Somatic Lab #25: Undocumented Document

a publishing and sharing exercise that uses subversive distribution to both question the institutions that hold our work AND participate in the renegotiation of artistic value and accessibility

In the 17th and 18th centuries, chapbooks were paper leaflets distributed to share everything from children’s stories and folk tales to political or religious views. They delivered “information” to the masses—a transmitter of “popular” culture for the populous. They created public spaces on the page. Today, chapbooks are the “demo-tapes” or “first collections” of the poetry world—an introduction, extended, held, passed. In a time of “alternative” facts, hash tags, and
paid “fake” news, this lab uses the chapbook to hold a space for contemplation, remediation, and investigation. It creates a pocket of time to turn over—paper-page-hand-word—and
an invitation to sit with and sift through.

Select a piece of writing that you would like to share. Xerox, staple, and go. Arrive at your favorite library clutching a copy of your text/chapbook. Using the principles of
gift economy and eco-linguistics, position your writing between two books in the library. Will your choice be an act of bibliomancy or a strategic commentary between two subject
areas? Will you have more than one copy placed in more than one location? This tactic is a response to the current conversation on borders, boundaries, migration, and immigration—
how does the undocumented document move through/in/of/with? What role does intertextuality play in the finding and reading of the text? Coordinates are created
at the intersection of the critical and the creative, the poetic and the political, a reorientation is possible. What will be your poethical wager?1 Your edge? Your precipice? Why?
Why now?

1 Joan Retallack, The Poethical Wager (California: University of
California Press, 2003).

Somatic Lab #24: Back Stories

a movement meditation and writing practice that unpacks how we carry our love, hate, grief, history, future, self, other on our backs and cultivates an awareness of this weight to help leverage, navigate, and sublimate this effort 

anna halprin sea star.jpg

INSERT AUDIO for MEDITATION HERE

To access the Somatic Lab Notes for this exercise, check out our anthology Writing at the Edge. Share your creative and critical responses here.  Let's continue the conversation at/on/of/through/with the edge. 

Somatic Lab #23: Seed Sound

a generative writing exercise that uses Yogic Biju seed sounds to tone the receptivity to body, language, and environment

MercuryMirrors

To access the Somatic Lab Notes for this exercise, check out our anthology Writing at the Edge. Share your creative and critical responses here.  Let's continue the conversation at/on/of/through/with the edge. 

Somatic Lab #22: Plot[ing]

a writing practice that embodies the vine to question the serial–how do nonlinear vignettes push the cracks, the faults, the quiet spaces to the surface in our writing?

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To access the Somatic Lab Notes for this exercise, check out our anthology Writing at the Edge. Share your creative and critical responses here.  Let's continue the conversation at/on/of/through/with the edge. 

Somatic Lab #21: Movement Choir

a revisionary exercise inspired by movement choirs to score the gestural and sonic elements of a piece–how do we move, with whom, and when?

Tanz, Ton, Wort.
Nonviolent protest practiced by the Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock Sioux, and Women’s March communities revealed the power of standing up, standing with, and standing for peace, change, recognition, justice, and equality. They remind us that there is a power in the collective: collective words [dialogue] AND collective intention [manifesto].

As America continues to examine its fractured places, I call on dance, music, and poetry to serve as palpator (identifying and naming the broken places and scar tissue), circulator (massaging and moving blood and lymph through the sites), rehabilitator (a sling holding the space and demanding the time (MLK’s NOWNESS) for healing), and witness (compiling the observations, diagnosis, prognosis, and recovery notes). While Internet trolls question protest in the context of “right” and “rights,” I call back (dance back, chant back), protest is a rite of passage. Without protest there is no humanity, maybe civility, but certainly not humanity. In exploring this rite, I invoke ritual and its importance in showing the value of crossing thresholds, shifting and shedding shapes, and transforming self and community. Where does
the energy to create change come from? What shapes does it take and how can we embody or inhabit it?

