'Slant' on 10/09/09

Julie Cleves, Carla Vendramin and Kimberley Harvey

the ceiling on my feet

my feet escape sideways

and my arms now oppose ceiling and floor

change points of reference

again and again

until even gravity could appear to happen in different directions

until it is just an arbitrary decision

wishing to be a non-decision

wishing to share power within space

and between our bodies

Carla Vendramin

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My artistic collaborator Deborah Black and I are beginning work on a new Dry Earth production, Childress. In this work we will be simultaneously presenting the embodied ecology of a small North Texas town (USA) AND the story of a young couple starting out their lives together during the time of the Great American Dust Bowl.

In our last rehearsal, Deborah mentioned her interest in exploring the methods used by the impressionists, and translating them into movement practices. The Wikipedia entry for Impressionism alone has stirred my excitement in this research direction:

Characteristics of Impressionist paintings include visible brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on light in its changing qualities (often accentuating the effects of the passage of time), ordinary subject matter, the inclusion of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience, and unusual visual angles.

I will report back on what scores/practices/discoveries/frustrations come of this.
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Encounters within my process...

by Carla Vendramin

I arrived in Llandecwyn – Wales for the body weather workshop 11-17 June/09, stunned by the beautiful landscape! The workshop was a great opportunity to find space to delve a bit more into processing my work, my dance, my training, my life. We went through a series of walks and experienced a series of proposals led by Frank. We also had, every day, a moment allocated to developing a personal project. My personal project was an encounter(s) with a tree(s). It is something that I was already attempting to research but just hadn't yet had the time and conditions to fully start. I was also thinking about what I refer to when I say that I work within a 'notion of corporality'. So what clearly am I referring to? I refer to corporality as what my body processes, retains and loses; the body's fluxes of information processed by the living, moving and sensory experience in association with the assimilation and response to the environment. Corporality includes one's, identity, culture, history, memory and, obviously, this is present either in a performance, training or daily life experience. A notion of corporality is to acknowledge that my training and performative body is not dissociated from my daily body and so my work happens through all these three situations. This is a philosophical foundation of my work but is this a visible practice? Is it visible in a performance as much as it is in training or daily life situations?

photo by Carla Vendramin

body/landscape workshop - Wales /June 2009
Led by Frank Van de Ven

Day 1
Walk to studio
Breathing – studio, 10 minutes to observe and lead breathing to parts of body (solo and in pairs)
Open circle - studio
Bag of bones - studio
Slow movement
Walk back home
Work on Personal Project (PP)

PP day 1 : walking on top of the wall
− surfaces: uneven and moving, element of risk
− trust: trust that the body will sort out whatever it needs to do
− falling: - oscillating: work on breathing and internal organs
- muscle tension: holding and letting go, oscillating

photo by Lucy Turner

Day 2
Walk in silence
Walk inside a river
Breathing – on hill
Joints proposal – on hill: (duets) to move up to 6 joints at the time in various directions – point to joint to move / brush to stop. How do you concentrate? How do your patterns happen?
Bag of bones – on hill: empting out / recognition of tensions and of the ability or inability to go deep into the body.
Walk and talk about PP in duets
Practice PP
Walk back home

PP day 2: On the Pine Tree
Discussing and practising the PP in duets (Lucy and me)
I went to a Pine tree and hanged on its branches in upside down position.
My questions:
− How to share? My body and the tree's body having the same importance.
− How to meet the tree and not force onto it?
− I realised that I needed to find out how to start. To encounter the tree and not to go directly to extreme positions, like going upside down.

photo by Lucy Turner

Day 3
Walk in silence
Slow Movement
Personal Project (PP)
Walk back home through a path along the river

PP day 3: Walk on the wall
My body moves by accessing slow movement, moving joints separately, my feet meet the rocks, the surfaces of the wall, memory, wind, memory of the trees in a park in Prague, there is a sheep on a rock like me, I felt the strength of my body balancing on the wall, my body is alive and I fell being alive, contracting-releasing, sorting out the next position without planing or directing to do it, letting the weather and landscape properties move me.
− I worked on continuous slow movement - Should I change rhythm and speed in order to challenge my patterns?

