second movement of Pneuma – Interaction between body and thought
by L’arboreto – Teatro Dimora and Associazione culturale Nexus
with collaboration of Rete Anticorpi Emilia-Romagna
Magnetica is the second movement of Pneuma, is an innovative project born from the exchange of the scenic and compositional experience of Simona Bertozzi’s choreography, and the theoretical-didactic perspective put forth by the scholar Enrico Pitozzi.
PNEUMA founds its charter on the analysis of movement and the functionality of perception, where choreographic composition meets thought in action to draw the trajectories of a new bodily aesthetic.
PNEUMA is aimed at dancers, performers, critics, scholars of dance and performance arts, technicians, and more generally those who are interested in the methodologies utilized to create and analyze motion, choreographic composition, and the production of scenic scripture of the body.
I. Project themes
PNEUMA is about bodies and the analysis of motion. To move means, above all, to imagine one’s own anatomy in space, and only afterwards one must physically complete the gesture, the action. In this idea, perception – the totality of the body’s cognitive functions – is at the basis of motion: perception is already an action. Starting from this simple scenic equation, the quality of a body’s presence is determined.
When speaking about certain actors or dancers, when we affirm that they have a certain presence, we’re attempting to evoke a subtle quality that slips the tongue, an attitude that we know how to recognize, that we know how to name, yet that we cannot define in exact terms. What are we talking about, then we attribute a presence to a body? What role does perception play in the definition of presence? In what ways does it unfold, and what are its effects? And again, what role does imagination play in the composition of choreographic motion? What relationship is created body, time, and the space of the action?
Being used to being tied to the exploration of a definitively fleeting dimension, it is necessary to proceed in a radical immersion into the material concreteness of a scene, into its processes and effects, while exercising a theoretical-analytical behavior that doesn’t leave space for any methodological laxity, or any shortcuts in analysis. Only this attitude of joint practicality and thought imposes a vigilant attention in X-raying those aspects of the composition of motion that we intend to valorize once more.
A body’s presence is something indeterminate. Its enchanting nature seems to emanate from elusive je ne sais quois, something that circulates and irradiates every part of it without gathering in a precise spot. Presence is a tremor. A fragile radiance that eludes the possibility of stabilizing in a precise or definable shape, that originates from a passage of state that is projected beyond the limits of the body.
Presence doesn’t coincide, therefore, with body: it’s more carried by the body. The condition of presence is that of a landscape that isn’t resolved within a singular element or a shape of the body, but that is spread across the entirety of organic information that predisposes a complex and structured relationship with time and space.
Perception is action.. Presence begins to take shape from organization. To perceive something differently brings about unforeseen action. It’s about thinking about the body as a body-landscape, a body of multiple possible apparitions as well as camouflage, metamorphosis, annulment, dissolution. In this state of maximum awareness and perceptive tendencies, it’s possible to begin a kinetic tracing made out of three dimensionality and volumes, selecting origins and vectors of motion’s transmissions. This is possible only through the mastery of a geographic perception of the body, and by following the precise and legible logic of its internal functions. Perception is internal radiation, a movement and collocation of weight, alignment, balance and out of balancing, and pressure points. Perception is bony three dimensions, the body as a probe, an extension of the body’s senses.
Body is space and it inhabits space. Space exists within the body – physiological space, micro-movements, and its sensate geography – just as there exists a space outside of the body, drawn by the body through the patterns in its trajectory.
Making space with our body thus means to perceive everything in 360 degrees, making our body into an architecture thanks to our precise awareness of where every part of the body is located relative to our core, and the possible reactions that our shifting weight can have on it. It’s about perceiving motion based upon its nodes, it’s horizontal planes of rotation and articulation; predisposed and potentially active even while still, at rest. Everything is immanent. To move means, in other words, to draw space around our body: to arrange motion as a trace impressed upon an invisible volume of air.
Drawing space with our bodies allows us to give shape to time. It’s an elegy to troubled time, wherein time itself unhinges in order to mark the passage from time of shapes to the shapes of time. Here, in this landscape, we can see things clearly – presence of body is illuminated, and the atmosphere of the scene distends – blooming like in a photographic negative. Then what’s left, that which remains within the scene, is a flash of nothing, an almost-nothing, a luminous trace that’s light amongst every other luminous and light thing: what’s left is an indefinite sensation, a trace, an impression.
Atmosphere is the temperature of the scene, the way in which bodies and other entities meet in a transitory shape. Atmosphere is a state of things that is latently given: it’s a feeling one lives in. The atmospheres that the scenes create are the ways through which they provoke impressions in the viewers, producing effects, images that speak to our emotional perception which survive in our memories. Gestures, shafts of light, pulsing sounds, these are the things that leave their sign the most – colours and brilliances.
There where atmosphere shrinks in presence, presence illuminates within the atmosphere.