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No computer access

For the thousands of you that have been following my blog, Ive been on a mini tour to Venice, and now off to Paris, and do not have access to a computer.  However, I will post some blogs about my experiences performing in Venice, collaborating with Xavier Le Roy and Marten Spangberg, ‘perfect movement’ with Salva Sanchez and the deep thoughts brought on by endless Campari spritzers and Negronis just as soon as I’m able.

Until then, New York, my sometimes love, I am beginning to pine for your gridded streets, your coffee with real Half n Half and Bourbon with real bitters, your fast-walkers and electric feel.

12 mm, or, my insides stage a civil war

I spent the early morning hours of Sunday in a Brussels hospital, attached to an IV and awaiting my fate.  One of my, and probably a fairly universally shared fear is to get seriously ill or injured while in a foreign country.  There is little that feels so isolating then to be in a place of complete unknown, both with the personal geography of my body and also in a state of ignorance to literally where I am.

At 4am, I was awoken by a pain so intense in my lower abdomen I was nauseous and shaking, unable to stand up-right, but also unable to curve my spine.  There is nothing like pain to make one closer to animal and less human.  I lost any care for social norms, and began crawling around the floor of the apt, searching for my passport and barely realizing that i needed to dress myself.  I was  taken by ambulance through the dark streets of Brussels, to a hospital of unknown origin, to be cared for by people who don’t speak my language, separated by an ocean from those i love.

I have to say that my body chose a very interesting way of celebrating Mother’s Day- as it turns out-

Disclaimer (the following part refers to body parts in perhaps a graphic manner.  If you are not comfortable with this, or are a right wing fanatic that doesn’t believe in women’s health care, you may want to skip this section)

-as it turns out, one of my ovaries had twisted while I was ovulating, constricting the blood flow and pressing into my various precious internal organs. imagine someone holding your ovaries in their hands (gentleman, imagine your testicles,) repeatedly wringing them out like a wet dishtowel, while simultaneously punching me continuously with tiny lead fists.

Amazingly enough, as the doctor gave me a sonogram, I was still able to have a momentary stroking of my ego, as he told me that he had never seen any one’s arteries so clearly, but because of my “extremely muscular and slim abdomen” (direct quote) my major veins were visibly pumping to the surface.  he was very excited, because, he said, he was actually getting to see anatomy he never gets to see, quote “I’m used to Turkish women with bigger bellies.”  Also during this, my IV began to back up, so that instead of clear solution/drugs running in me, my blood began to run out of me down the tube, and a nurse had to unscrew the connection and pour the excess blood (Mine! I couldn’t help but think) into a bowl. A particularly  stomach churning moment.

I was told that i faced the possibility of immediate abdominal surgery if my ovary had twisted too far.  Oh, priorities.  When I had gone to bed, what I had wanted most was the spicy crepe i would eat at the Sunday market. Now my new priority became avoiding being sliced into like a fish, and having my organs manually reorganized like the finishing touches of an interior designer. (“hmmm, I really sense a better Feng Shui if we just slide this ovary to the left just a little…”)

As it turned out, I am very lucky, and was exactly 12 mm away from needing  emergency surgery.

However, when the doctor asked if I would be doing any physical activity over the next week (im performing in 5 days) I of course said yes.  All though he reassured me and said it should be fine, I can’t help but have this image of my organs swinging helplessly inside me, just waiting for me to make the wrong move, jump, or spin, so that they can collide and tangle themselves beyond repair.

It’s interesting, just to think of this in a dance/creative process context.  In the project I am in with Xavier Le Roy and Marten Spangberg we have been constantly discussing the possibilities of new composition or movement with the manipulation of constraints on context, body, or image.  To me, the last couple days has placed my entire physical, emotional, and mental self into a new context and land of constraint.  I’m accustomed to being able to pretty much make or let my body do anything-im a fairly extreme mover, strength wise, stamina wise, flexibility wise.  I’m used to (and also, I admit, get psychological satisfaction from) putting my body through a rigorous physical practice at some point almost every day.  Now I’m in this place of highly tuned sensitivity to every movement my body makes superficially, and how that is affecting the movement of my internal organs.

In some ways, its very interesting to be paying attention and receiving much more information from my insides than I am usually capable of.  On the other hand, I feel like my physical practice has reached a slightly paranoic level of sensation, sensitivity, and response, that is of course unsustainable.

How do I wrap this up-I guess I’ll just say that the body never fails to surprise.  You just can’t control everything.  You can try, you can feel healthy and strong and invincible, but in the end we are this fragile animal composed of soft and quickly decomposed pieces, that at any moment might decide to stage an insurrection and remind you of their power.

haiku time (or Something new is created, the body animates, and embraces the impact)

in search of a truth

she clamps her mouth down on it

foaming lips, and waits.

miriam wolf is a 2010/2011 Movement Research AIR currently on exchange at PARTS, Brussels.

