Walking, seeing, being. 2018

Alexander Technique and Bohm Dialogue workshop curated by Jessica Doucha, facilitated by Lucia Walker, Sharyn West and Hester Reeve (UK).

Introducing Slow art day to the African Continent.

By the time you read this Nirox would have hosted it’s first international Slow Art Day. The 14th of April is a global day when people are invited into a dynamic art space and encouraged to look at art with a sense of stillness and presence. When one is given the opportunity to slow down and experience art through a lense of self-reflection, a shift occurs. We invited our participants to explore this concept through two progressive schools of thought, namely, the Alexander Technique and Bohm Dialogue and what better place than the Cradle of humankind?

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Two of Johannesburg’s Alexander Technique teachers, Lucia Walker and Sharyn West, were joined by UK artist and trained Bohm Dialogue facilitator, Hester Reeve.

Since 2013, Lucia and Sharyn have been running Alexander Technique Learning and teaching programmes. The technique opens up guidance to wide range of people including children, people with chronic illness, professional musicians and actors. Sharyn has combined her AT teaching with her work as a University educator, lecturing in fields of philosophy and ethics along with reasearch in health and social care. Lucia is a movement artist and teacher specializing in improvisation. Having 25-30 years of experience of teaching AT internationally, both have helped people gain a greater clarity about their embodied experience.

“Through the Alexander Technique, we will explore quietening the nervous system, deepening visual and sensory perception, as well as finding ways to walk and stand with ease. Our intention is preparing ourselves to approach a state of presence that allows taking time for a full and conscious appreciation of the environment and selected art works at Nirox. Participants will move and rest, learning how to observe and re-organise habits that influence mood, movement and mental clarity. Our approach is playful and gentle, encouraging curiosity about habitual processes. The teachers will use group work to facilitate exploration and also individual guidance using words and touch.”

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Hester Reeve is an artist and Reader in Fine Art at Sheffield Hallam University. She trained as a facilitator of Bohm Dialogue with the charity Prison Dialogue (under Peter Garrett, a colleague of Bohm) and has convened groups in a variety of contexts from prisons, fine art departments, alternative educational institutions to live art festivals. She is an associate of Prison Dialogue, a member of the Academy for Professional Dialogue and currently leading a project to pilot Bohm Dialogue as a research methodology.

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Reeve describes “The spirit of Bohm Dialogue is one of free play, a sort of collective dance of the mind that, nevertheless, has immense power and reveals coherent purpose. Bohm Dialogue might be particularly useful for those interested in the relationship between language and imaginative space, expanded art practices linked to social change, the plasticity of human cognition and the ways in which institutions can learn. In a Bohm Dialogue, a group of people commit to ‘meeting’ together through adherence to a few radical principles. Instead of aiming at problem solving, which Bohm felt only amplifies the inherent obstacles set up by our thinking in the first place, Dialogue allows a process to freely unfold, whereby the group thinks together beyond standard ‘knowns’ whilst simultaneously each individual becomes aware of the role thought itself plays in distorting their individual assumptions about others and themselves. A Bohm Dialogue starts with ‘no agenda’ – the group must discover together what they need to talk about in order to learn and discover new shared meaning. Once begun it becomes continuing adventure that can open the way to significant and creative change.

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