07 March 2011

Rob Halpern's Somatic Excercise

I guess Rob was sick for much of the Somatics, Movement and Writing Conference in Michigan, but he sent on the following directions for his somatic exercise nonetheless. Here's to imagining an organ together, dear Disinhibitors. May our collective imaginings send ripples through the shapelessness of Monday:

"Imagine an architectural structure: any building or designed social space will do. Within that imagined space as it appears in yr sensorium, imagine an organ from within yr own body. Imagine placing that organ at the center of the architectural space as you imagine it. Align the position of yr organ so that a north/south axis runs through it, and so that the magnetic field oriented around northerly and southerly exposures within yr architectural space is slightly disturbed by the presence of yr organ. This slight disturbance in the electromagnetic field is important, so do not proceed until you are able, by virtue of yr chosen organ, to perceive this minimal rift, ripple, or fold in the imagined architectural surround. Allow yr organ to conduct sensory impressions. Note how the architecture stabilizes or destabilizes the stream of information. Note how yr organ is conducting, and whether the impressions are registering on the surface or the in the depth of yr organ.

Now imagine a limb from the body of a contemporary war zone casualty suddenly situated in the same space as yr organ. Record, with copious detail, the distractions this limb creates in yr imagined space."


  1. This is awesome, thank you Michael. I performed (to use the term in an oldie-timey way) the somatic last night (early morn.). And had read about it by way of Bhanu Kapil & Eleni... The simplicity of the meditative moment of hitting the wall (one enters a blindness, an abstraction, anxiety, that feels like static when letting the limb super-imposed onto the organelle) -- well, I didn't reach enlightenment so to speak. Oddly took "me" or "here" back to Detroit ("there"). Tho I suspect this is in part due to working on research for a long series of poem-essays thereabouts, and Detroit IS a war zone in several senses, lately again via anti-worker legislation... very generative and haunting (as in: spectral), this important somatic...

    Thank you.

    Last note, minimally related: touched you dug up my SPT note and warmed it up in the main posts field of the blog. Yrs were beautiful, so I could only respond in kind (could not do anything else in that moment of reading...). Great to see you. Soon. & Meantime, and after, enjoy the house.


  2. what a lovely image and great experience at there.