When I was Quiet and Let the World Speak

Over this past weekend, I was for the most part without social or even verbal interaction with other humans.  It was my first weekend in Brussels, I had freedom from classes, 70 degree days, my friends here were out of the city, so I was on my own.  I found myself at sea amidst a bustling urban landscape of voices that, because of the language differences (and there are many here) carried me along like a wave of noise without comprehension.  I allowed myself the freedom to get lost and  to have no destination.   Luckily I was free of time constraints or social duties, and as my brain quieted and began to release its normal anxieties, I was finally able to see out of the corners of my eyes, absorb the world with the pores of my hands, smell the currents of love and fear that eddied around me.

Some things I saw:

Paternal Affection: the amount of public love/physical affection that Fathers show  for their sons is incomparable to the States, because I NEVER see it here.  I never see a father kiss his son’s head in NYC, or, after playing a game of football, lie down with him on a blanket in the park and look up at the sky.

Something else I saw, sitting in the park-a group of tourists, wearing bright blue and pink T-shirts (French I believe) this huge group all packed together, walking by me-there must have been like 50 or 60 of them…and it took me a moment for it to strike me, what was so odd about them: they were completely quiet.  And then, of course, I realized that it was a group of deaf people, speaking only with their hands.  And there was this switch in my brain where suddenly the whole image shifted for me.  This big silent group was like a walking flower garden in their bright blues and pinks, and their hands fluttered and expressed amongst them like pale long butterflies alighting from one blossom to the next.

I highly recommend finding a moment-an hour, 10 minutes, to exist inside yet separately from this world that is a constant inarticulate clamouring for your attention.  After all it is these moments that confirm for me that I am, in fact, alive.

miriam wolf is a 2010/2011 Movement Research AIR currently on exchange at PARTS in Brussels

a body without organs

The impossible thing about making work is that you cannot change the context.  whether in the conventional theatre space or outside it even if I trick you and surprise attack you with a performance, there is still the context of a performance.  Therefore, the spectator always comes into the performance with this context in mind.

how to dissolve that so there is a possibility of making a new relationship between performer:spectator?

I wonder if the only way to do this is to create impossible problems that have no solution. there was a philosopher who did this/talked about doing this (i cant remember the name) but he and a group, for example, took a map of France and used it to get around London.not possible. but changing the context.

Our bodies are constructed a certain way- two arms two legs one head heart lungs etc…that is the context of the body.  is it possible to still have a human body but with a different organization of the organs within it? as in-lungs where the spleen is, heart where the kidney is….well, no, but-is there a way to create a dance with that same idea? im stuck with the body/context of a dance performance holding some kind of automatic expectation for the spectator-but how can i rearrange the organs so to speak within the dance so that it functions differently?

I have to say that i don’t usually think in such conceptual terms as an artist, but the projects I am part of here at PARTS have been making me approach the creation of work/movement vocabulary/material from a very brainy place.  This is not very comfortable for me, and I don’t even necessarily believe that it leads to the kind of work I want to present, but it certainly is stretching me, challenging me, and actually amusing me.

There is something intrinsically healthy feeling about being forced to create with a completely foreign set of tools. it emphasizes the importance of having an outside force that breaks the patterns of our lives- Both from our personal relationships with other humans and from our relationship with our creative process.

I leave you with this question: Is the responsibility of an artist to create the possibility for a new response? Not to actually create the new response or idea, but simply create the opportunity?

PARTS Exchange: chapt 1: european keybords

European keyboards are hard to write on. my fingers are having a hard time erasing their muscle memory and creating new synapses in the brain to allow for quick and easy flow from brain to page. which makes me think of the numerous ideas, patterns, judgements, pre-conceived notions and perhaps fabricated sensations that i have lugged with me across the ocean from the new york dance scene to Brussels/PARTS. Speaking of which, if you see any Qs instead of As thats why. and i cant find the apostrophe button, clearly.

there is something both delightfully charming and harmlessly irritating  about being surrounded by these young dance students again.  I cannot find fault in their sureness in themselves or there slightly pretentious attitudes, because i recognize the universality of the student experience.  I was one of them too, and enjoyed that spoiled existence of structure, opportunities being given rather than struggled to get, classes instead of work…and though it feels slightly indulgent, I have, like the proverbial worn-in sweater slipped back into this world of continuing class and released the learner within me.  I have to say though, that there is a huge difference, and it is this: I am now so aware of the struggle and challenge that life after school is, that there is no possibility of taking this time for granted.  in this month i have the chance to recreate myself into whatever kind of student i wish to be, because no one knows me here-my faults or my strengths .  I cross my synapses and wish to live- This i do solemnly promise: I will do my best  to withhold judgement, soak up what is given, participate to the fullest, be brave but humorous and respond with a critical, yet compassionate mind.

more to come

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