<

PART 1


EXPLORATION PERIOD: February - March 2022


During this phase, we re-engaged with our notebooks, memories and recording conversations from the previous PHASE of practice research, in order to identify and explore the potential for prompts/scores therein. What did we actually do? What were we actually exploring in practice? Identified scores/prompts/exercises were also added to the record of previous activity. 

PART 2

 

EXPLORATION DATE: 24.03.2022

 


FOCUS/PRACTICE: Conversation-as-Material (I) as a shared practice. The focus of this conversation practice was the preceding period of exploration during which we revisited the transcript material from the whole of the previous period of exploration, seeing if we could 'extract' prompt, cues, triggers, questions, provocations within that material for future explorations. Some of those extracts can be found towards the right side of this page.


STRUCTURE OF PRACTICE


Speaker is not visible (masks camera with tape), listener has back turned, active listening.


0. Arrival (lying down or movement practice) [10 mins]

1. Speaking/listening: taking turns facing [5 mins each]

2. Speaking/listening: taking turns facing [5 mins each]

3. Speaking/listening: taking turns facing [10 mins each]

4. Speaking/listening: taking turns facing [5 mins each]

 

'SCORE' FOR CONVERSATION PRACTICE

- Take a moment to tune into the chosen object/focus of exploration – this could involve a period of recollection, or looking back at notes, sketches, wordings that relate to the object/focus of exploration, or by noting/drawing/diagramming.

- Connect and try to stay connected with your direct experience.

- Feel free to speak before knowing what it is that you want to say – thinking through speaking.

- Feel free to speak in single words, partial phrases, half sentences, and thought fragments.

- Allow for vulnerability and embarrassment – for wrestling with, stumbling and falling over one’s words.

- Consider different speeds and rhythms. Allow for silence.

- Approach listening to the other as an aesthetic practice.

Perpetuating. Sensation. Between. Reveals.

 

Seeing. Listening. Dorsal voicing.

 

Gravity and grace. A call for rotation. Unseen. Unknown.

 

Intrigues. Perpetuated.

 

Mouth, skin, eyes. Surfaces. Surveying contact.

 

The twist, the resistance. Twisting feels more like what happens, turning is a possibility.

 

Voice as a kind of listening.

 

Transition between. Something about. Releasing. Uncertainty. Mutual.

 

Periphery. Blurring. Listening. Dissolving. Shadowy spaces. Belowness and backness. Behindness. Beneathness.

 

So paper-like, so fragile – it is touching, there is a touch to it.

 

Allowing the front and the back to cooperate more - the qualities of thinking that are connected with the front and the back to cooperate more.

 

What’s involved and what doesn’t need to be involved?

 

Thinking of the body as a field of cooperation.

 

the back seeping around the sides of the body

 

Letting. Turning. Ways of. Listening. Allowing things. Pleasure of cooperation. Surrender. Becoming other.

 

To complicate. To unsettle. Orientate differently.

 

Stilling. Settling, Leaning. Unraveling. Transition.

 

messy and murky - there is some murkiness in the back

 

Already in the thing. Movement. Coming next. Attention.

Voicing. Anatomical. Thinking.

 

Behindness has different qualities of uncertainty. What’s unknown and dark has a lot to do with fear. And there is an excitement in fear.

 

A sort of oblique or indirect sense of listening, a sense of periphery, the sides of what can be heard. The sense of the back seeping around the side of the body or holding the experience of the body in a kind of envelope of experience.

 

GRAVITY/ BREATHING

 

[Exploring] breathing and gravity, it’s also a sort of conversation. They are forces. This conversation of the breathing and gravitational force, a conversation between two different motions.

 

[Tuning] into this relationship between holding on and fighting gravity, and the dropping and the sinking and letting myself be held.

 

How much am I following, allowing myself to follow gravity?

 

Working with the forces of gravity.

 

Using the different kind of momentum in which gravity gets worked with as a certain kind of force. 

 

Playing with gravity and being willing to yield into gravity.

 

Duet between the skeleton and gravity.

