Practice Circle, Feb 26 2015

This time, we met with Tommi, Anniina and Outi. We discussed the current state of the project for an hour and did a couple of hours of practice after that. All of the exercises we did were somehow related to collapse, deterioration, disintegration and decomposition. This theme emerged out of the conversation we had.

Phase 1: Attunement
We attune to ourselves and the space we are in through the abovementioned concepts. The process of attunement can happen in multiple ways and develop organically.

Phase 2: Relational falling
These exercises come from Emilyn Claid, who visited the Theatre Academy in January 2015 and taught a week-long workshop on falling.

  1. I work alone for a while, allowing my face and upper body to yield and fall towards the Earth. I let go of the structures and tensions that I use to construct and maintain a social and communicative interface. I assemble and disassemble myself several times in a row, following the changes that emerge.
  2. I sit face to face with another person. We take turns falling towards the floor and perceiving the relational and bodily changes that may occur. Finally, we fall simultaneously.
  3. We share our experiences and findings verbally. While we do this, either of us can fall at any given moment. One can either continue or stop talking while falling.
  4. We switch partners. The task is to tell the other person a story while allowing one’s face and upper body to fall, and to observe how the falling changes the telling and the listening.

Phase 3: Ruin
We do an exercise developed by Toisissa tiloissa (Other Spaces). The exercise is called Raunio (Ruin).

  1. Each of us chooses a place of her own and begins to disintegrate. The image can be that of a building that’s falling apart. The process of disintegration can happen several times in a row, in different parts of the room.
  2. We work in pairs, constructing different structures that we then allow to disintegrate.
  3. We do the same with the whole group.

Practice Circle, Feb 26 2015

PRACTICE CIRCLE, FEB 15 2015

This time we started with a little discussion about Timothy Mortons Ecological Thought -book and then continued with an exercise from another book by Graham Harman. The so called object oriented ontology of Graham Harman is also something Morton refers to.

The exercise has two parts and is very simple.

Everyone picks an object from the room, writes it down on a piece of paper which are then circulated so that each has an object which they did not choose them selves. Then first we examine the essential materiality of the object by altering or undressing it (or by thinking about it) into a point when it is the object anymore. What are material boundaries of this object?

Then on the second phrase we think about the relations, what else could this object be or do?

For Graham Harman neither of these ways describe an object. For him objects are not material nor relational but something existing in some sort of a vacuum sealed space… But, we did not go into this.

It was interesting to notice how differently i approached objects on this exercise compared to the ones we did on previous sessions the weeks before. Perhaps it was because we named the objects in the beginning so explicitly by writing it down that the relation with the object was a bit more distant and more in the level of thinking, language and relations. This felt somehow really human centric and analytical. Some of us made notes. I hardly felt i was co-existing with the object.

For me at least it was a big realisation that language can direct so much the way we approach things.

What if instead of writing the name of the object down in the beginning we would start by describing how the object we chose feels, smells tastes, looks like…

The open question about how to document our activity comes to my mind and I will do some exercises about this in the coming weeks.

-tommi

PRACTICE CIRCLE, FEB 15 2015

Some thoughts on material empathy

A couple of things have been going on in my mind now since the two exercise sessions we have had so far.

First is the urge to go deeper to the materiality of objects and people. We did something like that in the first exercise when we were sensing each other layer by layer starting from above the skin and going until the bones. This was a powerful experience for me, and it made clear that we often perceive humans – and also other living beings i suppose (I’m 95% vegan so i hardly ever sense a living being in my mouth..) – in a rather immaterial level, which could perhaps be called empathy.

When we did the same exercise so that we approached objects, I felt it was the other way around. It was easy to touch and feel the materiality of things. It was easy to try to kick chairs from one position to another aiming to understand how that specific type of plastic bounce. it was easy to try to test the strength of a curtain clip. It’s easy to take a knife and study the structure of a wooded object etc. We hardly do this to other ”beings”, perhaps only to our selves.

