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Mark Baldwin: Embodied Knowledge
January 29, 2019 - March 9, 2019
JANUARY 29 – MARCH 9
Nicola Clayton FRS
Professor of Comparative Cognition at the University of Cambridge
Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS)
Embodied knowledge captures those thought processes that emerge when the brain and the rest of the body come together in a meeting of minds: the cerebral mind’s metacognitive eye coupled with the corporal intuitive wordless thoughts. The brain is not a vat of knowledge that works in isolation, depending on a mutually beneficial relationship with the body. They interact with the world and are shaped by the environment they inhabit because all thoughts move, whether they are wordless images or they are pictures and sounds that are accompanied by words. The environment affects the way in which these thoughts move, influenced by the substrate, the morphology, the atmosphere, the ambience…
Thoughts shimmer and change through space and time, depending on our emotional well being and our current perspective, capturing fleeting moments in the active process of memory and mental time travel~ travelling backwards and forwards in the mind’s eye to reflect upon the past, inventing new futures and creating new ways of thinking. Sometimes these strategies are deliberate and mindful, where the brain has conscious access to the thoughts we create; but sometimes these thoughts arise de novo as a result of unexpected triggers which may be manifest as insight and intuition, created through improbable connections and surprising parallels, and sometimes the body knows these things long before the mind is afforded conscious access to them.
The body remembers as well as the brain and therefore it is interesting to contrast those two types of memory. Psychologists differentiate between procedural memory (body memory/corporal thoughts), and declarative memory (mental memory/cerebral thoughts). With procedural memory, the body acquires the knowledge of what to do and how, but there doesn’t have to be conscious access to the process through which the information was acquired. By contrast, declarative memory depends on conscious access, when the mind is well aware of what it knows and remembers. Mental time travel is an especially important process because it allows us to constantly reconfigure our memories and thoughts, supporting our need to contextualize the present and make it our own, because it is controlled and constrained by who we are – past, present and future – and in turn it creates our identity, our sense of self and a sense of self-involvement. As the famous American psychologist William James remarked “For a memory to become my memory, to own it, requires more than the mere dating of a fact in the past. It must be dated in my past.”
A powerful way of experiencing these features of memory is through movement, and especially through contemporary dance and other forms of conceptual art. This ‘mental time travel’ feature of memory makes it great for creativity, allowing us to think outside the box, engage in divergent thought and explore new ideas. However, there is a downside to this process. Our memories are not accurate repositories of what really happened.
There is another feature of memory that is all about movement, namely suppleness. We use the past to create the future, and when we recall the past it is the suppleness of our imagination that allows us to create and recreate those memories. This is a powerful creative tool, particularly when the physical suppleness of a dancer meets the cognitive suppleness of the mind. It is this physical and cognitive suppleness that allows the dancer to engage with the choreographer (the person who invents the dance) in a deep sense.
So memory is not static, nor is it just focused on the past. It is forward-looking not backward, and it is flexible not fixed, which is precisely what allows it to be supple. These ideas are the very things that are expressed in Mark Baldwin’s masterful art. All of the images move in the mind of the viewer because even static images can capture movement, and they can tell a story, reminiscent of the paintings of lions and horses in the caves of Chauvet and Lascaux created by our early ancestors to capture the vitality of the living form. Mental time travel is an essential feature of the human mind, one that may have originated before our ability to read and write.
Mark’s art is all about ideas and why and how they move. His creative process reveals the complexities of how to use a transferable skill across domains~ the conceptual visual artist, the choreographer, the Renaissance man inspired by science and the arts: they are both the same and different.
Movement in Mind
Mark Baldwin and Nicky Clayton have been collaborating for the past ten years, exploring the exciting commonalities between science and art, about ideas expressed through the medium of movement. For Mark it’s about the dancer and the choreographer; for Nicky it’s about the crow and the scientist fascinated by their manners and movements. There are in fact many parallels in the practice of an artist and a scientist: they use different tools and methods of inquiry, but many of the questions remain the same. How can we represent complex abstract ideas through the medium of movement without the need for words to represent and explain these things? What might mental time travel be like in the absence of words, and what kinds of evidence might we look for in such an endeavour?
