And we improvise. About what I have no idea, but we are doing something that relies on our polite Canadian brand of communication: sending, receiving, and acknowledging what we’ve received. So it becomes a dance of passing energy, germs, whatever, and something is transferring between us.
Here’s what we learned. Some of it is common knowledge, and none of it is, by any means, scientific or factual, but has been observed at this time in our process.
1) Echoing movements are a way of showing we’ve received whatever’s been sent. Echoing feels like a compassionate acknowledgement of the sender. It also feels engrained, like we’re hard wired for mimesis. It makes for some unison-y moments, or consensus (note unison rules, it calms the nervous system, and makes for pretty copacetic-belonging-dopamine feelings)
2) Sending a message can happen without knowing its recipient, and the message itself doesn’t care if it’s been received. Via the universe, god-ness, bottles at sea, solo performance doc martens, pigeon fanciers, whatever, a stream of signals are sent out all the time, consciously or not. Signals, messages, benign stuff, ‘hope’ that thinks it’s an action but will never be, shameful malignant stuff, etc. And then there’s the unknowable stuff – messages that reveal themselves as such, or come into existence upon their reception, when something resonates back a little. A tree only knows it fell and sent off a noise when something is around to process sound, plug its ears, or dance a jig. If no one hears the noise, frequency and noise are still generated, but the tree will never know how jarringly loud it’s just been.
3) Assuming a message has been received is a possible delusion, like praying for a sign to quit your job, and then seeing a face on a potato chip that gently whispers ‘do-it’. Sometimes we send and receive messages to and from ourselves. Sometimes potato chips give permission.
4) When receiving/interpreting a message, consciously or not, a bank of stuff we know, remember, wish we could forget, etc. is referenced. This bank is built from being alive and encoding all kinds of everything. This is the moment when things are recognized (even things that are “unrecognizable” have qualities) and this is the moment when recognizable things tip into representation, or gha gha gha meaning. Ex, when I see the yellow part of the dance I remember the driveway cracks, my grandfather, forgetting to pay rent, mildewy chesterfields, etc. I fill in the lines from my bank of conventional stuff, idiotic narratives, my white Canadian life, and anything from Homeland Season 2. But what if the people watching this yellow dance reference something they never thought they could know until that very moment when seeing the thing? The dance illuminates knowledge production. Is that possible to make? Can the yellow dance erode somehow, so that it is reminiscent of nothing, but stimulates something? It grabs you and takes you somewhere impossible to foresee, and you don’t even realize until 3 months later when you’re diagnosed with yellow fever. That thing you can’t shake. That affect disease. A little bit of Spangbergianism.
5) In this improvisation, in action, on the day we did it, sending and receiving were the same thing.
So here’s a video of an improv thing with Mike, me, and Julia. Here’s what we’re doing: sending and receiving in an imagined landscape, without ever looking directly at each other. We are chill-unison (together and apart at the same time, attentive to dynamics, not so visually dependent on each other), and in spite of ourselves we’re floaty gushy soft, and there’s lots of tingly energy magnetic stuff between us. I don’t know what this is. When I watch it I try to look at all three people at the same time.