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    • #1
      16th June 2015

      Hello Esteban
      I would like to ask some questions to you, because of the last conversation that we had drinking a beer in… what is this bar called?
      Yes, after this conversation I have been working on some questions about the subject of your research, and I would like to ask them to you and see what you do with them
      Aha Do you want to say something or do you want me to go straight away with the interview?
      No, Im also interested in what I can be able to say around this questions
      I hope they will not take you by surprise, or that they are not too conflictive, or too new, or anything like this, ok?
      No… don’t worry about it
      If you cannot reply just make a sign and I go to the next ok?
      My first question would be: what is the relationship between the authentic movement practice, which is in fact an appropriation that you do of this practice with your research interest
      It is a very good question, the first thing I would say is
      Can you speak a little bit louder?
      Yes…the first thing I would say is, I don't know…yet
      I think it came about because I was interested in researching within a logic that was closer to the body
      Closer to the body…
      A logic coming from the body, because I wanted not to start from a logic that comes from language and since I had in mind the idea of interviewing, I said to myself perhaps I can ask questions to the body. But this implies that the body is beyond language and that i can go like this (does the gesture of peeling off or opening a curtain) and there is the body. So now it is different, I think it is more about the interaction of many layers of bodyliness and many layers of language that I feel interact in this particular practice. So now I might step into a different question….
      Yes, its interesting this idea of layers of body and language, how did it appear or come into your mind?
      The practice of authentic movement came about in a couple of ways, one is: I started with Jennifer Monson when I lived in the U.S. and she is actually connected to Jennifer Lacey and DD Dorvillier, they worked together in New York
      Ah ok
      This is how it started, and then when I went to Impulstanz in 2007, it was a lot of what we were doing in a workshop there. Later on I started experimenting with this tool because I was interested in how much you can gather in terms of information about yourself, about the body and about the world, through this practice.
      With time this became a “safe place” for me, a place where I could go if I needed to be with myself. Now, it might be good to wonder: safe from what? (long pause) I think it made me safe from dance training (?)
      And i think it kept me safe from dance training, because it was a way for me to take a distance from “actual training” and wonder about my own particular way of understanding….
      But is it because you don’t feel authentic movement is a way of dance training?
      Yes, or maybe at the moment it felt like it was not entirely a dance training, perhaps because it comes form a dance-movement therapy context. Although the way I came about it was through dance and choreography practitioners, now I can see that it actually is a way of dance training. I think maybe I did this separation at the moment - a separation between dance training and authentic movement - because it became a way of assimilating technical aspects, morphological qualities about my body, or about how I relate to people….and so it really is a place that I created in order to articulate and ponder about my own dancing body.
      And …..your interest or intuition about developing this practice? or do you have a goal in mind?
      I do… its more like an intuition, really, at this point
      Yes, because you have talked about the origin of it, but do you have a goal?
      Actually I think in order to have a goal I need to go over the questions in this interview first….
      Ok, but then at least can you present this practice to me? are you going to present it? what are you going to do with it?
      I think I actually need to talk about the idea of neutral, because it seems that I some point I came to see it that way. I wonder in which way I came to understand it as ‘neutral’, and whatever I mean by that…
      Because now that we’ve been talking about this many layers of body and language, how would you then define what is neutral? is it possible to find something without layers?
      Exactly, no
      Authentic Movement is an actual technique and it comes from a Jungian school of Movement Therapy and it aims - among other things - to find connections between body and mind.
      I am going to step out of my interviewing role for a moment, since we have been discussing about these topics for several occasions. Don’t you think that the questions that you have about your project have been imposed already? Is the idea of a colonized body that is trying to break free from boundaries not an already colonized idea?
      Maybe I will say it in spanish, que si no consideras que muchas de las preguntas que tienes no son ya una propia herencia, por lo tanto una especie de colonización, una imposición, están impuestas de alguna forma?
      I think I know what you mean… but I would like you to elaborate more
      Ok, we can have a beer later and discuss about this, but i Would like continue with the interview
      Do you think you can apply it to every context?
      No I don't, I think it always depends, but I think Im insisting in this idea of neutral because I would like to trace my train of thought in respect to this. I think I got to understand it as neutral because it gave me a place that was out of the constraints of ‘having to do something’ and started to finally wonder how it is that I was approaching any doing.
      How do you think it was helping you?
      It mostly has to do with creating my own body, when I went back to Ecuador I continued to work on this practice and developed it further. At that moment it was a tool for reconstructing and re-membering things together (as a group of dancers). Also I had the chance to do it as a Movement Therapy, which in conjunction with my own going to psychoanalysis. I think it enabled me to find more freedom in my own representation of my body. I was working in my own layers of bodyliness and the materiality of it, and the possibility to talk about it, this became my own creative project, or my own bricolage. This process was very informative abut my own way of thinking and experiencing.
      What limitations do you see in this practice
      I think my questions about coloniality and geography are very specific, and the tool could turn out to be vague in relation to them. This would be the limitation.
      In the case that this practice was not there, what do you envision could be another practice that addresses what we have been talking about?
      I may need to get closer to language and use a tool like anamnesis, or use a regular interviewing device.
      wow, but you are using language!
      yes, but it is a different kind of language, I think I am talking about a more chronological account of events.
      but what I am interested in is the constitution or configuration of a body, that happens around the trajectory of doings that each body has. So I am more interested in trajectories and perhaps this tool is dealing more specifically with the present moment: in this space, in this environment, with these sensations.
      Ok, we can go on while having a beer later, Thank you
      Thank you