It is i guess sort of a taboo in our society. Thinking about BDSM, radical plastic surgery, bodybuilding or movies like Fight Club or 101 Days of Sodoma… This material position obviously seems to be about power relations between things. These phenomena play with that.

On the other exercise i was paired with Anniina who i did not really know before, which then made our connection rather empathy driven. Of course i did sense certain material things about her body/ clothing, but still i would say the narration (which was rather beautiful i think) was mostly about building trust, understanding and care towards the other. Empathy or morality i guess.

The goal of this exercise was to go between the modes of co-existing with the other and being more self reflective.

It feels stupid to talk about these as two separate things. Matariality and and empathy. But when i try to co-exist in a similar manner with a non-human object, or even more so with a ”thing” it becomes difficult. What is an empathy towards a thing?

When i think about the exercise i had with Aniina, empathy means building a common language. it involves feedback loops like making a gesture and getting a response. It involves memories and experiences which have nothing to do with the other person. With humans it makes sense to generalise and to assume that the other might feel somewhat like you do. Or should we?

Materiality happens here and now. Empathy needs understanding of time: cause and effect. Now i feel that because material objects have very different scopes of time (hyper objects etc.) feeling empathy towards these things is also very different. It feels very weird to put feelings like love, care etc. which relate to our rhythm to things with a different rhythm.

hmmm..

I do have relations and empathy towards things, some clothes, a phone which works often not as it should, a bike, some stones, pieces of wood… And often it involves a conscious decision to own it, take care of it, have it in my life. It has always been my decision.

I think now that it would be interesting to think this in terms of objects or things which do have a power over my life, which i did not choose to exist myself. To play and understand what it means to have these things like power grids, supermarkets, buildings, distant heating etc. and how we could play out this relationship in a way close to BDSM or bodybuilding.

or this is perhaps what this project is about anyway…

and perhaps it’s something like what Gaston Bachelard, a philosopher of science, once said: “empiricism needs to be understood; rationalism needs to be applied. The one completes the other, and to think scientifically is to place oneself in the epistemological terrain which mediates between theory and practice, between mathematics and experiment. To know a law scientifically is to know it as a phenomena and a noumena at one and the same time.”

Some thoughts on material empathy

Experience writing on the Affect Duet -exercise

This text is a rough translation of my experience-writing originally made in Finnish. I wrote it immediately after our practice circle this week. First I thought of posting this text in Finnish, but then I decided to translate it, so that everyone can understand.

On my experience:
I paired up with Tommi. The whole exercise felt very good and gentle. I also find Tommi’s energy very peaceful and calm, which naturally had an influence on my experience of the exercise. The start of the exercise was cautious, uncertain, careful and searching – this felt really good. We gave time for meeting and exploring one another. There was no hurry to move. Our bodies searched for a feeling to each other. Especially taking an eye contact felt significant throughout the whole exercise. It felt good but also exciting (as it usually always does with an other person). The quality of the eye contact however changed a lot during the exercise. In the beginning it was more conscious – looking into the eyes of another person, looking into the eyes of a conscious being. But little by little its quality turned more ”material” and more ”nonhuman”. I mean this in a good and a positive sense – Tommi’s eyes were only eyes, not any gate to a human consciousness. They were easy and interesting to approach. Hereby the other being became both more familiar and unfamiliar, known and unknown. There arose an understanding of the other as a material (and also conscious) being, just like myself, but also an understanding of how I can not ever grasp or understand the other and its experience.

During the exercise there developed clear rules of our common play and being-with: appropriate qualities of touching and moving. I would describe our being-with as intensive and respecting. I shifted my awareness away from Tommi quite rarely and usually only for a short time. As I did this the overall ambience felt overwhelming, full and ”mind-blowing” – I became enmeshed with it. There were too much impulses. This feeling was not necessarily a good one or comfortable, but more like vertiginous or overpowering. Remembering that I always had the other being there beside or with me, made it easier for me to confront this overwhelming experience. Tommi was an ”anchor” or a ”magnet” for me and this eased my feeling of rootlessness that I encountered when opening my awareness to the surroundings.

