dance #337, balancing

•November 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Sunday November 22, 2009


10:30 p.m. A 5 minute sitting meditation after ingesting a concoction of teas: st. john’s wort, raspberry leaf, oat straw, vervain, and lemon balm. A feel almost nothing. And still a kind of subtle dissipation. Energy in-gathering at the throat then emanating outward. The dance sits and feels. Leaning into the subtlety of almost sensation. Alice is away hunting mice in another home.

Thinking about graphemes in the context of signs and signifiers and signifieds. Wondering what kind of graphemes I’ve been generating in this daily practice. Now rounding out the final month of dances.  What kind of choreo-graphematic traces are these? Do they have a material referent? Yes. They are full of bodies.  And yes, also speeds and slownesses. Are they affective transductions? I hope so. And yet, effective for who? I’ve experimented and found that they are effective in generating in me a range of excitations that help me re-member a moment. Ethno-graphy through graphematic notation. These are little, daily, mundane dances with bodes-lines-and-signs. They are tiny experiments in following through on lines (of flight, etc.). In “recording” (taken here, not as a form of capture, but as an act of being lured in by, and so a practice of getting drawn towards while reaching into) the thickness of senses and qualities. For me they are energy diagrams. Energetic tracings. Forces and flows and movements and energies. How do they refer? I still don’t quite know. I can intuit that their referents are often ambi-valent. They are also potent conjurings. They seem to script what I will and will not re-member about each dance. They are always incomplete, inadequate, and not quite effective enough at effecting affect; neither in myself, nor in others. What kind of technology/technique/methodology is a graphematic tracing like this for practicing ethnography? This has been an experiment in finding adequate modes to record and relate (at least back to my self) my experience of and participation in movement. Feeling through the movement of drawing. As a first attempt. Making it a daily practice in order to cultivate the dexterities I need in the field in order to relate the fullness of the affects and modes of embodiment that are on the move through the world.

dance #336, yarrow flower essence

•November 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Saturday November 21, 2009

Yarrow flower essence

11:00 p.m. Body-work before bed. Creating circles and spirals with my ribcage. Front body and back body finding alignment. Widening shoulders. Releasing sternum. Dropping ribs, Lifting sides. Rotations. Cracking bones to release spine. I added a few drops of yarrow flower essence to a concoction of flower essences in water, and ingested a few drops of pure yarrow flower essence three times over the course of the day. On a night walk earlier, I could feel my entire body open, lifted. Full of ease. Alignment and verticality. Torqued body gets squared up. Alice is curled up on the tiger print blanket. The day was sunny then grey, followed by a cool night. Moist air rising.

dance #335, precious

•November 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Friday November 20, 2009


10:00 til midnight. A night at the movies with D watching the new film Precious. Powerful. Bodies beaten, bloated, heaving. Hurt. Precious walks with a weighted sorrow in her bones. Beaten down by incest, rape, violence. I’m shattered. The drawing moves with the pain that propagates through this film that has just barely enough hope for healing. The night walk back is misty and cool. Alice laps at the water bowl while I draw and write.

dance #334, angel

•November 21, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Thursday November 18, 2009


7:30 p.m. I meet Angel, a three year old retriever for the first time. I’m sitting in a chair and she gazes up into my eyes longingly. Doggy eyed. She gets up on her hind legs and firmly plants her paws on my lap, edging her rear closer. She likes to hold women this way, apparently. Dominating in a kind of loving way. Later she runs in the school yard. The boys play with her, getting her to chase them in circles. She runs and leaps at them, rolling them to the ground. They become dog as she becomes a dog among dogs. I thought about Roland, Donna’s dog, as we played. Alice lounges on the tiger print blanket, camouflaged. The night was moist and misty. Headlights beam through the night.

dance #333, a third body

•November 18, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Wednesday November 18, 2009

A third body

9:30 – 9:45 p.m. Dancing at Dov house. Second floor. Collected here. We have smallish swaths of white cloth. Old sheets tearing and torn. I dance with Inge. We start throwing the fabric. It alights. Catching air. Swooosh. Textures battering at air, pocketing. Soundings are swishing. Thick cotton, wrinkled, rustling. Whipping past past. Alorani remarks that the fabric becomes a kind of third body. Later I remark that this is dance number three thirty three. Alice is acting up. Earlier she was pacing and rubbing her cheeks up against the desk, the door. Gorgeous November day.

dance #332, writing

•November 18, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Tuesday November 17, 2009


11:00 – 11:45 pm. Ideas flash and flow. Sitting at desk. Pen and a ream of crinkled, old paper. Pen to page. Hunched over. Papers spread out. Dancing across page. Shifting swift through a thicket of excitation and connections. Mash-up and remix. The writing is writing itself. Alice here with me while I draw and write. Day was rushed. Night cool and dark at 5ish. So early.

dance #331, ouch!

