Set Changes

DAY 5 – Sophie’s musings on the Koumaria Residency, Greece

Human Improvisations:

  • Conversation
  • Sex
  • Eating
  • Breathing
  • Death
  • Everything we do?

is anything ever set?

i am having an issue with my body. i have a kind of illness at the current moment. it invaded my body and it is making it difficult to operate in my “normal” manner. it is creating changes from the inside-out. to me, they are super obvious and they feel really extreme. i wonder if anyone can tell. perhaps on the surface, maybe i seem dull, maybe even unpleasant. but it is because my body is one of my primary tools (for artmaking and survival) and when it isn’t in prime condition, everything feels difficult.

it feels like i am constantly climbing up the Koumaria mountains even when i am sitting still.

and ultimately, i am okay. it is nothing so serious that i can’t take care of it when i go back to NY. but here out in the countryside, i can only just take it day by day until i can go get medical attention. it gives me time to sit with this crisis and figure out what is interesting about operating at a reduced capacity.

and actually, a funny thing happened yesterday. a couple other areas of my existence were taken care of. my inability to move created the perfect release into stability—the kind needed to finish my Fulbright application. and John addressed the conflict that i was feeling in the residency about how to collaborate as a larger group to create a cohesive piece. at least we are starting to assess what people’s individual interests are in that regard. and after that, we had our first jam. the Night Bears were invited to hop into ISE’s improvisation and today they will visit ours. we are all starting to play together. it feels very freeing.

and so a couple very heavy weights have been lifted. it makes the heaviness in my body feel more bearable. i was able to dance again for the first time yesterday. and the Bears starting improvising together again. we were able to play with some elements that interest us. Dan experimented with sound. John is working with the Xbox Kinect tracking my body and feeding it into the mirror galvanometer to create a laser landscape. i played with this heavy body of mine and explored the text from Agamemnon 2.0 by Chuck Mee. it’s a beautiful text that we started playing with in Assumptions Made in the Dark and it now has more relevance than ever, both to my own life and on the meta level of this Greek-American translation collaboration. it’s epic and speaks to tragedy on a universal human level.

and so in the midst of all of the technological hubbub that begins to buzz in the mid-afternoon, i wonder how we can maintain our human presence in this multimedia world?

: photo by Lucy Pawlak

DAY 6 – More Musings

“If we’re not experiencing anything, it’s just the light and energy of the present moment.”

~ Daniel Munkus ~

i did a Primal Scream on the mountaintop today and it opened the sky up. it started thundering and the thick grey clouds moved in. a blast of cold air broke the oppressing heat that i had felt waking up in the tent. i screamed. the skies answered my call.

i offered the gods a sacrifice. i asked them to take what they needed in exchange for giving me my body back, for restoring my energy.

now all i feel is sleepy.

we improvised yesterday trying shadow work with some of the Creatures. it didn’t quite fit but it was sweet to work so closely with them. today we will visit their home and see what that yields. we will greet them in their community, in their natural (albeit man-made) environment.

another great thing that happened yesterday and the night before was starting to improvise with other members of the group. it allowed me to start dancing again and it opened some channels to flow into our Bears project. i joined Ioanna’s cosmic space dance and now we are incorporating it into the larger piece. and we found that they flow nicely into the next. just by moving around together into a projected space, we created cohesion.

another opening came in an open jam yesterday afternoon—John and i danced while Dimitri and Eric played bass and processed trumpet. it was so nice to move and around and communicate physically and sonically with others. and it was freeing to simply be able to move again, even if only minimally. my body was able to be distracted from its pain and discomfort.

the rest of the day felt good. cohesion, collaboration, movement, and momentum.

and then i woke up today after sleeping hard. my body hurts again and on top of that, it’s lazy. all it wants to do is eat and sleep. people are encouraging me to do just that and then there’s an internal struggle between having a million things to do and staying still and taking care of myself.

am i the only one who thinks about my body quite this much?

and so i sit here and watch Freya dance and be so focused. Ioanna flies around the space like a sprite and i remember how i used to move like that.

these people are so beautiful and i want to move with them. and then i remember to listen. i will just be here. for now, i will just wait for the skies to change instead of doing anything to make it happen.

: photo by Daniel Munkus

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Written by lobsterbird