Porous Identity

Hi Brandy,

Writing from home, 2 days after rehearsal in the studio at collective space. Yesterday was Guru Purnima. We had a special event at the meditation centre with lots of meditation. Unfortunately I had to leave the event early… I’ve been sick.

I’ve been thinking more about morphing and shifting identity. Porous identity.

Automatic writing

Porous identity – allowing memories to shift and create a vivid experience in the present, like sand flowing from one hand to to the other shifting constantly, pouring, pourous – not holding its, flowing, fleeting in the past, morphing to the future, never arriving. Who am I? Is there a need to know who I am as a separate identity? This identity that closes itself from the rest, from the walls of heavy materialism, the matter…

The obsession to create an identity to be understood, recognized, seen. Is this branding?

Is identity about being seen? About being remembered? Morphing identity confuses the expectation. Does a morphing identity erase the “I”?

Porous permeable to outside influences

Aren’t we all and everything?

Here is what I practiced

Bruce’s walk

Continue morphing through movement

Morphing through voicing

Verticality – Horizontality

Dear Brandy,

The morphology on the piece of paper – telepathy?

I read this: ‘If I was an artist and I was in the studio, then whatever I was doing in the studio must be art.’ – Bruce Nauman in conversation with Ian Wallace and Russell Keziere, Vanguard, Vol. 8 #1, 1979

A simple natural act transformed, so as to reevaluate it – like walking. I’ll play with that in the studio next.

On Monday, I got in the collective space for the first time to work on our Psychic Choreography. I associate this space with you, so I felt I was entering your world from being there. Becoming acquainted with the new space, with its history, the smells and traces of your absent presence, and all the bodies that occupy or have occupied that space.

I was paying attention to the silence within the studio, the verticality of the space, and the light. The light spreading on the walls and surfaces on the floor.

Interruptions…

I’m continuing to read ‘Exhausting Dance’, now on stumbling dance.

Messiness, falling, temporal and geometrical instability. Verticality and horizontality.

William Pope.L performing crawls, “disturbing proper functioning”. There is a lot in this!

Seismological ground, not stable, not flat.

I used that for some time in the space, in my body, then I started thinking about presence and visibility. What shows in our bodies? What is visible, what can be seen, and what is not seen even if it is present? Am I a colonized body?

visibility – invisibility

concealing – revealing

organized body – disorganized body

western – eastern

what if organization was different? Logic and intellect are associated with organization. What about organization in chaos? Is there organization in devotion?

Then I did a short ballet-centre barre and spent a good chunk of time playing with high legs, flexibility, traveling through space, attempting to embody ahtleticism, using the history of the space as a guide, or to frame it better, my perception of the history of the space as a guiding element. Is there a link between athleticism and organization? And with efficiency? With perfectionism and ideality?

To go back to “morphology”: the word ‘morphologie’ in French is used very often to refer to the general physical constitution of the person, and I heard it a lot when growing up in Morocco in my family circles among women to refer to their shape… with which they were often unhappy with…

– meryem

morphologie

Transformation is Performed

Dear Meryem,

Morph: undergo or cause to undergo a gradual process of transformation

Metamorphoses: a change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completey different one, by natural or supernatural means

Morphology: the study of the forms of things

in particular

Biology: the branch of biology that deals with the form of living organisms, and with relationships between their structures

and

Linguistics: the study of the forms of words

Ology: a subject of study, a branch of knowledge

Morphing, metamorphoses, morphology, ology. Such an interesting proposition to study morphing by not allowing things to come to a completion but allow them to continually become, arise, shift.  A deep listening.  I realize throughout rehearsal I do not actually know when things end or complete…..its amplification shifts, diverts, re invents itself.  My mind softens, nothing necessarily ends, it changes, renews, dissolves, speeds up, slows down, interrupts, frustrates, seduces……

I feel my body morph, pulled by magnetic lines of energy re organizing shifting forms.  I time travel through my histories; a dancing body in India engaged in a never ending plie/chaulk/dharn….bare feet on a dry mud studio, outdoors. A martial body, covered in oil and mud morphing from lion, elephant, horse, peacock, wild boar, fish and serpent.  Hands morphing from gestures, functionality, holding weapons, feeding myself, climbing ropes, climbing trees, mudras, hastas….listening to the pull.

