Friday, July 10, 2020

Wittgenstein: first theses-results

during yesterday's after-talk about Wittgenstein at Leeszaal Rotterdam West (dank & nogmaals warm bedankt!) Joke van der Zwaard, who kindly supported and helped this project to be realized, asked what my results were of these dance-philosophical investigations.

the underlying 9 points are a first attempt, which will need to be further formulated.
rather than the mere 7 of Wittgenstein's inspiring Tractatus Logico Philosophicus I am happy that these points so far come to be 9, also used as the old medieval European number of the Holy Trinity x 3 = divine perfection ... :-)

(for more visual results such as notes, videos, photos, see also the project-blog)


1. dance as the experience and communication of movement has its own specific aspects, just like communication that is based on the use of breath & vocal chords. ( = in some human cultures traditionally the only recognised “voice” “words” "literature" etc. - this view is by now sensorially and cognitively scientifically untenable)

2. dance is a part of our process of being alive, it includes movement (= kinaesthetic) sensing, thinking, dreaming, remembering, abstracting into (audio-) visual imagery, notation etc. like any other sensorial process

ad 2. just like cells multiplying, plants growing etc. our organic actions, have organic consequences which need to be taken seriously. there is becoming/ growth, life / activity, death, destruction / dissolution, recycling.

3. dance is a fundamental experience, as well as communication and expression of our state of being, since it involves our entire physical aspect of existing as organic beings, closely linked to proprioception, emotions, interpersonal = social interaction.

4. there is no anatomical division between body ( = our physical aspect)  and mind ( = the functioning of our physical aspect)

ad 4. because there is no actual division, all (repeated) actions, instincts, "life-hacks", stories, myths, rituals, art, science, fiction, dreming, are all parts of these needed actions to survive.

5. dance as a way of being involves the full organic vulnerability of our existence. in cultures that assign aspects of hardness or softness to certain groups of people ( e.g. based on perceived and constructed genders ) these qualities are associated with those groups ( compare for example = “feminine intuition”, homosexuality as an inherently “feminine” or in any case “non-male” quality)

6. to silence, withhold, frustrate, impede the organic functioning of our bodyminds is not only a matter of control that can help with temporary survival: if it is done wrongly it leads to aggression, imbalance, with all destructive consequences (compare Reich, Lowen, et al.)

7. to silence and obliterate the personal aspect of a person, including their sexual preferences and life, as entirely separate from their professional achievements is dishonest, blocks information and learning for others who are in need of this information, and all too often used for the above (6.)

8. any simplifying abstraction, formula, pattern is on the one side a necessary and elementary function of survival, culture(s) are the direct result of many of such patterns collected and practiced. however, any such abstraction ( e.g. resulting mono-linearity) is never and must never be confused, let alone absolutely imposed on organic and chaotic multiplicity. Queerness, and many other kinds of “otherness” are good examples of such failures, all too often with catastrophic results, both on a smaller and definitely on a larger (e.g. planetary) scale.

ad 8 (via M. Tuk, T. Horvers) - communication functions via abstraction(s) of sensorial existence ( = signs) that are re-translated while drawing from personal experience: this is their potential richness in the case of shared ( = comparable) experiences & their shortcoming / limitation as well.

ad 8. ad 8 - successful communication creates communion = shared, common wealth
this is why art gets destroyed and controlled the more totalitarian a government turns out to be.
unfortunately such control often over-extends no-longer viable patterns of art / science / religion / communication / culture.

9. change remains possible. dance, as an organic function of the human body mind reminds of the chaotic existence and the balance with abstracted order, every day, every moment when we breathe, let go, re-tense, etc.

Monday, June 15, 2020

needing form/ula

while working on Wittgenstein and in the middle of social & cultural change around Black Lives Matter, I finally realise (again) the need for form and formula, to survive. these help to navigate within the world, and are essential. from identifying danger to dealing with other(s of the same) species, it is mandatory to perform the best working ones, in the best possible interaction and outcomes for all.

one may call this state truth where the action performed is most closely in sync with all other processes, and becomes a "natural" part, can be absorbed.

from instinct to habit to technology to culture to religion to science, these are all essentially strategies for survival. and they need to work well, for all involved.