      15th July 2015

      Can you describe your practices?
      Yes, I have two practices going on at the moment, one I have called dissolving the other. It is a series of relays, a person does something for an amount of time with eyes closed, the next person is going to re-do what the first person did. I suppose there is an idea of continuation, along with the idea of re-doing, that may be involuntary and also an idea of reviewing, which happens at the same time as re-doing.
      For the next time I do it I have a lot of questions, the first one is if there should be a more specific score, because right now what they do is open. Although the open score is also nice because each person can do whatever they need and listen to their own body
      Why do you think it would be good to have a more precise score?
      Because it seems very open and a lot depends on the first person who is doing it. The whole set of re-doings is very connected to what the first person does. This is good because it starts as something very close to the person’s body and experience and listening to that moment, but I am wondering if I set it up as a question (and of course then i have the issue of how to come up with the question, and where the question comes from) So maybe we start with a question (that could be more or less arbitrary for the group) and it is not that they have to think about the question consciously, but we will see if with the many doings something of the question gets answered.
      I also want to do it for an extended period of time, it could be 2 hours a day each day.
      What kind of experience do you want to give to the participants in this current format?
      This is a very good question because it is related to what I want to get from the practice. mentoring with Pierre, at some point he said that I seems what I want is the other people to experience what I have experienced. In relation to many layers of bodyliness and many layers of language, but i think it does have to do with my own experience of reviewing these layers and seeing how they have come about and maybe opening up spaces in them or re- ordering them. I want the participants to have an experience of their “many layers” of their own bodyliness and also of how they give an account of them.
      Where do you envision it happening in the future? What kind of space?
      In the immediate future, I would like to do it outside
      In which kind of space?
      In a garden, there is something ecological about this project - although not in the sense of a search of the ‘natural’-, but about looking at a person’s mental ecology, or bodily ecology, and I think it will be interesting to see how this happens in a more ‘natural setting’, a setting that has a different arrangement than inside a building.
      Otherwise Im thinking it could happen inside a ‘set’ in which there are many types of objects (I still need to work on this). I could have cushions, something that feels comfortable, but I would like a plant to be in there, and a piece of furniture.
      So you are thinking not only about the person’s intention but about the relationship to the environment?
      Yes, something may appear in the relationship to the objects that may be worthwhile to explore, for example, in Half Way Days, in one of the groups, it became very much about the body, but in another group, it became very much about the objects in the room.
      The cushions you had
      So it would be interesting to set it up in a way that i can be about the environment, can also become very internal, I like this space for the person to choose.
      The other practice that I would like to describe is Weaving Talking
      The Weaving Talking Singing (laughs)
      Its an ‘invented’ tradition, of course many cultures have weaving as a very important part of their tradition; particularly in the Andes it is an important element for memory, religious practices, agriculture…
      And for identity
      Yes, even the gender is codified in the weaving of the clothing, for example. Also, what they wear has has a practicality for planting and harvesting.
      In Spain they have this practice for weaving with “boleros”, to weave lace.
      So it appears in many contexts, but since I haven’t had a direct relationship with any of these traditions, I am sort of making it up. I am looking at youtube tutorials and doing this teenager bracelet kind of weaving and using a loom that is designed for children.
      Because it is not goal oriented, we are wondering about the act of weaving, more than actually weaving something like a tapestry or a sweater.
      More than the result, the process?
      I am also interested in the conversation that happens while weaving, there is kind of concentration that provokes language to appear in a different way. There are a lot of possibilities here also, its could be a conversation, or it could be an interview. It could be a way of talking about things that are hard to talk about.
      But you don’t know if it is?
      If it was therapy I would have to be sustained for a long period of time, They would have to come regularly and weave. I think it would allow for many elaborations with objects and materials.
      Both of the practices are at this initial state.
      Apparently I am interested in language
      Apparently? (laughs)
      Yes, I should look carefully into the ways that I set the scores, the way I give the tasks, etc etc.
      And for the weaving do you think a change in the space could also be interesting?
      Yes! If I do it in the street it could be an interesting social/relational practice, like in the middle of a square and people can come weave and talk. Its a relational object.
      What kind of experience do you want to give to the participants in the Weaving Talking?
      There is a collective doing that i would like them to get engaged in. There is also a transformative element since their words are going into the weaving, and here there are many possibilities. There is instead of a crystallisation of words, a woolization of words.
      Since it doesn’t require too much skills, someone who has more of an expertise can do it as much as someone who has never done it.
      Do you always see it as a collective practice?
      Yes I see around 3 people doing it at the time