' The memory-image passes, by a dynamic progress, into the perception in which it becomes actual'.
Henri Bergson (Matter and Memory – Dover Publications, New York)

photo by Sarah Hopfinger

Day 4
Walk in silence
MB in the studio
Swimming in the lake
Walk back home
Breathing in duets – lie, stand, walk
Work with a string in duets
Personal Project

PP day 4: blindfold experience, led by Lisa
Experiencing texture and movement through Lisa's proposal with blindfolded eyes.

photo by Carla Vendramin

Day 5
Walk in silence
Bag of bones
Slow Movement in duets – one observes
Walk towards the estuary
Walk back home – lots of sheep field in the day
Personal Project (PP)
Peter Snow arrived today. He is a professor in Communication & Performances Studies – Monash – Melbourne/ AUS, he was in Min Tanaka's body weather group when Frank was and he writes about body weather. He gave a talk/lecture and we had good discussions after dinner.

PP day 5: writing about my process...
I create structure within the language and aesthetics that I choose. The structure establishes patterns that I choose. Any structure tends to fix patterns. It's a constant work the one of recognizing patterns, changing them or not to change them – and to confront with possibilities and impossibilities... building patterns through repetition and self imprisoning through repetition. The question of 'how to access' is constantly present. To access perception is always accompanied by doubt, and again repetition. How to access also turns to the question of 'how to communicate'. And how to communicate to access one's external world, in opposition to internal isolation? The question seems to go back to 'how do I perceive?', to try to understand the world with more clarity. My patterns interfere in this process because they predetermine how I communicate and perceive the world. Fixed patterns determine identity, form, structure and fixed patterns give comfort. To change patterns can bring an uncomfortable sensation, uneasy and unsure. Judgement. How to discover something new? How to go out from a pattern? Or to be creating another pattern? De-satisfaction comes with expectation...... There are the things I know about myself, about my body, about my patterns of movement and behaviour (which are also established by identity). There are the things I think that I know (but ???) . And there are the things I don't know. Dialogues of me and me!!!

' That is to say pure perception exists only in theory, in fact it is always mixed with affection'.
Henri Bergson
(Matter and Memory – Dover Publications, New York)

Day 6
Walk in silence
Open circle
Bag of bones
Be moved by the other – group of 4 people
Be moved by the other using memory from previous proposal – in duet, one observes
To disappear – in duet
Walk – meet the horses on the hill
Walk back home
Work on Personal Project
Presentation of personal projects: Dagmara, Katie, Krystian, Simone and Neil.
Talks and discussions after dinner get intense. It is great to have Peter with us!

photo by Carla Vendramin

PP Day 6: I found the tree and location to present my PP:
An encounter between a tree's body and my body.
I set the things I was going to work on for the presentation of my PP:

1. Work on the 4 base tasks:
- Working on the corporal physical consistency of skin, bones, muscles and internal organs (breathing and oscillating), in encounter with the tree's body consistency.
- Hanging the body through the action of gravity.
- Working on surfaces, the connections between the tree's body and my body.
- Taking the tree's height as part of the embodiment process of experimenting the tree's properties. Climbing to a certain height and falling from there.

2. First empty out (to start)

3. I thought about setting tasks for the group (audience) ...
− What thoughts and questions would be risen with the work? For me and for the audience?
− Tasks to the audience: walk in silence to go to the location. Make snapshots of moments that, for some reason, you think are relevant. (so snapshots, by camera or memory that can be related to a note).