”Magnetic” relation between us two aroused empathy, love and caring for the other. I think that this notion of needing ”a home to return to” or roots was an important observation in the exercise, and it is strongly connected to the themes of my research and BB -project. Do we always need adhesion and belonging to some single being or entity in order to face the world’s interconnectedness and mesh? This, on the other hand, arouses a question of the value of the specific entity that we are adhered to – does it gain appreciation over other beings and entities? Does this become a problem or not? And can this entity be whatever or whoever? Can it change depending on the situation? I felt that the ”anchor” for me in this exercise could have been whatever – a glass, a carpet, a sound, another human. Does this apply to my everyday life?

Another theme that was important in the exercise regarding to my research, was the affect. How did the other affect me, and how did I allow myself to be affected by the other? I was moving and being under the influence of the other for the whole exercise – so who was actually moving when I was moving? Losing or blurring my own body’s limits and boarders. Letting go of my own will. This is about questioning my own subjectivity – trembling my own cohesion and unity, quivering. Maybe changing? Clear and limited subjectivity is replaced with intersubjectivity – being-with. The exercise sensitizes to experience being-with and proposes one to allow being-with to affect on one’s subjectivity. Being-with happens when we allow others to propose us ways of being and we let them be as they are. This inevitably arouses ethical questions– should we let everything just be without interfering with their ways of being? Where are the limits of being-with: when do we need to act and change something? Is all being-with desirable? How to propose others different and opposite ways of being without antagonism?

– Anniina

Experience writing on the Affect Duet -exercise

Practice Circle, Feb 10 2015

Today, we had our second practice circle at TeaK. Tommi, Ilpo, Anniina, I and an undefined number of other entities were present. We did a continuum of exercises together. I will describe them as phases.

Phase 1: Becoming aware of the field

  1. I stay relatively still and bring my awareness to field of the body. I observe the state it is in and the small movements, impulses and affects that may emerge.
  2. I become aware of the factors and phenomena that are affecting my state of being at the moment. These may include environmental factors (e.g. the texture of the floor, the shape of the room, the sound of the traffic, the temperature) as well as experiences that emerge from within (e.g. tensions, moods, emotions, memories, desires, expectations).
  3. I bring my awareness to one factor or phenomenon at a time and investigate the ways in which it affects me. The affects can turn into small movements.

Phase 2: Approaching others

  1. I allow my awareness to flood into the space around me. I notice the various shapes, structures, objects and beings that share the space with me.
  2. I approach these beings one at a time. As I approach something or someone, I become aware of the affects and responses that emerge in my body and the ways in which my state of being changes in result.
  3. I observe the relation that emerges between us and regulate it at will. I can change my position, posture and the distance between us and try out different approaches. I can expose some parts of myself and hide others.
  4. I notice what happens when I leave the other behind and move onto something or someone else.

Phase 3: Affect duet

  1. I pair up with another person. We stand face to face, at a distance that feels comfortable to us.
  2. We allow ourselves to be affected by each other. We allow the affects to turn into movements and follow them.
  3. At times, I can let the emergent movements develop into a world or pattern of their own, independently of what the other person is doing. When I notice a pattern in my movement, or when I get stuck, I can return to watching and being affected by my partner.
  4. As I go away from my partner, I begin shifting my awareness towards the surrounding. I go back and forth between being aware of the whole surrounding and being aware of and affected by my partner.

Phase 4: Being outside

  1. We decide to go outside and continue with the same exercise. Each of us chooses a focus or research question for herself before going out.
  2. We move outside on our own for half an hour.
  3. We come back in and share our findings.