      21st July 2015

      What place do you give to the idea of race in your own experience?
      This is complicated, because it has been a very important element in my own construction as a person, and there is an element of racism and discrimination that has been ever present in my own history growing up in Ecuador and living there.
      In my family, my grandmother on my father’s side was an indigenous person, she was an worker in a Hacienda and my grandfather was the owner of the hacienda. There is a great deal of this story that I don’t know, even though I have been reconstructing it for a long time; but I do have my grandfather’s last name, my father got it through a legal procedure that used to be done at the time.
      To go back to the idea of race, one of the things that I don’t know about my grandmother is if she spoke quichua (the native language) besides speaking spanish, that would be important for me to know. The way the issue of race has worked is that there is a clear hierarchy between indigenous people and white-looking people in which traditionally the indigenous people are the servants, as in the case of the Hacienda where my grandmother worked.
      My father was moved to a different city when he was a little kid
      WIth his mother?
      No, by himself, to go to school. My grandmother stayed working in the Hacienda, for free, because the new owners sent him to school, although my father would have been the heir of the Hacienda, being the only son of the owner. And of course if that would have been the case, it would have been even more terrible, to be a manager in this unjust system, you know? there would have been too much karma to that
      Afterwards, when my father married my mother and they had their own house, we also had maids, which were of course indigenous people who came from the countryside to the city and worked in households.
      So your father went away to study and met your mother there?
      No, he studied until high school, went back to the Hacienda and left to the city with my grandmother. He met my mother in the city.
      My mother’s family was from the city, but this was in the 50s - 60s and the city didn't really become modernized until the 70s with the Oil Boom. She said that when she was a kid it was usual for people to have guinea pigs in the kitchen, running around, just like in the countryside, because they kept the kitchen warm. Its crazy to have had this mix of modern city and indigenous tradition at the same time.
      So it was a heating system?
      But its interesting how the ideas of class and of race come together in Ecuador. My great grandfather on my mother’s side was the son of a Minister, and he never had to work, since he had a status, although he kept loosing his fortune and selling estate to maintain his status and still not work, ever. My great grandmother had to work sewing to feed the fifteen children they had. There is a very patriarchal sexist hierarchy in which the hard work goes to the female indigenous person, although also for the indigenous males jobs like construction were left.
      So your father and your mother got married and….
      Yes they got married they lived in the city, they had seven kids, which is quite a lot and this is why they always needed help, and there were a lot of people who came form the countryside and needed a job
      So you always had an indigenous nana
      Yes, and even now she is still around, she works for one of my older brothers, though she is about to retire. Now they have a retirement fund and social security, but it is a rather new thing in the system. Before, the working relationships were ambiguous and there was the idea that hiring them was ‘doing them a favour’.
      When I was growing up, relatives of the house keepers would come to work in the house for periods of time as a way of taking them ‘out’ of the extreme poverty they lived in. One time a young boy (who had exactly my age) came and stayed for a few weeks until something valuable disappeared in the house and they kicked him out. It happened many times that people came and left for some reason.
      So I feel I have been exposed to this racialization of people; although my family has a mixed background there is this very ‘white’ rhetoric of making a difference between ‘us’ and ‘them’.
      Who are the whites in Ecuador?
      Spanish descendants, criollos, they are called
      Same as in Mexico
      Yes, I think Ecuador is very similar to Mexico in that there are still indigenous populations, but what I saw in Mexico is that you have a lot of work about indigenous cultures, like in the Anthropology Museum the work of periodization and historization of indigenous cultures is quite amazing. In Ecuador it seems a bit underdone, this kind of work.
      Do you think Ecuadorian indigenous are racist to themselves?
      I do, many times I have heard indigenous people saying self deprecating things about themselves, and also talking as if race was an essence. There is also a lot of alcoholism, and sadness, it is a diminished culture….
      The reason why I am interested in constructions of otherness has to do with the racial other, I have lived in a context that clearly distinguishes between indians and non-indians - thought they are not so clearly distinguishable in actuality, are they? -
      They are even antagonists, in this system
      Yes, exactly, completely antagonist, and hierarchized through many modes of violence that has been internalized.
      When I was working as a teacher there, I had a student who worked teaching at an intercultural school in which they spoke quichua and spanish, a lot of the kids’ parents had migrated to the city from the country side. She said that a lot of times the parents came to the school and explicitly told her not to talk to their kids in quichua, but in spanish; and a lot of times when they spoke to the kids in quichua the kids responded saying ‘I don’t know this language’. In this case language is a way of marking oppression.
      Interestingly, a lot of our spanish uses structures from quichua, and a lot of words we normally use too, but it seems we don't acknowledge this fact often.
      There is a merging of languages
      Yes but Im really interested in looking at how this merging comes about
      I see that this influences you personally, but why do you think you transpose this into your practices? And what for?
      For me there is something about layering there, and how this many layers coexist within your personal ecology
      What is personal ecology for you?
      I am in the process of defining it and understanding it, looking at The T hree Ecologies, by Guattari. It has to do with how you have built your own terrain, based on your life experiences and the collective memory that inhabits you - and you inhabit-. Somehow this elements in your terrain have become solid and part of it, like the idea that you have of yourself and your identity, but If you can build and create your own terrain you can start to see what elements are good for your soil and how it can be more fertile. It is important also to decide what you want to grow. This is how I am understanding it at the moment.
      Do you think your practices are directed to finding an ecology?
      Yes, they really have to do with working with each person’s own ecology. I am assuming that experiences of ‘othering’ of being under oppressive systems work in different ways in different contexts but they still operate, you know? So a lot of the work for me has to do with looking at this formations, and maybe doing something to the soil.
      In the practice of dissolving the other, when you see the result in the end, What does it give to you?
      I think what it does is that it enables mobility and a certain transformation that i think is quite important. It builds a temporary community and a material that is always changing.

