Is it possible just to be moved instead of reminding myself about silence? Constant letting go, releasing. Perhaps the writing offers ease since the remarks in my notebook are intertwined without a change in font size.
In the beginning of our collaboration I breathed carefully, with acts of care towards the others and each place we were in. To greet the figures hanging on the wall as well as the windows, the rows of chairs. This carefulness carried me perhaps toward the notion of silence as something to be careful about. Etymologically, carefulness refers to mournfulness and sadness, also anxiousness, applying attention that is painstaking.
The curved form of the grand piano carries a promise of music before playing. The piece 4’33 by John Cage has something similar to it. How does Anu’s playing and my hearing of it change when silence is invited as a backdrop that covers and pierces through all? The music travels through her and falls into the room. Later those first careful moments with Anu developed into a variety of movements and sounds. And yet there is a particular kind of open, rigorous, gentle manner in our actions. The notion of silence has multiplied the possibilities within ourselves, and thus, our collaboration, with its aim of developing interdisciplinary art or research, has not been a problem.
The strategies of attuning and letting go keep on changing, they support the happening. Last time I moved in line with the architectural space – first arranging the stuff that was around neatly, cleaning the room; a need for order. After organising the materiality of the space, I aligned myself with it by moving according to the lines, curves or spirals I perceived in it. The following session brought about the priority of intertwining with the room. A chiasmatic encounter in which to be part of the chairs and music stands, with no control or harmony. The urge to be part of the materiality, to lean against the wall, the floor, to become entwined with the chair. Also, the rhythm and the distance between objects in the room came to the forefront. Was there an effort to diminish the distance of this corporeality with that of the material surroundings? Sometimes the experience of the room as a breathing, moving entity flowing through all, and in contrast the firm figure of Petri as a mark of stability, sitting or standing. – Being-with and being distinct.
Drifting to an edge, where the familiar landmarks are non-existent. I find myself playing the other grand piano, standing and playing, the one-who-cannot-play enjoys sounds that appear through the touch of the fingertips, questioning, wondering touch, meanwhile listening to Anu’s playing. Spaciousness, joy, fingertips taking the lead, the rest of the body following without hesitation or constraint. Anu’s playing punctures the stiffness and the light of April, openness to the forthcoming spring. This familiar studio, yet its lived layers fold airily as blasts from the past. The shriek of a seagull, the hum of the traffic.
I pause and dwell in the sound of the grand piano, stopping underneath the masculine instrument, the resonance becomes almost unbearable, the sound quivers in the bones. The vast sound fills the room. In order to be what it is, the played music requires an enormous silence as a counterbalance. This body is only a resonance of something, a receiver. And yet, through the resonance movement happens. Plain, simple moves with a quiet torso, supple feet. To be part of something, not to destroy, or to make an impact, engagement without the need for a specific trace of movement. To encounter something inconceivable, to breathe the unknown in oneself, flesh is here even if it does not turn into words. Gaps, caverns, fissures.
On the windowsill pieces of large soft paper, sighing as a sign for something about to happen. Ice begins to melt. I found myself tearing the paper into shreds, smaller and smaller ones, Petri colours one shred red, Anu joins in the tearing. With that action words arrive, some kind of definitions for this particular moment in silence; I start to utter them aloud: torn, broken, white, red, shattered, lost, fucking, crushed silence, Petri joins in and lists more definitions. Do the shredded strips of paper spread across the floor mirror a break from the aim and bespeak for letting it go? Releasing the aim in order for silence to have an opportunity to appear? Screams, whispers of something ungraspable... The notion of silence enables noise to emerge.
Once in a horizontal position on the floor, I awoke to the appearance of silence piercing through the solar plexus, the weight of it opened a tunnel inside leading straight through the torso, legs, and out of the heels. A confirmation in flesh.
This unknown corporeality is connected to the surroundings through its own materiality and spatiality. Spaces inside corporeality as well as outside of it encounter silence, which is the transmitter in this exchange. This encounter passes through former ways of sensing place, its proportions, the distances in it and between the furniture, people, light, soundscape, texture of the floor and the ceiling. It offers a sight, a taste of airy darkness. Pieces of furniture around and their silence without people create a shadow that is accumulating. Everything changes when a person arrives and sits on a chair. Suddenly something is lost, hidden, has fled, and in its absence something else has taken its place. Interchange of realities where the shadows carry the mark of the possible impossibilities in this lived quietness.
In this instant neither anxiety nor worry are attached to this room. This brings a particular silence to my corporeality; the torso quietens, legs move quickly as a whisper, there is less and less of me as a knowing person, the known I starts its process of disappearance towards an airy moving body. Music supports in leaving the known I on the side, this being one strand in silence. The joy about moments when the movement carries the happening is simple and overwhelming. Listening opens the door for silence to enter, perhaps, perhaps. From where does this alertness spring?
The communion with the others pushes me to face the hidden things in myself, silence scrubs the skin. No longer is this a matter of vulnerability, since vulnerability is connected to oneself and ones traits. Silence as a transparent power exceeds all. Sometimes too heavy, at times light, joyful. Always meaningful in its inconceivability.
Delight appears; silence and corporeality approach each other, even if in an imaginary act. The ease and openness of the corporeal, conciliation with the self and the space. Is it a glimmering of infinity within holes that brings this strange consolation? The scissors of accomplishment do not cut, they do not delete the spectrum of experience.
Knots of silence where something grows intense and forms a density. The opportunity for a new reality appears. Could it be the moment after 35 minutes of the praxis when we all are motionless and still? Perhaps there was a seed for something to grow without us thoroughly realizing it.
All that has happened through my corporeality is in relation to others, non-human and human, and the combination of these colleagues and furniture makes this journey a particular one. A journey of artistic research – to trust in this praxis that keeps on unfolding in manifold ways and that has opened (too) many strands to follow, and that produces proximity and writing about these very encounters. And to have silence as a background since it cannot be known, only humbly approached. Perhaps to calm down once one ceases to chase silence. Only to breathe it. This allowing atmosphere has opened a path to question the efficiency of academic life, the pressures to produce more and more that one absorbs there. What about doing less, yet being alert about the potentialities that are around?
The praxis component brought huge questions: Who I am in this shared silence that has traces of a solitary silence? How do I inhabit the world by moving? At times silence became an obstacle without mercy. And then, by being forced to face the layers of dance techniques and habits of moving that were foregrounded, something started to change. Stubborn silence paved the way to pause and to continue. Through the rejection strategy – including non-speaking, non-stylized movements and non-continuous movement – silence created a gap in meaning making, and resisted the hegemony of language. Together with the strategies of attuning and letting go rejection formed a dynamic combination with which to approach silence, oneself, others, and the environment simultaneously.