Mythology/History?/Quiver : Psychic rehearsal with Laura Stokes

Photo by artist Eamon MacMahon

Disenchantment Bay Photo by artist Eamon MacMahon

Dear Laura,

Thank you for your writing, thank you for the practices, thank you for rehearsal and thank you for being a partner in this experiment.  What sounded like a crazy but necessary proposal: rehearsing over psychic spaces using our bodies as psychic and shaman filters and transmitters to sense each other is truly a fascinating experience.  On one hand it contains so much mystery that asks both my intuition and intellect to engage at different levels and in different ways, a bit like stretching a muscle I don’t use as regularly. However on the other hand it also contains many of the same structures of in studio in person rehearsals: shared processes, discussion, practices, developed material, material and processes that become contagious in that they layer, shift and morph from their original sources into new things.  What it really brings into play for me is faith.  It is asking me to trust with immense faith in our process and work because so much of it is hidden from the more explicit and normal way that we experience making works.  This is fascinating as we always have to keep an amount of faith at play in our creation processes but this really amplifies it as what we are creating will be revealed to both us and an audience at the same time.  What a gift and journey.

Since your last writing I have had two rehearsal periods with our practices.  Working with the child’s pose practice has been the most incredible compliment to the shaking practice.  It does feel like a place of home, of earth and a cathedral to house all of the faith and transmission we are working with.  Working between the two practices I feel like the big bang drawing in and expanding outward in a constant cycle.

In the writing I slightly morphed your exercise, purely based on intuition and working with allowing the processes to merge and blur.  Instead of choosing three words from my previous writing I choose three words from yours that resonated deeply with me.  They were a) mythology b) history c) quiver

3 min automatic writing on each

Mythology: succession, genesis, contexts.  Our personal mythology.  Myth as in something not true. Myth as in legend. Myth as in mythic, beyond believable, requiring faith. Something huge, old, contexts for our cosmologies.  Stories we tell. Makers and markers of meaning.  The mythology of my body with its knowing, not knowing, pretending always at play.  The mythology of individual bodies.  Cellular intelligence communicating across space and time. History. Stories. Knowing/not knowing/pretending (thanks to Jassem Hindi for this mantra). Meaning making, meaning blurring.

History: Long, time, linear, visceral, constructed by winners and economy, constructed by capitalism. We are invented and interpreted histories. Stories.  Histories and mythologies are sometimes the same, weaving in and out of each other. Oral traditions, written traditions, psychic spaces and empirical (?) statements.  Dragging our histories saddles us with a past(ness) that informs our present(ness).  Time, succession, earth history, my history, your history.  The glaciers are melting and the earth is losing her memory….. do we lose ours?  Is memory history? Story or mythology?  Cause and effect. Relationships.

Quiver: a soft rippling, an animal instinct, a pleasurable shudder, a small earth quake, tremors.  An energy that quickens and spreads. A vibration, a soft humming whisper.  A quiver of arrows.  An animal’s coat.  The horse’s skin that quivers and ripples as its own landscape of liquid and steel, muscle and bone.  A quickening and intelligence quivering through.

I had a shaking practice earlier as part of another rehearsal and in the overlapping processes I dedicate it to our connection.  I engaged in your given practice directly afterward. Here are my reflections and writings.

Child’s Pose (15 min): My body as landscape with different geologic layers of sediment and time slowly giving into each other, the soft and hard, the liquid and bone all resting one on another.  An archeology of the body as landscape, body as history, body as a capsule of time.  Body as meaning. Body as history.  Breathe and belly softening to earth through water and air, sheaths of my tissues settling.  My body as geologic, geographic phenomena, as earth memory.  As knowing, not knowing, pretending.  Body as knowledge. Body as Cosmology.  Body as real and not real. Cultural/Environmental/Personal memory. Cultural/Environmental/Personal trauma.

Improvisation (30min) this is my automatic writing after the improvised movement

Slow unfolding that was through the joints, shifting but with a softening of tissue so the articulations were neither sharp nor fluid but somehow precise. The angles that emerged were softened by an intense interest and presentness within the space of unfolding rather than any shape that was being made.  Walking backwards in a circle around the rope. Creating some sort of magnetic field, some sort of map, some sort of vortex. At times I would grab the rope and fall smoothly backward, ramping myself back through a spiral to stand and continue circling.  Allowing my eyes to soften and receive the space, to not want anything from what  I am seeing but allowing it to open and soften, so I could see more: wider and further.  A heightened sense of listening and smell.

My body as a psychic filter, a diving rod, searching and transmitting frequencies to you.  It was clear, the intent felt clear, and there was little psychic noise throughout.

On my knees, somehow wrapped in the rope, I am circling my rib cage (somehow I picked up the pattern form the walking backwards) stirring up and generating power for the psychic vortex.  This circling would shift into a pre historic spine dance that was fluid and impulsive and driven by a much older impulse than my conscious brain could ever come up with. It was something I dredged up deep from cellular memory, from working with our practices of sates…or perhaps a small possession of /by you where our bodies can infiltrate the other?  My body was in a state of emergence and discovery, the state was choreographing my body and I believe that state was you.



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