I am never sure when I have arrived or completed a gesture or a position.

Performing transformation, or rather transformation is performed.

Maybe this is what your audience felt?

Is it psychic?  Is it a way of watching?  Is it both?

I watch everything with my full body and full senses.  Sometimes I close my eyes and feel the energy emanating off the stage/space.  I drop into other frequencies. Sometimes I stretch my body across the auditorium and try to merge with the performers, see the work from their eyes, be with them in their bodies.   When I am moving/performing I work from a place of “the body becomes all eyes”….a saying popular in kalarippayattu,  a great movement mantra for me: inner eyes, outer eyes, remembrances of past spaces, future spaces, eyes that shift through time, third eyes, eyes on the palms of my hands, the souls of my feet.

I continue the walking practice, a morphing practice, a reading practice (Exhausting Dance), a sitting meditation practice, a writing practice. I leave you with a short video of a Theyyam I attended 2 years ago in Kerala.  It catches a moment of trance that is transformation performed, possession and morphing. xxo b

https://vimeo.com/134785952 IMG_2114

Morphology

MorphologyDear Meryem,

Much more later, I want to spend more time with your post and take it into rehearsal. However. Yesterday afternoon around 5pm this is what I wrote in my notebook after rehearsal.  Crazy?!?

xo b

Morphing, Being Seen

Hi Brandy,

This is my entry for today:

From a performance, yesterday —

practicing being seen. being seen by outside eyes on me as I perform. practicing being present, aware, making choices, feeding from what I am aware of. How can I bring more to my awareness to feed the choice making process?

practicing being seen in the process of making choices, being comfortable under the gaze of the outside observer.

one audience member said that she could feel what the performers were feeling or at least had a curiosity and a desire to feel in her body what the performers were feeling in their body. she asked how can that happen? transfer the sensation on a kinesthetic level in 2 individual bodies, from one body to another in the absence of physical contact.

is that psychic?

I also practiced the idea of morphing that I shared with you earlier, borrowed from Meg Stuart. Shifting, never finishing a gesture, a position, an action or movement and morphing it into a new information, constantly shifting, never arriving.

morphing

more soon…

xo meryem

Possession, faceless-ness, magic, ritual body

Facelessness

Dear Meryem,

A little portrait from rehearsal. A faceless selfie.  Playing, sketching, stretching out to sense you, sending messages, receive transmissions.  Thinking about what is a ritual body?  What is a magic body?  How are we vessels that remain open and responsive?  How do we challenge conventions of performance, of body, of space, of making?  How do we enter each other through possession?  What is state and trance in performance?  What is it when we use these spaces to create performance out side of normal linearity? What is ghosting and residue: from our bodies, from all the impressions of our minds, from past performances? From dreams and visions?  How are we landscapes slowly eroding and shifting over time?

In my rehearsals I have been continuing to work with the Walking practice, adapting and exploring it from Bruce Nauman’s proposal.  Forwards, backwards, shifting through the body, feeling like I am proving my sobriety for a police officer, hands raising slowly: hands up don’t shoot, a fashion runway, in bare feet, in heels, advancing while retreating, retreating while advancing, fingers as antennae slowly morphing to mudras: Abhaya and bhūmisparśa… the hands responding to and slowing pulling out the alchemy of magnetic lines in the body.  Spending time in the space between earth and sky, playing with all the ways we can literally hang on: hands, arms, knees, feet, folding, neck.  Dangling in space.  Lost women, missing women, faceless women are haunting my rehearsals.

I have been automatic writing for 3 min after each exploration.  Here are two pieces form the same rehearsal day.

1. 3 min automatic writing after 8 min exploration

Fur, heels, walking the line.  I am sober but how can I walk the line in heels, it is impossible.  Head awareness, soles of the feet, coming forward while receding.  Walking the line, walking the runway.  Hands up, don’t shoot.  Advancing while retreating, caught in threads, holding on by the toes, hanging, hanging on arms, neck, elbows. body listening, breathing, learning.

