bodily            metaphors

 for a future

 performance  

Bodily Metaphors For A Future Performance is a collection of stills, diagrams and an essay, shown during of the hand that points out, Lewisham Arthouse, December 2016.

 

The images were accompanied by wall drawings of the diagrams and our essay, of the hand that points out, of fingers that see...

 

Working with friends, couples and strangers - our intention was to make a prefigurative index of body languages.

 

The work was developed with Nick Cole, Francesca Pappacoda, Jaca Freer, Sarah Jon Ross, Serena Morgan, Louise Williams, Zuleika Lebow and Kyla Harris. During a series of workshops together we explored non verbal communication in different forms. How monkeys express entrustment, how people exert power in board rooms, how to say yes without nodding, and attempted to make subverted or improvised gestures that rely on co-dependence or collaboration.

Essay: of the hand that points out, of fingers that see - Sophie Chapman + Kerri Jefferis, December 2016.

‘Maybe I have written to see; to have what I never would have had; so that having would be the privilege not of the takes and encloses, of the gullet, of the gut; but of the hand that points out, of fingers that see, that design, from the tips of the fingers that transcribe by the sweet dictates of vision. From the point of view of the soul’s eye: the eye of a womansoul.’  - Helene Cixous

We have to live in the future. Anyone practicing politics that goes against the current socio-economic nightmare* is practicing the future. They live in the future, by desire and by necessity. We have to start somewhere. We have to start with the micro.

 

So what are the gestures of our collective desired future? If language isn't working for us, can we use our bodies? How can we communicate trust and solidarity to one another through our bodily language? How can we include contradiction within our gestures? Attempt to cover the distance that is perceived and experienced of difference? Include complexity? Seepage and slippage? Overflowing subjectivity? A sense of humour?


Gestures are conceived through metaphor. Bodies signifying, expressing. Therefore we cannot decontextualise movement and we are unwilling to separate discourse and materiality, language and embodiment. 

Bodies give permission. They alternate power. They co-author. They use shared and marginalised history. They follow desire lines. They identify with the past and with the present. They assemble. They have to unlearn. They change.

 

‘There is a body wherever there is resistance. But their potential to speak is waiting to be mined.’

 

- Zsuzsanna Soboslay Moore

So to speak - we have to be the hand that points out, that extends the gesture, even if unknowingly. The feminist future leaves the ladder down and the door open. These acts appear as verbs, these gestures attempt to propose a different way to behave, to treat one another, an alternative coding - to equip ourselves for a different world. This intimate knowledge is shaped through the intricate relations between people, place and things...

 

It is poesis.**

Gestures aren’t whole statements, even our failed attempts articulate the cracks. Cracks that open space. Cracks that claim new space.

 

Attempts are necessary, each attempt ebbs us closer. Accepting movement in this is important, if this is going to be a different kind of language. A language severed from the status quo and current construction of social reality; one that does not privilege the fixed, the known or the quantifiable.

 

Becoming is the enemy of assuredness. Becoming moves us towards an ever evading, ever moving point, an infinite curve. Becoming will leave your bureaucratic bullshit behind.

You don't have to perpetuate or repeat. You can do other things. We have our bodies. We can run into the dark with our eyes open.

References:

Quote - Helene Cixous, from ‘Coming to Writing and other essays.’ pg4.

*Current socio-economic nightmare also includes - patriarchal-white-supremacist-heteronormative-ableist-classist-right wing-nationalist-durge (to name a few)

Quote - Zsuzsanna Soboslay Moore, in the essay ‘‘Smallness and Infinity: living, writing, travelling, making (in) the world.’

**Meaning ‘to make’ etymologically from ancient Greek. This word, the root of our modern "poetry", was first a verb, an action that transforms and continues the world.