What happens when our worlds meet and we create something new together? Typically for us these are ideas that have inspired seven new choreographic works including “Comedy of Change” to celebrate Darwin’s bicentennial and the 150th anniversary of “On the Origin of Species” or “Seven for a secret never to be told” with its emphasis on the importance of play for cognitive development in young children and other animals, notably crows or “The Creation”, which was inspired by the origins of life in the universe. These ideas of our mutual ways of working are expressed pictorially in this series of watercolours painted by Mark, ideas that evolved mutually from Mark and Nicky’s discussions, questions that grew and emerged organically through a decade of exploring and playing with ideas together.
Movement in Mind investigates the creative process through a series of open-ended questions, in the hope of inspiring new questions and new ways of thinking and working.
WORKSHOPS & EVENTS
MARK BALDWIN – ARTIST WORKSHOP
Saturday 02/02/2019, 12pm
The artist process with Mark Baldwin
A rare pair of workshops led by Mark Baldwin OBE, on the process of embodied knowledge, crossing between art and dance.
Learn how to use your own embodied knowledge to create art and dance. Following his debut solo exhibition Mark presents a practical workshop of the ideas behind his work, looking at inspiration, process and performance.
Ever wondered what knowledge is in your body?
Recommend for people interested in visual arts and/or dance. Loose clothing required. Drawing materials provided.
MEMORY – INTERACTIVE TALK
Wednesday 06/02/2019, 6pm
The Dancer Remembers with Prof. Nicky Clayton FRS
Part-talk, part-workshop Professor Nicky Clayton FRS and Clive Wilkins MMC combine both Tango and science to help us understand how memory works and what is its purpose. The presentation will consist of both observation and participation to demonstrate these ideas.
How do you access memory? Where are your memories? Could you say that remembering the past is a form of time travel? When we think of the future, does this engage the same process? The same parts of the brain?
MEMORY – WORKSHOP
Saturday 09/02/2019, 12pm
Who am I? with Carolyn Bolton
Professional dance artist Carolyn Bolton leads two separate movement based workshops, focusing on internalising physical memories and accessing them. Through the sessions you will seek to access your ancestral, future, past, embodied knowledge and find an enriching experience.
Workshop 1 – will guide you through a series of improvised sequences that open up our creative memory, whilst opening up your archived knowledge to lead you in the future.
Workshop 2 – will lead you through a series of task-based work, which culminates in a mini-art performance in the gallery based on memory.
Could you say that remembering the past is a form of time travel?
The workshops are aimed at anyone with dance experience who wants to investigate their own embodied knowledge to generate and explore movement.
Participation in both workshops is highly advised.
Loose clothing required.
PLAY – PANEL DISCUSSION
Wednesday 13/02/2019, 6pm
The Playground discusses
The success of the playground as a place of collaboration and sharing of ideas between artists of different disciplines motivates this panel.
The Playground is normally hosted at Rambert’s building on Southbank. This panel will give a unique insight into the inner workings of the artist’s mind.
Finding out how process can be integral to finding common ground. Questioning how to work with difference and overcoming and embracing challenges.
PLAY – WORKSHOP
Saturday 16/02/2019, 12pm
The Playground deeper with Vanessa Kang
The Playground is a place of collaboration and sharing of ideas between artists of different disciplines. This workshop extends upon those ideals. Normally hosted at Rambert’s building on Southbank, this workshop will give a different context to learn about collaboration.
Facilitator Vanessa Kang will lead through a series of exercises, games and scenarios to enable tools for collaboration. Placing emphasis on dealing with difference and maintaining a sense of identity whilst working with others.
Play can create a joyful body so for any starting point, what better place to be.
Play is essential to children’s development but also to non-verbal forms of process. Whilst as adults we can be discouraged against our ‘childlike’ selves, this embodiment of potential is an exciting one.
GENDER – PANEL DISCUSSION
Wednesday 20/02/2019, 6pm
Do I feel my Gender? Young artists talk about today’s challenges in a gendered world. Young artists talk about today’s challenges in a gendered world.
As alternative and parallel thinking of gender are becoming more prominent, artists discuss what it means today. How does this relate to their practice and what does it mean for audiences. The work of Mark Baldwin OBE travels through various non-binary/gender specific identities, prompting the topic of Gender.
A panel of dance and visual artists will discuss what does gender mean to them in their embodied forms. Thought-provoking discussion, including a Q&A.
What is gender, a construct or instincts? Do we feel our gender? Is it internal or what we show?
GENDER – WORKSHOP
Saturday 23/02/3019, 12pm
Gendered bodies with Stephen Quildan
What is gender, a construct or instincts? Do we feel our gender? Is it internal or what we show?
