MIND

As the Body Is, So it Knows // Kopano Maroga

Kopano begins this workshop by offering a congratulation to the participants for taking the time to honour yourself in a society that doesn’t want you to. For often pressures on our time remove us from our bodies and the things that they know, cutting us off from the knowledge contained in bones, muscles and the way we move. Our time here together asserts writing as a bodily practice as well as a cerebral one, and it asks its participants to share intimacies with each other as they share the space, filling pages with dialogue as we fill the space with our dance and shouting.  

Many of the movement exercises engage with the trauma that lives in the body by borrowing movement practices from somatic therapy. The notion that trauma is a physical reality is one that is increasingly understood by psychiatric professionals - a biological process where the rush of adrenalin migrates deep into the core of tissue. Within the workshop, Kopano instructs us in an extended period of shaking and trembling designed to free whatever experience of this form of trapped history we may own. We then turn from this movement to the writing of letters to those people or things that we might want to forgive in our lives, linking this freeing of emotion through movement to the production of text. Writing in silence before sharing these letters with a partner, the movement sparks new connections across language, nationality and experience. 

Its paradoxical that self-care can become an added pressure to an already hectic life. Competitive wellness is a fundamentally modern phenomenon, with time spent in exercise construed as achievement. What the time here in this workshop reminds its participants is that the brain and body are not only linked but one and the same, with subjectivity created through being and relation rather than internal definition. My body is what writes, and my mind and emotions are what direct my body to move. By taking time to link the two once again, I understand the extent to which my practice relies on this relation.

- Lewis Church

 

Links relevant to this diagnosis:

 Kopano Maroga - As the Body Is, So it Knows

Time to Move Beyond the Mind/Body Split - The British Medical Journal

Working with Traumatic Memory in the Body - NICABM

Somatic Therapy - Psychology Today

Writing Dance - Lila Dance UK

Self-Care Won’t Save Us - Current Affairs

What Goes On In Your Head?

Let’s start with some questions. R+ + you = what? What would you do for dopamine? What goes on in your head? What goes on in your teenager’s head? The last question was focus of workshops run by artist Jim Lockey, and the culmination was What Goes on in Your Head?, an installation and talk on behaviour and the brain.

The installation presented a range of answers to this question from the teenagers that took part. The art and words they created ranged from the direct and light-hearted to the profound. The installation aimed to show that when we ask a teenager this directly, or in the form of an exasperated rhetorical monologue, the answer is more complicated than you might think.

Tracy Mapp, an expert in the field of behaviour management, built on this with research about the growing teenage brain, paying particular attention to several areas. The first was the relationship between a person’s behaviour and the behaviour of those around them. The second was on dopamine and a teenager’s high senstivitity to it, as well as its implications for behaviour. What Goes on in Your Head?also looked at the changing structure of a teenagers’ brain, at the process of synaptic pruning in operation that takes the brain from a child to an adult. Moving on to consider ways of changing behaviour, Mapp challenged the view of punishment as an effective technique and explored instead the power of positive reinforcement - otherwise known as R+.  What Goes on in Your Head? explored behaviour; it’s origins, it’s influences and techniques to change it using science and experience.

-       Dave Horn

 

Links relevant to this diagnosis:

Why Is Synaptic Pruning Important for the Developing Brain?Scientific American

Swedish Speed-Camera Pays Drivers To Slow DownWired

Wild teenage behaviour linked to rapid cognitive change in the brainGuardian

Kevin Becomes a Teenager Harry Enfield and Chums (1994)

SHIMMER SHATTER / Sofie Hagen

SHIMMER SHATTER / Sofie Hagen

Sofie Hagen’s show, Shimmer Shatter, busts a few myths about introversion. It clearly indicates that being an introvert does not mean you are cold and closed-off. It doesn’t mean you won’t stand up and be very funny in front of an audience. And it doesn’t mean you are unable to tell people about the strangest and most personal aspects of your life, like the time you married a plank of wood and invited your school friends around as witnesses.   

