Many thanks for Task 4. Here are my reflections. Below the images you can find Task 5.
Out of the studio, right into the corridor, down the stairs, left through the doors, across the car park, into the cab, the dance continues. Even though my body becomes immobile into the seat of the car, the beat of the drums still lingers. The speed of the car matches the inner rhythm. I dance vicariously.
Not this time. This time the cab is late, and the rhythm that is already working inside me becomes frustrated as I scan the empty road and pace up and down. Once inside the car, I am overwhelmed by a sensation similar to the one I have whilst executing a fast sequence: will I make it? Will I make it on time? In both cases, time feels too fast, while I become despairingly slow.
Reflections on the class can only be written a long time after it and as I ponder on the hasty car trip, I think that to dance is to tame time.
With the collages I tried to capture some of the shapes that the bodies make in the space, fleetingly as they move from one position to the next. I got inspired by Nathan Walker’s talk at the University of Leeds on his recent book Condensations, where he talked about the way the arrangements of the words on the page of his book responded and reflected the landscape from which those words originally emerged and/or were written for.
There is nothing of the fleetingness of the dance in these collages, just words glued on paper. As I cut my reflections late into the night, I think that the breaking up of sentences, the shaking up of the words, their re-positioning is not dissimilar to dance, and yoga: how it can take the body apart and put it back together again. And in this taking apart and putting back together, meanings and experiences become re-arranged, weights shift, and new relations emerge. Yoga and dance as a practice of collage of the self?
Task 5 – A Word for a Place is inspired by Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy, but I wonder if there is a whiff of the Situationists here too. I think it is a good one to do when one visits a new place, but perhaps it is also appropriate for a familiar one. I always had a sense that this is a task for a city, but maybe it can work just as well in the countryside.
Think of a word that captures the sense you have of the place (if the place is an unfamiliar one) and/or what the place means to you (if it is one you know well).
Following the paths, roads and grids that already exist in this place, write the word by walking. You can trace possible routes on a map, so you can see in advance how you might create the letters. Or you can trace your route on the map afterwards and see whether you managed to write the letters you thought you were writing. (You can also follow your changing position on the map of your phone as you walk but this will not record a permanent trail).
You can walk the word as many times as you wish and the walk can encompass as much of the actual area as you want/or are able cover. For example, you may wish to cover with one word the entire city or just one neighbourhood. You can take pictures along the way and/or audio-record sounds, memories, impressions.
Straight after you finish the walk, lie down in Savasana and note the sensations that emerge. What kind of imprints did the walk leave on the body and mind, if any?
Then do a sequence of yoga postures of your own choice that undo the imprints of the walk. Take the body apart and put it back together again.
In your reflections, you can comment on the whole task and/or use the material you have created during the actual doing. I hope you will enjoy it.