 

The experience of this back breathing, being able to soften into a sense of the breathing into the back and awareness of the breath. 

 

Gravity gets worked with as a kind of force, a quality of relaxing or letting go or releasing.

 

There is something to do with protection and exposure, working with the forces of gravity and the possibilities of rotating the spine, bending the spine, leading or letting another thing lead.

 

Trying to activate an antidote to that next, next, next, with a sense of not having gravity acting on the body.

 

Working with the forces of gravity and the possibilities of rotating the spine, bending the spine, twisting at the waist.

 

Aware of my feet on the floor this invisible line of gravity, of a vertical axis.

 

Gravity and grace dynamic and alive and vibrant and full of feeling.

 

Something about the dropping back, not necessarily back, but letting go, dropping something that let’s something else move up and out, how the force of gravity allows the expanse of the body.

 

It’s also to do with a kind of receptivity to the pull of gravity, to just let the body be willing to work with gravity rather than just tensioning all the time, always tensioning against gravity.

 

This sort of pull of gravity on the way down and the push of the body back to come to standing.

 

Playing with gravity, being willing to yield into gravity.

 

Gravity acting on the body. Somehow a different orientation, a relationship to gravity. There is a kind of releasing into gravity, a releasing of weight. And the sense of not having gravity acting on the body.

SUPPORT/CONTACT

 

[Exploring] feed-back from floor or wall, feed-back from surface, [the] desire for feedback from another person, a counterforce.

 

Letting myself be held. Can I let myself be held, and what can I let go of, and what can I surrender? Releasing and surrendering and letting go of some of the holding. [Letting] the sense of contact show up, gradually contact shows up.

 

The relationship to the floor as a plane of contact.

 

Sensing of the weight distributed … something reconfigured, a connection to the world. To be low down. Sensing the beginning of the touch and the not touch.

 

Sensing in contact: what does it open up for me? 

 

[Exploring] a sense of force or pressure against which to push; some kind of force or resistance against which to push with the back. The dynamic of a push and a pull a force that you are working with.

FRONT/BACK – BEYOND BINARY

 

Tuning into the back, softening the front, softens the front, it allows front to drop back, expectation drops, time drops, or body drops into another sense of time, eyes fall into the body, front falls back.

 

What is it to be upright? [Becoming] aware of the sense of frontality [and how] experience is shaped by [that]?

 

[Noticing] the movements that happen in the stillness of just standing. All these resistances to not move, to let the body move but not to move. Forces acting on the body pulling, holding, releasing. 

 

[Tuning] into what arises, or what unfolds, once you have let go, so for it not only to be about this undoing of uprightness, but actually, just to really tune into what unfolds or what opens up as an experience in its own right, if you really settle into that.

 

[Getting] closer to a sense of the agility of the back, rather than its stillness or static-ness. [Exploring] the fluidity or the movement of the back. How to get beyond [dorsality] just being about not being upright but actually to really see what does it actually do on its own terms. What can be sensed otherwise?

 

The back as not opposite of the front, not falling into a binary. Where does the back end or begin? Not even [being] about back-front.

 

Taking care of the transitions the side-ness of one’s operations.

 

Attention to the transitions. Dissolving this binary between the front and the back. Opening up a space between the front and the back as a site of a different kind of investigation. 

 

Between discipline and curiosity: dissolving of the binary between front and back, or even between discipline and curiosity. What would be the sides of discipline and curiosity, what is the transition space between discipline and curiosity and how to activate that?

 

Allowing the front and the back to cooperate more, and the qualities of thinking that are connected with the front and the back to cooperate more. Rather than it being this either/or, exploring the possibility of cooperation. How do these various modes of experience and of thinking experience cooperate within the whole experience of thinking?

 

Recognising the mutual relationship with the front and the back. Bringing a quality of backness into the front.

 

Exploring the line between the front and the back as graded, blurred. Dissolving of those differentiated categories.

 

Activating this side space that is neither up nor down, nor front nor back, but is really looking at a range. 

