rest

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I have come to see the necessity for creative breaks... rest. For the past few months I've intentionally stepped away from the active process of doing my creative work. During this time, I focused on my internal somatic experiences and took the precious moments I typically to fill with creative problem solving, to respond to spontaneous curiosities. I've been reading books, working on our tiny farm of a back yard, chasing my toddler through the sprinkler, watching light refract through the water at the local pool, taking bike rides through wheat fields, meeting with friends, cooking, canning, eating fruit fresh of the tree, sitting, enjoying warm night air....  life things. 

After these periods of rest, I see new creative projects emerge (often clearly formed) and I awe at how interconnected my creative work is with daily life. And how important it is to rest and let seeds germinate. 

An aside:  While doing research earlier today I happened upon this software/programing article that (is very dry and academic but STILL) stretches my imagination!  "Accurate and Efficient Gesture Spotting via Pruning and Subgesture Reasoning

12 Acts for Soma

Dedicated to to Nickels Sunshine and the Spring Whitman Somatics cohort. 
Written in May, 2017

1.
Blow into a straw.
Blow into a straw submerged in a glass of water.
Blow into a straw submerged in a trickling stream.
Blow into a straw submerged in a pond.
Blow into a straw submerged in a quickly flowing river. 

2.
Press your entire body against a parked car with its engine running. 

3.
Place your throat against the belly of a dog
that is basking in a pool of sunlight.

4.
Pedel a bicycle
with your hands on the pedals.

5. 
Locate a grassy knoll.
Position your body so that your back sinks into the earth,
and your head points downhill.

Take 10 deep breaths.

Move 10 inches downward.

With eyes open,
look to the sky.
Over your right shoulder. 
To the space between your tailbone and the earth.
Over your left shoulder.
To the sky again. 

Repeat, this time with eyes closed
and the bottom of your feet leading.

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6. 
At the grocery store, mimic the walk of the first person you encounter in the produce department. 

7.
Turn on an electric toothbrush.
Gently press the bristles against the crown of your head.
Then the soles of your feet.

8.
Take a walk barefoot through a park.
Collect every fallen leaf, stick, seed, trash or rock
that touch your feet.

9. 
Tie  a string to your ring finger for 24 hours. 
Every time you notice it's presence:
       a.) pause
       b.) notice the temperature of the air against your skin
       c.) imagine that the nearest stranger's movements release the tension in every muscle in your body. 
Return to your previous task. 

10.
Go to a coffee shot. Buy a cup of coffee. Find a seat alone.
Once seated begin to drink your beverage. After each sip, 
re-position your sits bones by moving less than a 1/4". 

11. 
Lay on your back on a carpet floor.  Clasp your bag, satchel or purse
in your arms.  Roll about without allowing it to touch the ground. 

12. 
Breathe. 



 

silent structures (a performance score excerpt)

The following text is an excerpt from the performance score for my Aug, 23 2014 work, Five Silent Structures.  Adapt, embody, and re-envision these words as suited for you:
 

The body is:  building. structure. flesh. waiting. being. past. future
The building is:  body. structure. canopy. awaiting. being. history. tomorrow

The body is a building.  A building is a body. 


We are extensions of the buildings we inhabit, the places we know through repetition and time.   Through our daily lives we enact the process of being with these spaces.  Through this performance we will enact the process of being with these spaces attentively.  The Fort Lawton structures are restricted, vacant, and empty.  They contain histories of use but are now silently observing the world, patient and overlooked by most.  Create silent spaces in yourself that mirror the spaces within these buildings.  Stand with them as you might stand with a dear friend experiencing deep struggle, a family member undergoing incarceration, or a loved one constrained by limitations that prevent them from enacting their basic humanity.  Become observant, patient, perceptive, generous, and open.

Aim:

"to make meaning from the fragments we get, which are also all we get" -Anne Carson.

Questions:

1. How do our daily rituals activate a building?
2. What is lost when a space is constrained?
3. How does a structure (a home, a shelter, a refuge) transform our bodies.
4. How do our bodies and the spaces we inhabit break silence? 

quietest place (assignment)

The Art Assignment is a really rad weekly video series produced by PBS Digital Studios.  It's a sophisticated, playful, fun program hosted by curator Sarah Urist Green and author/vlogger John Green. The Art Assignment takes you around the U.S. to meet artists and solicit assignments from them that anyone can complete and then post on their website:  theartassignment.com

It's a genius series (and curiously happens to mirror the model of assignment making that I have in my own studio practice *grin*).  The newest episode really sings to me.


Jace Clayton, aka DJ /Rupture, challenges you to take a walk from where you live and find the quietest place. Once you're there, take it in for a moment and then make a short video or take some photos there.

(The Art) Assignment:  Quietest Place
EPISODE 5 INSTRUCTIONS


1. Go outside and talk a walk from where you live or are staying at the moment. 
2. Continue until you’ve found the quietest place possible.
3. Take a moment to absorb it. Then document the place through photography or video. Upload it to your social media platform of choice using #theartassignment.
4. Fame and glory. (Your work might be featured in an upcoming video.)

