Physical Poems


I stole this and adapted it from an exercise I did with Felix Ruckert in 1994 in Seattle, when he was on tour with Deluxe Joy Pilot. Half of the group is in the space blindfolded. The others begin watching. Ideally, there is a soundtrack playing that will nudge people out of the mundane and will also create a sense of sonic privacy and disorientation for each person. The blindfolded are in a space pf permission, beginning with simple standing and feeling, and then moving as they like. The others, eyes open, move into the space watching and enter into brief interactions with the blindfolded: 10 seconds to 3 minutes maximum. The image is to create kinesthetic poems: perhaps a short haiku, perhaps a wandering beat poem or surrealist experience. They are poems of physical interaction, in collaboration with the blindfolded person, where the poem exists not in the physical space, but in the mind of the blindfolded person. They may be purely kinesthetic, or may contain emotional content. What is the arc of a physical poem? ‘beginning, middle, ending? How do you bring an interaction to an end – find the organic ending, just leave, formally close or transform? What is the effect of ending? A sense of completion, a sense of opening into something new, launching into personal exploration, a sense of abandonment? How do you shape that, given the state of the blindfolded person? You are not in control… you have influence over something that is already happening.

It is good to give people space between each interaction.

People on their own are not in need of you to entertain them. They are already having an experience.

Someone who is still is not necessarily bored. They may be in an important process.

What is going on already before you touch? How do you sense it, use your intuition, trust your cultivated intuition, and at the same time always doubt yourself without letting that doubt lead to paralysis?

Listen, but at the same time, don’t be afraid of being assertive. Be willing to make clear physical offers. Listen for response. Tentative offers are usually more annoying than clear and assertive ones.

More than one “performer” can be with one blindfolded person. Blindfolded people can be left alone for periods of time.

Take this for 20 minutes to an hour, then switch.

 Posted by at 10:25 pm