Orienting

I have been reading Kevin Lynch’s book, Image of the City. He is an Urban Planner and the book was published in 1960. In the appendix he has some fascinating references to orientation and navigation. Some of the most highly tuned navigational skills have developed in undifferentiated landscapes such as the flat snow covered areas of land and sea in the Arctic and the vast, dry deserts of Australia.

This capacity to find meaning and significance in the perceived shifts between land and water, fog and ocean which can appear trackless and without landmark reminds me of improvisational experience.

There is a moment of orientation when the abstraction of the destination becomes a leap of faith. Sometimes there is a simplicity to the navigation of the physical experience of moving. An image arises, that draws on the body to produce something in the space that demands a response. The system is unstable, is inventing it’s own instability as it moves along. Unfurling and carrying along the accumulated purse of sensation.

It’s the small things that become significant. But within each of those details there is an attention to the shifting map of the entire landscape, either veering wildly off course or steering directly towards the destination.

Recently I have become more disoriented. Spending more time wandering in the wrong direction, but at the same time being exactly where I am. I am curious about how this is effecting my improvisational practice.

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