Notes
What kind of shifts or micro-movements are interesting from the perspective of the project?
What do I practice when I do these kind of exercises? What can I practice in this framework?
Which aspects of these exercises are worth developing further in this context?
What happens if one tries to be aware of and affected by everything at once? Does this necessarily result in an overwhelming or even psychotic experience, or are there other options?
How do we construct or organize our experiential world, and how can we shift its structure voluntarily?
How does the process of meaning-making happen in relation to the things we encounter?
What am I actually seeing, when I see something? What aspects of “it” am I aware of?

Practice Circle, Feb 10 2015

Practice Circle, Feb 5 2015

This week, we set up a weekly practice circle in Helsinki. The circle works as a platform, where we can share and develop practices, discuss our experiences and read together. Perhaps it can foster a shared undergrowth that keeps the research process alive even when we are not all there. We will try to document the development as well as we can.

The first meeting was at the Theatre Academy on Thursday. Tommi, Anniina, Ilpo and I were there. We discussed our respective perspectives on the project for an hour, after which we did an hour-long exercise together. The exercise was extremely basic: the idea was mainly to tune into each other’s bodies and those around us. Below is a description of the exercise as well as some of the questions that it brought up.

Bodywork, phase 1

  1. We work in pairs. One person (let’s call her A) lies on the floor, the other (B) sits next to them.
  2. A allows herself to release and fall towards the center of the Earth. B witnesses this process and the changes that may occur in A’s body.
  3. B approaches and attunes to A. She senses into the subtle energy field around A’s body with her hands. Her hands travel across the body, sensing the differences in the way the energy moves and feels in different areas.
  4. B places her hands on the visible surface of the body. The first touch is very light. As the weight of the hands releases and falls towards the Earth, the quality of touch becomes more solid. The hands keep moving across the surface. B senses into the whole of A’s body through the part she is touching, as well as that of her own.
  5. Gradually, the hands sink deeper into the layers of the body: they fall through the skin, into the muscles and bones. The sensing can happen through squeezing the muscles or tapping the bones.
  6. As the hands sink deeper into the body, they begin to move and change its position. A can allow these changes to happen without responding to them actively.
  7. Gradually, A begins to respond to B’s suggestions: she can go along with them, resist them or change the quality or direction of the movement. Slowly, these responses can grow into a continuous movement.
  8. As A begins to initiate and sustain her movements independently of B’s actions, B gives her more space to move. She witnesses A with the whole of her body, not just with her gaze. From time to time, B can touch A to bring awareness to a particular part of her body.
  9. The moving and witnessing can go on for a while before coming to an end.
  10. A and B switch roles.

Bodywork, phase 2

  1. We shift our attention to the nonhuman bodies that share the space with us, and approach them with a similar awareness.
  2. We attune and sense into the nonhuman bodies by approaching, touching, moving and witnessing them. Our intention is to approach them kinaesthetically rather than analytically or in a manipulative way.
  3. We pay attention to the differences that may emerge.

Notes
Where and how does a body begin, emerge, or come to being?
How do I prepare and organize myself to touch another body? How is this process different, when I am approaching a nonhuman body?
How is my way of approaching or touching another body influenced by my assumptions and expectations of what a body is, or by the knowledge I have of particular human and nonhuman bodies?
What am I touching, when I am touching something or someone?
What can I sense or feel through touch? What is the difference between sensing and imagining?
What kind of insight or knowledge can I gain through touch?
How does my perception of a body change, when I shift my awareness from one layer to another?
What happens in my own body as I touch something or someone? How does my perception or sense of my own body change the ways in which I relate to the other, and vice versa?
How do human features translate into the process of being with nonhuman bodies? How do I sense into their skin, muscles, bones, or internal organs?
What kind of gestures emerge when I touch a nonhuman body? How do they differ from the ones I use to touch a human body?
What kind of antropomorphic projections come up?
How does the responsiveness of a particular body influence my way of touching it or relating to it? If the other doesn’t respond, does it become more object-like, and do I become more manipulative in result?

