EMBODIED VISION is an experience connecting art history and the practice of embodiment. It aims to shift the habit of treating the world as a place that can be looked at from the outside but not lived in, sensed and felt. Inspired by Maurice Merleau-Ponty and his work on embodiment, perception, and ontology. We offer these workshops at universities and cultural institutions. More concrete information for museums and universities follows below.
Images from workshops at Bard College Berlin, Natur-Park Südgelände, and museum Sammlung Scharf-Gerstenberg
Cultures of inclusion: a workshop for museums
Museum space feels like a modern temple: a collection of sacred objects, a place of connection to past generations, a learning ground to enrich one’s horizon about cultures, places and people. It is a place that is sharing the love for art, and offers to spark visitor’s imagination and creativity. Traditionally the visitor is seen as a recipient of content, not as a creator. As visitors we come in and stay separated from the environment and people around, keeping a safe distance, we stay hidden in it.
What if a museum could transform itself? What if, through art, it could invite and facilitate a more profound connection to ourselves and each other? The workshop we offer allows for a more dynamic and creative way for a museum to engage its audiences, to become a catalyst rather than a preserver, to be actively creating new cultural landmarks that might reach and touch people in a more profound way. We feel a need for a museum to become a more lively place, involving more of a human being beside their ability to look at the artwork and receive information about it. Rather than staying a passive recipient we want to invite people to research other ways to gain knowledge, to be involved and connected to the artworks in a live inter-action. Through such interaction to be also connected to our cultural ancestors, to the stories they tell us across centuries and also to our present, to what matters to us today, that is real and alive.
This workshop is about exploration of our own stories and imagination reflected by a selected work of art, a painting, a sculpture, or another object. An art object becomes a guide into multitudes of our inner experiences. Going beyond a theoretical discussion educating our knowledge of art history and aesthetic taste, we let the artworks to touch us and we find ourselves reflected in them. This process becomes a research into ourselves, a journey of discovering who we are, developing a continual contact with ourselves and the world around. We learn to let go of habitual patterns of being in a museum, to come closer to the artwork and to our own sensitivity in front of it, to reflect on human experience and exchange with others, to trust our perception and personal vision, to stretch our creativity and awareness. Such an experience offers us to be both receptive and creative: to perceive and to respond, to take in and to express. We engage in a process that can be associated with a path of shaping life itself into a work of art. Embodiment practices support us in approaching the artworks closer, to sense and feel them, to let them reflect our own lives back to us.
More concrete programme to be discussed with a museum.
Art as an embodied learning experience: a workshop for students
What can we learn from art? The modern world is in many ways a culture of quick consumption. Images are more and more being treated as icons: as one simple thing with one particular meaning. If we turn to great works from the history of art, they offer us an insight and a journey into another perspective, where we are free to see meanings as manifold and open-ended, as human experiences often are.
This workshop opens a space, in our busy world, to stand still in front of an artwork, to take time, to pay attention, to develop qualities of receptivity, to see the world through the eyes of an artist, and at the same time to pay attention to our own response, to how it affects us. The experience of art is more than an intellectual discourse in an artistic medium, but is rather a kind of artistic meditation: a space for contemplation, conversation, and encounter, a conscious choice to broaden awareness. It can be not only a significant and fun learning experience, but also transform the way we look at life.
This course is offered as a one-time workshop, as well as a series of encounters, each with a different focus. Topics include:
“Art as Poetry”
“Art as Experiment”
“Art as Observation”
“Art as Philosophy”
“Art as Storytelling”
“Art as Choices of Attention”
“Portraiture and Gesture”
We work at the intersection of visual arts, music, literature, philosophy, embodiment and movement. We strongly believe and experience that complex questions of today’s world require an expansive thinking, broad cross-disciplinary vision, and flexible mind. True wisdom is born in an encounter, as synthesis and integration of different ways of looking at things. In this class, we explore different works of art, we learn together intertwining lectures, exploration, discussion, sensory experiences, embodied presence and awareness training.
This class can also be offered as a merged experience between art history, theory, contemplation and art practice.
Co-taught with Geoff Lehman (PhD, Columbia University), art historian and professor at Bard College Berlin