 

How can exploring the middle point or halfway open up a different kind of register of sensation and awareness? This kind of middle point or middle range that’s neither fully back, nor fully front, nor fully open nor fully closed. There’s this range of experience that falls a bit outside the parameters of language or the tendency in language to fix things as one or the other. 

 

To really explore the participation of the thoracic spine in movement and in being in the world.

 

This pleasure of participating - to make the movement happen.

BACK-NESS

 

What is a back, what’s the back then? Is it all these points of contact or the anatomy of the back itself? Rolling a little to the side is that still the back if it’s in contact with the floor and are the backs of the heels the back. If we are talking about the back, what does it mean really? 

 

How might I start to activate the back in its aliveness, as a field of live experience, living experience rather than this resting passive inert sort of space? 

 

Sensing of a horizontal plane.

 

[Exploring] the back as a sort of gateway into a proprioceptive capacity, a way of practicing that capacity, or nurturing that capacity. Nurturing one’s proprioceptive capacity, and what kind of being and thinking and observing comes from that as a ground?

 

[Exploring] a sense of active passivity; passivity as active and dynamic and alive and vibrant and full of feeling.

 

[Between] protection and exposure.

 

[Between] spine, back and behind.

 

[Exploring] the back as a kind of density and the depth of the body. Where does the back begin/end in terms of the interior of the body? Sensing of the unseen surfaces of the body.

 

[Attending] to those zones that are somehow concealed or hidden or not accessible or unknown in a way. [How does] the less known have the capacity to support or hold a certain kind of experience?

FOLDING

 

To really tune into what opens up or what unfolds as an experience in its own right.

 

This coming into down the crouch, the folded down, further down into hands and knees … and that has more animal-like sensations. A different relationship going into the back.

 

Folding without putting the hand down, not worrying about falling over. And then this coming into down, and all these images of women, old and ancient images of the crouch, the folded down.

 

Twisting feels more like what happens; turning is a possibility. I am thinking about twisting and sometimes you see a fold on the skin. What appears on the skin or in the folds and surfaces?

 

A complex system somehow of unfolding, bending, twisting, and physically working. Initiating different kinds of spirals and twists in the body, a complex system somehow of unfolding, bending, twisting, and physically working with that in the transition.

 

Fold / Unfold

 

Allowing the back to have its own agency, to really tune into what unfolds or what opens up as an experience in its own right.

 

This coming into down, the folding down, the crouch, this coming down further to hands and knees.

ATTENTION/LISTENING/LOOKING

 

[Exploring] a different kind of gaze, a different kind of gaze: almost like the liquid of the eye is dropping back into its orbit, into the actual socket.

 

Releasing expectations and particularly habits of control which also are habits of the eyes in a way.

 

Letting things arrive rather than reaching out. To do with non-grasping. If you do take the attention more into the back, just letting things come, letting things arise or arrive. How to let things come, but only be how to activate a quality of passivity that is also very alert and active. 

 

Listening from behind it also activates the body. The difference between a narrow focussed concentration, through the eyes to a certain extent and this wider peripheral more expansive experience or awareness.

 

Paying attention to within a much bigger sense of awareness of the wider surroundings.

 

What does taking the awareness into the back enable? 

 

[Letting] the eyes get used to being in a more back-oriented way.

 

[Relaxing] the eyes to take the attention back.

 

Expanding the range of awareness not only towards three-dimensionality, but also towards 360 degrees. There is all this unknown terrain that is just here. This sense of 360 awareness. [Exploring] in terms of an external aspect, then bringing the awareness much more into the sense of the three dimensionality of the interior.

 

Eyes: open/closed – exploring the materiality of the eyes. Exploring how when they are opening, when they are open, they don’t have to see or understand. Light just falling in - staying soft and blurred. Scanning. Blurring. What happens when the eyes drop back or when some attention drops away?

 

The sense of the blur looking through the kind of gap of the eye, slight slant of the eye.

Taking this idea of the blur, the not fully focused, these out of focus edges, the blur, the not-yet-in-focus.