•November 18, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Monday November 16, 2009


Night-time. My head hurts. Pain behind an eye. Head swirling. Swerving off into ether. D puts a hand on my head. The spiraling diffuses a little bit. Alice is agitated too. Day was cloudy then sunny later. Cool.

dance #330, not-so-sun-day

•November 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dance #330, not so sun-daySunday November 15, 2009


9:30 p.m. A five minute dance in the study after a long distracted warm-up. Stretching, awakening. The dance finds limberness. Jostling arms loosened at the joints. Arms extend from back-body. Spine curving. Undulations as arms in-gather across front-body and find elastic release. Rotations. Rolling rhythms. Alice is my interlocutor in this dance that lunges with her, and pulls at string to tempt her into play. She circles the scene and then leaves. She laps at water while I draw and write. The sky was grey, grey, grey. I worked and watched it from inside all day.

dance #329, charlie-bird turns one

•November 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dance #329, charlie-bird turns oneSaturday November 14

Charlie-bird turns one

6:25 p.m. Charlie with the golden locks crawls speedily. Swimmingly. Swift along the floor towards me and around me just as I am leaving is first birthday party. Slithering. Movement smooth and silent, whole body leaning into forward motion. Limbs seem to undulate under him.  Wonderful creature! As I write, Alice calls from the porch: Let me in! The day was hot and sunny. This is November?

dance #328, ordinary affects: frustration

•November 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dance #328, ordinary affects, frustrationFriday November 13, 2009

Ordinary affects: frustration

8:50 p.m. The dance re-members the range of feelings I experienced this morning and later forgot in the rush of the day. Frustration. Things coming apart. Tearing at the seams. I plug back into those feelings and just let them course through my tissues. The  dance moves with force downward. Jabbing fists and powerful arms. Clenched and punching. I feel lighter and smile after. Alice chews the pen as I try to write. Later she laps at the water bowl. She’s calmer tonight. The day was bright and warmish, but I barely noticed as I raced through this day.

dance #327, concoction

•November 13, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dance #327, concoctionThursday November 12, 2009


11:00 p.m. Sitting in my room, I ingest 4 drops of a concoction of flower essences. Buttercup, sunflower, garlic, and larch flower essences in water and brandy. Anxious, aching body needs soothing energy. Where there was darkness and an inward coiling the concoction brings a downward surging warmth and expansion. Solar plexus expands. This is the dance I experience as my body is hunched over with fatigue. Alice wasn’t happy tonight. She needs more love. The sun was cold today.

dance #326, molecular machines

•November 11, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dance #326, molecular machinesWednesday November 11, 2009

Molecular Machines

9:50 p.m. Watching an online clip from the documentary Naturally Obsessed: The Making of a Scientist. I watch Lawrence Shapiro describe the goals of his research into protein structure. As he talks he holds his hand out to the side and looks at it, rather than at the camera. His hand holds the space of a protein molecule. His hand becomes a model. As he talks, his hand pulses intermittently to punctuate his points, and then again regains form as a protein model. He talks about proteins as the molecular machines of the cell. He wants to show how a drug molecule, like HIV protease inhibitor, can “throw a monkey wrench” into the mechanisms of cellular function. As he talks, his other hand slides into the frame of the camera, and gets slotted into the crevice of his palm—-or rather, the active site of the protein molecule. Ways of speaking converge with ways of seeing. Modeling is a practice of articulation. Alice howls into the night. The day was just glowing. Cold wind against skin as I ran this morning.

dance #325, steel drums

•November 11, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dance #325, steel drumsTuesday November 10, 2009

Steel drums

9:30 a.m. A musician plays steel drums in the tunnel between trains in the Spadina subway station. The tunnel is almost empty. I smile as I walk past the drummer, and he smiles back. The long tunnel exerts a pull, accelerating my pace. I let my hand move into a dance. Fingers articulating curves following the rhythms and my own pacing. A fuller dance blooms in my imagination. People rushing past. I am wishing I were brave enough to just dance. The day was warmish, and a little grey. Alice cries insistently.

dance #324, city compositions

•November 9, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dance #324, city compositionsMonday November 9, 2009

City compositions

10:30 p.m. A warm November night after a number of warm November days. It’s been beautiful. The city is bright. I stand and look out across a bright Toronto skyline. CN Tower lined in red. A new tower somewhere downtown beams massive quantities of light through the cityscape. Four searchlights scan the sky and in-gather a whole choreography with light in movement. Alice leaps up onto the fence that lines the perimeter of the patio. Scuttles across to the neighbour’s deck. I participate in the sweep. Gathering up the folds of a feeling. Leaning into a dance. Imagining what could be. Sensing just a little more than what I can see from here. Moving with/in/through the sounds of city. Streetcars grinding along the rails, rounding Spadina’s curves just north of College. Alice is now sitting here chatting with me as I post. Flower essences: Buttercup, Sunflower, Larch, and Garlic in Brandy and Water.

