FULL DROP into the Body is a practice where de-conditioning meets artistic research and a choreographic vision
Displaying the politics of intimacy has been a core theme within the work and the aim is to create an environment where both performer and onlooker are able to question their inner and outer realities through it. During the last 12 years, a research into what became the FULL DROP into the Body practice catapulted a process of mapping out a new category of performative body language, ways of developing it and transferring the knowledge both practically and theoretically to the wider international dance scene and academia.
The performance works engage in the ongoing discussion of healing, feminism, interconnectedness, notions of energetic citizenship, and the pathology of the social political body within the choreographic context. The works made over the last 12 years function as safer spaces for collective exploration of the maze of connections and dead ends that constitute the interface of the pathological body with our achievement-oriented society. This fact reinforces the theme in the practice of allowing the performer and viewer access to states that are usually extremely private or even unconscious, thereby opening up the way for a profound experience that is disarmingly radical in its manifestation and politics. These body states are celebrated as visceral denials of the externally and internally imposed imperatives to achieve, and draw a contrast with the logic of hyperactivity by presenting an alternative kind of energy and strength. A body that opposes influences that are unhealthy to it exerts a subversive power over its environment. It transfers itself, as a kind of physical-energetic contagion, onto the bodies of the audience. From a starting point of letting the body fall and surrender, this body continues its emptying and disintegration to an extreme state during the course of the performances. This disintegration of the bodies of the performers is taken into the inner reality of the audience through the steady, slow, and hypnotic transformation taking place in front of their eyes. The result is a cohort of radically de-bordered bodies that portray the anonymous multitude. The dancers surrender to and are moved by inner forces, both political and energetic in nature, both ancient and current, and of a magnitude and power far greater than all of us. Forming a corporeal language that serves as a doorway into the subconscious. This language is marked by an infinite presence that reveals and provokes in the same moment. It breaches the divide between performer and audience in a meeting that is high in its intensity. Together surrendering to an alternative Hyper reality while exploring and confronting the inner and outer landscape of the de-bordered body. By creating the circumstances to be undone The FULL DROP into the Body practice questions older concepts of how we relate to our professional and social body and methods of disciplining and dominating that body in order to gain control over it and have it perform for us. Once the plasticity of the human matter is recognized, de-conditioning formerly imprinted body memory, can be seen as a political act.
CATEGORIES OF THE RESEARCHED INTROSPECTIVE BODY 2010-2017 & THE INTERCONNECTED BODY 2018-2021
De-conditioning internalized patterns and The Alienated and Isolated body (2010-2013)
From 2010 onwards the research work of the choreographer has been grounded in a practice that brings together the physiological and psychological states of the body, with a focus on working and exploring pathologies of the social-political body within our own bodies. The first three years of research into the practice from 2010-12 were carried out privately by the choreographer, with and through her own body and with the aim of finding ways to de-condition formally imprinted body memory related to professional dancers training. This led to the developement of a new practice FULL DROP into the body and onstage practice for the commissioned performance Step Right To It (2013).
The aim of that performance was working with the physicality and the cultural phenomena of the numb, controlled but unconscious, alienated, isolated body and reflecting on the reality of this often unconscious state. Created by the overpowering visual digital culture which the millennials performing in the performance were born into. The physicality explored was based on a deep tissue release, which emphasized utter surrendering to gravity in order to be able to quiet the mind and body enough to connect with the biorhythm of the cerebral spine fluid. In that way stepping away from referential movements, directed movements and muscular work as a source of movement and undoing former training and approach of analyzing, controlling and manipulating the body. Once the capacity to release into the act of non doing and entering into an intensive inner listening where the inner movement of the spine and the sensorial biomechanics linear movement becomes the motor that moves you without out any other distraction. An impression of an unconscious and non responsive state of being is transferred and an notion of the dancers being taken over and moved by something larger and more powerful then their will. Whilst their performativity is non conforming to the context of theater through the inner listening practice the dancers radiate a strong presence in each passing felt moment and the sensation of pleasure felt by the dancers is an opposite parallel reality to the incapacity, lack of control and numbness they represent to the viewer.
The Broken, Exhausted and Empty body (2014-2015)
The Blind Spotting Performance Series was created during the period 2014 and 2015 and consisted of in total 4 works. As well as playing with an expanded format and deduced format of the same work. This series of four works that revolved around the topic of the broken burned out body was launched in order to create working conditions which made it possible for the people involved to dedicate longer periods of time to work in-depth to develop the practice necessary to convey this specific theme.
On stage condensing it to the vulnerability of the anti-hero, a paradigmatic type of our performance-oriented neo liberal society. A representation of a taboo, the body of this anti-hero stands for all that remains of it after exploitation, exhaustion, psychological implosion and overstimulation. Exploring this physically and choreographically enabled particular presence and bodies to be on stage, from which the consequences of increasing isolation, victimization and commodification within society could be pondered on and met. These burned out states became the central figure of exploration through the expanding practice. Letting the body release and surrender to gravity without resistance, this body continued its emptying and disintegration to extreme states of utter physical incapacity to move. The work of the dancers was to enter into particular physical states of various levels of being undone and surrendered. From there negating execution of predetermined actions. Living the friction being between decisions of the will and the fully lived physical states of incapacity. Connecting to an alternative way of moving, performing and dancing.
From a choreographic perspective the focus was on the introspective body transferring itself vibrationally onto and into the bodies of the audience, creating resonance and shared lived states. The research questions were; In which way on a energetic level do inner systems of the body communicate directly to other bodies in the space and how can that be made visible, worked with consciously and emphasized within the context of a performance event.