2. 3 min automatic writing after 10 min exploration

Feeling the ghost of the soul of my foot as it leaves the space behind me and takes the space in front.  The ricochet of weight shift, the slight pain in my right foot.  The me, not me, not not me watching the figure measure out her steps by the length of each foot.  Advancing and retreating at the same time.  Hands up, don’t shoot gives way to abhaya mudra, have no fear.

Possession, Soft edges and Blurring

July 7th

Wales

Dear Meryem,

I am in Wales.  It is moist, bursting with green, sea side, hills, cliffs and a constant secrete dampness that lingers in the air.  I am here working with an international group of artists, on many things, but also the simplest: how to be present. How to empty out each time to be available to what arises in a moment, in our case, in the performative moment.  How to wait and listen and not try too hard.

As per usual with our band of nomadic artists there is also much food, wine and lengthy discussions about our curiosities, our current work and practices. Last eve our conversation wandered to ideas of working with psychic spaces, shamanistic bodies and magic.  I was asked to define or discuss what I meant by psychic spaces; it is large, porous and undefined already.  This is what I was able to express in the moment:

Psychic spaces are liminal environments that erode a kind of linearness: of time, of location, of only one thing happening at a time.  For me they shift us into larger spheres of awareness, which actually lets us cuddle up to places of not knowing, of void-ness.  They erode concrete separateness.  My feeling is that we are unique variations of some greater source.  I find this is the deepening feeling of non separate-ness that I sense between my body and a landscape, my body and my lover, my body and a tragic situation.  It is, of course, easier to feel this in all the pleasurable places of our life, but I try to find it in the more challenging ones as well: those of conflict, often the hardest as they draw such deep lines about how different we can be, how separate,  as well as the spaces of the absurd: like our proposal: Can we use psychic spaces for artistic practice, dip into some larger unknown for connection, communication, practice and then use our own bodies as filters for that.  Moving from separate to together, or one, or undifferentiated, back to a defined separateness that is deeply changed by our togetherness.

Today my practice will be one of possession.  Can I move and call your body through mine?  Memory, imagination, story, faking, sensing….what is it like to be me, alone but not alone, me but not totally…. Soft, soft edges and blurring.

Sitting, Climbing and Walking in a Exaggerated Manner

July 2 , 2015

Rehearsal Activity/Tasks

1. Sitting Meditation with a focus on opening a center channel, on emptying out in order to be filled, have the potential to be filled, making space for connecting with you.

2. floor and ropes.

3. Working with Bruce Nauman’s Walking score for a long period of time

4. Automatic writing. 5 min (below)

Trying to untangle what I know from what I don’t and bumping into ideas of structure, body, space and rehearsal that I did not really acknowledge or realize I had, how one things follows the next and the conscious reminder to listen more to the stream underneath that does not speak words, but is sensation.  Staying with that place and allowing curiosity to get deeper there.  Not rushing into things or planning how they might arise, but staying. Learning to stay.  Staying as a practice.

I have always been interested in awkward social moments.  Not so much in creating them but in being present with them.  In practicing staying, whatever the moment was and if I just stayed a little bit longer, it would shift to something else.  Awkward is just a veneer for something else.

Proposed Practice for both of us: Working with the exaggerated walking score, keeping specifc spatial orientation but allowing it to be malleable, allowing it to be a base guide.

Psychic Rehearsal with Laura Stokes: Tarot/ Writing/ Dancing

cards

Psychic Rehearsal with Laura Stokes

Combination of practice, card reading and writing from Sept 18/19 and 21 2014

Dear Laura,

Today I did us a tarot card reading before practice.  I mediated on our connection, I re read all of our words to each other and spent time just in transmission/reception mode… a state of being , a sort of tuning for psychic frequencies, a human weather vane for the universe, a filter for communications: a state of open frequency where the body is a filter or an amplifier, not searching just existing, with a lot of awareness and a soft curiosity that is not searching, more like the root or essence of curiosity : before curiosity get attached to anything and becomes need.  All mystics are a combination of intellect and wisdom.