Rudolf Von Laban, one of the “makers” of Modern Dance in Europe (Germany) used his education in anatomy and architecture to tap into the movement efforts and shapes
of the human body.

There is a parallel in history here that I cannot ignore. Laban's expressive movement choirs in Germany—moving able-bodies together—were appropriated by the Olympic Youth (the Third Reich) in the 1936 Berlin Olympics to create propaganda. While the Olympic Youth choir demonstrated the power of aesthetic, unified movement, it also revealed just how much intention matters in ritual, rite, art, and protest. The differences between Laban’s expressive movement choirs and the Olympic Youth’s propagandized movement choirs returns us to the
impulse—is it coming from the dancer’s body OR the master’s mind?

America revisits this dilemma in the 2017 protest of racist, Confederate Statues in the South. The protest of protesting (the Neo-Nazi groups attacking the Black Lives Matter community) dilutes, distracts, and silences the movement—the choir. How can we reclaim the movement choir and use it to dismantle and thus, remediate this injustice? 

 

While Isadora Duncan (on the American scene) used music as the impulse to drive or channel movement through and with her body and sculpture to model her shapes, Laban insisted that the impulse for movement should stir from within the dancers themselves. Creativity studies today still question where the inspiration, impulse, or muse resides and how best to call it, play with it, honor it, and essentially “harness” it (ugh). Are we vessels, containers, conduits, mediums, translators, sculptors? Are we breath, prana, light, sound, gesture, flint and wood, brush and wind? YES, AND…Embracing both—quantum creativity—becomes a practice of not just making but listening to how we make and are made: poesis. Offering a space to
practice listening—receptivity as the alchemy of receptacle AND flow [shunter AND shifter of cilia, proprioceptor, and dendrite]—becomes more important than performing, producing,
or publishing the work. It is the gesture that offers change [Anna Joy Springer: how do you feel about hearing yourself AND yourself hearing this from a tube warm and wet with words?] and the offering of gestures [Ginger Teppner: how do you breathe with me in this journey we hear/here now take—can you feel me next to you—moving and moved?]

Bundesarchiv_Bild_102-09849,_Tanzschule_Laban_im_Strandbad_Wannsee.jpg

 

Anna Joy Springer and Ginger Teppner not only unpack the archetypal knowledge of BIRD, but they also embody the swooping, circling, forming, and fleeing of BIRD—the energy, impulse, of flight, vision, instinct, and migration. The single wing flap AND the series of flaps AND the moment when no flapping is necessary at all, mirrors the efforts to “get up and running” to give a project “wings” to shift from inaction to action.

How do birds nest, fly, flee, float, flock, reach, rupture alone and together? How does the line draw you? Why?

Playing on the edges of improvisational troupes (post-modern-American style), witnessing groups (Anna Halprin-esque-West-Coast-eco-healingdance), and movement
choirs (German-Modern-Dance-vis-à-vis-Laban), Somatic Lab #21 is both a generative and revisionary practice to witness (dance-sound-word) and score (word-sound-dance)
the gestural and sonic elements of a piece—how do we move, with whom, for what, and when? Oh, and yes, Flash Mobs are kind of like movement choirs, but then, not at all, [yet,
still fun.]

Generative: Set an intention: what will you move for/with/through/from/to. Find your flock. Gather together a few friends (or invite your audience before/after[during?]
a reading/performance). Hold your choir in a public space. Accessible. You may find that as the movement choir unfolds witnesses may join in. This is great. Keep the movement score open, yet direct. This will create a safe environment for your movers where they can be expressive (the blood) because they are not “thinking” or “worrying” about what to do or what will happen next (the vessels). They can remain in the moment (the pulse, hearing blood in vessel and vessel in blood). Below is a list of Laban effort shapes that can be used as direction to score your movement choir. Start with four or five. Define how you will transition from one to
the next: breath cue, destination arrival, music shift, or. You may write the score on a poster, hand out little cards, or yell out as you go. When you are ready to embody the score, decide
if you would like to set up a camera (aerial is best [bird’s eye view]) and participate in the choir (generating both experience notes and later observation notes) or if you will be the bird and watch/film/witness/listen/write/document/ contemplate the choir as it unfolds. Both have value: dancesound-word; word-sound-dance. After the movement choir (just as in after the protest, the rite, the ritual) contemplate, reflect, and contemplate again in dance, sound, or words. What :: Who has been heard, seen, felt and how has that changed the climate/atmosphere/energy? What now? How now? Why? Write.

