Spiralling, Meandering, Waving

Water needs movement to stay alive


Today, Minou Tsambika Polleros led us in a series of thoughts and exercises in an outdoor embodiment workshop.

This involved placing our own bodies into (or a return to) a fluid quality, observing movement and fluidity in the land and the ways fluid takes form, shaping our own bodies into this form. This was based on the work of Theodore Schenk. As he writes in his text Sensible Chaos (1962), ‘…in the midst of flowing movement forms arise …it is a movement that takes hold of the substance and moulds it’. The task was to connect flow patterns in us and in the world, and to be fluid in both our thinking and bodies.

Minou spoke to us of being born, and pulled into life, through a liquid state, evolved in an oceanic environment; how we carry liquid in our bodies in the same ratio that the planet holds liquid; and of the closed circulatory fluid systems within our bodies. A return to, or a search for, our body’s place in the world.

We spoke of disturbance and equilibrium, balance and harmony, a return to chaos that is necessary and healthy and of the nearby concrete pump that Rafa saw as the artificial heart to the Dartington water system.

This continued our conversations of the timelessness or impermanence, transitory nature of water, and our mutually agreed connect with it. These exercises allowed us to use our bodies, not just in the way we may perform in the landscape, but how we may view our body’s movement through landscape – to think about the maker and the viewer, the performer and the audience.

To me, this connect, or fluidity, is something that is better perceived by the physical body than the psychological mind – through submerging ourselves in water. To jump into the water to assure ourselves it is real. An act of embodiment, to represent it, to symbolise or manifest it, is secondary to lived experience.

If nothing else, this was an act of loosening. At these early stages, the artists ease themselves into the process, the site and each other, conducting small experiments, and surveying, testing and making recordings. Playing around with tools they have brought, treasure hunting, placing and re-placing objects and seeing what will emerge. A responsive way of approaching the site – it is a fluidity that mirrors our earlier explorations. Working together, as well as apart. Eating together. Asking for help, collaboration and assistance.

Today as a group we applauded the river, an action instigated by Susie David. Showing appreciation, announcing our collaboration or even acknowledging the river, and its role, in a very audible, tangible way.

All photos by Oliver Raymond-Barker