Friday, January 23, 2009

foi response from Sharon Mansur (MD)

if we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence. –george eliot

as a fellow dance friend once said “language is not my first language” but here’s my initial verbal response:

apartment living room
kitty Mia
human witnesses via internet
showing up

words that emerged-(in my mind, in my body and on paper)
displacement, displace, this place, misplace, a place, place, place mat, can’t place you
out of place, in place, replace, the place, in place of….

what would it take to have peace when human nature embraces both violent and nonviolent tendencies?
a sense of forgetting, letting go of need to avenge, revenge?
what does true forgiveness entail? can one truly forget? how does a new pattern start from old?
if I was wandering what would I take with me? where would I go?
tired, cold, unsettled, how do maintain a sense of yourself?
leave a trail…so you can find your way home…
conflict….tensions…..power……poverty……lack of voice, lack of choice….anger….what else can I do?

feels oddly peaceful, being blind and deaf, a cocoon….a portal


displaced memories... bringing them all back together….important to remember it ALL…dark and light
my Lebanese heritage….how does that relate? Lebanon’s civil war history, can’t visit safely to see where my father’s family is from, a cousin’s husband caught in Beirut summer 2006 conflict, got back to the U.S. ok, I've been called a terrorist...
another cousin of college age, same side of the family, is serving in Iraq, an out of the box choice for our family,….what would he say in response to this?

this is the place, ain’t no place for your kind, no how, no room at the inn, space, save face, and leave, the human race, space case, home is where the heart is

kept some furniture in the room, daily life familiar
fabric draped around perimeter
still camera on hand
sketchbook and pencils
blanket and pillows
at the last second grabbed a piece of red fabric to start on seated, and a set of mongolian bells my friend Daniel gave me for Christmas.
they became my starting rituals for each segment, my “place mat” throughout the event

my movement-
more minimal than full bodied, task oriented, pedestrian, gestural, some periods of fuller physical expression, rocking, sitting, struggling to stay awake, fell asleep for a bit
somewhat limited by the size of my space but containing as well
desire to move in a less typical dance-y way for me
the creation of various tasks to maintain focus emerged over time, felt comforting

brought a rocking chair back into the room
evoked several images:
sense of waiting for someone or something to come back after being away
passing of time with each rock
myself as an old woman, my mother, my Lebanese grandmother I never met
myself as a baby as my mother rocked me in this chair after I was born

….sense of “place” =wherever my body happens to be

some recurring movement themes-
repetition…..lots of repetition
using my hands to cover my already blindfolded eyes, then uncovering hands, then lifting up the blindfold to reveal closed eyes
hand brushing across mouth
weight shifts, pelvis moves then body responds
rubbing hands and turning palm side up, then down, here, then there, then here
tracing edges of things: the red fabric, the wood floor slats, the couch, the sketchbook paper
touching various parts of my body, then extend into space, I’m here, this is there…
tearing large paper into small, scattering then gathering
the number 189
the number of pieces of a certain paper page torn, then scattered,
then a repetitive morphing movement section evolved with 189 movements executed once, then again later
rocking and rocking and rocking
unraveling threads off the red fabric, then winding the threads from one hand to the other
singing and humming wordless songs at one point

used bathroom when needed still blindfolded and earplugged
took a few breaks to regroup, eat toast, check video equipment

lost internet connection shortly after my second segment started but didn’t realize that until 12:00. provider problem not restored until 6:00pm with neighbor's help. taped first hour of each segment on mini-dv, took still shots of the room each break, did a series of shots while blindfolded

midnight to 5:30am was most challenging period, but found out later my friend and dance colleague Gesel stayed up to watch that entire segment online, she recalled I said I wouldn’t have anyone with me in person

the next difficult were the last 2 hours….nodding off at the end in my rocking chair, but overall kept showing up and time kept passing and it was what it was

my friend Jenn in Minnesota, a geologist and professor, watched an early evening segment and commented later that it was striking to see me in my sense of place, my home, as I was meditating on displacement

my partner Jon who’s also in Minnesota, helped me test out ustream, kept an eye on me online, tried to help me troubleshoot the internet, on the phone with me at 12:05am

the sensory deprivation and meditative aspect appealed to me, no doubt harkening to my catholic upbringing, doing without for a time in order to focus the heart, spirit and intentions

overall…I felt a sense of lightness, ease and balance immediately after and through all of new year’s day and is still with me now

glad I chose to have it relatively private, at home, with support from afar

truly felt the collective energy of our group as well as those witnessing online, don’t know if I could have kept my focus without that palpable presence

yesterday I picked up a book at the library “In the Hot Zone: one man, one year, 20 wars” by Kevin Sites, informative, eye opening and touching, covering conflicts worldwide from Somalia 2005 through Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon summer 2006, from a broad as well as personal story focus;;

interesting that such a relatively simple act can be a powerful touchstone for so much emotion and thought and sensation, as I tune into myself, read your responses, talk with others, see online postings

thank you all……


P.S. my cat was a fabulous witness…

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