many thanks for Task 23. It really came as a breath of fresh air and opened up a possibility I had not previously considered. Below you can find my reflections and then the instructions for Task 24.
So the bottom line for my engagement with Task 23 is that I failed entirely. The task made a lot of sense to begin with. Before doing the task, I began thinking whether treating visual images of the body as a cause/source of its objectification is in and of itself a conditioned response and whether, as you rightly suggest, I can move away from it.
Pictures of me were taken while I was doing my practice and this time I was a bit more prepared for what I was about to see.
I looked at the pictures after my practice and I look at them again now. I try to quieten the ‘discriminatory mind’ (do you remember Task 2, Andrea Olsen?) and resist the ease with which it identifies shortcomings. Once this mode is switched off (I know. A totally mechanical metaphor, but how else can I talk about this?), I simply have no connection to the image. It could have been someone else’s body, for all I know. Nothing stirs in me by looking at the photos, there is no memory, there is no response.
It happened by chance that during the week I watched a video of the dance class I take every week. Again, my first and predominant attitude was to spot deficiencies and corrections (what are my shoulders doing so close to my ears???), but there was nothing beyond this. I could not remember the sequence from which the movements came from, I could not remember doing these movements, and watching myself doing them brought nothing back, apart from criticism.
I do wonder if there is any point in trying or hoping to rehabilitate some kind of visual connection to my practice. It seems it has been completely taken over by the logic of orthoperformance. But I have no idea of how to go about this. Maybe another medium, say sketching, would be more expressive and allow for a better connection? Or maybe the time lapse between the actual practice and its encounter in photographs needs to be longer?
In addition to this wall, it seems, I came up against, there is also something else that happened and this might be potentially productive.
Task 24 – Confirmation?
While I was doing my practice yesterday and before having the photos taken, I began to imagine the work of the camera. How the person who was about to take the pictures might zoom in on specific body parts, how they might take pictures from angles I could not possibly access without a camera. While I was playing with this, I also noticed that awareness of those body parts, on which I imagined the gaze of the camera, was greatly heightened. Imagine a camera over my toes and there! they come to life, they respond, they press, they lengthen, they become active in preparation for the photo that will be taken of them. The pose for a selfie!
So, I would like, if possible, to test this with you. You would need to have someone with you when you are doing your practice and ask them to take photos of you while you are practising. If you cannot find someone to do this, then you can just imagine the camera in the way I did. Notice what the presence of the camera, there and then, does to the practice. You can bring back to the blog any part of the process.