Day 7
Presentation of Personal projects: Carla, Lisa, Lucy and Sarah.
Personal projects feedbacks
Closing the workshop - 10 minutes of 'immobility'

Presentation of my personal project...

photo by Lucy Turner

Carla in the tree
by Kate Lawrence

Framed by branches
She is captured in wind and rain
Cradled by a tree which rocks her gently
Her body rests against branches
Her face,
eyes closed,
feels the rain and the wind
She slides down branches
Feet and hands curl
How did she get there?
Was she blown by the wind?
I don't think she climbed the tree
Perhaps she has always been there.

photo by Lucy Turner

I got up about 6:30am and walked to the tree's site at about seven. Walking to the tree's site was a way into the work that I was about to start. Through the whole workshop I've been searching for working with specificity and I had specific tasks to work on my personal project. I actually didn't work only specifically on the tasks that I had set before but also incorporated what I had experienced through the workshop (bag of bones, breathing, being moved by the outside...). I also set tasks to the group. They were to meet at 8am and walk in silence to the tree's site, led by Lucy. Meeting at 8am and starting the day with walking in silence was, at that point, our daily routine. I think this maybe meant that the group, on their arrival at the tree's site, was in a state of good connectivity to watch the work.

One bit of feedback I had was that the tree, me and the group became one landscape. Thinking about 'how to access' … not only in this personal project presentation... I think about the interactions between GIVER and RECEIVER in my work. Of course, there are the giver-receiver relationships in some of the body weather activities and in some of the ones Frank proposed. There is the mediation between giver and receiver and what makes them communicate. I also think of a performance situation as a giver and receiver situation. So I try to think about ways in which the audience is, to a certain extent, active. Not being only the receiver, as passive watchers. How does this make for more propitious conditions for connectivity? How do I observe patterns of connectivity and communication? Patterns happen everywhere. From my body to other outsider situations. Into and out from the body. The observation of patterns is key to what I do.

I don't know if a 'notion of corporality' could be seen when I presented my personal project. I don't know if it can be seen clearly in the aesthetic of the work and how my body moves. What I know is that, in order to do my work and therefore that presentation, I had to go through my personal process, which incorporates a 'notion of corporality'.

Back in London, I am still into all these questions, training through my daily life. These are questions that already existed before but that the exercise of questioning again takes further.

photo by Carla Vendramin

Walking my feet on the pavement,
I remember the proprioception of the hills.
I can still be conscious of the pressure of my feet on the ground.
I am conscious of the land shift.
What changes in here...
while I shake inside the tube,
where I don't want to take deep breaths.
Where there is no choice,
there is adaptation,
adaptation and resistance,
and collapsing and adaptation...
as I am alive in this environment.
The city informs and forms my body.

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The Plant! The Plant is upright!

Photograph by Heidrun Löhr of Michelle Outram in 'Language of Loss', Nikki Heywood 2007.

The plant and I. The pile of couches. The floor.
A rosemary bush.

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Transference of Properties - tool for connection

Body: Rachel Sweeney, Dartmoor, Devon UK. Creator: ROCKface (Orr & Sweeney) during Mapping Project, March 2007.

The softness of this environment - the grass between her fingers, the twigs above her head, the only tree for miles, shelters her from the open, wild moor - is reflected in the softness of her cheeks, eyes, mouth, touch. This is the transference of properties.
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You Only Need Your Skeleton ... B O N E S ...

TRE Task 2 - : For Marnie from Carla
Look at the skeleton in relation to the centre. Observe what is the effort of your muscles.

Taken from Feldenkrais:
You can rely on your skeleton to move rather than relying on a muscular action. The format and the connections of the bones with the muscles and ligaments and tendons. So the effort that I make and how I make it. WOrking in training - indoors environment.
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A Meeting of Two Bodies: Me & Tree

TRE Task 2 -
Approach as an encounter between two bodies

Task for Carla whilst at Frank van de Ven Bodyweather choreographic / body|landscape workshop: Focus on continuing work with encounters between tree body and my body

Marnie proposes Carla to focus on the difference and the transition between passiveness and action in terms of the transference of properties between the two bodies.