The Card draw.

King of Pentacles. Three of Pentacles. Strength. King of Wands. King of Pentacles. Seven of Cups

King of Pentacles

Primary Principle: New enterprises, potentiality and success

Can refer to the success of a creative project

Asks us to remember all manifestations are a product of the divine, higher universal power

Individuals should be prepared to work hard in order to achieve goals but the chosen path is correct

Actions: enterprising, adept, reliable, supporting, steady

Colours: gold, red, green, yellow, blue, salmon

Three of Pentacles

Principal: Skill

Primary

Represents the development or proficiencies of ones ability as they are applied in daily life.

Any new enterprise taken on at this time is likely to work to one’s advantage if the individual is willing to apply him or herself to the task

Represents the initial completion of a goal or plan: in this case the fulfillment and manifestation of a creative venture, business or building project

Message of encouragement

At the core of the three of Pentacles is the notion of teamwork

It also points to the importance of feedback to continually improve the work

Strength

Primary principal: Personal Power

Governed by Leo

Harnessing of personal power and strength

Quiet strength from with in

Strength, determination, power of the human spirit to over come obsticales

Inner strength and confidence

Possing great strength and stamina and persisitance tempered by an underlying patience and inner calm

You are focused on what you need to do and go about it in a way that demonstrates great composure and maturity

Reflects a compassionate individual

Accepting and easily forgiving of imperfections

Amin lesson is that emotions must be transcended if spiritual wisdom and intuition are to be awakened

Never lose patience with yourself and what you are doing

A balance of the aspects of you that are human, animal and divine

Represents a higher level of consciousness

Offers hopeof connecting your inner and outer strength

When this card appears be assured you have enough endurance to see the task to the end

King of Wands

Represents life and creativity, also honour

Pure Fire Energy

This person takes an idea and challenges the world to match their vision

Visionary and Leader

Has a deep and innate respect for other people

Knows how to bring out the best in others and empower them to deliver his/her vision and goals and knows what will be of benefit to a larger population

Suggests that an opportunity is presenting itself to you and you now have the power to accept opportunities and take on challenges.

King of Pentacles

Primary Principal: Influence

Wisdom

Person of support, often an older man in your life (or coming into your life) that you can trust, it may be an established person. He is avaible to be a good patron and friend.

Financial stability and well being are indicated.

Seven of Cups

Primary Principal: Imagination and Reflection

Make priorities clear, balance day dreaming with practicality

Meditate to sort out the real form the imagined

Chose between many options

Separate yourself from what is real and what is an illusion

Improvisation and Writing: these two processes, writing about the improvisation and free writing about the experience are starting to merge and become blurry. But I like that.  I used James Bunton’s Intro A that I sent you, but for this particular rehearsal I had it playing on a number of different sources: ipod, iphones, stereo, computer.  I placed these sources around the space and started the piece at slightly different times in the composition so there was a layering of memory and sound, history and future predictions (at least sonically) in the practice space.

Backwards walking till it became more and more natural. Labyrinth style, allowing it to lead me, enjoying riding the physics of curves and speed, energizing the back space till the pattern takes over, the back space leads, the labyrinth leads which is not at all about being on auto pilot but about being a vessel responding to larger things than the thoughts of the conscious mind.  Then , like small popcorn exploding all over the surface of my skin, tiny earthquakes beneath the visceral layers of tissue in my body as I am walking, running backwards.  I stop in place feeling the energy emanating, transmitting.  My arms reach up like antenna, fingers slighting twitching, reading the air.  The field of energy felt larger than before, huge in fact, bigger than I could have ever imagined and I was not at the centre of it or even it sources I was just a contributor and a participant, and I could feel you there.

Folded compression.  The density of different layers. The rhythm of different layers. This folded compression must be the seed of the interest in the space of unfolding-ness, it is like the story of how all these structures fit together, it is the magic spaces in between.  Sound layering, sound from different parts of the room, playing to itself, playing to its history, predciting its future.

I am here and you are there. But I can feel you and we are also, simultaneously together.

More tomorrow.

Xxo

b