Ben Clement: Process.Movement 06
Playfulness, Listening and a series of photographs depicting yoga cues.
Three-four minute read (suggested over coffee), six photographs and eight links.
Recently while running along a section of Melbourne's Yarra River, a section where you can see the city in the top right corner of your right eye. A grassy, rocky cliff drops off to the peripheral right and dog-filled parklands sprawl to the left.
A sound from the city, a jazz trumpet, started to match the footballing drumbeat of my drumstick legs brushing the gravel. I take in louder notes at every inhale, like a Disney cartoon, my mouth filling with octaves and quavers.
I'm at just the right cadence to take in about 20 seconds of the song this person is cheek-pressing out into the air from their sunny parklands bench that overlooks the grassy, rocky cliff with the city in the left corner of their left eye.
Like the bridge in a classic jazz song, the trumpet dissipates, and I'm left with the 4/4 timing of my shoes hitting the ground. All I can imagine is those Disney like notes catching the wind for the next runner whose drum sound of feet are a little different to mine, creating another 20seconds of a song for their day.
Writer and professor Ross Gay (I'm currently reading, The Book of Delights, and it is delightful) recently said in an interview, "[If we're able to] approach work with a playful sensibility or relationship to play rather than relationship to accomplishment."
I tend to think of my process as similar to playing with Lego; build it up, break it down, start again, add something different, start somewhere new, etcetera. I read somewhere, nothing happens if you're not working, but anything can happen when you are. So in this sentiment, maybe, even more can happen when you're playing.
The building blocks of this year have been a collision of different areas and ideas. I completed my 200hr yoga teacher training through the LYT Method, focussing on anatomy, functional movement and posture. Slowly, I've been beginning to teach.
But more so, the knowledge I gained sent me on a path that really challenged and widened what running meant to me. As with us all, our bodies and minds are faced with imbalances. I ran well with my imbalances, but as time went on and I wanted to squeeze more out of myself, I fell off the tight rope and was hobbling around for a few weeks. It turns out your body isn't quite like Lego, and training your brain to use muscles in ways that haven't been used for many years of habits takes a lot of effort and energy.
I'm glad that I enjoy (have played with) this process as it prompted learning a lot about technique and running as a skill. So much so, in the process of transforming how I run, I've been able to marry my newfound knowledge of bodily systems and running form to start helping a few friends around me.
This also shifts how I create work; I can see different angles and compositions with a more anatomical understanding of how bodies move. And how I communicate work by teaching and passing on information clearly and concisely, so someone's left foot doesn't end up in the wrong place. And influencing a broader way of sharing by learning to listen. In Kate Murphy's book You're not listening, she says, "To really listen is to be moved physically, chemically, emotionally, and intellectually by another person's narrative."
As I explore these collisions of ideas, I've become more interested in photography and film in how it conveys ideas, immediacy, and nowness, not the particular look. However, aesthetics is a natural part of the decision process.
My work has always focussed on people + movement, and during extended lockdowns where contact with people is limited, I struggled to understand how I could continue making work. And so I turn inward, like the person playing jazz trumpet on a park bench, the work is for themselves, of themselves, but can be shared in different ways. It’s playful, playing and skilled. And by listening and absorbing, we are moved.
Combining yoga teaching cues, class writing and self-portraiture, this series builds on the theme of Process.Movement.
Low Bridge with a neutral pelvis, August 2021.
Dolphin - circle extended leg - move from hip, August 2021.
Reverse push-up, plank, lift to DD, August 2021.
Left foot steps back, right crescent lunge, August 2021.
Right arm extends, lift right ribs, exhale, reach towards left, August 2021.
Option to flip to table, August 2021.
If there was something that sparked your thinking and interest, let me know by replying. And feel free to forward to a friend.