Practical movement based workshop looking at the performing of gender, based on observation, imitation and embodiment. Starting with projections of gender as a social construct, Choreographer Stephen Quildan leads a series of two workshops on what it means to perform Gender. By recognising what is our own and what we have learnt he hopes to uncover more of our true selves.
This workshop is appropriate for all levels of movement. Loose clothing recommended.
COMPOSITION – PANEL DISCUSSION
Wednesday 27/02/2019, 6pm
A score of movement, Composers discuss
A panel of musical composers will spin through their practices and philosophies of composition and reveal their crafting of time and sound. Using the themes of the exhibition ‘Embodied Knowledge’ the talk will create discourse on what it means to compose music for the moving body.
How do you capture movement, in a painting, score or picture?
COMPOSITION – WORKSHOP
Saturday 02/03/2019, 12pm
Image Making with Jack Thomson
Jack Thomson will be leading two fascinating workshops investigating the relationship between dance and the camera, revealing his artistic practice and processes along the way.
Workshop 1 – role of the photographer with the subject/dancer.
Workshop 2 – role of the dancer/subject and how these roles work together to create composition.
“Combining my interests inside and outside the dance studio, has developed my personal, multidisciplinary interests and work. Most of the work I make is largely about the relationship between the moving body and the camera and the context in which these two come together.”
– Jack Thomson
Participation in both workshops is highly advised.
Bring your own cameras and loose clothing recommended.
CULTURE – ARTIST TALK
Wednesday 06/03/2019, 6pm
In conversation with Mark Baldwin and friends. Mark Baldwin OBE discusses with other artists what does embodied knowledge means to them. Does your personal culture become art?
Exploring the culture-makers responses to the world around them and discussing what they feel. Highlighting quirkiness and being silly, amongst the deeply skilful and serious aspects of an artist.
CULTURE – WORKSHOP
Saturday 09/03/2019, 12pm
‘Borderless?’ with Mark Baldwin
Mark Baldwin OBE, artist of ‘Embodied Knowledge’ leads this rare practical movement workshop. Co-creation and embodied knowledge have led him to make new work with artists of specific cultural backgrounds, such as African Zulu, New Zealand Maori and worked in dance ecologies in Japan, Colombia, Turkey and Europe.
In the workshop Mark will open up collaboration, improvisation and endless invention for artists to learn to further develop their own territory and voice.
“I start most of my work by listening and moving to music, I can also read music so if I have written score I will learn to follow it as I hear and see it on the page. I also make paintings. It’s in these actions that I begin to make sense of what I might be trying to say, essentially I am looking for “something” by playing with ideas in time and space. I find music opens up my brain to all kinds pictorial thoughts, atmospheres, manners, attitudes, memories and feelings both from my body and my mind. I tend to listen to several different pieces of music usually along a chosen theme or musical direction e.g. choral works, new music, string sounds lately Japanese or Polynesian drumming. I am trying to go beyond the ideas and move towards another place where my Embodied Knowledge is informing me of a key direction.”
No previous dance experience necessary.
Loose clothing recommended.
Workshop days consist of two sessions 12pm-1pm & 2pm-3pm.
That workshops are £10 or £15 for two workshops on the same day. £6 concessions.
All other events are £7/£5 concessions
Concessions are, over 60 , under 18, Student, Equity/BECTU.
BOOK ADVANCE TICKETS FOR TALKS
BOOK ADVANCE TICKETS FOR WORKSHOPS
About Mark Baldwin
Mark Baldwin is a choreographer and a dancer, therefore these images came into the world via a particular stance, dance. For this exhibition, his first, grids are his preferred method of transport. The paintings in his grids stand-alone but make a whole new picture when stacked next to each other. They, represent his choreographic notes, the squiggles on the back of an envelope writ large which carry information about timing, shift, sound, shapes, mood, character and plot.
The paintings inhabit the universe of memory; “Mental Time Travel” and the “imagination system” allowing him to make a dance in time and space that is flat but constantly shifting up, down, back, forth, inside, outside, left, right, high and low etc. We all have embodied knowledge which some might argue sits on the surface of who we are, where we came from, and who we hope to become.
Mark Baldwin OBE celebrates his debut solo exhibition called 'Embodied Knowledge'. Taking place now until 9th March 2019 at Bermondsey Project Space. Free Entry + loads of exciting talks and workshops. Check out the below video to see a sneak peek of behind the scenes at Mark Baldwin's studio.
Gepostet von Mark Baldwin Studios am Freitag, 4. Januar 2019