Mini-symposium: Body Matters
dedicated to unified human intelligence, its tangible and intangible nature
In the context of contemporary Western society human body is usually looked at from the aesthetic, performative, or health-related angles. What drives us to create events and research labs dedicated to a more embodied culture is an interest in the intelligence of the body connected to lived life, in the relationship between physical states and states of mind, in the body as our perceiving, thinking, feeling, moving, and acting in the world. We look at the body as a process and a totality of our lived experiences, as a mediator between external forces: events, expectations, cultural beliefs; and inner forces: internal drives, conscious or unconscious desires, and invisible currents that move us. Body is an encounter between these socio-cultural, phenomenological, biological, intuitive and embodied cognitive conscious and unconscious phenomena — all taking part in orchestrating our engagement with life. To put it simply, we are interested in the body as a place where life happens and where we find out what is real and true for us, where our multiple intelligences meet (emotional, intellectual, somatic, intuitive, etc). We decided to set off on a journey to contribute towards a more embodied culture by writing stories and organising this event series in the context of global contemporary culture and its crisis.
We invite thinkers and doers, academics and practitioners to get together and create a space for discussion, exchange, and reflection on the subject of body intelligence. It will be a meeting between theory and practice. Beside starting a conversation with each other and an inquiry into body intelligence from different perspectives, we also want to develop ideas that reach further and might give us a starting point to work together on bringing the body back into different areas where it’s been left out: classrooms, offices, museums, etc.
The event took place on the 2 and 3 June 2018 in Berlin. On both days different professionals presented their work between 10h and 17h. These sessions are open to interested audience and participants. On both days the afternoons turn into an open space for contributors of the symposium to engage in a deeper conversation on the subject of intelligence of the body, exchange ideas, come up with new formats to work in the future, and so on.
Day 1 June 2
10-11h Welcome and Sabina Abdulajeva intro ‘Embodied Culture’
11-12h Eylam Langotsky ‘Embodiment Lost’
12-13h Michael Häfner ‘When body and mind are talking’
14-15h Pierre Goirand ‘Embodied Presence’
15h> open space for contributors only
Visual interpretation of the day by the artist Liza Ostrovska
Day 2 June 3
10-12h Nitsan Margaliot ‘What If?’
12-13h Mauro Sacchi ‘Physical Presence’
14-15h Hanna Nordqvist ‘Exploring boundaries as bodily experience’
15h> open space for contributors only
Visual interpretation of the day by the artist Alice Baillaud
Embodied culture is rooted in the journey towards cultural transformation, where the values guiding human life are shifting: personal enlivening and purposeful living replace the traditional ideas of success, relationships grow to be mutually aware partnerships, attention to life around and within, balance and respect of differences, and holistic mindset become unifying embodied principles. In the context of contemporary Western society human body is usually looked at from the aesthetic, performative, or health-related angles. In the context of embodied culture human body is an integral part of our intelligence connected to lived life. Body is our perceiving, thinking, feeling, moving, and acting in the world. It’s a process and a totality of our lived experiences. How and why can the body come back into many areas of life it has been drawn away from?
‘Embodiment Lost’. The untold story of the human body through the major Epochs of our civilisation
Where ancient religions saw a rift between the ‘spirit’ and the ‘flesh’ and where Modernity saw a split between the ‘Body’ and the ‘Mind’, the challenge of our times is to bring a practice of holistic healing and to create a unifying approach to what Embodiment can become.
When body and mind are talking: On the relationship between body-awareness and psychological functioning.
In this talk I will try to give a brief overview over the research I have been doing in the field of embodiment. Moreover, I will try to sketch my theoretical view on embodiment, body-awareness and psychological processes. Last, but not least, I shall try to give an outlook on where I would like to take this research (e.g., aesthetic pleasure) and where I could imagine interfaces to the ideas of the other contributors.
Exploring boundaries as bodily experience
In this project and the workshops that have grown out of it we reflect on what it means to have and to set personal boundaries and limits, and what effect this has on our lives and relationships.
- Why is it often so difficult for us to set clear boundaries or to say “No”?
- How can we find the balance between going too far over our limits, and staying so firmly within them that we don’t even give ourselves the chance to GROW beyond them?
- And how can we even know or feel where our boundaries are?
The body offers a beautiful possibility to explore these questions and to find our own answers. The discovery session and the talks during the "Body-Matters" will be used to explore the topic of boundaries and limits through movement, touch, personal reflection and shared experience.
Openness and presence are not intellectual endeavours, nor final states that can be acquired once and for all. They stem form an active experiencing of one’s whole being in the moment. In a state of openness, one experiences the connection between the rational mind, the emotions, the body and the mysterious source of inspiration.
In the presentation/workshop we will go through a journey where we will explore a range of qualities, states, moods and vibrations. We would refer to the body as an organic being which will influence and allow us to act and behave from an intuitive and profound place. We will connect to our abilities to sense and express ourselves by investigating ways to communicate and relate to another body as a landscape in space with a generous use of use of creativity, playfulness, and imagination.
We will explore physical techniques of embodiment, with a focus on breath, gravity, tension and relaxation.
Visual Artists Interpreting the Event
Alice follows her everyday emotions like the thread of Ariane, out of which her art is born. Throughout the event Alice will be with us, sharing and following our processes, experimentation and exchange, accompanied by her artistic tools: paper, pens, colours. What will come out of this will be a surprise, a process of unfolding.
Liza is interested in human imagination, in playing with words, lines and colours. She enjoys early morning walks and browsing libraries of the world.
Space: CoCreation Loft, Schinkestrasse 9, 12047 Berlin
Documentation: The event will be documented in drawing, painting, video and photo. By Liza Ostrovska (visual artist), Egor Sviridenko (photographer), Johan Planefeldt (film-maker), Alice Baillaud (visual artist).
Insights from Body Matters mini-symposium