many thanks for Task 39. Below you can find my reflections. Below this there is the description of Task 40.
Reflections – Task 39
I thought you asked me what is my relation to the Blog. Then I read your post again and I realised that the question is far more interesting: how would I dance with the Blog if it were another body? Well, if it were another material body, because, I think, we both agree, that this Blog is a body, albeit an immaterial one. There are three immediate relations I have to the Blog. One spatial, one temporal and one psychological.
Sedentary: the blog sits me down and in front of a screen. It is not entirely the Blog’s fault, I could be working on an ipad in bed. Yet,if the source of your frustration is the two-dimensionality of the types of material the Blog affords, I get frustrated with the seated bodily posture that seems essential to using it. But down I sit, thighs parallel to the floor, shins at right angle to the thighs, head in line with the spine and arms resting in front of the keyboard. There is, of course, an orthoperformance to this relation, not unlike the ‘correct’ and ‘incorrect’ ways of doing a yoga posture. If the blog were a body, we would be dancing a finger dance, I think it is called typing!
Weekly: The Blog pops into awareness sharply on Monday mornings, time and space needs to be made if I have to post my reflections. During the ‘receiving’ week, where all I have to do is read your reflections and receive my task, the relation is calmer, but there is still excitement: ‘what will you post?’, ‘what will you ask me to do?’. As each week we alternate in taking the lead with the project, there is a sense of the responsibility being shared (I wonder if there is a similarity here to caring relations: you take the kids one week, I take them the other; you spend Christmas with our ailing mother this year, I will do the next; I take Uncle Bob to the doctor’s, you take him to buy a new hearing aid.) How far can we extend this metaphor of the Blog being something that needs regular ‘checking’ and taking care of? If the Blog were a body we would be dancing a Polka dance, tentatively.
Mutual: The Blog is like a window. Digital technologies, especially those involving screens, are often likened to a window (see for example Galit Wellner’s title A post-phenomenological inquiry of cell phones, 2015); they afford looking out and looking in. By posting the entire project on the Blog, we decided to share it with anyone that might chance upon it. Anyone, might look in through the windows of our imaginary studios. We are also, however, looking out. We refer to other people’s work, we share links with colleagues and friends, we develop a repository of the entire project, to remain after the project is gone. There is another thing that windows do though: when it is dark outside and there is light inside, windows reflect back the life that takes place in the rooms they are windows of. My relation to the Blog is reflective and reflexive. Before anyone encounters the posts, the Blog reflects back to me my relation to a form of practice that has come to define me and through it my relation to myself. Often these reflections take me by surprise, sometimes they confirm what I thought I knew and yet others they lead me to stuff I do not even know are there. And maybe these ‘stuff’ – realizations, insights, pains, frustrations – were never ‘there’ but only emerged out of the relation. I wonder how long they will last for. If the Blog were a body, we would be doing the mirror exercise.
Task 40 – Together
Your task for this week is to meet me at 15:30 in front of the Union on the University of Leeds Campus. Breaking with etiquette, for this task we will work together.