Sioned Huws invited local performers to take part in her participatory Aomori Aomori project. Sioned helped me consider what it means to project the ideas of a remembered landscape onto a new space through your body, how do you map emotions on to a new architecture? Sioned asked us to work with our own photographs, recreating the postures and poses within them. Sioned described some of her choreography itself as creating a landscape, a landscape of bodies.
Our body acts as a site for memory, Henri Bergson posited the notion of “habit memory” (Bergson 1959:69), this suggests that the body stores corporeal experience like thought patterns and informs our everyday practices; “it is part of my present, exactly like my habit of walking or writing; it is lived and acted rather than presented.” It was interesting how easily my body could occupy the posture of my young self. My photographs that became the trigger for physical work included an image of my sister, I was leaning up against her in a school uniform. In the Dance 4 studio the area I rehearsed my movements included an office screen partition with soft covering. I was able to adopt the lean their easily, my body remembered the idea of being supported trustingly without consideration or doubt – I projected this onto the object, the tectonic qualities of which afforded me a similar notion of comfort.
Another photograph I worked with included an image of me holding my grandmothers hand – Sioned helped me reproduce the same hand formation as if it was being held, it was interesting to work with this posture without the surroundings and to consider what it meant to recreate the body movement in rehearsal studio away from the emotionally charged context – to invest time in creating a ‘supported posture’ without the other bodies and without the narrative of the image.
Bergson, H. (1999) Matter and Memory. London: Zone Books.