What are the properties that you engage with?

working on: hanging body,surfaces, climb

how I can work my senses to prepare my body
Based from ROCKface workshop at CCANW - blindfold activity and stamina. My senses were more alive. Physically prepared to work on tree. Risking going higher. Body contact with tree greater, to hang and fall

mix of passivity and activity to fall.
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Transnational Research Exchange - Centre through Muscular Response

Focusing on my centre:
Only yet exploring the question from training sessions in studio.
It was about strength / my power base.
My ability to go where I want. To be versitile in terms of body action.
Could go further - direct - deeper in the movement within MB Bodyweather MB training indoors, not leading
"constantly re-engaging with myself through the centre"
constantly reflection in action - and knowledge in action.
it is a memory
This is an imaging. I cannot see insode myself,
A constant re-collection, many many times a day, moment by moment.

where is your centre?
lower torso

had an early recognition ( as child) of 'requiring' - engaging abdomnals
understood the abdomnals muscle action towards spide / work with breathinh
centre is a movement inwards and outwards
3 points - belly naibow - pelvic floor - alow 3 draws up - triangule
I experienced a full change in my stance.
My recent experience in a training (indoors) environment, I have found I also have this movement around my girdle from the back and up. This as a third movement. Brilliant.
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External Locus of Control - WIND

Body state variations in focusing on the presence of wind. Movement Lab 09. Creator: Marnie Orr. Bodies (L-R):Caitlin McLouglin; Michelle Outram; Justin Morrissey. City Beach, Perth, Australia, Jan-Feb 09.
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Workshop : 'Urban Interaction by a Movement Ensemble'

This workshop happened on the 16th May/09, and was my initial investment to begin this movement research. With this research I want to create a collective action which moves through the city. I want to investigate which changes happen in the perception of the body and the city dynamics and for that, I imagine that a large number of people would be effective.

In this first workshop I had only 5 people who worked together for a couple of hours. Although it wasn't enough to fully develop my initial proposal, it was the beginning to create a medium to organize my queries and thinking about the strategies of working to be used.

Body work : I tried to create simple physical tasks that could be accessible and could lead to the development of a bigger complexity within the group working together. The basic elements I worked on were:

- sense of gravity / body weight
- visual sensory, peripheral and direct focus
- sense of position, kinesthesia
- awareness of movement as moving as a group
- awareness of the space

I worked with these activities:
- catching and throwing a ball: warm up which progressively increases stamina, work with sense of gravity, visual sensory, awareness of space and group.
- somatic warm up: warm up which work with sense of gravity and grounding.
- rolling-sitting-standing-walking: work with sense of positioning, weight distribution, sense of gravity, use of different speeds and directions.
- group walks : awareness of the space / moving as a group / awareness of the timing of the group to stop and go.
- working with the idea of the group as a 'fish shoal'.
- working with the idea of the group to 'condensate'.
- working on creating a group vibration which initiates through stamping feet on the ground.

In this work I consider essential to have a specific activity that leads to observe the stimuli that the city informs the body, (in a de terminated road over set period of time). I didn't have the opportunity to develop this activity in this first workshop. Also, I couldn't develop activities to observe changes in awareness passing from studio to the space outside and vice-versa. We did the body work in the studio and went directly outside to perform two trajectories on the Liverpool Road, Islington, London.

Marnie, from the task you gave me, working with pedestrian body, I selected the properties: speed relation, weight distribution, density and tension. The result from this workshop is the beginning to format how I'll use these properties, so the parameters of each activity need to be more defined.

I was interested in creating 'density' and 'tension' within the group actions 'condensate' and 'vibrate'- vibrating through stamping feet on the ground. A simple action of getting all the group together to 'condensate', first of all, needs to break down people's ideal of personal space ( and this is a different experience for each individual and within different cultures). Again, the work needs to be develop over a much longer period of time and to have more precise parameters from the very beginning. I think that the idea of 'vibrate' has a good potential through the stomping feet, specially if working with a direct, focused and increasing intensity. I'd like to experiment doing this with a large group that 'condensate' to the extreme and start to 'vibrate' from there.