 

Am I really experiencing the sense of the back or am I just thinking about the experience of the back. Is this a direct experience, or a thought I am having about experience? [Exploring this transition]

 

Activating a more three-dimensional sense of listening or certainly a sort of oblique or indirect sense of listening, a sense of periphery, the sides of what can be heard. Listening often allied very closely with is being looking at, as if it’s at the service of sight, in the service of frontality. Tuning into, activating listening from the perspective of the back, but also from the sides: an oblique diagonal kind of listening. 

 

Eyes touching the surfaces of things: a sense of scanning, a different kind of possibility with the eyes.

 

Disorientation / Orientation

 

Attuned Attention Arrive

 

Time Twisting

 

Nuance

 

Scanning

 

Different combinations of tending towards seeing and listening, a different kind of spaciousness which has a different kind of imagery dark rather than light, low orientation, low as in not social or not language based, a link with low as in behind.

TIME

 

Exploring the front and the back and how this can create different sensations of duration and time.

 

How to activate the back as a dynamic field the sensation of time, how this can create different sensations of duration and of time.

 

Something about feeling able to rest in the situation or being able to reside in the situation, or being able to reside, to lean back, taking time. Something about taking time.

 

Expectation drops, time drops, the body drops into another sense of time.

 

A sense of dorsality moving away from the future in a sense, a sense of time going backwards, going back in time.

 

Taking time actually, there is something about taking time.

 

Leaning into the unknown future

FIELD OF FORCES / COOPERATION/RESISTANCE

 

[Noticing] all these different forces and resistances and limits to the material body.

 

[Between] standing up and walking, between standing and folding forward noticing how complex it is, and all these things of bending and curving and dropping and lifting and turning and all these shifts of weight. Slowing that process down, but not slow motion.

 

Leading or letting another thing lead.

 

Reconfiguring how we are moving brings attention to these pulls or forces that act upon us or can be activated or isolated.

 

An idea of delay, what starts a turn or a twist, what is later, spiral, delays that happen.

 

[Shifting] the place of where the movement is orientated from.

 

[Noticing] all the asymmetries of the body that emerge.

 

Symmetry/asymmetry: if things are too symmetrical they can become or feel more passive. Asymmetry feeds back into the body stimulates to understand. It keeps working the mind’s interest, it intrigues. Maybe it triggers some self-generation, the moving that self-generates the body or reminds the body it is a body.

 

Tending towards right or left. Bodies are not stable - there’s a tendency to lean a little this way or that way, forwards, backwards.

 

Walking backwards: to operate differently has to be reconfigured. Unraveling of the habit - a surprisingly fresh perspective, shifts your perspective. Operating anticlockwise. Moving backwards, taking the joints in the direction that they don’t very often travel in. How does this shift of orientation within the body affect we move through the world and the way that we perceive the world? The awkwardness of the opposite, the awkwardness of moving the limbs opposite to habit. Exploring the possibility of pleasure in this.

 

The dominance of walking as our dominant movement orientation through the world and all these different possibilities of swimming and crawling and dragging the body and how this activates different kinds of configurations and relationships of the body, and different kinds of sense.

 

Letting Liquid Leaning

 

Working Ground

 

Restlessness / Stillness

 

Renouncing Habits

 

There being just enough pressure or just enough resistance to bring something into formation.

 

Exploring the space between reactive gestures and creative response.

 

A field of cooperation. Pleasure of cooperation. The pleasure of the cooperation of the body and the ground and the environment.

 

The sense of the cooperation of the body, what’s involved and what doesn’t need to be involved. Thinking of the body as a field of cooperation.

 

How do these various modes of experience in the thinking cooperate with the whole experience of thinking?

 

Stripping out or exploring the possibility of stripping out anything that doesn’t need to be really involved but on the other hand it was to do with testing the potential within that movement.

 

Reconfiguring how we are moving brings attention to these pulls and forces, that act upon us, that can be activated or isolated. And those kinds of associations of non-movement and passivity and inaction trying to complicate or unsettle the sense of the binary between the back and the front.

 

Confronted with the instability of balance.

 

Very simply what the body has to do, or what breathing has to do in order to balance on one leg, or move backwards, or orientate differently.

