Since 2003 ZO/\/\otion /\rts has been creating site-specific, ecological performance art events, workshops and guided walks exploring the aesthetics of moving in nature. We seek to engage people in immersive, intimate experiences of the transformative power of moving with natural landscapes.
In our Somatic Ecology workshops and performance events, aesthetic movement in nature is a means to engage with concepts from ecology, such as balance, relationship, adaptation and integration and to connect with them on a visceral level, where they “make sense.”
These experiences in physical relationship with nature reveal poetic analogies.
When we climb a tree or make tableaus in a forest, we hope to evoke a sensation in the viewer of the delicate balance between human beings and the more-than-human world. It is a meditative process of sensing, relating, adapting, and responding. This experiential art work is an enactment of our fundamental relationship with nature and our dependency on it for support. A “tree dance” is never solo, it is a duet. In the dance, our lives literally depend on the tree, and our ability to sense the resiliency and strength of each branch, feeling for how far out we can go before losing support.
We also to relate this art work to the field of research and practice called “somatics.” These activities are a blend of art, science, meditation, exercise and in some cases spiritual ritual. They constitute a variety of ways that people have developed throughout history and across culture to study one’s Self and Nature from the inside, at the center of our conscious, sensuous experience; from old methods like Hatha Yoga, Taiji Quan, to contemporary modes like Alexander Technique, Modern Dance, Bartenief Fundamentals, etc. Contemplative movement is a mode of research, a practical source of information and understanding about what I am, my relationship to the environment and the nature in which I am integrally enmeshed.
We now face a world that we are just becoming aware is not limitless in its resilience to our burden on it. Nature as a whole is a process that proceeds by seeking balance through sensing what is needed and responding appropriately. We exist in a symbiotic relationship with nature; our existence is intimately entwined with these beings; when we breathe out, trees breathe in, when they breathe out, we breathe in. Through this artwork, we hope to evoke a sensation, a “kinesthetic sympathetic response,” so that the witness might feel something in their own body and glimpse metaphors and insights into our integral, intimate relationship with the Earth.