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soft tissue

squishy thinking + states of sensitive being + care-full-ness

How might learning to think with our hands, rehearsing ideas with touch and activating our embodied mind offer methods for navigating critical times with care?

• 16. September - 13. October 2021
• Online!
• Five-weeks, Thursdays**, 8-10PM CET
• Small class of participants


Pricing (For tickets click here)
Artist / Student (Full Time)
€175*

Freelancer
€195*

Professional
€215*

Generous Supporter Ticket
€255*

Solidarity ticket
Donation (Limited)*

*plus fees (VAT EU ONLY)


course
description

“We have to consciously study how to be tender with each other until it becomes a habit” - Audre Lorde.

We are living in a world where the ‘rational’, human brain runs the show - and mind is separated from body. Objective fact trumps subjective feeling - what we can measure is a truth, what we can sense is not and imagination is a ‘taboo’. However, what might be revealed to us if we tended to a problem with our hands? If we used touch to connect inner and outer worlds (or make new ones)? If we rehearsed intentions and ideas through material? If boundaries actually became slippery surfaces for sharing and caring?

Soft Tissue: Squishy Thinking + States Of Sensitive Being + Care-full-ness uses methods from art research to explore how tactile encounters, melty behaviours and boundaryless bodies can shape practices of kinship and care and form a part of our new toolkit for navigating precarious times.

These methods are focused on:

  • De-prioritising the intellect and elevating the senses!
  • Using feeling, making, handling and gesturing practices to awaken knowledges inherent in our own bodies
  • Seeing what emerges when we ‘dialogue’ with different materials
  • Developing new codes and gestures for cultivating care-fullness - together
  • Actively seeking ways to re-sensitise ourselves
  • Conducting all of this with a lightness, warmth and humour!

Each week we will feel our way through a new theme at the intersection of touch x tactility x care. In the company of like-spirited folk we will exercise thinking-through-making and knowing-through-sensing joined by special guest practitioners (or ‘feel-cilitators’...sorry 🤦🏻‍♀️!)

The five themes are: Touch as Reconnecting Tissue; Sensing the Shared Realm; Slippery Skin and Porosity as Generosity; Perforating Bodies and Tending as Practice - Who’s Caring for Who?

This course crafted for School of Machines, Magic and Make-Believe was born from the Soft Tissue research project and the Squishy Sessions research group of practitioners exploring different methodologies at the intersection of tactility, touch and care. Each week we will share an optional reading and a materials list (accessible / low cost).

If you’re interested in joining the course (or have signed up already!) this Soft Tissue Research journal will serve as an excellent primer to some of the thinking and themes we will be venturing into over our five weeks together and get you in a soft-edged state of mind-body...

Linear, PDF version >here<

Non-linear, knotty version >here<

**Please note, this class runs each Thursday with the exception of the final session which takes place on Wednesday, 13. October.


course outline

Week 1: Touch as Reconnecting Tissue

We will ease into our first week together with some tactile introductions and share our motivations for joining the programme.

This week we will focus on touch as the unifying sense and its capacity to connect inner and outer worlds. We will discuss what is revealed to us (and about us) when we make with our hands and how materials can be used to rehearse care-full gestures. Joined by guest feel-cilitator UCL PhD researcher Lili Golmohammadi, we will reanimate the vocabulary we use to talk about touch and build on it throughout the course.

Week 2: Sensing Shared Bodies

“Our mouths are shaped to speak the sounds of the gushing river, skin sensitised to the breeze.” - David Abram

This week we will focus on sensory perception as a participatory act and how our bodies are shaped to bind us to the wider ecosystem. This week is about re-enmeshing with landscapes and using receptivity and creativity to orient in the world. We will work with objects we have found in our local nature and will be joined by artist-healer Rhona Eve Clews for a specially designed experience, “As your fall full lung exudes a smooth white sheen: an interior encounter”.

Week 3: Slippery Skin and Porosity as Generosity

This week is packed with bubbling, bodily, fizzing and fermenting! ‘Where does my body end and another begin?’ is the driving inquiry as we explore bodily boundaries blurring, collapsing and coalescing. We will delve deep into Subatomic Touch with researcher Georgia Perkins, experience a touching moment with ice with Anastasia A Khodyreva, and recalibrate with a ‘fizzy’ meditation with Hayley Williams-Hindle.

Week 4: Perforating Bodies

Following on from the themes of the previous week, we will explore the dimensions of our own bodies and use exercises to make contact and build new types of relationship with other bodies - human and non-human. We will warm up with some sympathetic touch with Ayshia Taskin, engage in tactile storytelling with Beatrice Zaidenberg and Niamh Schmidtke and perforate our feelings with Lucie Jestřabíková.

