“This is something before teaching […] This is establishing a situation of fluidity.”
“It’s enough to establish a flow of relationships…”
-Ricardo Basbaum, artist, during a (virtual) talk at UIUC in Spring 2021
Because of a back thing, I try not to sit in chairs that much. In my year of mostly quarantining, that’s led to a lot of hilarity as I try to figure out how to sit/work/be in my apartment. Possibilities thus far: a standing desk; on my stomach on the floor with lots of pillows under my chest, typing at a computer in front of me; lying on my back; kneeling at a coffee table. In all those, as hours go by, it’s easy to stop moving. To half-forget the sensation of my back and hips starting to lock up. And listening to Basbaum I realized, I do the same kind of locking up in my head.
It’s easy for me to fall into a pose, or a cycle, that doesn’t really move. To freeze inside I’m not sure what to do, which is different than standing/sitting/resting inside I’m not sure what to do. The second one would probably actually help: it would let me settle down, shift around, realize where I am and start feeling what comes next. The first one, the freezing, is holding the exact pose until it aches, and then being surprised at the ache. Cycles work the same way: I’ll make a few assumptions that point toward one result, and then go around and around the circle. I have to do it this way => it’s not working => I don’t have time to figure out another way => I have to do it this way. It could almost seem like moving, except it’s obviously not: it’s freezing with a few set pivots, and I end up with the same ache. The ache of thinking without any fluidity.
Before teaching. A situation of fluidity. Establish a flow of relationships.
Someone once had me tense all the muscles in both legs, and then try to walk. Obviously it didn’t work. It’s the looseness, the relaxation, that lets a push create movement. That lets me wander over to someplace new. Friends and family, students and strangers, cats and blowing leaves—all of them, once I’m in a relationship with them, share with me another part of the world.
I’ve been standing while writing this. And standing’s good, but there could be a little wiggle to it. A bit of shifting weight. Tap a foot, shuffle some shoulders, and see what happens next.