Documentation of Open Lab ‘White Canvas’ session

Organised by Antonio de la Fe, Open Lab facilitates exchange between dance and somatic practitioners.

Link here, text reproduced below.

three people are doing

A: What are you doing?
B: I’m not doing anything, I’m just doing.
A: Oh. When did you start it?
B: I didn’t. I was always doing.

a short pause

B: The only change was that I brought my awareness to it and stopped my judgement of it. It’s also to do with how I am feeling. How I am feeling, myself, and how I am feeling the world, the outside me.
A: So we’re always doing, it’s just that sometimes we’re conscious of it and sometimes unconscious of it?
B: No. No… no. No, I don’t like that binary. For example, actions aren’t just either voluntary or involuntary. There’re things in between. Avoluntary is also a thing.
A: Avoluntary?
C: Like when you’re walking but there’s a pain in your foot, so you walk like this. And then that might ending up causing a pain in your hip, too.
A: So the movement is coming from the pain? Or the body is aware of the pain and moving in relation to it?
C: More like the second one. It’s not a conscious thing in your head, but the body is aware and works around it. I was once in a yoga class where the teacher encouraged me to do a position, and my body knew it was the wrong thing, but I did it anyway, and I ended up injuring myself.
A: Can you use avoluntary movement to find out about pains you didn’t know about before? Or other things that our bodies might be doing in relation to?
B: That probably wouldn’t work. It’s more like: you just have to let go and forget about using avoluntary movement. Then you are just doing without trying and you might become aware of the avoluntary later on.
C: How is your doing?
A: Very good, thank you.

a pause

B: I’m wondering what is awareness. Unconsicous awareness… maybe that’s a thing.

a pause

A: So we come together in rooms with flat floors in order to be doing.
B: I think a roof helps. My doing is better than if we were outdoors, on a hill, for example. But it’s not that this is blank. Pure white is impossible, even a white canvas has an off-colour

B starts to move stuff onto the floor

A: Would you like to swap our doing?
C: Sure.

a pause

A: I’m not sure it’s working. I feel like I’m just repeating the form of your doing, which is not the same thing. Maybe to swap something you have to be able to own it first, but I don’t think you can own ‘doing.’
C: My doing has changed though. Some movements have slowed down or stopped, and let other movements begin. Has your doing changed?
A: In some ways, yes. It was mostly happening over there before, and now it’s over here. So that’s a spatial change.

a pause

B: In lots of dance classes, they tell you to stop thinking, to just do, to get out of your head. Maybe to find a kind of ecstasy. But now, I’m in my head, but it is also good. Both are good.
A: Sometimes, I think people say that being in your head is all the same – when travelling, at work, thinking about money. But there are very different kinds of being in your head.
B: I’m wondering about what it means to choreograph from people doing? Stillness is an action. What if their base, or their neutral, was doing?


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