 

Shift the balance, recalibrate the balance in a way

LANGUAGE/VOICING/ARTICULATION

 

Dwelling in this space of the not fully formed, residing in this space of the not fully formed … not having to force it into formation, not even to do with forcing it into language. Still a speaking, [not] without any words, but feeling like there was a way of residing in that differently. 

 

[Drawing] on this well of unformness: to come from that space and to really try and bring something into experience, not into experience because its already in experience, but bringing something into articulation, [into language].

 

[Exploring] voice as a kind of listening, a kind of voice that can drop, a more thinking, drifting, experiential voice. Relax into a sense of listening to oneself. A kind of voicing like speaking to oneself, listening to oneself. This dorsal listening to oneself.

 

[Playing with] voicing, a dorsal voice as a way of holding open a space, as part of listening.

 

To explore a sense of unseen, or unknown in relationship to the voice.

 

[Letting go of the] pressure of projection. Dropping into the body voicing that feels like it has the lungs behind it somehow, or the organs behind it.

 

Letting the thoughts just come rather than feeling the pressure to speak. Leaning back or spending time or residing in thinking, or even memory. [Voicing] into a void, a thinking-aloud. Leaning back into thinking, listening to one’s own thinking, a thinking that emerges through the voicing. This listening-thinking-voicing. Take a moment. The sense of connection with the voicing, the air, the breath.

 

Taking attention to the sides of language, to the grey areas of language.

How?

 

Maybe there is a kind of voice that can drop, something to do with a more thinking, drifting, experiential voice. How I might bring voicing into this, opening up spaces also taking this, my body here sitting?

 

How do these various modes of experience in the thinking cooperate with the whole experience of thinking?

 

How voicing a dorsal voice creates spaces or is part of listening a sort of softening?

 

How do we move through the world, and how does this shift in orientation affect how we move through the world and the way that we perceive the world?

 

How are our ways of moving and being in the world shaped by how we move and be in the world?

 

Reconfiguring how we are moving brings attention to these pulls and forces, that act upon us, that can be activated or isolated.

 

Reconfiguring how muscles and joints and things connect with each other – unravelling of the habit, it shifts your perspective.

 

How do these binaries create a field, a dynamic field?

 

How can we also listen from the sides?

 

How can we just see, and let light come in? Letting light come in, letting things arrive rather than reaching out.

 

How weight changes resisting, dropping, settling, sinking … it almost goes so low that you can start to float.

 

How the chair and the body become a kind of chair-body thing?

 

How to let things come, to activate a quality of passivity that is also very alert and active?

 

How do we lean into some part of what we have experienced, or what we know or what we think we know or get retriggered or reconnected?

 

How might that passivity be active and dynamic and alive and vibrant and full of feeling?

 

How might participation of a fuller range of the body, change the sense of connection and what worlds start to emerge in a way?

Further Questions

 

Really trying to nurture a proprioceptive capacity - what kind of being and thinking and observing comes from that as a ground?

 

What does it mean if I keep my attention in the back while doing that?

 

Where does the back begin in terms of the interior of the body? But where does the back begin, and where does it turn into the interior of the body?

 

What would be the sides of discipline and curiosity, the transition space between discipline and curiosity and how to activate that?

 

What is it to talk or even to think from the back-ness? What is it to talk or even think from the back, a different kind of thinking?

 

What is participating that doesn’t need to participate? Does thought, does thinking, always need to participate in action? And what does the thinking-participating-in-action do?

 

Can I let myself be held and what can I let go of and what can I surrender?

 

With more attention does a different kind of experiential sensation shows itself?

 

What gets lost or what falls away in our capacity if we are not careful, out of habit or ease or sometimes inefficiency?

 

Am I really experiencing a sense of the back or am I just thinking about the experience of the back? Is this a direct experience or a thought I am having about experience?

 

What am I guarding my back against? What is it not allowing for, by not having this space around the back, for thinking in a way?

 

Do I really know what it is to be upright?

 

What starts a turn or a twist what comes later, spirals, delays that happen?