( hence the famous think global act local )

with ongoing evolution ever wider areas of existence need to be considered and understood.
what is referred to as 'the' scientific method is but one way to better understand what is going on, how to best adapt, what course of action may be safest in a situation.

art is the same, creating, understanding by doing, sensorial thinking and interaction, a field of conversations where with every word we speak, every move we make, we re-create the dance, literature, acting of our times.

just like in science there are general pools of such interactions and then some of us specialise in observing and trying to understand them better.

extreme actions cost and can necessitate extreme counter-actions, unless a more deeply effective solution can be found.

i believe history teaches that any pattern and solution evolves, has its shelf-life, needs ongoing dealing-with, understanding, refinement, at some point needs to dissolve and let go, make space for newer evolving forms. like with DNA it can be good to retain a memory of such earlier forms, in order to understand better what is happening in the present. risk confusion, but then trust that with more complex evolving, an resulting outcome may be more sustainable.

there also needs to be space/energy for alternatives that at some point can provide a better solution, to avoid mono-cultures. in short, a well-working biotope of biotopes.

Monday, June 8, 2020

ungrowing from neurotic constrictions - Reich, body work, police defunding towards community programs

today's show of DemocracyNow! (June 8, 2020) gave very inspiring examples of demands to de-fund the enormous budgets used by police in the United States of America. my immediate thought went towards the understanding of Wilhelm Reich, more than 100 years ago, about the desperate need for a freely moving, breathing, acting bodymind, which then can be much more response-able, social.

in many ways I am following his analogy to cancer-growth, needing enormous amounts of energy, and depriving vital functions of the oranism from functioning because of uncontrolled growth.

the call for defunding an overgrowth of a single apparatus and re-using that energy/funding towards programs that go to many of the roots of why policing can be needed in the first places makes all the sense: invest in the organ-ism as a whole, in its well-being, actively de-fund energy from the armour.

excursion Wilhelm Reich and body armour
Reich understood the problem of constricting this movement in such a way that it interferes with vital movements of the bodymind, calling it neurosis, identifying an exalted state with the name emotional pestilence, citing racism as one of the outcomes. Reich re-discovered that these constrictions are actually muscular, ongoing contractions that are insufficiently released or not released at all. his analogic name for this state was body / muscle armour, because he understood that it did keep the individual "together" literally shielding weaker parts of the body from damage, but also kept the overall energy low. more often than not, sexual moves, especially of the pelvis would be most restricted, leading to an inability to orgastic release.

dance has always been heavily regulated through all ages, precisely because it culturally regulates body movements and physical communication.

(in the Netherlands, enormous cuts have been made into the increasingly de-funded arts, with subsidized dance taking some of the most crippling cuts, for a relatively unremarkable saving of money. bullying is a more apt name of what is being done. parallel to these actions were governmentally lead defamation campaigns marginalizing art as "leftist hobbies", de-professionalizing the practitioners. today, in 2020, the Dutch Royal Airlines company receives a 4 Million Euro bailout, employing 30.000 people, with nearly 1 Million Euro bonusses to the top CEO's, while the entire arts-sector, after much protest, receives 300 Million Euro, but employing 300.000 people)

it is time to re-vive dance again, with the openness of pioneers such as Elaine Summers, Mary O'Donnell-Fulkerson, and their precedessors, the rigour of somatic work that is to understand, rather than (re-)constrict, with the individual dancer as the very "frame", creating their own dance.

existing dance languages remain precious collections of knowledge, movement and expression technologies, repositories of states of being evolving over time. they give understanding of where we came from historically, give examples that can be studied.

at the same time it must remain vitally clear that development of contemporary dance become more than just a re-evaluation of these traditionally grown forms, even the oeuvres by all the mentioned choreographers & thinkers above.

