“Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement”. (Alfred Adler.)
“Nature, the total of all of us, is the wheel that drives our world; those who ride it willingly might yet catch a glimpse of a dazzling , even a spiritual restfulness, while those who are unwilling simply to hang on, who insist that the world must be piloted by man for his won benefit, will be dragged around and around all the same, gathering dust but no joy.” (Mary Oliver.)
"We have lived 98% of our evolutionary existence as hunter-gatherers carrying on an animistic conversation with every flapping form.This is what we are made of!" (David Abram.)
“Crystals grew inside rock like arithmetic flowers. They lengthened and spread, added plane to plane in an awed and perfect obedience to an absolute geometry that even stones -- maybe only the stones -- understood.” (Annie Dillard.)
“The individual mind is immanent but not only in the body. It is immanent also in pathways and messages outside the body; and there is a larger mind of which the individual mind is only a sub-system. This larger mind is comparable to God and is perhaps what some people mean by God, but it is still immanent in the total interconnected social systems and planetary ecology.” (Gregory Bateson.)
"Bodies are experienced because they are symbolic systems or, if you like, organisms. We believe we understand bodies, to the extent that we do, because they are representable organisms within the larger symbolic systems and institutions that have been built." (Johannes Birringer.)
"The human mind came into existence tracking, which for us creates a land of named places and fosters narration, the tale of adventure." (Paul Shepard. The Others.)
"Nature seldom sticks to simple one-force systems. Her forms usually represent the equilibrium of several forces, the balance of several compulsions. To analyse the effects of one force is easy; to analyze the interplay of two or more forces is next to impossible." (Peter Stevens
“At the heart of this narrative, then, are three themes: the influence on the arctic landscape on the human imagination. How a desire to put landscape to use sharpens our evaluation of it. And, confronted by an unknown landscape, what happens to our sense of wealth. What does it mean to grow rich? Is it to have red-blooded adventures and to make a fortune, which is what brought the whalers and other entrepreneurs north? Or is it, rather, to have a good family life and to be imbued with a far-reaching and intimate knowledge of one’s homeland, which is what the Tununirmiut told the whalers at Pond’s Bay wealth was? Is it to retain a capacity for awe and astonishment in our lives, to continue to hunger after what is genuine and worthy? Is it to live at moral peace with the universe?” (Barry Lopez.)
"As surface, skin was once the beginning of the world and simultaneously the boundary of the self. But now stretched, pierced and penetrated by technology, the skin is no longer a smooth and sensuous surface. Skin no longer signifies closure. The rupture of surface and skin means the elimination of inner and outer". (Stelarc.)
‘Minds emerge from process and interaction, not substance. In a sense we inhabit the spaces between things...’ (P Broks.)
"Thus it is with the Six Natural Conditions that are the display of our true nature, out inherent enlightenment. Generosity, Wholesomeness, Patience, Enthusiasm, Communion, and Wisdom - all interconnected - are found in the ground of the fruitful darkness. This fertile darkness is where mystery lives, the great cloud of unknowing. Like the darkness of the fecund Earth that feeds corn and crow, the dark face of the goddess, of the wilderness, of our psyches, this deep ground feeds what we call "our soul," that principle of communication that links the three times and four worlds. This is the connective element abiding in the interworld. What shines through "the eyes of compassion" is the principle of soul, that which has gone "down and in". The yield of the journey is expressed by the light pouring out of the windows of our interior worlds, the deep ground of our actual lives." (Joan Halifax.)
“The mind is shapely”. (Charles Olson.)
“I consider sculpture an attempt to inscribe in geological time, in resistant materials, something about human feeling and thought” (Anthony Gormley.)
“Sensations and perceptions do not simply provide the mind with material to organise; they are themselves a major organising principle”. ( Xavier Le Roy. Dancer/Biologist.)
“The sense impressions of one-celled animals are not edited for the brain. This is philosophically interesting in a rather mournful way, since it means that only the simplest animals perceive the universe as it is”. (Annie Dillard.)
“It is impossible to know, clearly, the answer to this question; but by coming to know a place where the common elements of life are understood differently one has the advantage of an altered perspective. With that shift it is possible to imagine afresh the way to a lasting security of the soul and heart, and toward an accommodation in the flow of time we call history, ours and the world’s.
