Creative Reset: The Possibilities

Creative Reset: The Possibilities

Education Frame | Work News & Updates

In 2019, ahead of a massive exhibit of his work appearing at the Tate Modern museum in London, artist Olafur Eliasson spoke with Mark Turner, art correspondent for The Guardian, about his installations, specifically about a piece titled “Your Blind Passenger.” The work is a room filled with fog and lit by colored fluorescent lights such that all that is visible to the viewer is a shallow, blurry colorscape. Only a few people are allowed into “Your Blind Passenger” at a time because it is so disorienting, making the viewer even more likely to feel detached and alone in an indistinct but colorful unknown. Eliasson said of the experience, “Very quickly you realise, and I mean this quite literally, that you are not completely blind after all, you have a lot of other senses which start to kick in.”

With this realization comes a shift, a transfer of attention. Something is taken away or blocked – in this case most of the visual information –  and the response of the viewer is to adjust how they engage with their surroundings. According to Eliasson, “it shows that the relativity of our senses is much higher than we think, we have it in our capacity to recalibrate or at least stop being numb” (emphases mine).

 

Eliasson’s work is often about jarring, all-encompassing alterations, like “Your Blind Passenger,” and they are often about connections that are simultaneous with fracture. Some of his visually quietest pieces sound the loudest social alarms. I feel like Eliasson’s work is made for coping with COVID and our ongoing strangeness. I feel like the quote above is instructional for living in a world where the the crisis alert is stuck at 11.

First – I think the quote is telling us – we need to be aware of these numb and underused senses. Then, bringing our attention to them, we can start to turn them on or turn them up. We can do work and practice actions to heighten the senses to the point that they become capable of nuance, of making and receiving meaning. Because our attention is finite – even when turned up to 11 – by attending to new areas, we are less reliant on the ones that used to dominate our awareness. We have recalibrated.

 

The issue of recalibration has been on Lydia Hance’s mind over the spring and summer. Accustomed to helping people bring attention to their (often underused, not quite nuanced) sense of movement, Lydia knows that practicing this set of sensations – practicing dance –  reduces stress and reduces the need to rely on other sensations for managing stress. Dance practice heightens the sense of the body in space, making movement more efficient and less stressful on the body. It also gives people another way to process and express emotion, again reducing the stress load we carry in our bodies and our thoughts. Lydia knew that during the stresses of quarantine and social unrest, people had lost some of their most powerful coping devices – face-to-face interaction with people we care for and freedom of movement both within and outside of one’s community. She knew that people needed a reset.

Lydia has a mighty set of creative friends, makers of one kind or another (or a whole bunch of kinds at once) who identified areas where a little attention to an underused skill goes a long way toward recalibration. Creative Reset is designed on these practices. Taken alone, the practices allow for recalibration. Taken multiply, you’ve got yourself a transformation!

Coming Soon, Creative Reset: The Practices

Cover image: Photo “Your rainbow panorama” By Harkolufs 

Inset images: From “Room for One Color” Tate Modern 1997, Photos by Anders Sune Berg from olafureliasson.net

The Balanced Bath: A Prelude to Your Creative Reset Workshop

The Balanced Bath: A Prelude to Your Creative Reset Workshop

Frame | Work News & Updates

The week has just started, but Wednesday is coming. Humpday, right in the middle. What a perfect time to retreat from busy-ness. What a perfect time to try a Creative Reset.

 

You’re familiar with the Creative Reset series, right? It’s Frame Dance Productions’ offering of workshops to our community – in Houston and online – at a time when we all need quick responses to the uncertain and unfamiliar. And it would be nice to make these responses with a bit of grace, with awareness, with balance.

 

You know what will help? Water. Fortunately, Frame Dance has a workshop for that this Wednesday, September 16 at 7:30 PM. Know where it’s meeting? Wherever you want it to. Creative Reset is a series of learning and tool-building recalibrations, and our workshops are all about being stretched out and then coming from multiple directions to settle into ourselves.

 

This Wednesday, you’re going to work with water, first by yourself, and then in a workshop. You’re going to give your body and mind an evening of balance and flow. 

 

Note: the balanced bath is only a suggestion! It is not a part of the workshop or a prerequisite for Brooke Summers-Perry’s watercolor class. But it’s a pretty great compliment to the class and a chance to set aside a couple of hours for yourself in the middle of the week.

 

First, you’re going to clean your tub if it needs cleaned (which it will if it is like my tub which is also a shower and is shared by the people who live with me. These are not bath people). Nice and clean. No harsh ingredients in those cleaning supplies, no irritation to your lungs or your hands. All right. Now you’re going to take off your clothes, take off your day. Ahhh. You did your work and you did it well. Time to let it go. By all means, dry brush while you fill that tub. Light candles if that relaxes you. Take a nice stretch, arms up with a big inhale, and roll down on the exhale. Get out a clean towel, fresh from the laundry or linen closet, and set it next to your tub. Check the water. Warm it up or cool it down if necessary. It’s almost time to get in.

 

What does your body need right now? 

Magnesium in Epsom salts soothes sore muscles and softens skin.

Oatmeal treats sensitive skin, and even soothes irritation as severe as sunburn and hives.

Milk, coconut milk, and coconut oil all moisturize and have anti-inflammatory properties.

And then there are the ingredients that work – in part – by smelling w o n d e r f u l:

Ginger clears congestion and aids headaches (but can be irritating to sensitive skin).

Dried, fresh, or distilled to essential oil, lavender, rose, and eucalyptus benefit the skin and the spirit.

Just a bag or two of your favorite tea will turn your tub into a tiny oasis.* 

 

Now that you have prepared the water, get in slowly. Feel the difference that the water makes on your skin, on your muscles. Breathe. Cover yourself as deeply as you can, and feel the parts of you that float. Swish your body and feel how that changes the water and your body in the water. Now be still, and think of nothing.

 

When it is time, get out of the tub. Rinse your body if it needs rinsing. Thank the water, and anything you put in it, for serving you well. Pull that plug. Get dry. Get moisturized. Put on whatever you like to wear best right now; your favorite pajamas, a pretty sundress, overalls, a big fluffy robe. You are about to take an art class with Brooke Summers-Perry, and she does not care what you wear as long as it doesn’t impede your work. 

 

You are rested and focused and ready to meet the water again, but in a new way. Color it. Play with it. You are mostly water, remember. Our need for it is literal, and perhaps this is why we relate to it so well metaphorically. Get stirred up, settle, wave, float with it, push it, be moved by it, flow. It is in you and it is a tool. Use it.

*Ingredients suggested by the website helloglow.co. Go here for yummy bath recipes.