#ablebodiesandstones – research blog – session 3

(I will start each of these research diary blog posts by feeling into my body and into the bodies of my guests. Trying to find out about our abilities and to evaluate what able bodies feel like. I am not trying to pretend that I do not have an able body. I am not trying to victimize my body in order to appropriate minority positions. I am very much aware that at this moment my body is more able than most bodies, I am aware of my position of norm and power in this ableist society. Or at least, I am trying to.)

„The Language of Objects“
Guest artist: Benjamin Richter

Our bodies
Today we meet in the VUESCH e.V. spaces, as our Schatzinsel residency space is occupied (thank you, VUESCH!). Here I train several times a week, so it feels like home. But it also feels like home in the way, that it is too familiar, too easy, too comfortable. We had to re-schedule this session several times, so our meeting feels a bit in-between. In between of our very busy artists‘ lives.
It is the end of a busy week, of busy weeks – still winter, not a lot of performances on the weekends. So we do all the teaching, training, rehearsing, production work, and other preparations for our performance seasons to come. And for once, friday afternoon feels like a friday afternoon for any other person with a regular job: we both are tired. And a bit distracted.

The manipulator of objects
It is very important for me to work with someone, who is a manipulator of objects, a juggler – and not an aerialist. No one better than Benjamin Richter – a fellow circus brain, who has been manipulating objects for decades, and has been dancing with and thinking about objects for as long.
Benjamin has developed „TLO – The language of objects“ – his very own approach to create object based circus. I am very happy that he is interested to join my research sessions!

Our objects
We work with stones and rocks. And with our bodies.

„My body is the object I live in,“ is one of Benjamin’s basic premises. This is a beautiful thought, coming from him, especially when I see him move. It also sounds quite radical, when he says it.
Only later I realize, why I have difficulties applying this to myself. As a woman, it is one of my constant fights not to have my body defined as an object…
So I am trying to let this fight go, for the moment, and see where it takes me. I am trying to inhibit my body, as if it were an object, just like my stones. Whoever said that stones cannot be lived in?

Benjamin keeps refering to our stones and rocks by „he“. At first I don’t realize what that implies, as stones are always „der“ in German (we’re mostly speaking English today). Benjamin is taking their lives for granted, is personalizing them. (Of course, I cannot stop myself asking, why not „she“? lol)
With Jane Bennett we ask: „Is there such a thing as mineral life?“

Research approach
We start with TLO, observing one single stone. From there we continue very fast to other stones and rocks. Benjamin showing me, how he works with TLO.

I have to admit that watching him explore a stone is the most interesting part about this work. Even though he is tired, he is utterly interested in a single object, finding its singularity, its core. I lose interest far more quickly – a stone is a stone. I definitely realize that I am not a juggler (not that I didn’t already know that, but today I really feel the difference.)

Later on we rig some rocks to hang on a pulley system. What a difference. A hanging object is so much more interesting! „This is Jana’s home“ – Benjamin notices, too polite to have said anything before.
We continue to explore TLO of the hanging rocks, positioning our bodies in relation to them, moving with them, beginning  to dance.

We have to rush through the whole TLO process in one short and tired afternoon, but I have witnessed a glimpse of what it means to really work with objects. With his Language of Objects Benjamin gave me a gift of a very structured approach to object manipulation. As I like structure very much, I am anxious to try it, and to combine it with my opposite approach coming from movement in confined spaces and working on spatial objects.

Gefördert vom Fonds Darstellende Künste aus Mitteln der Beauftragten der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien.

Unterstützt vom VUESCH.