And once in a great while an isumataq becomes apparent, a person who can create the atmosphere in which wisdom shows itself. This is a timeless wisdom that survives failed human economies. It survives wars. It survives definition. It is a nameless wisdom esteemed by all people. It is understanding how to live a decent life, how to behave properly toward other people and toward the land.
It is, further, a wisdom not owned by anyone, nor about which one culture is more insightful or articulate. I could easily imagine some Thomas Merton-like person, the estimable rather than the famous people of our age, sitting with one or two Eskimo men and women in a coastal village, corroborating the existence of this human wisdom in yet another region of the world, and looking around to the mountains, the ice, the birds to see what makes it possible to put it into language.
No culture has yet solved the dilemma each has faced with the growth of a conscious mind: how to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in all life, when one finds darkness not only in one's own culture but within oneself.
If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox. One must live in the middle of contradiction because if all contradiction were eliminated at once life would collapse. There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.
The continuous work of the imagination, I thought, to bring what is actual together with what is dreamed, is an expression of human evolution. The conscious desire is to achieve a state, even momentarily, that like light is unbounded, nurturing, suffused with wisdom and creation, a state in which one has absorbed the very darkness which before was the perpetual sign of defeat. Whatever world that is, lies far ahead. But its outline, its adumbration, is clear in the landscape, and upon this one can actually hope we will find our way.” (Barry Lopez.)
“There are only two subjects in art: space and objects. The most potent and intelligent object that occupies space happens to be the human body. It's interesting that we now call it "the body" and not "the figure", the latter being the vehicle of representational art, whereas the former suggests an investigation of a primal condition”. ( Anthony Gormley.)
"The living body is a complex network of cathected drives, intensities, energy points, and currents, in which the sensory and motor processes coexist with stored physical memory, codifications with shocks. Every body is multiple: work body, pleasure body, sport body, public and private body, flesh and skeleton". (Hans-Thies Lehman.)
"When from a long-distant past nothing persists, after the people are dead, after things are broken and scattered, still alone, more persistant, more faithful, the smell and taste of things remain, poised a long long time, like souls, ready to remind us, waiting, hoping for their moment amid the ruins of all the rest, and there, unfaltering in the tiny end, almost inpalpable in their essence, the vast structure of recollection”. (Marcel Proust.)
“….an art of interpretation that is instinctive. Conciousness, mind and language are fundamentally wild. “Wild” as in wild ecosystems – richly interconnected, interdependant and incredibly complex. Diverse, ancient and full of information. Narratives are one sort of trace that we leave in the world. All our literatures are leavings, of the same order as the myths of wilderness people who leave behind only stories and a few stone tools. Other orders of being have their own literature. Narrative in the dear world is a track of scents that is passed from on from deer to deer, with an art of interpretation which is instinctive. A literature of bloodstains, a bit of piss, a whiff of estrus, a hit of rut, a scrape on a sapling, and long gone.” (Gary Snyder.)
‘What each watcher has found notable in the dance is placed before us. Some have been drawn to the design in space, some to the relationship to the architecture, some to the psychology, some to the quality of movement, some to the action, some to what they imagined while watching—what they wished to have seen. What is pictured is a collective perception of the dance, a dance of opinions. Watching these second-generation dances is like watching the sky. We invariably take note of peculiar manifestations and the broad form over time. Points of consensus among us are striking. Yet there are no conclusions here. This exercise of perception leaves the question What do we see in a dance? open. It’s a seed that puts vision on the line and in the field of play”. (Lisa Nelson.)
“Somatic approaches to learning movement take a holistic versus mechanistic approach to training the body. Conventional dance training tends to rely on the mechanical repetition of exercises intended to train the musculoskeletal, cardiovascular and, ultimately (through repetition of movement patterns) nervous systems. Learning happens through imitating the teacher; classes are teacher-centered. In somatic disciplines, on the other hand, learning is student-centered and student-directed. Somatic learning stimulates the kinaesthetic sense, relying on physical sensation as a source of learning and expression. Students learn to organise their attention around and receive feedback from their physical sensations in movement, rather than relying primarily on visual perception of external form. Shifting the emphasis to the dancer's own body as site and source of information and learning validates subjective, experiential knowledge, thus creating a new paradigm for movement education.” (Cathy Caraker.)
