I think I’ve finally broken through something, isn’t that something?
Oh no, time for feelings talk.
But not too much, I promise.
Goodness, so, well, let’s look at the last week. (Please review the posts since the 15th if you need.)
Paucartambo = The virgin breaking through the crowd and the demons.
Tourism = A terrifying performance.
Macchu Picchu = Disneyland and the mountains which speak.
Now let’s review the primary themes of the program = Art vs. Politics.
Now let’s review the four primary points I began thinking about (See the first posts of this blog if needed.)
- My feelings
Now let’s look at Augusto Boals four steps to transform the spectator into the actor:
- Discover/Undo the socially predetermined forms of the body.
- Make the body expressive.
- Enter the body into theatrical language.
- Enter the body into theatrical discourse.
Before I left for Peru, I was speaking with a dancer, who quoted Kevin Kelly from his book What Technology Wants.
“For the average hydrogen atom in our body, the few years it spends dashing from one cellular station to another will be the most fleeting glory imaginable. Fourteen billion years in inert lassitude, then a brief, wild trip through life’s waters, and then on again to the isolation of space when the planet dies. A blink is too long an analogy.”
What the fuck does that mean?
Well it means, for one, that our bodies are concentrated bits of energy billions of years in existence. Really. And oh my goodness that’s amazing.
The human body is constantly reacting against the oppressive nature of gravity (which never the less holds our bodies together, that complicates the discussion.)
“Each person should endevour to study the force of gravity, which is an actual existing force, pulling us toward the ground 24 hours a day. We are talking about an enormous force-a force equivalent to our own weight! If I stretch out my arm, it requires an enormous effort on my part to keep it outstretched, otherwise it would fall. If I didn’t make a huge effort, my head would drop, since it has no particular reason to stay upright on the top of my neck….This is such a daily burden that we don’t even realise it is happening. All day and every day, we make this extreme effort, without even being aware of it….That’s something. A huge something. As huge as the force which we have to counteract all our lives.”
So each hydrogen atom in our bodies, while whirling around in the normal circuitry of our chemical systems, is in active resistance against the oppressive force of gravity. Not only this, but those hydrogen atoms, along with oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus and other trace minerals, comprise a body/mind (not body and mind, but body/mind, says the dancer. I believe him.) which is capable of choosing to move itself in resistence against this force.
In fact, this body is capable of much!
Aristotle speaks of three things which comprise a soul:
- Faculties: Every possible action a (wo)man is capable of making.
- Passions: An actualized faculty, a singular faculty which a (wo)man completes in the actual.
- Habits: Reiterated passions, ones which, by nature of their repetitiveness, tend the (wo)man towards the actualization of certain faculties and away from others.
Augusto Boal’s first step of the spect-actor involves the discovery of these (socially imposed) physical habits by the completion of non-familiar passions (rediscovering the full physical faculty by way of games and exercises.)
His second step involves the the ultilization of the newly familiarized and expanded faculty and its passions in order to express.
The third involves the intentional creation of expressive habits which are freely chosen, rather than socially constructed. These expressive habits become a language, which is capable of the transmission of knowledge.
Diana Taylor, in her book Acts of Transfer, writes about how performance can be considered in the broadest sense. Along with traditional forms such as dance, theater etc., the word performance covers:
“…civic obedience, resistance, citizenship, gender, ethnicity, and sexual identity.”
And as a language, performance functions as an “act of transfer”, processing ancient “archival” memory into a current “repertoire” of gestures which combine and transmit this information.
“Archival memory works across distance, over time and space; investigators can go back to reexamine an ancient manuscript, letters find their addresses through time and place, and computer discs at times cough up lost files with the right software…[A]rchival memory suceeds in separating the source of ‘knowledge’ from the knower…[R]epertoire, on the other hand, enacts embodied memory: performances, gestures, orality, movement, dance, singing-in short, all those acts usually thought of as ephemeral, nonreproducible knowledge…[It] allows for individual agency…”
So the language of theater is a repertoire, combinations of gestures, chosen passions of the body which embody ancient memory.
And when this repretoire is entered into a dialogue, embodying not only ancient but current memory, and when this dialogue is determined to examine, critique and change the social constructs within which it lies, then all of a sudden the spectator of one’s surroundings is suddenly the creator of one’s surroundings.
One has then actualized the hydrogen atoms into movement, which is resistance against gravity, which embodies archival memory into gesture, which transfers knowledge, which can be used to transfer previously unheard voices, which can be used to speak to each other.
And to what end?
To practice the actualization of hydrogen atoms.
And then what?
Put it together.