Practice Circle, Feb 5 2015

Books and Essays

Affect and Empathy
Lisa Blackman: Immaterial Bodies: Affect, Embodiment, Mediation
Blackman and Venn: Body & Society
Gregg and Seigworth (ed.): The Affect Theory Reader
Mark Johnson: The Meaning of the Body
Ruth Leys: Both of Us Disgusted in My Insula
Ruth Leys: The Turn to Affect: A Critique
Brian Massumi: Parables of the Virtual
Reynolds and Reason: Kinesthetic Empathy
Jeremy Rifkin: The Empathetic Civilization

Body
Erin Manning: Politics of Touch (Introduction)
Erin Manning: Politics of Touch (Chapter 6)
Stelarc: Zombies & Cyborgs

Cognitive Science and Neurology
Antonio Damasio: The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness
Shaun Gallagher: How the Body Shapes the Mind
Mark Johnson: The Body in the Mind: The Bodily Basis of Meaning, Imagination and Reason
Stephen W. Porges: The Polyvagal Theory
Varela, Thompson and Rosch: The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and the Human Experience
Varela and Shear: The View from Within: First-person Approaches to the Study of Consciousness
Bruce Wexler: Brain and Culture: Neurobiology, Ideology, and Social Change
Dan Zahavi: Subjectivity and Selfhood: Investigating the First-Person Perspective

Cultural Adaptation
William Cronon (ed.): Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature
Horst Hendriks-Jansen: Catching Ourselves in the Act: Situated Activity, Interactive Emergence, Evolution, and Human Thought
Adrienne Goehler (ed.): Examples to Follow! Expeditions in Aesthetics and Sustainability
Alan Weissman: Countdown. Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth
Ben Woodard: On an Ungrounded Earth
de Young and Princen: The Localization Reader: Adapting to the Coming Downshift

Ecology
Gregory Bateson: Steps to an Ecology of Mind: Collected Essays in Anthropology, Psychiatry, Evolution, and Epistemology
Felix Guattari: Three Ecologies
Tim Ingold: Being Alive: Essays on Movement, Knowledge and Description
Ellen LaConte: Life Rules: Nature’s Blueprint for Surviving Economic and Environmental Collapse
Timothy Morton: Ecology Without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics
Timothy Morton: The Ecological Thought
Timothy Morton: Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World

Economy and Politics
Georges Bataille: The Accursed Share: an Essay on General Economy
Hardt and Negri: Commonwealth
Naomi Klein: This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate
Bruno Latour: Politics of Nature: How to Bring the Sciences Into Democracy
Bruno Latour: Waiting For Gaia: Composing The Common World Through Arts And Politics
Khatib, Killjoy, etc. (ed.): We Are Many: Reflections on Movement Strategy from Occupation to Liberation

Energy and Resources
Heinberg and Lerch (ed.): The Post Carbon Reader
Ville Lähde: Niukkuuden maailmassa
Reza Negarestani: Cyclonopedia
Tere Vadén: Energia ja kokemus
Partanen, Paloheimo, Waris: Suomi öljyn jälkeen

Evolution and the Future
James Lovelock: A Rough Ride to the Future

Nature
David Abram: The Spell of the Sensuous
David Abram: Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology
Mark Mcmenamin: Hypersea: Life on Land
Mensvoort and Grievink: Next Nature: Nature Changes along with Us
George Monbiot: Feral: Rewilding the Land, Sea and Human Life
Alan Weissman: The World Without Us (suom. Maailma ilman meitä)

Nonhuman and Animal
Donna Haraway: The Companion Species Manifesto
Donna Haraway: When Species Meet
Brian Massumi: What Animals Teach Us about Politics
Dinesh Wadiwel: Three Fragments from a Biopolitical History of Animals

Materialism
Jane Bennett: Vibrant Matter
Levi Bryant, Nick Srnicek, Graham Harman: The Speculative Turn: Continental Materialism and Realism
Levi Bryant: The Democracy of Objects
The Dew Lab: Introduction to Object-Oriented Ontology
Graham Harman: Object-Oriented Philosophy Blog
Quentin Meillassoux: After Finitude
Quentin Meillassoux: Speculative Materialism
Joshua Simon: Neo-Materialism
McKenzie Wark: Hacker Manifesto