dance #323, ordinary affects: distracted attention

•November 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dance #323, ordinary affects distracted attentionSunday November 8, 2009

Ordinary affects: distracted attention

10:00 p.m. to 10:25 p.m. A series of half-dances moving from my room to my study. Interrupted by occasional shifts in attention. Stretching out taught muscles, tidying papers, and organizing the space. Then back to a dance. Then to stillness. Pausing to just listen. Scattered and calm at the same time. Clearing a place for a different kind of attention just by paying attention to distractions. Body aches distract from articulating movements. Dances turn outward then inward then to stillness. Alice is loving and attentive tonight. It was a glorious day. Hot and sunny. The light just glimmering off the few leaves that remain on the trees. High Park was bustling with hoards of people on every path.

dance #322, sprint

•November 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dance #322, sprintSaturday November 7, 2009


10ish on a lovely Saturday morning. D and I are out for a run. I’m on my last legs as we come up along Wilcocks. I’m spent. But in a final thrust of energy I hurl my body forward and accelerate into a sprint. My body acquires lightness. Weightlessness. The sluggishness of fatigue lifts. The downward sinking weight I was feeling shifts forward. I’m lifted by the trees towering above. My eyes fixed ahead as I run towards a future moment of rest where I will land from this lightness. The day was just glorious. Bright sunshine. Big winds. Bustling life and leaves glowing and tumbling. Alice rests on the bed while I draw and write.

dance #321, tickled to death

•November 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dance #321, tickled to deathFriday November 6, 2009

Tickled to death

9ish at “It’s About Time,” a Dancemakers performance in the Distillery District. A dancer sits down in a chair and readies himself, arms lifted up in front of his body. He counts “1, 2, 3, 4, ….” and on and on. Two dancers come up from behind him and lean into his body to tickle him. He’s already laughing before they touch him. Squirming laughter, painful laughter. They keep tickling, and he keeps counting “88, 89, 90…,” barely able to get the numbers out, his body contorting in anguish. Screams and hollers peel out of his body. In some moments he seems to be overcome and can’t go on. The ticklish body tortured. The audience can’t help themselves. Some laugh with him. My own body is tense and laughing nervously. I squirm, feeling his pain. Time in this choreography is elastic. They run through a single choreography multiple times at different paces, generating new experiences for themselves and the audience. Augmenting time produces amplifications. Bodies multiply, intensify. Compressing time generates accelerations and minimizations. Time affects matter. The dancers experiment with exertions (holding breath, tickling, jumping, carrying heavy weights) at different pacings.  I feel resonances with my own sensibilities of time. Alice was here earlier. It was a cold day. Some bright sun. Early dark night. Bright half-moon.

dance #320, hailing winds

•November 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dance #320, hailing windsThursday November 5, 2009

Hailing winds

2:10 p.m. Riding my bike headlong into the winds coming at me fast as I hurtle along College Street. Tiny pellets of white, hard hail batter my body. Bike gears clean and smooth. Legs thrusting downwards. I lean into the wind and feel the lift and the rush. The cold has moved in. Alice nestles into a ball of fur on the chair by the window. Quiet and calm.

dance #319, bite!

•November 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dance #319, bite!Wednesday November 4, 2009


11:00 p.m. I curl up around Alice, cuddling and purring. Close and warm. In a split second her teeth sink into my hand. I shriek. Sounding out loud. Startled. Ouch! My thumb still throbs as I draw. The day was overcast with light rain. Alice is startled by my outburst!

dance #318, pulling at moonlight

•November 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dance #318, pulling at moonlightTuesday November 3, 2009

Pulling at moonlight

9:35 p.m. A ten minute stretch and two minute movement meditation in my room. Big moon on high. Beams rush in through the window. The dance moves through the light as if it were a viscous medium. Magic. I move with what Eva Hayward might call “fingery eyes”, and what I might describe as “seeing hands.” Alice cries out. The day brought winds, sleet-like rains, and chills. Fall turns. Leaves fall. Trees bare their limbs.

dance #317, solar opening

•November 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dance #317, solar openingMonday November 2, 2009

Solar opening

10:45 p.m. A five minute warm-up and one minute movement meditation after ingesting four drops of Larch flower essence. Back opens. Chest opens. Shoulders back. New posture. Movement rolls through my chest. Arms crossing body. Rolling and rotating into a half turn. Arms lifting upwards.The gesture moves through me again and again. Generating new feeling. Confidence and calm. Alice plays in the corner of the room, rubbing her cheeks up against my suitcase, which is still not fully unpacked. Sun in the morning. Overcast later. Cooling with rain. Night falls early.

dance #316, machine love

•November 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dance #316, machine loveSunday November 1, 2009