Laban Graphic.png



Score Example: Intention—Remediate the way
the moving female body is seen/heard/choreographed;
Location—golf course; Movement Score—GLIDE from first
hole to second hole, FLOAT around the hole, circling until
all movers are included, WRING from high to low until all
movers are lying on the grass, SLASH from low to high until
all movers are scattered and standing, OPEN the movement
effort to the movers choice as the choir works its way
to the third hole; Reflection & Contemplation—hold the
space for stillness and silence until the first audible breath
cue, a spontaneous sigh, then invite sharing, speaking,
words and continued nonverbal expression to the shared
space; Conclude—invite movers to gather together as tightly
as they can—a gesture of pressing in and up [SUSPENDED]—
release the contraction to end.

 

Revisionary: Select a piece of writing (or choreography or music). Use Laban’s movement efforts to track and trace1 the flow/energy in the piece. Create a score at the intersection
of what you are feeling and what you would like to feel. Repeat the Generative Sequence. In-post experience, what has your movement choir done with your words? I call upon Springer’s Winky and Blinky here as evidence that audience/reader changes the course of the text. How
can protest [how can movement choir as protest] change the course of the conversation? How does it reflect, refract, project, dismantle, magnify, reduce, or discharge the master narrative—the language of the oppressor/oppressed? How does it peel back the edges of scar, scab, band-aid, blanket, muzzle, duct tape and let the air in and the voice out? What happens to your piece when you give it to people? Revision and rewrite.

Dance, Sound, Word.

For more information/instruction, please, read: “Poetics of
Empathy: Gesture-Sound-Word as Compositional Units of a Somatic
Frame,” published here: http://www.somethingonpaper.org/issue-2/park/

To access the Somatic Lab Notes for this exercise, check out our anthology Writing at the Edge. Share your creative and critical responses here.  Let's continue the conversation at/on/of/through/with the edge. 

Somatic Lab #11: Riding the Wave of the Breath

an embodied meditation and writing exercise that cultivates receptivity and deep listening between partners—where does the breath-word-attention flow freely and where does it stop up?

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INSERT MEDITATION READING...CREATE..

To access the Somatic Lab Notes for this exercise, check out our anthology Writing at the Edge. Share your creative and critical responses here.  Let's continue the conversation at/on/of/through/with the edge. 

 

Somatic Lab #20: Wring It Out

a movement and generative writing exercise that uses a series of twists to wring the words from body to page

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Twists lengthen, squeeze, and wring the toxins from the cells and the words from the pen. They continually find an edge—in reach, in wait, in motion—and dance along the gradient: a little more, a little less. They renegotiate a boundary and rewrite the line.

Patty Somlo and Anna Joy Springer explore the edges between the corporeal and the ephemeral, the message and the messenger, the oracle and the auricle. While Somlo kneads and contracts—a gesture of expulsion—Springer spreads and expands—a gesture of reception.

Consider how twists—and tweets—can cull and call the core: how can the spine serve as
a divining stick and how best can we maintain it?

Somatic Lab #20 is a movement and generative practice that wrings the words from body to page. In this practice, you will need a comfortable place to sit, two large sheets of
paper, and a writing utensil (note: if outside, you need dirt/ sand and a stick; if the floor is uncomfortable, flank your chair between two surfaces (desks or tables or ledges)). You
can twist as yoga-pretzely or un-yoga-pretzely as you wish.

