Date(s) - 11/06/2016
2:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Somatics In Action: Applications and Participatory Conversation
The “Socially Conscious Body & Theater of the Oppressed”
Curated by Carol Swann, Moving on Center-School of Participatory Arts & Somatic Research
Co-sponsored by the MASC (Master of Arts in Social Change) Program, Starr King School for the Ministry
Facilitated by Carol Swann (“The Socially Conscious Body”, Moving on Center) & Jiwon Chung (Theater of the Oppressed, Starr King School)
When: Nov. 6, 2016, 2:00-5:30pm
Where: Starr King School for the Ministry, 2441 Le Conte Ave., Berkeley, CA. 943709
Cost: Free (Donations welcome).
Please note, space is limited; first come, first in the door.
In this special session, we will examine Social Somatics, or “The Socially Conscious Body”. There will be an experiential session on “Theater of the Oppressed”, followed by a short theoretical overview of “The Socially Conscious Body”. Carol & Jiwon will then facilitate a participatory conversation on the subject of “The Socially Conscious Body”. Participants will be invited to share their perspectives, experiences and curiosities on the subject. These dialogues are designed to encourage co-operative learning, elicit collective wisdom, and to serve community networking.
Please wear loose, comfortable clothing and bring a notebook for notes if you like. Everyone is welcome. No performance or somatics background is required.
THE SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS BODY
In the “Social Conscious Body” we collectively examine the social body formations, functions and movement patterns in human behavior with an emphasis on transforming, rather than treating degenerative conditions. In this way we work to foster conditions for healthy sustainable social structures and relationships.
By attending to our social body, we are each able to re-organize the way we see ourselves in the world and work for health worldwide.
Constant work on rank, power, and status is necessary. Our embodied understanding of how we are wired to particular ways of being across rank and privilege evolve. Social somatics believes that rank and power shifts happen at a systemic level when first transformed at a relationship level.
THEATER OF THE OPPRESSED
Theater of the Oppressed (TO) is a form of popular education that uses theater and art as a vehicle for radical social transformation. Forged in the crucible of revolutionary struggle, it uses the dynamized human body and the charged theatrical space as a laboratories for exploring power, transforming oppression, and finding collective solutions to the fundamental problems of conflict, exploitation, violence, and human suffering. Harnessing the reflexivity of the theatrical form and its somatic exploration as generative, problem-posing, critical methodology and “rehearsal for revolution”, TO charges there are no neutral observers or systems of practice: every spectator is a potential actor, every system potentially oppressive or liberatory, and that collective liberation of our human capacity, dignity, creativity is an imperative for transformation and survival.
This session will explore, analyze, situate the work of TO as an approach to Social Somatics while raising and asking deep critical questions about the human body and the liberatory potential of somatics under conditions of exploitation, oppression, and structural violence.
SOMATICS (an evolving description)
Somatics is the practice of paying attention to or tracking sensations and signals (gathering information) within the body and that come from the outside that have an impact on the body/mind and making choices about what to do with this awareness. All somatic approaches are concerned with integrating the whole person, the Body, Mind and Spirit.
There are many contemporary Somatic “Systems” that have been developed in the last century with which to study one’s body/mind awareness and learn to “re-pattern” habits of being that exist in the physical, psychological/emotional and social realms of our humanness. These systems include four approaches to learning somatics: Bodywork, Movement Repatterning, Body Psychotherapy, and Social Somatics. Some of these systems are, the Alexander Technique, Laban/Bartenieff Movement Studies, Feldenkrais Awareness Through Movement, Body-Mind Centering, Hakomi Method, Process Work, Ideokinesis, Somatic Experiencing, and many more.
Somatics is an old discipline with its roots in the ancient healing practices and cultures of Asia, Central Asia, Africa and the Americas. In the West, Thomas Hanna, a neurological practitioner, in 1976 coined the term “Somatics” as a rediscovery of this work. Generally, somatics is educational, non-hierarchical, and horizontal learning paradigm where knowledge and skill is co-constructed between students and teachers. As practitioners, we believe the power to change exists within the students or clients own wisdom and inner knowing. As teachers and therapists we see ourselves as facilitators to students finding their own truth. Our aim is to “empower” the individual and to uncover the inherent wisdom or intelligence of the body. We believe the body-mind can remember (its original organization) as well as re-pattern because we are “living somas” and we have the ability to constantly re-create ourselves.
Social Somatics is a newer (yet inherent) system to be named. It operates on the understanding that the individual “soma” is not separate from its experience in the social context that shapes it. The exploration of Social Somatics is the relationship between our inner embodied experiences and the social systems that shape our lives. Unlike conventional somatics, it consciously activates awareness of our social bodies to transform internalized, relational, structural and cultural conditions that oppress us and impede wellness. It focuses on relationship and the integration of the whole with the part, and the part with the whole.
Jiwon Chung is a professional actor and director, and a key theorist of Theater of the Oppressed. He is a teaching artist at the Berkeley Repertory School of Theater, adjunct faculty at the Starr King School at the Graduate Theological Union, and the artistic director of Kairos Theater Ensemble. The focus of his work is in the application of theater as a tool for social and political change, using Theater of the Oppressed to challenge, resist, and transform systemic oppression and structural violence and to redress large scale historical atrocity and injustice. His approach to performance and social change is informed by his background as a veteran, martial artist, and three decades of Vipassana meditation. Teaching locally and globally, most recently he has worked with unions on how to organize and resist the systemic dismantling of meaningful care work by the implementation of assembly line-derived management systems into health care delivery.
Carol Swann: is a teacher, private practitioner, facilitator, co-director, performer and activist. Her work is focused on contributing to a more socially just and connected world. She is a co-founder, director/faculty of Moving On Center-School of Participatory Arts and Somatics Research, bridging Somatics and the Performing Arts for Social Change (1994-2016). She has been teaching and performing improvisational movement and vocal related work for over thirty five years in the U.S., Latin America, Russia, Israel and Europe. She has extensive studies in Body Mind Centering, Laban/Bartenieff MovementStudies, Roy Hart Theater, Theater of the Oppressed and Social Somatics which informs everything does. She maintains a private pratice in Somatic therapy, (based in Hakomi and Process Work), Alexander Technique (NASTAT), teaches Voice, The Socially Conscious Body, Authentic Movement, Improvisation, Group Process and Conflict facilitation. She was Admin. Director for Movement Research (N.Y.) from 83′-86′.