Week 5: Who’s caring for who? Tending as Practice

Who or what gives care in our ecology? (Spoiler - it’s not just humans!) We are surrounded by comforting, supporting, care-giving things. How do we assess caring as a practice - a behaviour that needs exercising, cultivating, attention and attending to. We will explore ritual and ceremony and will be joined by Sabina Enéa Téari for embodied thinking.

There will also be plenty of time to slow down and reflect on our five weeks of sensory adventures together!


who is this
class for?

Open to artists, designers, researchers, dancers, technicians, writers, curious and none-of-the-above! You may be looking to exercise your creative muscle and refresh your toolkit after a very strange and detached year…

This course will centre and thrive on active participation so an open-mindedness to take part and curiosity to explore will be key.


By the end of this course you will have

  • activated your body through movement and making!
  • learned a whole range of practices for developing your sensing being to take into your creative practice, well being practices and workplaces alike.
  • explored liberating methods for using materials as mediums for thinking-with and have a mini portfolio of artefacts and drawings.
  • understood gesturing, making and handling as important tools for refocusing, tuning attention, solving problems and communicating.
  • Connected with like-spirits with the opportunity to build future connections.


about live classes

Classes are 'live' meaning that you can directly interact with the instructor as well as with the other participants from around the world. Classes will also be recorded for playback in case you are unable to attend for any reason. For specific questions, please email us and we'll get back to you as soon as we can.


about tickets

Tickets for this class are currently available via Eventbrite. If you would like to avoid Eventbrite fees, please email us for direct payment options. We kindly ask that all “pay-what-you-can” students register through Eventbrite. Due to reduced staffing, we’re unable to handle specific payment requests for these registrations.


about vat

For tax purposes, we need to include the 19% VAT on top of ticket price for people living within the EU. IF YOU LIVE IN THE EU AND HAVE A VAT NUMBER— IT IS VAT ZERO! WE ENCOURAGE EVERYONE TO HAVE AND PROVIDE THIS VAT TAX NUMBER. In order to utilise this feature at checkout, under Registration Type & Tax Receipt Information, select Business (which as a freelancer you technically are), then enter in your USt.ID. If you have any questions, feel free to email us.


about solidarity

We realise we're living in uncertain times. During this time, we are offering a limited number of pay-what-you-can solidarity tickets for this online class. These are reserved for women, POC, and LGBTQ+ who would otherwise be unable to attend. We are a small organisation with no outside funding and like many, we are also in survival mode and we ask you to consider this when making your donation. For more information, see the FAQ page here.

We kindly ask that all pay-what-you-can students register through Eventbrite. Due to reduced staffing, we’re unable to handle specific payment requests for these registrations.


meet the
instructor


Meet your guest
feel-cilitators

Lili Golmohammadi is a Research Assistant at Goldsmiths University and a doctoral researcher attached to the IN-TOUCH project at University College London, her research exploring the relationships between loneliness, touch and technology

Rhona Eve Clews is an artist and healer working across performance, photography, writing and film. Drawing upon her past of growing up a hippie, she views herself as an energetic tuning fork attuned to subtle frequencies.

Georgia Perkins is a PhD researcher in the Visual Cultures Department at Goldsmiths University of London. Her work critically examines the subatomic scale, indeterminacy and the sensible. She is a curatorial fellow at Sirius Art Centre, a core member of the Liquidity Cohort and Counterfield Collective, and currently has residencies with Zero Corners and Exposed Art Projects.

Anastasia A Khodyreva (they/them) is a Turku-based feminist writer and PhD researcher critically curious about all things touch, senses, embodied writing, communal reading. They are think-feeling towards more liveable & breathable interstices for marginalised bodies and dream of aqueous companionships.

Niamh Schmidtke is a visual artist based in London, with a dual heritage between Ireland and Sweden. She is currently completing her MFA in Goldsmiths, University of London.

Beatrice Zaidenberg is a trained art historian based in Berlin and Zurich. Currently, she is a curatorial trainee at ZKM in Karlsruhe.

Lucie Jestrabikova graduated from the sculpture in AAAD in Prague and new media of West Bohemia University. Her main topic is communication and new possibilities of interaction. Not only between humans but also objects.

Sabina Enéa Téari researches subjects of personal and relational sustainability, rooted in embodied culture. As a founding member of Foresta Collective, she co-designs and facilitates workshops and interventions around these issues.