Media and Technology
Evgeny Morozov: To Save Everything, Click Here
Jussi Parikka: Insect Media

Performance Theory
Esch-van Kan, Packard, Schulte (ed.): Thinking – Resisting – Reading the Political
Susan Foster: Choreographing Empathy
Hölscher and Siegmund (ed.): Dance, Politics & Co-Immunity
Baz Kershaw: Theatre Ecology: Environments and Performance Events
Petra Sabisch: Choreographing Relations
André Lepecki: 9 variations on things and performance

Philosophy
Giorgio Agamben: Potentialities. Collected Essays in Philosophy
Karen Barad: Meeting the Universe Halfway
Henri Bergson: Creative Evolution
Campbell and Sitze (ed.): Biopolitics
Cross and Donovan (ed.): Supple Science: A Robert Kocik Primer
Elizabeth Grosz: Chaos, Territory, Art: Deleuze and the Framing of the Earth
Mackay and Avanessian: #Accelerate#
Manning and Massumi: Thought in the Act: Passages in the Ecology of Experience

Posthumanism and Transhumanism
Karen Barad: Posthumanist Performativity
Ian Bogost: Alien Phenomenology, or What It’s Like to Be a Thing
Rosi Braidotti: The Posthuman
Donna Haraway: Simians, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature
Donna Haraway: Crystals, Fabrics, and Fields: Metaphors of Organicism in Twentieth-Century Developmental Biology
Lummaa ja Rojola (toim.): Posthumanismi
Reza Negarestani: The Labour of the Inhuman
Robert Pepperell: The Posthuman Conception of Consciousness

Spirituality and Ecology
Joanna Macy: World as Lover, World as Self: A Guide to Living Fully in Turbulent Times
Joanna Macy: Coming Back to Life: Practices to Reconnect Our Lives, Our World
Joanna Macy: Active Hope: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy
Arnold Mindell: The Shaman’s Body
John Seed, Joanna Macy, Pat Fleming: Thinking Like a Mountain: Towards a Council of All Beings

Science
Thomas Kuhn: Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Other
Gins and Arakawa: Making Dying Illegal. Architecture Against Death. Original to the 21st Century
Faïn, Hannula, Kocik, Prohm, etc: The BodyBuilding Project
Does It Matter: Reader

Books and Essays

I wanna be your dog

For me, participating in The Body Building Project creates a possibility to deepen my understanding in how I perceive myself as part of my environment and what kind of methods I should gain in order to adjust that to these times of anthropocene. It’s a crisis, and it takes us to new territories in how to understand who we are and how we should inhabit this world. My apologies as this might be a bit of a blurb, but here’s some of my broad starting points concerning the near future with you guys.

I’m currently starting to work with my MA thesis in the MA program of Sound Design in TeaK, and taking part in The Body Building project will most probably have a significant role in what I’m going for in that and of course, in my life in general. In my work, I’m focusing in listening not only in the form of, well, listening, but instead I’ll try to contextualise listening to the broad spectrum of our environment and how we dwell in it. In a way, one could bring the concepts of being-with as well as co-poiesis close to what I’m after here. For me, this means an epistemological approach on the ecology of listening: what kind of social, environmental structures does our forms of listening create? How these structures form our listening? How to see listening as a social being-with, bodily being that creates action? What would be listening through environment, listening through “other” strategies and positions (such as the concept of queer listening etc.)? Listening through the cracks in our political, economical crises? Listening in relation to non-human? The material reality? Listening as hacking?

In addition to these concepts, I’m also thinking about the concrete, medium-tied forms these practices could take (as I find this as sharing, too). The key questions for me right now could be how to document the experiences, how to record and document the listening we do, how to tune the situation, how to share this though sonic approaches?

