LEIMAYblog // Thoughts on the future body by LEIMAY guest Rachel Cohen

I was impressed by the multiple approaches the artists took to the question Ximena posed Wednesday. I was speaking with a friend who observed some of the afternoon, choreographer Elke Rindfleisch, and we marveled at how broad a topic this could be (as was reflected in my convoluted rambling presenting my thoughts!).


I’ll attempt here to lay some of those thoughts out more clearly. Although, one of the changes I see for the future body is potentially greater acceptance of alternate ways of presenting material, physically and mentally. Perhaps we’ll see a shift to include more intuitive, sensate approaches, loosening the current lockhold of analytical thinking (not that it's not useful).


I divided my interests/imaginings into a few (interrelated) aspects:


  1. Objects: I like to work with objects as a way to elicit new ways of moving my body. The objects/technology/stuff in our lives both enhances our experience and hinders it as we become increasingly reliant on it; so, too, in performance. The things we surround ourselves with also are part of our identity, and vice versa; I can see this becoming increasingly true in the future, and I think performance can reflect that. In another respect, integrating ourselves with objects and our environment perhaps suggests viewing our bodies in the context of a larger society, rather than as individual entities?
  2. Increasing physical prowess; new ways to highlight the body: Related to #1, as we push our physical limits and technique becomes more phenomenal and we require ever-more impressive feats to make an impact on an audience, maybe we will start to find new ways of looking at the body and new ways of making it move; I'm particularly interested in body as parts and body as negative space in a stage picture.
  3. Social versus internal: It seems like there is an increasing shift to the communal body, sharing, community-oriented, participatory, public work. At the same time we’re finding ever more detailed information about how our inner selves/brains work, our DNA, etc. So the future body is expanding in every direction. Will we have to choose which way to focus, or will one dominate?
  4. Technology versus back to basics: As our technology advances, it seems we also yearn to return to simpler times, going back to using our bodies, using our hands to make things. Using our bodies becomes more of a practice than a necessity.


I think I also have to take into account what one participant pointed out, that my personal future body will be breaking down -- but in some ways becoming more revealed to me as a result.


I look forward to reading what others have to say, and to what the future brings.

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