BodyCartography – step one: the artist talk

I’m excited about a show and experiment at the Weisman – BodyCartography. The friendly guerrilla group has taken over (parts of) the Weisman Art Gallery for a few weeks. I am looking forward to  interactions with them. I was going to wait and write about my experience after the fact but I’ve decide to write as I enjoy.

I started with the artists’ talk. A chance to meet the founders of the BodyCartography Project Olive Bieringa and Otto Ramstad. (Actually I had met Olive before helping her on a website – but briefly.) The husband and wife team have worked together for at least 20 years. We showed up for the event and were led to a large room with lots of space to sit on the floor. So that made me nervous and glad that I was with a friend.

But the talk was super interesting on the history of BodyCartography. They have done large (and small) scale site specific performances. Think flash mob before the days of flash mob. So they might walk/saunter/dance down main streets of San Francisco. I remember them performing outside the Instinct Gallery in downtown Minneapolis a few years ago. Aine and I were fascinated. The dance was more like movement than say the tango and it seemed to involve purposeful – yet sometimes pained – connections with the setting, including the people nearby.

I learned that’s about empathetic kinesthesia, which seems to be encouraging people to react to your movement. Or at least that’s the case if the performance is a one-on-one deal. (Which I am seeing soon. And yes I’m a little terrified.) I imagine when you’re both dancers that you try to feed of each other – to riff like improvisational jazz but in your bodies.

It was interesting to hear about how movement, surrounding and video was used to create art and performance pieces. I love the different perspective of art when focused on movement above vision. As Olive pointed out in the talk – vision is the last sense we master as babies. And yet is seems the sense we rely on most as we carry out our day.

They also bring in a lot of science. We could see the makings of an embryology project in development. There are also works with connections to environment – which makes sense given how we move around the environment.

So now I’m prepared for my next encounter on Sunday, the felt room…

felt room is an immersive performance installation designed to conjure imagination, speculation, and perception, engaging viewers in a practice of vibrant potentiality. In the darkness of felt room viewers are offered an escape from a world of constant illumination.

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