Many thanks to Cilas, Derek , Jane, Lauren and Romi for volunteer in this first workshop.
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water reeds echo in fingertips
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Simple relation is beautiful
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Practising intercontinentally and working / meeting online

We'll set tasks to each other, choosing something to work on that relates to where we already are in our investigative process.
Sunday10May2009 11:25

Marnie to Carla
Marnie working towards a task for Carla:
Pedestrian Body -
What are the physical charactristics of a pedestrian body?
Describe these characteristics according to the physical properties
weight distribution
speed relation
Sunday10May2009 11:26

Carla to Marnie
Marnie, you work is about terrain and adaptations to the terrain, imersivity, changes body states.
Sunday10May2009 11:35

Marnie to Carla
In reflection I now recognise the very different focuses between Dartmoor, InVivo and the Aus-based projects.
Sunday10May2009 11:36

Marnie to Carla
I recognize in our work these principles of practice:

Carla to Marnie
yes. and also process driven
Sunday10May2009 11:37

Marnie to Carla
These are the foundations of all the body/environment explorations.
But the FOCUS has been different
InVivo was more about the group
Sunday10May2009 11:40

Dartmoor was about: proprioception | kinesthetic relation | mapping
Sunday10May2009 11:43

Kalamunda/Bridgetown was about: individual process | relation to the environment as a person - inhabitation, just being there. Very different from the intensive internal/sensory relation. But a relation outwards - bringing the self out of the body - maybe about identity???
Sunday10May2009 11:43

Carla to Marnie
Working about Terrain works with the idea of country (in the aboriginal concept) - how the body inhabits terrain but terrain not only as surface but earth/environment
Sunday10May2009 11:43

Marnie to Carla
it's meaning
Sunday10May2009 11:44

Carla to Marnie
With the idea of terrain, I'm thinking about the centre of the body with earth, not just at surface - inhabiting terrain at a macro level. Not just surface of my feet.
as compared to
inhabiting terrain - related to the earth, not based on surfaces. Centre of the body, centre of the earth.
Work around this is working with the centre of the body.
Also - Terrain does not need to be in relation to the surface eg of my feet - but eg with the trees...?
Sunday10May2009 11:49

Carla to Marnie: I'm always coming back to looking in space - always changing the gravitational direction
Sunday10May2009 11:52
Marnie is working with process driven but working towards specific outcome
Marnie Orr
Sunday10May2009 11:57

Marnie to Carla: presence | identifying properties to be able to work with them eg. speed = direction - angles - timing - | walking boy | gaze | relation = extension | BASIC TRAINING rather than creative process. Not so internal. Looking at strategies.
eg. Exeter workshop @ CCANW --> creative. Blindfold, individual work - we got to a point of deep experience with the participants. I don't think that was so evidnt even in the 5 weeks of work. Or, it occurred, but it wasn't at a precise moment. It happenned accumulativly, eg. especially with Maitland.
Sunday10May2009 12:00

Marnie to Carla: The focus was broad and changing. We presented 3 times, in very different circumstances, in very different sites. We are building a palette of experience, rather than intensive inward moments as was with the CCANW workshop.
Sunday10May2009 12:03

Carla to Marnie
This is your task: how your body can inhabit terrain working phisicaly with your centre and observing your presence in the environment
Marnie Orr
Sunday10May2009 12:04
Can you be more specific?
Sunday10May2009 12:05

working with my centre to give the direction and speeds and diff qualities in realtion to terrain - different textures of terrain - work physically with a specific focus.
Sunday10May2009 12:06

Carla to Marnie
These are your questions:
what changes happens with your presence in the environment when choosing a specific focus? your centre?
Sunday10May2009 12:07

then you maybe can see how you work with your presence in the environmet when NOT having a specific focus
Sunday10May2009 12:08

Marnie to Carla
I'm relating this to MACRO | MICRO investigation
Sunday10May2009 12:09

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