On Friday 5 November an online session was dedicated to shared practices by the six Dancing Museums choreographers. Ana Pi, Eleanor Sikorski, Ingrid Berger Myrhe, Masako Matsushita, Quim Bigas and Tereza Ondrova who in turn suggested physical practices and scores that could be used later on whilst in a museum or imaginary journeys to make from home.

Ana Pi went first, and suggested a collective practice called ‘Immobility and interruption‘. The practice was called that to resonate with the collective trauma from the murder of George Floyd by Derek Chauvin, Ana explained. The core of this invitation was to be with contemporary questions, with the news, with political matters. “This violence entered our lives and I want to respond with poetry” Ana added.

How much can happen when we are still? In our own homes?

A song was played for five minutes – we each chose a position that we held for 5 minutes.
Our eyes couldn’t move while we were being still.
The song was They don’t really care about us by Mickael Jackson.
When the music stopped, we each took another position, one we might have seen on our screen and reproduced it, inspired by another person. And, as if we were clay being remodelled, we slowly transitioned into the new position.

We became still, like live statues, and stopped for 5 minutes. This also resonates with the political action of removing statues that are reminiscent of racism and colonisation from the public space, and with a work Ana developed this autumn at the MAC VAL Museum, called È𝑺𝑪𝑼𝑳𝑻𝑼𝑹𝑨 (and we will share more on this project on the Journal later).

Eleanor Sikorski then asked us to turn our cameras off. She took us on an audio-guided tour. A visit of Newstead Abbey, one of the museum spaces she is working with in Nottingham.
We were invited to close our eyes and follow her, virtually approaching and entering the building, discovering the architecture and some of the works and artefacts present there through her words. Listening to her voice calmly depicting the surroundings, our gaze seemed to hover over the premises, floating from room to room as a disembodied presence.

A white man – a lion – a black man – a horse – another white man

These words stay with me as the depiction of the protagonists of a painting hung on a wall at Newstead Abbey.
I was curious to see what the painting looks like so I went online.

After the Lion Hunt (W. F. Webb and Captain W. Codrington, South Africa) by Alfred Corbould

It resonated with Quim’s virtual stroll trough Fundació Joan Miró from earlier in the week, using audio to feel connected when we are apart.

Ingrid Berger Myrhe shared part of her research itinerary when suggesting experiencing the museum space as a scavenger hunt.

here you are.
looking is an activity rather than a passive act.
why not look for things rather than looking at things?

“There is already a lot of movement in a museum: people going in and out of the building, the dramaturgy of people moving inside from room to room, exhibitions put up and down, the place is dynamic. And as with the Boijmans Van Beuningen’s Collection in Rotterdam, it is a moving one, changing from one building to another during renovations I felt that my role there was not so much about dancing but thinking about choreography through the building.
And so organising a treasure hunt in the space stimulates curiosity and conjures up different ways of seeing things (by not just looking), enabling to play with new perspectives, multiple directions, distance and proximity, agenda… A map has to do with the politics of seeing, as it is a worldview, and a tool to be put in motion by the people that are using it.”

Here is Ingrid’s score to organise a scavenger hunt through the different rooms of a museum.

Masako Matsushita invited us to grab a paper and a pen.
The paper was divided into different spaces.

Write what movement means for you today, right now
Draw the space you’re in
Choose and name a cardinal point using a compass if you have one on your phone or at hand
Choose, name a movement.

Then Masako said, or I wrote, or we spoke about:

care / senses / a flow between in and out, inside and outside
taking the time
a personal experience → including a community → sharing knowledge
personal archive / memory / cultures / geographies / identities / intimacy / digital or non digital
tools and processes going from outside in / inside out
a community created by participation
a personal guided tour: measuring the space with one’s body, how many times does it fit in a given space?

Another practice, another moment, like Quim Bigas‘ suggestion.

Our doors

Pointing our cameras towards a door near us.
Looking at it, considering this threshold.
Doors are liminal places.
How do you feel before entering a space, standing outside, about to cross the threshold?
A door can be difficult to close.
People may have walked away from there and never been back.
How can some people return and be present, even if they are not?

To close this sharing of possible practices, Tereza Ondrová suggested an experience called Sculpting the connection.

Choose a small object around you.
Now a big one.
Approach the small one from the big one.
What about touching the big object with the small one?
And what about:
taking more time to observe, reflect, choose
be a learning practice
be in a collective again
be into an observation and be fully connected to everybody at the same time
finding ways of transmitting connections
drawing focus on a person’s intimate archive
how to get out of immobility?

(mine were a red apple and a couch).