Archives for category: Nature & Embodied Ways of Knowing

It was very cold today and as I walked to my office I remembered the sound of crunchy snow at sub -15 C temperatures. It is loud, sharp and crisp. I walked, bundled up against the cold, big boots, long underwear, scarf across my face. The feeling of being wrapped in layers reminded me of the days in Wpg. when I would walk across the Osborne St bridge, even in a blizzard, to get to a 9:30 am dance class. I would get into the studio, strip off the layers, down to a leotard and tights and luxuriate in the extremes of lack of mobility during the outside walking to the full mobility of a warmed up dancing body. The memory is in my body and today, when I reached my office, I changed into a pair of sweats, pulled out my yoga mat and stretched for 15 minutes. It felt good and familiar, a distant memory of days and days of physical challenges so different from the mental challenges I engage in these days. I stopped doing yoga after a few minutes because I had work to do on the computer. Tonight, I am longing for the physical again. Here I am, at the computer…This is embodied knowledge, a way of knowing the weather, the experience of cold, through my memory of the winter dance.

I have rolls and rolls of paper now from the number of scrolls I asked people to walk on. The next step is to create a way of carrying the carbon scrolls with me, awkwardly, over a period of time. I will document the effort and reflect on what it means to store carbon, and sinkhole CO2.

There is something so seductive about being in an outdoor environment in the fall. I had an intent and then…I was seduced by the leaves, the trees, the way the video camera frames things aesthetically. A sense of narrative, telling a story, turns things into artifice, something other than the act of doing. I just wanted to walk in my pointe shoes outside. Walk on my toes, walk on a path. Walk.

The confusion comes when I try to figure out how to record my walk. Is the work the walk? Or is it the video? I still treat the camera as a documentation tool. Something that I use to prove that I am doing a process, doing a performance, doing.

I am going outside again. With my pointe shoes and I am going to try and walk without trying to tell a story. I am going to record my walk. It may be aesthetically interesting, it may be boring, it may be impossible.

Sitting beside my bed is a book on failure in performance. I haven’t read it yet and I hope that it is relevant to the things I have been thinking about. In the past year I have been thinking about embodied knowledge within my own body and the transmission of embodied knowledge from myself to someone else.  I wonder now if that is another impossible task. I bring attention to moments of embodied learning where knowledge is transferred without a story – as an act? But I am still constantly seduced by excess.