• Paola Napolitano

Thinking Movement, Moving Thought Symposium at University of Surrey, 22.09.2017

It has been an incredibly valuable Friday, attending the ‘Thinking Movement, Moving Thought’ Symposium at the University of Surrey today. I could not expect better than attending a session run by Cate Deicher CMA and Amy Shapiro PhD from the Alverno College in USA. The movement session has been followed by a discussion in small groups on two questions: ‘What do I know now I didn’t know before?’ and ‘How is what you know NOW DISTINCT FROM verbal knowing?’. Obviously it was enough food for thoughts for everyone! My first reaction to the first question was: ‘Was I supposed to know anything?’, but as we articulated it, I came to decodify my feelings I went through the floaking exercises. I actually experienced a sense of plasticity and continuum as being together with others and moving on my own. For the first time I felt so much freedom in ‘being’ instead of ‘doing’, where my body presence was foregrounded and in conjunction or actively interactive with Space, rather than engaging into a particular Effort expression. We openly discussed the meaning of Space and the limitations and bias caused by language itself. Is language a static set of communication tools while movement is not? Can movement be considered a language? Ms Saphiro is investigating on how movement can be identified as a language yet still unconded. Certain movements are not easily explicable, yet they can be executed and effectively convey the meaning of one person’s intentions. We make meaning for ourselves all the times; for instance, we were asked to spot three people in the room. I did and then I was expecting that a task would follow. It didn’t happen so I forgot about them. Talking about us as sutures sticthing the space or void together, I came to the conclusion that we are all interconnected regardless of our awareness. What stands out in our daily interactions though, is the extent to which we priviledge certain things over others. That kind of meaning we create frame our space, therefore our world. So, space and thoughts: what’s their relation? Movement seems to be less mediated than speech. Using a specific term like ‘impulse’ implies the fact we are categorizing Space, that’s the priviledge of language. Movement as a way of ‘knowing’, what does this actually mean? Moving instead of knowing? Is the term ‘knowing’ synonimous of ‘habit’? Not really, cause habit may refer to something we get used to and rely on, leading to a grade of rigidity of how you perceive, sense, filter things. Habit, in this sense, can be problematic.

I was fairly reflecting on the notion of time as to ‘knowledge’ which is translatable into a backwards look or present focus versus a ‘process of learning’ which unavoidably make you think of proceeding forward with an open mind to encounter and get nourished by unknown things. I thought of the dycotomy between stagnation of an embedded knowledge on one hand and the capacity to fluently connect to others on the other.

The lecture ‘Rhythm will help workers’ given by Dr Paola Crespi made me have a wider understanding of what Laban meant by rhythm and I will definitely research more on that. The passage I remember most from this session is ‘Laban stated that the only certainty is Change. And it is the quantic incapacity to embrace the Whole which urges us to analyse bits by bits, referring to the Cartesian network’.

The last two sessions held by Christopher Simpson and Will Wollen were very explicatory of the application of the Laban system in getting prepared to perform of a character. In particular, by naming qualities of human expressions, Effort wise, and their possible constellations we can delineate and perform a precise character typology. Again here, more to explore.

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