Monday, January 13, 2020

bridging technique / hypber.ballet

like 'skeletal' architecture, where the columns free the walls from having to carry the building, #bridgingtechnique can free the dancer from a single vocabulary (compare with maison Dom-Ino by LeCorbusier, brought into full movement by Zaha Hadid ... )

this approach requires a careful choice of the best possible 'skeleton' and ingredients : so far I have found #KineticAwareness, #BodyMindCentering, #contactimprovisation, #taijiquan, #LabanMovementAnalysis, #CunninghamTechnique, #EshkolWachmanMovementNotation, #SixViewpoints, all together creating the possibility of #hyperballet, as one of many options

fortunately this is just one of the many diverse directions in dance, each dance-culture has different goals and means, in the endless desire to move, communicate, and survive ... 

 * for a more detailed description and critique, read

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Art Authorities & (state) Power

When the canary in the coal mine goes silent, we should be very afraid — not only because its song was so beautiful, but also because it was the only sign that we still had a chance to see daylight again. Eve L. Ewing, University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration

after I recently attended several pieces and discussions about majority-minority questions at the duna part festival 2019 in Budapest, Hungary, I realize this sentence about the dis-senting Other is more important in the age of machine-enforced (totalitarian) perfection than ever ...

please read the full article here

Logo for Hungarian Protest Movement against Imminent Cuts

Monday, February 25, 2019

naked bare (bear) pieces: music - and other "helpers"/facilitators/enzymes of/for movement

after a very long phase where works grew and still keep growing from and by interaction with set musical pieces, I am once more thrown back onto movement without this additional element. for a while, ongoing sounds like these healing drones felt especially good, and for training with others to them. but now even that should be off, for a time.

it feels almost like getting off drugs, because in my current state it is so easy to move in response to musical stimulation on all levels.

I had always made it my point to dance as a Gesamtkunstwerk, using my own bodymind as the core system, where all would come together, be perceived, worked with, each at its own intensity (in a way, following through on Elaine Summers' notion of intermedia, where two or more media merge to in-form a "third" ... )

but now I am returning to the sense that just my moving body is enough justification for the dance to be "legitimate", worth the effort and the attention. and that without the extra stimulus/happening, my bodymind can and will have some quite different things to do / "say", on its own.

additionally I also increasingly enjoy dancing naked (easy enough in my home backroom/studio)
again there is a similar feeling of bare openness of myriads subtle possibilities and chances.
finally, I recognize that -just as in the first phase of Kinetic Awareness® (echoing Viewpoints)- it can be good to slow everything down and explore one element / bodypart at a time. in this case the / my moving human bodymind, on its own, with only the co-incidental sounds that John Cage rightly identified as music.

and challenge the idea of a 'machine' with a limiting, and more safely expectable, outcome / result ...

on a similar plane, but not the same:

And this then began to bother me because perhaps I was getting drunk with melody [...] and so I began again. [...] That led me to some very differnt writing that I am going to tell you about in the next thing.  Gertrude Stein, from Portraits and Repetition, "Lectures in America", 1934

Sunday, February 24, 2019

male abandon - conceiving/dreaming of group pieces

after having enjoyed beyond words the enormously stimulating (!) public research by Random Collision at Theater Rotterdam / Moving Futures two days ago, I keep working on a series of dances that all put (cis-passing?) men in very vulnerable and open situations, emotional, sensitive and sensual, present, embodied.

much of the work is made for gay and Queer men who already by their sexual practices are not enjoying the same kind of mainstreamed-culture protection.

but in the basics, I am surprised how much a male thing it seems to be, to go for abandoning the self, surrendering to the impuls, the risk, beckoning a partner for mating, daring to give it all away for this one moment of maybe procreating (...)

this to me, also from personal experience, seems to be a centrally male quality in a sense.
and how far it may permeate other choices.