If you have back pain or injuries, twists are contraindicated, so please refrain from rotation at the core and extend rather with arcs from the limbs.

Begin seated with both sitbones firmly grounded. Gather an intention: what would you like to investigate in/through/of/from/with your body today? As you inhale, lengthen tall through the spine, collect an inquiry. As you exhale twist to the right and release your inquiry: write your
thoughts, feelings, emotions, responses onto the page following the arc of the limbs: the limit is the range of the core. 

[This will look like angel wings in snow, or bird wings in shadow]. When you reach your edge (in body or word), inhale soften and exhale surrender. Inhale release the twist
and gather back to your center, exhale restore. Repeat to the left.

Continue to twist back and forth at your own pace. Watch as the words sweep, arc out and surround you. What does it feel like to sit in your investigation: to both drive it and be driven by it? Can you see the edges, the boundaries on your page? Does the writing ever touch?

When you feel sufficiently wrung out, gather these field notes and process. What will you throw out with the bathwater? What will you keep? How will you arrange it; what does your body say?

To access the Somatic Lab Notes for this exercise, check out our anthology Writing at the Edge. Share your creative and critical responses here.  Let's continue the conversation at/on/of/through/with the edge. 

Somatic Lab #19: Vinyasa

a writing process exercise that uses the body and bodies of writing to track, trace, and cultivate your creative practice

To access the Somatic Lab Notes for this exercise, check out our anthology Writing at the Edge. Share your creative and critical responses here.  Let's continue the conversation at/on/of/through/with the edge. 

Somatic Lab #17: Acoustic Archeology

a generative and revisionary exercise to excavate the sounds—stories—of the past, of the place as site

oracle-delphi-greece-51184574.jpg

https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2016/02/byzantine-angel-wings/470076/

 

To access the Somatic Lab Notes for this exercise, check out our anthology Writing at the Edge. Share your creative and critical responses here.  Let's continue the conversation at/on/of/through/with the edge. 

 

http://on-contemporarypractice.squarespace.com/visceral-poetics/

To access the Somatic Lab Notes for this exercise, check out our anthology Writing at the Edge. Share your creative and critical responses here.  Let's continue the conversation at/on/of/through/with the edge. 

Somatic Lab #18: Ring around the...

a revisionary exercise that explores imprint–what lines do we leave behind?

James Dalton Trumbo - Writing in the Tub.jpg

Belewe moon—betrayer moon—once in a blue moon when: this month I experienced my first Super Blue Blood Moon (and perhaps, my last). On such occasions the tides (and my cerebrospinal fluid) are exaggerated under the pull of gravity. The docks bare their barnacles and boats their bellies until we littoral dwellers are aware of how ill-equipped we are to practice impermanence. In the moments of exposure there is a sense of peeling back, draining, seeing into that which is often hidden—the man behind the curtain [Oz] or the man inside the mirror [MJ]. In moments of erasure, the tides full and filling, the threat of losing ground, of floating away, of being displaced or pushed out looms [migraines
and maniacs and groaning wood].

Reichard’s Doppelganger holds the space for exploring these rings, traces, and marks: in bifurcation (a trauma of rupture, reach, split) how is time and presence renegotiated?
Both Reichard and Park1 scratch at the rings around shadow self and shadow site: what is the carrying capacity of the container and how can that be tested, disrupted, dismantled?

At sites of violence or upheaval—storm and storming—what residue remains: skin cells, blood, shadows, screams?

In Somatic Lab #18 we use the “ring around”—the trace—to revise a text. Locate a piece of writing that needs a shift: sitting on a plateau, unaware of edges or teetering
on the edge, unaware of ground. Gather some water-soluble (washable) markers. Do not steal from children; rather, liberate the markers from their fists. Write the text round and
round and round the tub, bowl, vase [a basin of sorts]. As you fill the container with water, watch as the words morph, dissolve, shift, move, slide, disappear.

