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January 20th

"Viewers are as much a part of the landscape as the boulders they stand on"

(Silko,Landscape, History and the Pueblo Imagination.)

“A path is a prior interpretation of the best way to traverse a landscape, and to follow a route is to accept an interpretation or to stalk your predecessors on it as scholars and trackers and pilgrims do. To walk the same way is to reiterate something deep; to move through the same space the same way is a means of becoming the same person, thinking the same thought. It's a form of spatial theatre, since one is emulating saints and gods in hopes of coming closer to them oneself.” (Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust, p. 68)

“To stand alongside a river is to stand alongside a blood vessel of the earth, and from watching it you can get a sense of what’s happening inside of you….Watching a river over a month will give you insights into how your internal rivers perform over an hour. Watching a river over a year will give you insights into how your internal rivers perform in a day. Watching a river for a millennium will give you insights into how your internal rivers perform over a lifetime.” (Katy Bowman, Movement Matters)

“I remember one time Robert Morris had watched a rock- wouldn’t you know it? He had watched a rock and then when it was time for us to show each other what we had found, he took a full minute to contract himself into as tight a knot as possible. And so that he was balanced on just a small part of himself.”  (Simone Forti, Judson Theater: The Work is Never Done exhibit MOMA, 2019)

Trees are remarkable dancers. You just have to slow down your sense of time to keep pace with the rush of their agile, moving bodies. Plants and trees move by growing. And they grow by lapping up sunlight and pulling matter out of thin air. As they grow, they literally make the world, thickening their trunks, branches, stems, and leaves as they inhale gaseous carbon and exhale oxygen. In this way, trees teach us the most nuanced lessons about mattering. Trees grow from million-fold “centres of indetermination” (cf Deleuze). As they grow, they explore the world around them, conducting inquiries, experiments, and catalyzing new ecological relations. They record their worldly experiences in their forms. You can get a feel for the remarkable history of a tree’s encounters with insects, animals, wind, fire, and chainsaws by taking the time to trace its gesture. Winter trees, and trees whose spring buds have yet to burst make it easy to follow along. Trace a tree’s silhouette, it’s sweeping curves, arcing limbs, or meandering branches by pulling a pencil across a page, or by moving your own body. Let yourself be moved by its form.

Natasha Myers

Playing games of string figures is about giving and receiving patterns, dropping threads and failing but sometimes finding something that works. Something consequential. And maybe even beautiful that wasn’t there before. Of relaying connections that matter. Of telling stories in hand upon hand, digit upon digit, attachment site upon attachment site. To craft conditions for finite flourishing on terra, on earth.  

String figures requires holding still in order to receive and pass on. String figures can be played by many on all sorts of limbs as long as the rhythm of accepting and giving is sustained. (Donna Harraway 2015, 10)

I wish that I could put up yesterday's evening sky for all posterity, could preserve a night of love, the sound of a mountain stream, a realization as it sets my mind to fire, a dance, a day of harmony, 10 000 glow days of clouds that will instead vanish and never seen again, line them up in jars where they might be admired in interim and tasted again as needed. p. 114

To hear is to let the sound wander all the way through the labryrinth of your ear; to listen is travel the other way to meet it.  It’s not passive but active, this listening. It’s as though you retell each story, translate it into the language particular to you, fit it into your cosmology so you can understand and respond, and thereby it becomes part of you.  To empathize is to reach out to meet the data that comes through the labrynths of the senses, to embrace it and incorporate it.  To enter into, we say, as though another person’s life was also a place you could travel to. ― Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby P. 264. 

“For Serres, the skin is not a simple surface dividing inside from outside. Rather, it is itself variegated - topological not topographical. Skin, like touch itself, ‘could be called variety, in a precise topological sense: a thin sheet with folds and plains, dotted with events and singularities and sensitivities to proximities.’  Serres claims that each sense originates in the skin and is ‘a strong individual expression of it.’ Skin is not a barrier between self and the world - not even a barrier conceived of as permeable and leaky - but a site and means of contact with the world into which all the senses are ‘wired’.  (Barcan, p. 145) 

“The body’s rhythmicity is not closed; the body is open to influence from external sounds.  As vibrating and dynamic structures, cells are capable of being influenced and altered by sound vibrations (horden 2000:6). Sounds impact on the body is commonly described as though it were more direct, more visceral, than that of stimuli: “Light bounces off surfaces and conveys its message through a greater abstraction than sound’, wrote the great violinist Yehudi Menuhin: “Sound goes directly into our body.” (Barcan, p. 117)

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