this happen… How to embody this in my research and practice… New questions, and the ghost of a new desire…
Images: Hana Zaaroura
3 days passing though Njimegen and interrupted skies.
Rivers, arteries and escape routes.
Storms push me back and I remain on the outskirts.
Storm No 1 pushes me against a tree.
all I can feel is the rain interrupting the surface of skin
and the river I wanted to cross…
Storm No 2 pushes me through the doors of Galerie Marzee, where I open drawer after drawer of sculptural body ‘ jewellery ‘.
I am absorbed in the act of repeatedly opening and closing drawers to discover.
I imagine them being filled with the rain water…
Storm No 3 holds me indoors.
I can’t breath.
I am held still by a blanket being placed across my knees.
I stay very still until I decide that a glass of water and slipping up the wooden stairs will be my escape.
3 days of being held in…fractured connection. A lesson in expectation…
The architecture of walking, of space temporal movement being led by unfolding cities that act as catalysts, sleepwalking or trusting unintended paths, In a few days I will be in Njimegan…