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Soul Chain Letter12710914_10153849806876271_8825846035362249503_o

Soul Chain is

an exploration of yourself and a channel for expression,

a celebration of the creative individual and the infinite possibilities of a collective,

a physical presence capsuled in a digital reality.

In this ongoing experiment participants are using their bodies as instruments, allowing their movements to travel across screens, adding on to a chain of of joined individuals, moving together in an unforeseen pattern.

Contributing to this project means recording a video of yourself that relates to the previous video posted on the project blog. How you choose to translate the movement is up to you. The material will then be treated and presented as an art project.

  1. Emergence

emergence is a process whereby larger entities, patterns, and regularities arise through interactions among smaller or simpler entities that themselves do not exhibit such properties.”

To me one of the reasons it is interesting to create an art work that is interactive and built up by individual creative forces, is that it creates an “unforeseen pattern”. As in emergence in nature:

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(A termite “cathedral” mound produced by a termite colony offers a classic example of emergence in nature./Wiki)

The videos that make up Soul Chain are very different. Some are more interesting individually than others, some contributors are experienced dancers, some are amateurs, some choses to move in very non-mannered ways and others take the opportunity to act out rather dramatic images.

The fact that a collective can achieve far greater things than a single individual also relates to the superorganism theories of Bruce Lipton.

As stated in previous post I wanted to work with this theme of the collective and still keep the individual creative mind in focus.

2. Dance

“Anna Halprin: Experience as dance”, biographical book about dancer Anna Halprin written by Jannet Ross.

I’ve actively chosen to not use the word dance to much when introducing Soul Chain. The main reason for that is because dance has many meanings and to most people it probably signifies something doctrinal or social rather than spiritual and self-explorational. To further understand dance  and it’s properties and dimensions I’ve been reading about a pioneer in the field of contemporary dance and performance, Anna Halprin (1920-).

These are some quotes I gathered from the book:

“The first stage of being a dancer is self exploration, then comes expression.”

“Thinking is inquiry and any act of inquiry begins with a problem and proceeds, through testing of possible solutions, to a resolution” John Dewey

To me that last quote from American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer John Dewey, is relevant because I think problem solving is a very big part of creativity and the kind of playfulness that I strive for in all my work. A reason why the soul chain performance is quite long (around 6 minutes) is because I experience myself that it’s only a few minutes in a performance like this that the creative part of the mind is sparked. And dancing is such a clear image of a creative process:

  • solving a problem/testing of different solutions
  • taking inspiration from outer sources (music, other people etc)
  • listening to your inner guidance
  • expressively communicating a feeling to your surrounding

3. Posthumanism

“The Posthuman is not a defined individual but become or embody different identities.”

I’ve taken interest in Posthumanism because it seems very essential in this technological age.

I especially consider the views on identity important for my practice. I like the idea that there is nothing such as “human nature”, that a human is a flexible, floating being by definition, inhabiting a physical body but not bound to it – neither technically nor culturally.

4. Animal senses

“Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology”, David Abram, 2007.

Whereas the posthumanist ideas that I’ve absorbed might focus on the humans separation from (as David Abram would put it) “human and earthly flesh”, I’ve also dug into some theory that rather emphasises the impact the “earthly” dimension has on our bodies and therefore our thoughts —> feelings —> lifes. I don’t see this as a conflicting thought at all.

I find a very interesting and relevant aspect of movement and dance is the fact that it is a very “earthly”, “primal”, “animal” act.

I recently started babysitting a 1 year-old. This baby is new to this world, he doesn’t have any preconsumptions about social life, he’s more animal than us mature, reading and refelctive people. Which makes it only more interesting that he responds unexceptionally to rhythms, breaking up in a big smile, starting to move his body.

Over the first two weeks of winter term I was invited to assist my friend Nadja Voorham who’s doing  MA in performance at the RCA, London. Being a dancer she is interested in body work and expression through movement and for this project she had an idea about a performance based on wrestling and acrobatics. After three sessions of intense movement exercises we developed a semi choreographed performance that took place on the opening night of the Work In Progress Show, January 22, 2016.

Click on link to see a short video of the documentation. Password is: nina.

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The process of developing a performance struck me as very much like any other creative process I’ve been through. The focus is much on problem solving which is something Marvin Gaye Chetwynd also mentioned in a performance workshop last term. In this case problem solving included avoiding sexual tension, avoiding too vulnerable poses and keep the balance between structure and improvisation.

I find it very natural and fulfilling to use my body in expressional purpose. When doing this kind of body work I have experienced several positive effects. First of all the mindfulness of being totally present in the moment and experiencing time become irrelevant and impossible to keep track of. Secondly, if you’re working together you really sharpen your awareness of the other person(s) and naturally practice your sense of empathy towards them.

I’m interested in community and spirituality/non-spirituality in secular, individualist societies and I want to explore it through some kind of body work.


Costume design:

I was also in charge of doing costume/styling for the performance.

Inspired by the tangling movements we were practicing I wanted to distort the clothes somehow but keep them quite normal in order to not exaggerate the wrestling or Tai Chi vibe that could come with the kind of body work we were going to perform.

This resulted in two outfits, slightly deformed and in contrasting colours. Jeans, stretch, pin-stripes and beige colour gave the look a “normal” feeling that I was looking for.

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