EDINBURGH IN THE SHADOWS / Beattie & Scratchmann

EDINBURGH IN THE SHADOWS / Beattie & Scratchmann

‘Fear is a wonderful thing, in small doses. You ride the ghost train into the darkness, knowing that eventually the doors will open and you will step out into the daylight once again.’ This is author Neil Gaiman’s explanation of why we love a scary story, and it well described the experience of joining Alex Beattie and Max Scratchmann for their bloodcurdling show Edinburgh in the Shadows

EVERY DAY I WAKE UP HOPEFUL / Christian Talbot

EVERY DAY I WAKE UP HOPEFUL / Christian Talbot

It’s one the enduring footballing cliches, parked somewhere alongside “a game of two halves” and the absurdist non-sequitur “sick as a parrot”: “it’s the hope that kills you”. Like all good cliches it invites you to consider an alternative, a refashioning, a making new. John Patrick Higgins’ Every Day I Wake Up Hopeful is an attempt at just such a refashioning. 

A DREAM OF DYING / Fake Escape Theatre

A DREAM OF DYING / Fake Escape Theatre

Life is just a matter of appropriate planning. A good life is a well ordered life. The fullest life is the most neatly divided life. Birth, school (“with outstanding grades”), a lucrative job, a beautiful wife, a spacious suburban house, grinning suburban children, early retirement, grinning suburban grandchildren, a cheerful death and a well peopled funeral. It’s so simple, so simply broken down.

THREE JUMPERS / Unearthed Theatre

THREE JUMPERS / Unearthed Theatre

A council worker watches on as a young man takes a running jump to throw himself off a bridge. He pulls back at the last moment. The young man, elegantly dressed, starts to converse with the dry witted street sweeper and the tone shifts. Things are revealed to be more complicated, as things often are. 

TRIGGER / Christeene

TRIGGER / Christeene

Christeene comes riding in on an inner pony, an imaginary animal representing self-esteem and unapologetic sexuality. Each night, working whilst a shedload of explosives explodes from Edinburgh castle above her, Christeene is at work to create the ambience of the kind of sex disco that you always wished you were invited to but are not quite convinced you’d know what to do at if you were. The inner-pony is a my-little metaphor of freedom, a call to abandon proprieties and niceties in favour of a new kind of holistic sexual transcendence.

ELEPHANT OF MY HEART / Prospero Theatre

ELEPHANT OF MY HEART / Prospero Theatre

There’s a long and rich interplay between meditation and the arts, including music and artworks including the ancient Indian tradition of mandalas. But bringing meditation into conventional theatre is a little more unusual. ‘Elephant of my Heart’ is a stage adaptation of Jessica Clements’ book of the same name: Clements herself even performs in the show’s chorus. It’s a memoir of her time in hospital recovering from a brain haemorrhage as a nine year old child. She believes that the inner travels she went on, guided by an elephant, triggered her healing process. 

ALTERED MINDS, ALTERED REALITIES / Augustus Stephens

ALTERED MINDS, ALTERED REALITIES / Augustus Stephens

Altered Minds, Altered Realities is a one-act, one-man play in which the playwright and actor, Augustus Stephens, depicts six characters in turn in a series of monologues, poems and songs. Each named character is living with a different serious mental illness.

4D CINEMA / Mamoru Iriguchi

4D CINEMA / Mamoru Iriguchi

Mamoru Iriguchi’s moving planes of flat projection are a visual signature, a recurring technique constructed through a wacky series of contraptions that disguise their sophistication. In 4D Cinema the footage projected onto them are used to question time itself, the ability of a subject to define their own home and the biographic responsibilities of the performer and audience. The nature of memory is as much its subject as Marlene Dietrich, both in what the audience remember of themselves as they were fifty minutes younger, and in thoughts of how your memory will survive after death.