“….after that I was lost in a jargon jamboree of the sublimest kind setting the debate nicely for an academic pitting of the wits, Art vs Anthropology: mental summersaults and buttons were pushed as hackles raised in defence of anxious territories”. (Anthony Gormley.)
"It is through our senses that we receive information from our internal environment (ourselves) and the external environment (others and the world). How we filter, modify, distort, accept, reject and use that information is part of the act of perceiving... Learning is the process by which we vary our responses to information based on the context of each situation... Through exploring the perceptual process, we can expand our choices in responding to ourselves, our environment and the world in which we live.". ( Bonnie Bainbridge Cohen.)
"My first choreographies were constructed by creating links between fragments of bodies, randomly taken apart as maybe a biologist would, in order to analyse them. Performing these movements was about encoding something, which could be described as a go-between, between mind and body, seen as a moving entity. It was a way to redefine the body/mind opposition and to work on the idea that, just as the mind organises the rest of the body's tissues into a life process, sensations and perceptions, to a large degree, determine the mind. (Zavier Le Roy.)
"At this moment I can see that people -maybe unconsciously- are more aware that their body can be struck by any kind of disaster. Suddenly and without warning and as a consequence of the absurdity of life. I see how much they protect it, or on the contrary explore the borders of it." (Alan Platel.)
“Perception is a constant, cyclic process of sensing, perceiving and acting through which we learn. How we focus our senses on what it is we are to perceive patterns our interpretation of the sensory information. Without this active focusing, our perceptions remain poorly organised. And our responses are more likely to be unconscious and habitual, our choices limited.
How do we perceive movement? Our own movement, someone else's? If we are learning a phrase in a technique class, what do we see, which aspect of the movement do we pick up first? Is it the rhythm, the spatial directions, the movement patterns in the body, the movement qualities? When we warm ourselves up, how do we know what our bodies need? Do we warm up differently for a ballet barre than we would for a Contact Improvisation jam? For our own rehearsal? For an improvised performance? If we are in the process of creating a dance, how do we identify our physical experiences?
When we want to retrieve a movement image we've just discovered, what is it we are retrieving?
Perhaps the question is not so much what did we do, as how did we get there? What were we paying attention to at the time? How does our attention form our experience, shape our actions, limit or expand our choices?” (Cathy Caraker.)
“The more you can let go of your control, and give it over to a kind of transparency in the body, a feeling of disappearance, the more you will be able to grasp differentiated form, and differentiated dynamics. You can move very fast in this state, and it will not give the same impression - it won't give the impression of violence. You can also move with tremendous acceleration provided you know where you leave the movement - not where you put the movement, but where you leave it. You try to divest your body of movement, as opposed to thinking that you are producing movement. So it would not be like pushing forward into space and evading space -it would be like leaving your body in space. Dissolution, let yourself evaporate. Movement is a factor of the fact that you are actually evaporating. (William Forsyth.)
“Looking, touching, material, place and form are all inseparable from the resulting work. It is difficult to say where one stops and another begins. The energy and space around a material are as important as the energy and space within. The weather, rain, sun, snow, hail, mist, calm is that external space made visible. When I touch a rock, I am touching and working the space around it. It is not independent of its surroundings, and the way it sits tells how it came to be there”. (Andy Goldsworthy.)
"For us, dance, like other fields, is not an academic exercise in technique and repertoire. It is a vital and living field of research, movement, and performance. To keep the life in any practice, one must remain open to the wrong approaches, the incorrect, and the amateur. It is the "incorrect" approaches that expose the limits of the "correct" approaches. The response to this exposure is creativity." (Matthew Goulish.)
“If it wern’t for the rocks in it’s bed, the stream would have no song”. (Hank Williams.)
“How is one to live a moral and compassionate existence when one is fully aware of the blood, the horror inherent in life, when one finds darkness not only in one's culture but within oneself? If there is a stage at which an individual life becomes truly adult, it must be when one grasps the irony in its unfolding and accepts responsibility for a life lived in the midst of such paradox. One must live in the middle of contradiction, because if all contradiction were eliminated at once life would collapse. There are simply no answers to some of the great pressing questions. You continue to live them out, making your life a worthy expression of leaning into the light.” (Barry Lopez.)
“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting