MAP Week 4 Summary
I am using this opportunity with MAP to undertake research for my Masters of Media and Performance, and as a result I have adopted a phenomenological methodology. It has influenced the ideas that I am researching and how I am processing them.
I have been researching breathing and movement in depth because it opens up an avenue for exploring the connectivity between people, as well as the connectivity between animate and inanimate things in the world. The research is highlighting the reciprocal exchange that occurs between the inside and the outside, and the subtle ways in which this impacts on a performer’s movement. This week I worked towards making the tasks more specific in order to extend my phenomenological exploration of the relationship between breathing bodies and their movements, at both a solo and a group level.
We began the session by exploring different ways in which we can control the breath. Firstly, we moved through a few ways of controlling the breath: fast, slow, uneven, even, stopping and starting. Even though this task had a direct instruction it opened up many other possibilities and variables, such as the relationship between how the air is entering the body and where the breath is focused within the body, for example if it goes into the chest, belly, or ribs. Another variable is whether you allow the breath to become an exaggerated or restricted movement, or whether it remains an automatic movement.
The next task we did was imagining the air was blue and what that would be like to breath blue air. This felt odd, and I didn’t know how to deal with this in the body. I think that I could try imagining other images of what the air around us looks or feels like.
The following task was to breath into different parts of your body. Again, this task could be approached from two perspectives: imagining different parts of your body breathing, or breathing into a body part. After discussing this task within the group we tried a few other ways of approaching the task such as:
- the body expanding on the inhale and shrinking on the exhale, and visa versa
- fast breathing with slow movements
- slow breathing with fast movements
- imagining a body part was breathing and see how long you could hold the breathing body part while moving until you lost it and then wait until you could connect/find the breathing in a different body part.
From here we experimented with breathing for another person while they were moving. This task is similar to an exercise where you make sound effects for someone else’s movement. The premise is to breath for the mover as you think they would be breathing. In discussion, the mover felt as though they had a lot of agency as if they had manipulated the breather’s breath. The breather however, could choose what they were following in the mover’s body. I also experimented with breathing against the mover’s movement to explore the effect. We also tried this task as a group with multiple breathers and one mover. Firstly, the breathers breathed off the mover, and then the mover moved off the breath. The next stage of this could be swapping the leader within the improvisation to work towards both working together.
This research has been exploring different ways of breathing, and the ways in which the breath can connect to movement and have an effect on the movement. Choreographed movement has not been a relevant aspect of the research, and I have not put any emphasis on choreographing a performance as such. This is because there is no particular reason why you would or would not move in a certain way within these tasks. However, I think that this research has relevance in a performance setting, and that it could be used to help develop choreographed movement. While breath is only one aspect among many that needs to be considered in a performance, it has been very valuable to have this opportunity to explore it.
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