This piece by Christin Call is in response to two workshops at Velocity’s 2013 Seattle Festival of Dance Improvisation (SFDI).
Vanessa DeWolf’s Workshop: Unfortunately this happened in the darkness and was mostly lost
I had a knee named Neville, a cauliflower called Corrinda and the saliva of the sallyforth slurping up the difficulties that arise from the layering of experience as a practice, as a mode of investigatory sensation, as a means to open up the dimensionality of language, of image, of embodied motion. There was a lot of looking from the eyebulbs as if they could sprout crocus. There was some giving up temporarily to begin again, this time as a man, now by removing a sock with importance, maybe also by lying down in stillness and asking, “What denial of pheromones is cunning your reticence??”
The problem isn’t so much the schism between the vocabularies of poetry, photography (or other visual art), and movement, as all are experienced by the third party through the senses. It is the ways we’ve built the doorways between them; they aren’t big enough! Meanwhile, confusion is martyring itself on the butcher’s block without knowing it has a spinal cord of steel.
I name this part “Shlinkyshmuck and the Awwshucks Sisters Band” after the great, heartwarming act of the second World War that allowed shellshocked soldiers to shoulder off their burdens for an hour of All-American entertainment, forgetting that laughter happens because you are wrecked in the narrow space of the esophagus.
Jill Sigman’s Workshop: Movement and Living Systems
Permaculture. It’s utilitarianism as applied to humans and their environment, where the good of both is taken into account and the balance lies in defining where both get the most benefit and least harm. Compromise in order to thrive, of course not just for the sake of giving in, but for the sake of increasing pleasure to existence! As an approach it mirrors John Stuart Mill’s preferred definition of nature as the inherent properties and laws of an object or phenomenon. Water will boil at one hundred degrees Celsius. A boulder pushed over the edge of a cliff will fall downward.
This contrasts with the notion of “to be one with nature,” in which nature is something separate from humans and human activity. That nature is more “true” than the human, and so nature must be emulated and humanness repressed. Instead, we will think of humans as incapable of being separate from nature, obedient to all laws of physics and all scientific properties. Anything that is human or occupies human affairs is inscribed inside the large circle that is nature.
Mill says about art then, that it is “…as much nature as anything else; and everything which is artificial is natural—art has no independent powers of its own; art is but the employment of the powers of nature for an end.” Art can be thought of as a guiding of natural principles towards far-reaching, usually individual purposes. Permaculture can be thought of as a guiding of natural principles towards mutually beneficentl living between people and their environment. The overlap is that the nature of things merely is, and that thing that is can be guided towards greater happiness and equilibrium.
The process can be called Mindfulness. Which begins with observation. Keen in detail, overarching in scope. Transferring into description of the self in relation to the observation: reflection and emotion identification, transcription of the senses into language/image/gesture, whether literal or abstract. This will have girth but not judgment. Not whether you, the thing, or the event is good or bad. Return the gesture of your own non-judgment with acknowledgment. A stimulation to action. That physical change from static to active, the redistribution of air molecules that can be called “dance.”
Nobody knows Christin Call the dancer/choreographer/poet/artist, explainable by part-existential, part-marketing reasons. As a fair weather critic she has written articles for F5, Kansas City Review, The Ulrich Museum, SeattleDances, and now, happily, STANCE. Her poems have appeared in the lively journals Boston Review, Eastwesterly Review, KNOCK, and Anemone Sidecar. The Mountain? The Mountain., her self-published book of poems, is available through Lulupress.com.