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Body Listening

David Pledger - For actors, dancers and musicians

Year: 2012, 115 mins
Code: NY-BodyPt1
ISBN: 978-1-922007-44-5

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Body listening is a process which prepares the body to register and process spatial and performative awareness. Body listening operates on the premise that a properly functioning body has a sense of its physical presence (proprioception) which, when amplified, confers a heightened sense of awareness on itself and the external world (exteroception).

The process of amplification through a refined set of exercises cultivates a capacity for sensing shifts in the space without seeing or hearing them. At its core is the notion that the body is able to send and receive physical and sonic information in any space. So it explores the body’s relationship to performing spaces and to other bodies, develops movement in relation to refining the performer-presence in the space and locates the performing body in an architectural-aesthetic construction where bodies are not neutral and their affective presence is explored.

Body listening arose out of a desire to understand the inner mechanics of the body’s transmission and reception of intention. Its originating contexts are team sports, geography and landscape, live engagements between performers, and between performers and audience. For example, a seminal dualism exists in the relationship between live performance and Australian Rules football, or more precisely, any team sport that requires its players to function on a 360 degree physical sensibility. Utilising the idea that performance on a stage is not so different to performance in a sports arena body listening requires of the ‘player’ an uncanny ability to know where one’s ensemble or team members are at any given time. 

The performance stream of the work of not yet it’s difficult (NYID) is characterised by an emphasis on ensemble work which is, in part, due to training company performers in the protocols of body listening. Developed by David Pledger, Artistic Director of Australian performance company not yet it’s difficult (NYID), the workshop video takes the viewer through exercises that form the basis of the methodology. Joined on the floor with actors, dancers and musicians from NYID and Wuturi, the video is the first recording of a process which has been delivered around the world, including Shanghai, Seoul, Liverpool, Dublin, Melbourne, Chuncheon and Berlin.

Led by Artistic Director David Pledger, not yet it’s difficult (NYID) is one of Australia’s leading independent arts companies. A pioneer in developing new models of international collaboration, cross-cultural dialogue, art form hybridisation and creative use of new media, NYID’s practice is renowned for its rigorous development process, resulting in highly sophisticated and innovative explorations of the body, the digital realm and public space.
The company produces work across and between the performing arts, media arts and visual arts, and has done so by originating workable systems for complex collaborations with artists and companies in Asia, Australia and Europe. With projects involving artistic exchange, collaboration, co-production and touring in Korea, China, Japan and Malaysia, NYID has also developed and/or presented work in Germany, Austria, Denmark, Slovenia, Brazil, England and Ireland.

Performers featured in the video: David Pledger (Artistic Director NYID) Todd Macdonald (Lead Performer) Sang Won Seo (Lead Performer) Carlee Mellow Richard Haynes Inhsung Song Judith Hamann

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