The sloshing of water in belly in basin in moon—what does the gut say? What lingers, remains? What will the writing contain? What will it not? What should the container
look like? If there is a ring in the tub, what color is it? What is made visible? What escapes?
Write down the imprint: physical, emotional, cognitive—process and processing.

 

To access the Somatic Lab Notes for this exercise, check out our anthology Writing at the Edge. Share your creative and critical responses here.  Let's continue the conversation at/on/of/through/with the edge

Somatic Lab #16: Looking Glass

a generative and revisionary writing exercise that embodies stereochemistry–cis and trans patterns–to practice asymmetry in storytelling, a.k.a. Go Ask Alice.

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To access the Somatic Lab Notes for this exercise, check out our anthology Writing at the Edge. Share your creative and critical responses here.  Let's continue the conversation at/on/of/through/with the edge. 

Somatic Lab #15: Gathering

a movement and revisionary practice that uses Laban Movement exercises to investigate the experimental prose/poetry process

There is something about plopping and rolling in a pile of neatly raked leaves that is liberating: defiance in a season where the breath of desperation (of winter) is cold at your neck. We are fallen stars exploring space in the gesture of gather-scatter,1 limbs mimicking the twinkle lost in the expanding edges of harvest moons.

Sheila Packa embodies contraction-expansion [gather-scatter, fold-unfold, zoom-scan, exhale-inhale] as the words pulse from page to field to shoe to foot to leaf to page to word to sound to [ ]: her language wraps and releases delivering the reader into a landscape, a body, of story.

Somatic Lab #15 plays at the edge of revision and generation (fall and spring) by using movement to work through a text. Choose two texts: one that falls (or reaches) and one that floats (or arrives). These texts can be your own or borrowed. Rip the texts into leaf sized bits. INHALE: Place the pieces onto desired surface (table, floor, bed, lawn, valley, beach, parking lot, construction site, etc.). EXHALE: Scatter the pieces (blow, swipe, roll across, slide). INHALE: Gather the pieces (rake, scoop, stack, hook). Select two pieces
that call out to you and set aside. Repeat 5 times.

Use the leaf(lets) as found material to generate a new work. EXHALE: Write the connective tissue of the found pieces: the vein in leaf, the trace in pile.

1 A reference to describing movement in relation to space within
the kinesphere as applied in Laban Movement Analysis.

fmpisces_300.jpg

To access the Somatic Lab Notes for this exercise, check out our anthology Writing at the Edge. Share your creative and critical responses here.  Let's continue the conversation at/on/of/through/with the edge. 

Somatic Lab #14: Succession

a generative writing exercise that uses the body to witness and write the shifts in landscape

FlatironWildflowers3.jpg

To access the Somatic Lab Notes for this exercise, check out our anthology Writing at the Edge. Share your creative and critical responses here.  Let's continue the conversation at/on/of/through/with the edge. 

Somatic Lab #13: Thaw

a revisionary exercise that examines what happens to the page, the line, the words when read through a state change, through the thermodynamics of the text

snowbook.jpg

To access the Somatic Lab Notes for this exercise, check out our anthology Writing at the Edge. Share your creative and critical responses here.  Let's continue the conversation at/on/of/through/with the edge. 

Somatic Lab #12: Write as Rain

a generative free- writing exercise that uses Organic Form to explore the sonic and phonic landscape

 

The best time to go fishing is in the rain. The drops break up the surface, drive currents, and redistribute nutrients. You are baiting like with like: what hangs on the line?

Meissner and Miller question not just finding form or questioning form but “re-cogn[izing]” the vectors, tensions, stencils, boards that construct perceptions and projections of form. How can we inhabit formlessness in the very moment we witness form crowning and receding? What do we pull from water with water? Through water? In water?

This exercise creates a lab to sound and sense “organic form” as defined by Denise Levertov, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Robert Duncan. We close the score and define the boundaries of the container by using water instead of air (instead of all) to create a horizon line/ horizon note. How does the skin, the drum, the edge, the barrier both respond to and reflect sound?

