Amphibious Trilogies

Floating lecture: Amphibiousness

Day 7 on the Arctic Floating University Expedition
28 June 2019

Are you sitting comfortably? So let’s begin.
These were the first words of the lecture Amphibiousness: island, pond and passage, a listening practice, a sense of passage, an embodied choreo -topography of sorts.

Close your eyes.
We are going to do a practice of extended choreography.
This is a listening practice. We start from the body.
Try to feel and hear everything in your own body.
Slowly. Slowly. Try to hear everything that is around your body.
And gradually expand your hearing to the sounds of the boat.
What do you hear in this boat?
Where do the sounds come from?
Can you identify the sources of sounds?
And then try to hear something beyond the boat.
Go as far away as you can go.
Slowly. Slowly. Return to your body.
When you return to your body you can open your eyes.

Essentially, this a score for extended choreography. For several years I have been practicing Deep Listening in daily life, inspired by the pioneering composer, feminist, researcher, teacher and healer, Pauline Oliveros. In a TEDX talk, she talks about the difference between hearing and listening. She says, “scientists can measure what happens in the ear. Measuring listening is another matter as it involves subjectivity. Listening is a mysterious process that is not the same for everyone.” Oliveros, P. 2015

As an antidote to the powerpoint format, we decide to wing the lecture with only a few notes, a microphone and two bar stools. Let it be known that we are on Barents Sea, soon heading off to the Svalbard archipelago, first destination on Spitsbergen, Barentsburg.

To do this lecture was very challenge. A late night party took its toll. The high seas knocked us off balance, physically and mentally, faraway from our comfort zones.

Alternating between the microphone, the lecture covered a welcoming introduction; about artistic research in Norway; Amphibious Trilogies explained; on extended choreography; about amphibiousness; on a broad perspective of dance and movement analysis therein; and two participatory movement sessions, one on extended choreography (as above) and the other, dance (below).

Impressed by the logo of the Swiss team (a forest, printed trees surrounded by a ring), Brynjar made a logo for us, drawn with a black marker pen on cotton T shirts; three waves in a ring, depicting island, pond and passage. The Game of Thrones. The Lord of Rings.

Talking about whether artistic research needs an aesthetic expression, I ask Brynjar to lead into a dance. He suggests that the ship is dancing on the waves of the sea, and then proposes that we could make another wave dance, a collective one. As counterpoint to the listening session, he asks us to lift up our arms together with him, feel the motion of the waves as they rock the boat. Now trace these movements, as sensed through our shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands.

The lecture ended in a Q & A. The questions were general ones, but valid in these circumstances where the focus of the expedition was on scientific research. – Will you show us the dance of island and pond? What was the motivation to come on this expedition? How, and in what media will you publish the results of the expedition?

The curious stayed behind to talked with us. In an interview with Natalia Avdonina (communications leader) she rightly said that some were very skeptical of this type of thinking and moving.

I have neglected to tell about an epiphany that I voiced in the lecture. It is about islands and ponds, and the north and south poles. Tired and exhausted, I will leave this to another post. Reverse Worlds, I will call it.

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See also: Natalia’s Expedition Diary


Click & Drag: Rotate the view.
Right Click & Drag: Pan the view.