Thursday, January 24, 2008

my Shadow-self and I

As I mentioned in the earlier entry I am in a class called Flesh and Form that is exploring all sorts of ways of thinking about the body and movement and the daily rhythem and movement we are doing ..and so on and so forth. Well today we did a workshop with a PhD student. We read Boccioni and his Futurist manifests due today and then were paired up with the person that shadows us or/and the person that we are shadowing. We were given tasks to do in half an hour or so and then report back to her and tell us about our experience. These task were focused on making us experience the encounter with each other differently from what you usually do when you get to know one another. Instead of going out for coffee with each other and meeting in our studios and explaining our work to each other and so on and so forth we picked a task out of the hat and the first one I had was: "Walk around the city and search for a Blank space together. Once you found it and have agreed on the fact that it is a blank space stand there in silence for one minute." So the girl that shadows me and I walked around and got into this discussion of what is blank. And is blank the same as empty... etc... We agreed on the definition that a blank space is pure it is void of anything to describe it. An empty space has a history. We recognize it as empty because it used to have something in it. We realized that nothing is purely blank everything has assosciations so we came to the thought that some things are more blank than others. Our discussion/hunt turned into the conclusion that something that has no personal history for us and personal meaning is blank for us. So we ended up standing infront of a building and staring at its cold architecture and geometry.
It is by the way -16 Celsius right now and feels like -22 C but it's a bit windy as well and to me it feels like -26 C today. So these tasks were physically quite demanding. ;)
After we returned and shared our experiences with everyone we paired up with our other shadow, in my case MJ, the woman that I am shadowing. I got the task of following her and watching her from a distance without talking to her. And she had to do a mundane task like going to the ATM or checking her e-mail. I was supposed to focus on how she moves through her environment, her gestures and expressions. It first of all she acted aware of my presents, she would hold the doors open for me even though she wasn't supposed to interact with me. :)
I noticed that she walks very determined yet graceful. She adjusts her bag on her shoulder a certain way, and when we got coffee she would open the lid of her cup to drink from it.
Both tasks were a very intersting experience.

Most people had different tasks, some forced you to not speak with each other but just interact, some asked to involve other people. One that I found very interesting was the task where 3 people in this case decided on a meeting point, then went out into the city to make a friend, meet a stranger and then bring that stranger back to the meeting point and everyone had a conversation together. So the 3 women in the class that did this ended up bringing 3 strangers to their little meeting point and basically did an intervention of those people's daily lives. But they didn't just meet each other they met the other strangers as well.

I think these people will carry on differently for the rest of the day because of this little 10 minute event that happened to them. They might think about it more, they might tell their collegues at work what happened to them during their lunch break. They might even go home and tell their families about what happened to them today.

So yeah. VERY interesting class.

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