In my life in general, I think listening (and of course its’ occasional absence) is the main thread in how I am with the world. This means a child-like interest in the vast variety of threads and cause/consequence-relations we produce. Having also background in studying geography I find this multitude of perspectives as a key adjustment in how I want to study the world – the subjectivity of my body being of course the core in this.

<3,

Ilpo

I wanna be your dog

On my research

Learning being-with

My research alongside The BodyBuilding Project is part of my Master’s thesis in Art education programme at Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture. My thesis is an artistic research concerning the possibilities of conciouss bodily-artistic practicing to affect on human subjectivity in personal and collective level and further to generate embodied knowledge that exceeds our immediate and primary perception and understanding. Bodily-artistic practicing through which relations between human and nonhuman are defined and redefined, creates the core of my research. I am examining how can we renew and transmit embodied knowledge with and among one another. Furthermore, how does this affect on our being-with others, human and nonhuman?

The term being-with is approached from a perspective of ecological and political theory. I am researching what kind of forms of being-with and co-operation should we envision and put into practice in order to assemble a collective incorporating human and nonhuman. This call for re-examination and redefiniton of relationality between humans, animals, things and matter stems essentially from the distress brought on by the confrontation with undeniable ecological crises and its irreversible effects on environment, climate, species, politics etc. How should we react to it and how can we experience and comprehend its emergency and impact on us profoundly, on a bodily level? It seems that as long as the emergency of the environmental crises is responded with a great angst over nature perceived external to society, we are only sustaining the idea that human civilization is detached from some kind of divine and fundamental substance of earth: the nature. This in my view does not make any progress in our ecological politicization. Dichotomies between human/nonhuman and society/nature lie in the very core of my research and base the main ethical challenges for it: how to rethink our being in the world as part of an interrelational collective where environmental changes are posing significant threats for life on earth? How can we learn to engage with this state of emergency and react to it? Processing these questions on a bodily level through composing and developing practices as well as creating space for sharing them, are the main functions for my research during this spring and summer.

My research question is: How can one redefine human subjectivity and learn being-with through bodily-artistic research and practice? Additionally I am interested in the question, what kind of modes of being should we start to engage ourselves in at the present time and in the future?

My research comprises three practice areas (learning environments):
– My own weekly practicing and exercise developing + analysis
– Collaborating in The BodyBuilding Project
– Workshops and collaborative artworks with others who are willing to explore human and nonhuman relations through bodily exercising

These areas are affecting, inspiring and communicating with each other. I am interested in the learning processes that happen limited in every specific area but also how ideas, knowledge and learning are circulating between them.

My research scrutinises learning process as a form of advancing conscious presence and becoming sensitive to our surroundings and its effects on us and others. I am interested in observing the learning process detached from objectives directed commonly to it, such as raising awareness and hereby bringing out and putting in operation learners’ potentiality and finally producing ”active citizens” out of them. This aim for politically active and aware subjectives originates from critical pedagogy’s tradition. It forms an important basis for my pedagogical thinking. However, I am interested in moving ”beyond” critical pedagogy’s tradition and see if there can be even more critical ways to understand learning as a process of enabling whatever kind of subjectivities and beings to arise, not only potentially active but also potential in other ways. Nevertheless, I am not demanding on an idea of learning without goals or without values, quite the contrary, since in my case learning is directed towards being-with and that is a considerable goal in itself. As I see it, aiming for whatever subjectivities or singularities, as Agamben would put it, is not about increasing indifference but cultivating empathy. The key issue is, how to bring political ecological theory in to practice through an embodied learning process by focusing on the theme of being-with.

My research questions are approached mainly through bodily-artistic rehearsing and its analysis, which is affected by and reflected on ecological and political theory by Timothy Morton and Bruno Latour, materialist theory by Jane Bennett and Graham Harman and on philosophy of creative practice by Erin Manning and Brian Massumi. The term being-with originates from Jean Luc-Nancy’s philosophy, which is also analysed. Additionally Giorgio Agamben’s idea of whatever singularity is to some extent parallel to my pedagogical thinking, and it is important to take into account.

Anniina

On my research