Share the Walk
by Sofia Gousgoula 

Care to share a walk with the group? Sofia encouraged us to walk through the space exploring questions as: What kind of relationship do we instantly make with the environment in which we are moving in whilst walking? What happens when for a second two or more entities are tuned? How trained are we in receiving the stimuli of the external environment and observing small moments like these? How do we feel after each encounter/simultaneity and what does that leave in us? The final product of this exercise was a short film Sofia filmed and edited, from the documentation of our movements in the space. You can watch it below:

#walkshop_journal

"Sofia led the first exercise of the second day. We stepped into the part of the studio where Dalia’s lecture had taken place. It was the warmest of all the spaces, and it had vinyl flooring, which made it the most suitable for the exercise. Sofia asked us to start walking in the space, try to become aware of each others’ presence and not bump into each other when we slightly picked up the pace. She advised us to avoid making circular paths, and communicate with each other by making eye contact to prevent moments of hesitation about “which way to go” from happening. Sofia then suddenly asked us to stop and close our eyes. She asked us to point to where we thought a participant that she named was presently standing in the room. It was interesting how many of us got it wrong, given that we were walking in a small space, supposedly always noticing each other for a while now. A series of similar requests followed for the next minutes of the act, during which I found myself trying to concentrate more and more on the people in the room and on my movements. Then, Sofia first asked us to keep walking and then, only by establishing eye contact and a heightened sense of co-presence in the room, to simultaneously stop for a few seconds and then start walking again, without saying a word to each other. I found that coordinating when to stop felt way more challenging than deciding when to start walking again, together with everyone else. She kept adding new elements to our little choreography, like sitting down and then getting back up after stopping and, later, doing five quick jumps after standing up again. As the exercise progressed, I noticed that my thoughts started racing, but they were all about what my body was doing at the moment. I was very concentrated on making the experiment work. I felt like I needed to establish a kind of telepathy with my fellow participants to coordinate our movements in the best way Sofia led the first exercise of the day. We stepped into the part of the studio where Dalia’s lecture had taken place. It was the warmest of all the spaces, and it had vinyl flooring, which made it the most suitable for the exercise. Sofia asked us to start walking in the space, try to become aware of each others’ presence and not bump into each other when we slightly picked up the pace. She advised us to avoid making circular paths, and communicate with each other by making eye contact to prevent moments of hesitation about “which way to go” from happening. Sofia then suddenly asked us to stop and close our eyes. She asked us to point to where we thought a participant that she named was presently standing in the room. It was interesting how many of us got it wrong, given that we were walking in a small space, supposedly always noticing each other for a while now. A series of similar requests followed for the next minutes of the act, during which I found myself trying to concentrate more and more on the people in the room and on my movements. Then, Sofia first asked us to keep walking and then, only by establishing eye contact and a heightened sense of co-presence in the room, to simultaneously stop for a few seconds and then start walking again, without saying a word to each other. I found that coordinating when to stop felt way more challenging than deciding when to start walking again, together with everyone else. She kept adding new elements to our little choreography, like sitting down and then getting back up after stopping and, later, doing five quick jumps after standing up again. As the exercise progressed, I noticed that my thoughts started racing, but they were all about what my body was doing at the moment. I was very concentrated on making the experiment work. I felt like I needed to establish a kind of telepathy with my fellow participants to coordinate our movements in the best way possible. We were getting better and better at it, and the last five jumps, which were the last part of the exercise, were very synchronized. When we stopped moving, we sat in a circle. Sofia asked us to take turns and talk about how we felt during the activity. The most commonly shared feeling was probably the one relating to us becoming “a group” and gaining an increasingly vibrant sense of unity, while our senses were being heightened in our effort to perform well. I also thought it would be interesting if I would apply some of the “techniques” we practiced during the exercise at random moments in public spaces. I wonder if my relationship with my surroundings would change if I managed to be disciplined enough and repeat a couple of them frequently, for a certain amount of time. Finally, we shared some thoughts on how quickly “power dynamics” were (or weren’t) formed in the room. We felt that some people were the ones that initiated stopping or starting more often than others and talked about how we interpreted others’ intentions just by observing their way of moving in the space.. We were getting better and better at it, and the last five jumps, which were the last part of the exercise, were very synchronized. When we stopped moving, we sat in a circle. Sofia asked us to take turns and talk about how we felt during the activity. The most commonly shared feeling was probably the one relating to us becoming “a group” and gaining an increasingly vibrant sense of unity, while our senses were being heightened in our effort to perform well. I also thought it would be interesting if I would apply some of the “techniques” we practiced during the exercise at random moments in public spaces. I wonder if my relationship with my surroundings would change if I managed to be disciplined enough and repeat a couple of them frequently, for a certain amount of time. Finally, we shared some thoughts on how quickly “power dynamics” were (or weren’t) formed in the room. We felt that some people were the ones that initiated stopping or starting more often than others and talked about how we interpreted others’ intentions just by observing their way of moving in the space."

M.P.

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