To understand our selves we must explore our selves. As a performance artist I use performance lectures and performance workshops to engage people in self-explorations and sharing. The following are further excerpts from my trip to Brazil 2014.
Exploring with four arms
Modern-day chess derives from the Persian game chatrang which itself derives from the Sanskrit chaturanga, which means four-armed. My father's Parsi ancestors came from old Persia and I imagine that they played the game of chatrang in their free time.
My mother's ancestors were Brahmins from the Konkan coast, spoke Sanskrit and in the long monsoon season when villages like their's facing the Arabian Sea turn into little islands to this day, it is not hard to imagine the children and grownups sitting around the ancient chessboard playing chaturanga.
I am told that this ancient game in accord with its name was once four-armed and it seems to me that in the journey it took from the coast of Konkan to Persia and the Arab world and on to Europe, it lost half its dimensionality. It went from being four-armed to being a game played only by two.
And yet there remain four sides to the game board that are almost identical reminding us that once there were four back and front movements and that once moving to the side also meant moving to the back and the front and the other side depending on whose perspective the move was seen from.
Exercise: Brazil 2014 performance workshops
Imagine that you have four arms. Using your real and imaginary arms start miming things that you do every day and how you would do them now that you have four arms. Try to do many different everyday tasks one after another. Remember the task that was most memorable: the most fun to do, the hardest, the weirdest, the coolest, whatever! (TASK)
Now as you do your tasks notice that you've been making up and using imaginary objects that you needed to do your tasks. Pay attention to these imaginary objects as you do your everyday tasks and ask yourself these questions:
1. How many objects do you use for each task? Perhaps you use only one, but perhaps more since you do have four arms!
2. How would you describe the objects?
3. How much does each object weigh?
4. What colors are they?
5. What textures do they have?
6. What are their volumes?
7. Are they new or old? Or are some new and some old?
8. Do you like them? Or do you like some of them and not the others? Which ones?
9. Find something odd about each object. Can you let their oddness grow?
10. How have the objects changed?
Remember the object and its attributes that you found most memorable. (OBJECT)
Now using your four arms start miming fantastic tasks that you can't actually do in your everyday life but that using your imagination and play acting you can now do in this performance space. Do many different fantastic tasks one after another. Remember the fantastic task that was most memorable to you. (FANTASTIC TASK)
Now as you do the fantastic tasks pay attention to the imaginary fantastic objects that you've been using and ask yourself the questions above. Remember the fantastic object and its attributes that you found most memorable. (FANTASTIC OBJECT)
Using the four elements, Task, Object, Fantastic Task and Fantastic Object create a silent one-minute performance.
May the pulse be with you!
Posted by Abhay Burjor Ghiara at 12/30/2014