ENCOUNTERS WITH THE STORYTELLING ANMIAL
what a nice incident you landed on this page! Let me quickly explain to you what this is about.
If you scroll down, you will find text parts and pictures. These were originally created at Home of Performance Practicesat ArtEZ university. Under the guidance of Astarti Athanasiadou we experienced and worked in a module called critical encounters. The idea was to let body/movement and writing influence each other. For me, the whole exploration started from something I learned just before the module: Sheep in Dutch sign language.
Further down this page you will find a short video - of course also with sheep in it! It is followed by a short reflection, how the critical encounters combined with a workshop week on colour - presented by daz disley - sparked my creativity. The special part about this week was that it was framed as an exchange week with students from different Master programs of ArtEZ university.
If you have any questions or feel like having a conversation about anything you discovered here, please reach out to me. My mail adress is in the contact section ;-)
This is dutch sign language.
Apologies for that.
The dutch word for sheep is schaap. I am lost in translation already.
Imagine a sheep. A sheep is fluffy, it is the transgressor of writing anxiety. It is not funny though. Until you give it some sunglasses and some human attributes or actions. The comic, and I would see this as the generic comedian, does not exist outside the pale of what is strictly human.
The sheep says: Let me tell you a story. The power to explore human possibilities in all their temporal dimensions lies at the heart of narrative fiction.
I suggest that instead of linking the imaginative dimension of literary narratives to the status of the unreal, it is more productive to analyze the power of narrative fiction to explore possibilities of being in the world in ways that can transform our sense of the possible in the actual world. Mähhhhhh
2. expose the why
A blanc page is never a blanc page because there has always been a story before. There are two main forms that narrative self-reflection can take: telling our own stories and engaging with stories told by others.
The ethical potential of both literary narratives and storytelling practices more broadly - is linked precisely to their power to make a difference, to make something possible, to expand our sense of what we can experience, feel, and do. Do Do ddodododm FREEDOM! I am the statue of liberty. moving outside the box. box? box! thinking about Schroedingers sheep.
The useful is in the play of fantasy - Määähhhhh
4. alternative ways to play
Spieltrieb - the "play-instinct". I never perceived Schiller as the typical academic theory but his thoughts and texts just keep and keep and keep and keep and keep coming back to me. Are we stuck in a loop? Literary and autobiographical narratives shape cultural memory by interpreting the past from the perspective of the present. A loop is like a figure of 8 but the driver might be drunk and though everything is defined in circles, circles, circles. folklore, poetry, philosophy. (upss) I just exist existed exited the universe - where he fails to put his finger on the point, where culture emerges from play. I saw the light houses, they are moving.
Manchmoi hoast des hoid a dass ma ebbs ned vastehd. Ma kos ned decodieren. Und trotzdem hod ma an Schmatz, a conversation. It means even more a process of getting into dialog with ones one thoughts. Let me tell you a story. Like the shadows around a campfire.
6. enthusiasm for future
The grotesque wildness of the dancing-masks among savage peoples, the monstrous intertwining of figures on totem-poles, the magical mazes of ornamental motifs, the caricature-like distortions of human and animal forms-all these are bound to suggest play as the growing-point of art. But they should do no more than suggest it. Therfore, Rubber is a broken machine. Like a disco bell. Nuclear disasters, critical to the ethical dimension of remembering is the way in which it is linked to imagination and to the possibility to learn from the past in orienting ourselves to the future. While the past places obligations on us, the “duty to remember,” as Ricoeur puts it, “consists not only in having a deep concern for the past, but in transmitting the meaning of past events to the next generation” and in reflection on the ways in which “we may prevent the same events from recurring in the future”. Windmill, it’s a windmill!
This is a future-oriented vision of the duty to remember as a duty to learn from the past, so as not to be paralyzed by anger and hatred caused by past injustice, but rather to be able to move forward and struggle against prevailing structures of violence. Mähh
7. and I feel fine
It’s the end of the world. As a culture proceeds, either progressing or regressing, the original relationship we have postulated between play and nonplay does not remain static.
To understand laughter we must put it back into its natural environment, which is society, and above all we we must determine the utility of its function, which is a social one.
The original play-element might be almost completely hidden behind cultural phenomena. But at any moment, even in a highly developed civilization, the play-"instinct" may reassert itself in full force, drowning the individual and the mass in the intoxication of an immense game. Sheep sheep sheep. Määähhh.
What are critical encounters to me?
New ways of producing text. A text that comes from the body, from movement - theory that I rather feel than actually read.
The setting of a poetry slam - but just in my mind
Letting my thoughts flow - without the expectation that anyone understands. Same with the idea to think of something related to colours. This text when reading it constantly shifts colours for me-
Putting together these words and movements and the idea to play, to flow, to think of this text in colour brought me the urge to create a video.
Thinking about colours... what sticked with me is the idea to describe my research in colours without naming them.
My research is like champagne with bubbles reflecting the light that falls on it.
My research is dark spicy chili chocolate. First sweet and then surprising and creating a longer lasting feeling in your body.
My research is laughter and affection.
My practice is like velvet.
My practice is taking a hand in mine and slowly bringing it into an underwater world with colourfull fish, scary shadows and the possibility to float in there.
This brought up the freedom to express my thoughts in haptic, sensorial metaphors. Because let's be honest - sometimes the world just feels a bit like bubble wrap. And sometimes I feel like a sheep. My research findings? Wool, but rather alpaca wool and in different colours, sometimes fluffy, sometimes dense and sometimes knitted to become a sweater. A tight sweater but extremely soft. Warm. To warm for summer.
Doesn't make any sense to you? Don't worry, it doesn't have to. I might fail to express the connection here and I feel fine about it. Also in the video. For me it embraces the fluffiness of the sheep wool around every structured bit of a phrase. It has the shifting colours even though not really the nuances of the ones activated in my mind. I don’t feel the need to make these colours specifically visible, just the flow of them in the text.
A drawing made by my classmate Steef Kersbergen while I was explaining my research. Not in metaphors but actually pitching it, including my methods and practice.
My own perception of my research in colour.
So what is this all about?
It's an approach to let me think outside my boxes, ask me questions - more or less comfortable ones - to put together all those things that seem so unrelated at first sight but then -
click click click they
drift apart again
and make me play.
And this is already enough.
To think and act in possibilities
Bergson, H. (2007): An Essay on the Meaning of the Comic. In: Higgies, J. (Ed.): The Artist's Joke. Whitechapel/MIT Press.
Huizinga, J. (1997): Homo Ludens. Vom Ursprung der Kultur im Spiel. Rotwohl.
Ricoeur, P. (2002). Memory and forgetting. In: Questioning ethics (pp. 15-21). Routledge.