The following works belong to this series of works: Blind Spotting (2014) a performance for 8 dancers. SPOTTED (2014) a duet version of the larger 8 dancers performance. In the Blind Spot (2015) a solo performance version of the larger 8 dancers performance, commissioned and produced by Angela Schubot and choreographed and coproduced by Guðjónsdóttir. Blind Spotting – Film version (2014), an artistic documentation of the 8 dancers Blind Spotting performance.
The Subjective Private Emotional Pathological body (2015-17)
Within the FULL DROP into the Body practice a new cycle of research began in the autumn of 2015. It was into full body states, so called HYPERSTATES and Auto compositional states and continued over a period of two years with the specific aim of expanding from the more general physiological body states towards subconscious biographical states. Moving away from composed somatic choreographed material of slow vibrational, monotonous, general movements of inner systems. Towards auto compositional states of dynamic and rhythmical nature and animated movements, used as performance material.
With a long-term commitment of the dancers I worked with, together we are able to embark on a journey of weaving through the pathological body and its inner systems. Focussing on de-conditioning more and more of the inherent inherited and conditioned individual body memory and the cognitive wiring directly associated with it. A precondition of the practice is entering a mind state where there is no pre-conceived notions of what is about to happen nor projections on to what is happening or expectations wishes and desires of what is supposed to happen. Thus through the action of letting go of control by entering into an active-passive state of inner listening, we surrendered to non-doing and like that created a space to witness whatever arises from that state of being. In this way we became be able to enter into formerly unknown full body states, opening up our experience to the subconscious and inviting the unconscious to manifest. The advanced practice within the auto compositional states is to be in resonance with what is felt and follow the repercussions into an active dialog through this increased perception, on the contrary to falling into a passive internal invisible experience through the means of the practice and loose sense of time an space entirely. Since these states reached and practice worked with are deep trance and meditative practices. Entering this space of availability to the present moment and then having the trained capacity to be surrendered enough on all levels to sense and follow whatever comes up into visible and vibrational animated movements, that is an auto compositional state and in its pure form it can be considered as embodied dance.
Opening up blockages in the body through the FULL DROP into the body deep tissue release practice and its approach encompasses elements manifesting concretely as increased presence and availability to be done by and be in resonance and dialog with inner and outer forces outside of formerly conditioned body memory and the controlling mind through a completely released body and mind fully present. What is being done in concrete term is registering through the subjective sensorial experience, in addition to the movements of all the inner systems, all the fields of the subtle body which manifest both energetically and visually. As colors, memories, textures, pain, tightness, pleasure, fluidity and full body states such as semi and full trance and hypnotic states. Outer energy fields and all inner visceral and subtile body vibrational realities become palpable once the inner listening has become more precise and this is why releasing tension from the body and opening up blockages through the practice in the cells, muscles, bones, nervous and vascular system etc. is of high important for the hyper sensitized body to emerge.
The research extended into examining what makes space and time expanding, internal, altered states experiences visible from the outside and how to invite and choreograph invisible energetic realities and communication.
Through these new technical means derived from the HYPERSTATES research two new performance works premiered in 2017. HYPER, which was commissioned by the Swedish dance company Cullberg Ballet and Conspiracy Ceremony: HYPERSONIC STATES which premiered in Berlin at the Sophiensaele with a group of long-term collaborators. Where the realm of subjective private emotional pathological body was explored and the onus was given to channeling of sentiments and pathological realities living in the tissue.
The Subconscious Energetic body (2018-2021)
The research phase between 2018-2021 was build on the Full Drop practice and HYPERSTATES research while moving somewhat away from a focus on the introspective body and further towards recognizing the body as a component part of a dynamic, energetic landscape. Stepping from the introspective into the interactive, a step out of the frame of the personal within the context of the private pathological body, and into a landscape that considers energetic forces at play around us. Through the work developed in 2018 titled Pervasive Magnetic Stimuli, a research was done into the hyper-sensibility to and hyper-awareness of the intersection of the inner and outer energetic fields, and how the energetic forces that move us traverse this boundary. This research encompass the outer and larger tides that move through us, pulling our matter along in their wake. As well as exploring the lived reality of quantum entanglement, interconnectivity through the plasma of connectivity, connection, and reciprocity, and the nature of the resonance between individuals. The aim was to make visible and get deeply in touch with the colorful reality of the energetic landscapes we navigate on a daily basis partly or in some cases completely unaware. Leaving the introspective body behind and creating the availability for a conscious and immersive dialogue with the energetic forces that move us, swirl around us and through us. In this way exploring a new performative vehicle where the onus is removed from the dancer to perform according to a strict set of externally or internally imposed criteria. Instead offering energetic dialogues both within and beyond the limits of the physical body to arise.
This research opened into philosophical dimensions, integrating the deep fascial release practice of FULL DROP into the Body with philosophical thought and language in collaboration with Professor Susan Kozel. The collaboration has expanded the concept of Somatic Materialism introduced by Kozel in her previous writings and has already produced several outputs such as philosophical essays, conference presentations at international symposium on phenomenology and an archival prototype using Mixed Reality. Kozels interest overlaps with this immediacy and sense of initiation, for in various philosophical writing on affect and in phenomenology this has been called the pre-reflective (Merleau-Ponty), the pre-categorical (Husserl), or even the missing half second (Massumi picking up on a concept from cognitive sciences). This simply means that the body comes first. Somatic states and affect first.
Kozels and Guðjónsdóttirs collaboration is on going, with the aim to continue to deepen a phenomenological research into somatic materialism by exploring the translation of embodied states into writing and back again.