Artworks mentioned include John Cage’s 4’33” (1952/53) and Charles Baudelaire’s essay The Painter of Modern Life (1863). 

motion drawing (assignment)

Assignment: motion drawing

Identify and label actions/motions observed in day to day life that are interesting, notable, curious, satisfying, or disturbing.

With an open sketch book/ blank piece of paper/ electronic tablet and a writing device attempt to attentively record the motions.  Look closely and record only what actually happens.  Avoid looking at the canvass whenever possible.  Let marks accumulate.  Keep mind empty of judgement.  

Possible additional parameters:
1. Set a timer and work continuously on one drawing until timer goes off.
2. Only record very fast gestures.
3. Only record very very slow gestures.
4. Do not lift drawing device off drawing surface.
5. Work very quickly.
6. Work very slowly.

Motion locale:
1. Sink
2. Front stoop
3. Computer screen
4. Plant life (bushes/trees)
5. Traffic
6. Beyond windows

10 minutes everyday (assignment)

Assignment: 10 minutes everyday

Everyday for one week, use your body to create small actions. Consider these actions gifts. Who or what might they be for?  Would your intention be visible to the receiver?  Should it be?  How long might each action take? 

Set a timer for 10 minutes.  

Begin.

10 minutes everyday (unperformed events)

Sit in a chair with legs crossed and
lightly tap the foot that is hinged (suspended) in the air.

for: Unknown man in his mid-twenties waiting on the blue line.
duration: 1-20 minutes

………………………………………………………………………

Stand next to (a living) tree. Take deep breaths
into sections of the tree beginning at the
tips of the leading most branches
and moving all the way down to the trunk
Extend into the roots.

for: My shoes.
duration: 1-5 minutes.

………………………………………………………………………

Slowly break apart, strip, and tear a wooden coffee stir stick
until it becomes a small pile of 1 cm x 30 mm sized pieces.
Place the little heaping pile at the
bottom of the stairs, just outside the entryway.

for: The philodendron plant my friend and I unintentionally killed.
It was a gift to him from my mom.
duration: 1-5 minutes.

………………………………………………………………………

Rub right eye lid for one minute.

for: The childhood blanket my sister rubbed to pieces.
duration: 1 minute

………………………………………………………………………

Stand intimately close to a standing lamp.
Rub hands against one another until palms are hot.

for: My trusty bedside lamp.
duration: 1 minute.

………………………………………………………………………

Lay on your bedroom floor with half your body
under your bed. Focus on the ceiling.

for: A well used ceramic mug.
duration: 4 minutes.

………………………………………………………………………

With your right hand, press the dull end of a pen
into the palm of your left hand.
Increase force over time.

for: Over worn boots.
duration: 1 minute

………………………………………………………………………

Rub the skin on your right ear lob. Listen closely.

for: Warm wind.
duration: 1 minute

………………………………………………………………………

Bend both ends of a q-tip so that they are facing one another.

for: Inner ear drum.
duration: Until task is complete.

………………………………………………………………………

Sit completely still on a chair for one minute.
Remove yourself from the chair.  Slowly,
touch every inch of the chair and
the area of the floor on which the chair is sitting. 
Again, sit on the chair for one minute.

for:  The walnut desk my dad built.
duration:  3-10 minutes.

………………………………………………………………………

Sit in a train seat, slouch, and roll thumbs.

for: Middle aged woman on train run 239.
duration: The distance between two stops.

………………………………………………………………………

Pick up something that has been discarded on the street.
Closely examine it.  Return it to a home that suits it well.

for: Roxy, the golden lab that lived with me.
duration: 1-5 minutes.

………………………………………………………………………

Place a glass half filled with water next to a pepper shaker
so that they are touching. Leave them there for 15 seconds.
Move them away from one another.
Repeat.

for:  A dear friend that now lives far away.
duration:  2 minutes

………………………………………………………………………

Set a well loved hat on your kitchen floor
while you cook a good wholesome meal.

for: The last item I lost.
duration:  The length of dinner preparation

………………………………………………………………………

Stand in a corner with your back against one wall
and your arm against another. Lean your shoulder
into the remaining empty space in the corner.

for:  A Latino business man in a downtown elevator.
duration:  15 minutes

………………………………………………………………………

Sit, while hungry, on a cement floor

for: Dreadlocked man who lives on the corner of Monroe
and the Michigan Ave. alley.
duration:  15 minutes.

………………………………………………………………………

Put your left thumb between your pointer finger
and middle finger (on your left hand). Pull your fingers
closer to your wrist. Relax your palm.
Release your thumb.
Begin again.

for:  An anxious, articulate speaker.
duration:  4 minutes.

………………………………………………………………………

Sit on the floor of your kitchen
with your back against the refrigerator.
Feel the motor vibrate through your back.

for:  Wilted spinach.
duration:  1-5 minutes.

………………………………………………………………………

Press your cheek up against a cold window pane.
Move your tongue to touch the inside skin of your
mouth cavity on the side of your face that contacts
the cold glass.
Apply pressure to your cheek with your tongue.

for:  The incoming spring.
duration:  3-6 minutes.

………………………………………………………………………

Shrug your shoulders in exaggeration.
Repeat while sighing deeply.

for:  A lonely colleague.
duration:  60 long sighs.