Amphibious Trilogies

A dancing practice

Performance text by Brynjar for the PASSAGE seminar, Oslo National Academy of the Arts (KHiO), 31 October 2019

Tai Chi Tai Chi in Amphibious Trilogies

A wave at sea is a simple transmission of energy across the ocean. A wave doesn´t move anything. At sea, it is the wind that moves the surface and the current that moves the deep. Just like a wave, dance doesn´t move anything except itself. Dance moves through. Movements are like frequencies and vibrations traveling on different wave-lengths through the room, over time. It doesn´t carry anything. Neither a message, a meaning, nor a topic.

Tai Chi Tai Chi is a practice inspired by the martial art Tai Chi, but it isn´t quite the same. Much like in Tai Chi, it is the weight of our bodies that grounds us, and it is the counter-weight that rebuilds our bodies from the ground up. The shift of our weight balances out the energy that flows through our limbs and makes our bodies move. This movement of energy is a way for us to orientate ourselves in new and different locations. We can imagine that by shifting the weight of our bodies and directing our energy in all the cardinal directions we shift and alter our surroundings. It feels a bit like creating the world around us. At the same time, our state and physical presence are altered.

When practicing Tai Chi Tai Chi, we become one organism with common memory and collective intelligence. A bit like Andrew Morrison´s Octopa 1 . We find a common rhythm, or one pulse, that we all follow. We follow the person upfront (whoever is upfront at the time) in one long, slow, listening, meditative move. From the beginning until the end; one long movement. When the front of the group shifts, we follow the new person who is upfront. And so on. Everybody gets to be upfront and to be followed by the others, and everybody gets to be at the back of the group following others. This makes this a participatory practice and also a non-hierarchical practice.

When the practice is over, we usually stand still for a moment and just feel the vibrations of our bodies, as one body or one organism, in the shifted space. The vibration lingers in us and around us for a while afterward.

It would be wrong to say that tai chi tai chi doesn´t do anything because we surely feel transformed afterward, it´s more like it doesn´t claim anything, or manifest something solid. It is more like water. It flows through bodies. Through the organism. Through space. Through the landscape. The practice of tai chi tai chi allows for energy to traverse all, like frequencies and vibrations traveling on different wave-lengths across the ocean. The practice allows us to move without carrying anything along with us except our common energy and all it leaves behind are the vibrations that linger on in the body and space.

Tai chi Tai chi creates a physical and mental equilibrium in each of the practitioners.
Tai chi Tai chi creates a common body or quiet community of common intelligence.
Tai chi Tai chi slows down our sense of time and transfers energy across space.

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1 Paraphrasing Andrew Morrison´s Octopa – a design fiction character from Passage in Amphibious Trilogies


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