Allow the space for synesthesia and kinesthesia here—sound and touch—the felt sense of rain.

Free-write #1: Wait for rain. Create a barrier between you and the rain: window, roof, umbrella, tree, canopy, awning, hat brim, newspaper, etc. Close your eyes and tune into your ears. Observe the sound of the rain on the container—a mist, a drizzle, a drop, a shower, a downpour, a [ ]. Listen until you find the rhythm of the rain. Open your eyes and begin to free-write in/to/from/of this pattern of sound. Write for 10 minutes, noticing the shifts in weather, sound, and writing.

Free-Write #2: Remove the barrier between yourself and the rain. Close your eyes and tune into your skin. Observe the sensation of rain on you as container. Listen until you find the shape/flow of the rain. Open your eyes and begin to free-write in/to/from/of this pattern of sensation. Write for 10 minutes.

Free-Write #3: Write as rain—tuning into both the sound in/around/on and the sensation in/on/of the rain. What washes through you, over you, in you? What precipitates? What remains? What line do you hear driving rain? What “rift” in perception must be jumped or leapt? What is created in the space between drip drop, because of drip and drop?

rain river.gif

 

Denise Levertov: Some Notes on Organic Form

 

To access the Somatic Lab Notes for this exercise, check out our anthology Writing at the Edge. Share your creative and critical responses here.  Let's continue the conversation at/on/of/through/with the edge. 

Somatic Lab #10: Spirals

a revisionary and movement practice that invokes Irene Dowd’s Spirals Series to play with proprioception, gravity, and our receptivity to our own bodies-words

To access the Somatic Lab Notes for this exercise, check out our anthology Writing at the Edge. Share your creative and critical responses here.  Let's continue the conversation at/on/of/through/with the edge. 

Somatic Lab #9: the Spine

an investigative poetics exercise that uses embodied bibliomancy to gather source/found materials

bday-12-6-alfred-eisenstaedt-high-school-girl-reading-at-the-newburyport-free-library.jpg

http://www.tingemagazine.org/an-interview-with-bhanu-kapi/ 

To access the Somatic Lab Notes for this exercise, check out our anthology Writing at the Edge. Share your creative and critical responses here.  Let's continue the conversation at/on/of/through/with the edge. 

Somatic Lab #8: An Exclusive--Sole Interview

a generative exercise that invokes Pauline Oliveros principles of deep listening to create new surfaces for sounding and resounding your writing

Pauline Oliveros said that her meditations had a goal of “expanded consciousness” and “humanitarian purposes; specifically healing.”  PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY THE CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY MUSIC ARCHIVES, MILLS COLLEGE published in the New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/listening-as-activism-the-sonic-meditations-of-pauline-oliveros

Pauline Oliveros said that her meditations had a goal of “expanded consciousness” and “humanitarian purposes; specifically healing.”

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY THE CENTER FOR CONTEMPORARY MUSIC ARCHIVES, MILLS COLLEGE published in the New Yorker: https://www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/listening-as-activism-the-sonic-meditations-of-pauline-oliveros

To access the Somatic Lab Notes for this exercise, check out our anthology Writing at the Edge. Share your creative and critical responses here.  Let's continue the conversation at/on/of/through/with the edge. 

Somatic Lab #7: iSEE

a generative exercise that questions capture, absorption, saturation, and re-release; in a hashtag world how can we separate the object from its constructs? 

little kid camera man.png

To access the Somatic Lab Notes for this exercise, check out our anthology Writing at the Edge. Share your creative and critical responses here.  Let's continue the conversation at/on/of/through/with the edge. 

Somatic Lab #6: Excision and Excitement

a revisionary exercise that investigates the line between absence and presence in the text—what happens in the phantom space? Is there a danger in lingering? A liberation in splicing?

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To access the Somatic Lab Notes for this exercise, check out our anthology Writing at the Edge. Share your creative and critical responses here.  Let's continue the conversation at/on/of/through/with the edge.