Machine love

10:20 p.m. Back in Toronto. Remembering Kelly Dobson’s evocative gestures as she enacted machine love in her talk on the Lively Machines panel we organized at 4S. She spoke about the machines she builds and works with through richly affective gestures. Body centered and open. Her frame is clear and full of affection. The care and love she expressed seems to be generated in her core. Gestures pull from her centre and from her heart. Hands articulate and articulating. She is a dancer of the machine arts. Alice is here with me while I draw. The sun was warm and beaming when we landed in Toronto today.

dance #315, cranialsacral uplift

•November 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dance #315, cranialsacral upliftSaturday October 31, 2009

Cranialsacral uplift

1:15 p.m. A friend places his newly trained hand on my back to support me with cranialsacral energy as I start to falter with fatigue as we make our way back to the hotel from a Halloween party. I’m wilting after a long day. His hand is energized. It reorganizes my energy. Generating uplift and moment. The sense of his hand is present long after. I get another uplift as we move to mount four flights of stairs in the hotel. Surging energies. Sense of opening and spinal shifts.

dance #314, feeling the pain the molecule is in…

•November 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dance #314, feeling the pain the molecule is inFriday October 30, 2009

Feeling the pain the molecule is in…

11:30 a.m. Fairfax Room, Hyatt Crystal City. Charles Zerner presents his work on insectoid robots and invokes my paper “Molecular Embodiments.” He reads a long section describing how one protein crystallographer, beholding a misshapen protein model, can feel the pain a molecule is in, “because it just can’t go like that.” I’m sitting in the audience as he reads, and he points to me as if I am the crystallographer, getting me to reenact the gesture. “Neck crooked to the side!” he hollers, in the imperative. I reenact the dance for him, and people in the talk swerve in their seats. A dreary day in Crystal City is lit up by a meander with Charles along the roadsides and gravel lots sprinkled with Queen Ann’s Lace.

dance #313, ant antennae

•November 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dance #313, ant antennaeThursday October 29, 2009

Ant antennae

4:20 p.m. Eben Kirksey gives a talk at 4S. He reads a text describing how to remodel the human body to embody the kinds of sensations ants might gather through their antennae. Eben moves into the dance. Arms extended in front of his body. Thumbs turned down, head down as he reads. He strokes the hairs on his arms to simulate and stimulate new sensory organs as he leans into ant sensation. The dance is awkward as he learns how to articulate his body anew. At the same time it is effective in that his performance helps me feel how ants gather in their worlds. The day in Crystal City was cloud-filled.

dance #312, discerning attention

•November 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dance #312, discerning attentionWednesday October 28, 2009

Discerning attention

5:00 p.m. Hyatt Crystal City, Washington, DC. I catch sight of an amazing frown on a colleague’s face as she concentrates on the topics at hand in the midst of the annual council meeting. Mouth puckered and down-turned. The day was full of rain in Toronto. Bright and sunny and warm when I landed in DC.

dance #311, portraiture

•November 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dance #311, portraitureTuesday October 27, 2009


9:45-10:30 p.m. A portrait of D after an evening spent sketching together.

dance #310, collaborative scrabble

•November 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dance #310, collaborative scrabbleMonday October 26, 2009

Collaborative scrabble

9:00-10:00 p.m. Playing scrabble with D. Laughter, silliness. Playful words. Lightness. We’re hunched over the board and laughter peels upwards. Alice wanders. There was sun and the clouds were filigreed, sweeping across the sky.

dance #309, composition, equation, combustion

•November 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dance #309, composition, equation, combustionSunday October 24, 2009

Composition, equation, combustion

8:30-9:15 p.m. Interaccess Gallery. Shalanda, Jessica, and Elissa present their Ambi-valent Objects project for the ArtSci Salon crowd composition, equation, combustion. It generates such rich affects. New layers come into view as the amplified video loops over and over in the background while they talk. I’m drawn to the rushing sound of the fire, arcing and whirring. The speeds and slownesses generate sensations. Whirring and purring. At moments it is as if the spun fire is anticipating time, leaning into time, licking it with flame. It was a glorious, warm day. Alice is on the prowl.

dance #308, clarice in the tub

•November 4, 2009 • Leave a Comment

dance #308, clarice in the tubSaturday October 24, 2009

Clarice in the tub

10:00 p.m. Submerged for a moment. Head and ears below the surface. I can hear D reading from Clarice Lispector’s Soul Storm. I tune in through the water. I can hear the hum of the heater resonating with the sound of his voice. Echoing. Deepening. Water sounds fuller. Surround. Water is a transducer. Tone and texture and timbre transformed. The dance is the reworking of sound in the medium of the water-filled tub. Candles flicker. Alice wanders and licks her thickening coat. Then drinks water. The day was fully Fall. Dark thunder clouds on the move. Opening up with sunshine on bright coloured trees.