      Yes, but what do YOU get out of this practice?
      For me the observation of how it works with other people really gives me a lot right now. On the other hand, it helps me dissolve my own others; I think I have been constructed with very fixed idea of others, under very tyrannical systems, even Europe is a tyranizing other for me
      Tell me about your residency card (laughs)
      Exactly, this helps to soften this constructions, and that is a precious thing for me. I don't like solid worlds
      Excluding worlds
      So who is this other and how would you describe it?
      Well at the moment I am thinking of the other as the cultural other. I don't want to go into the psychoanalytic distinction between the Other and the other…. But the Other in general terms is a place where language and culture come from, and it is different form the other which is a mirrored reflection of the person - we are constructed within this Other. I suppose in the end it is all very related, the cultural other as a mirroring fantasy of difference, and the Other, the system that encompasses and frames that mirror dynamic.
      However, making another person different is a particular way of ‘othering’ and since the construction of the racial other is so violent, I would like to research more into this.
      Perhaps this is why in dissolving the other I have gone away form doing it in couples, and want to introduce many third parties in the mix, to get out of the mirroring thing.
      Franz Fanon says that the concern with self and other constructions is already a colonizer privilege, since if you are in a position of colonized you are in a zone of non-being, you are not human. Entering the self- other dynamic is already a step ahead.
      In Latin America the indians are seen as essentially inferior, and a lesser kind of human, this is what ratializing does, it colours the other as inferior.
      I would like to continue to think about other elements about my own ecology, but this has become a bit intense, and I need a break, could we continue in two weeks?
      Yes, ok
      I will see you then?
      Yes, thank you!
      Thank you!


      Ricardo Santana

      I have agreed to do this interview but I have a request and I would like it to be accepted. I do not want this interview to be an exercise in style.

      What do you mean by an exercise in style?

      I can think for example that we could make a backwards interview.

      We could start at the end. Then we would have two options, the first would be to use the backwards as a tool to access the content, the second to present the interview as a backwards interview, which means that the interview would be read in the reverse order, beginning at the end. But I would like the interview to let me clarify certain terms of the content or at least point them out to leave me some space for reflection and further development. I think I prefer to focus on unveiling the thought, that's why I would like the thought to remain visible. I am very interested in the point of view of the reader and the feedback that they can provide me.

      Do you know that you are raising many problems? I think you're claiming that the style is not content itself and I find that very un-artistic. Also you put me in a compromising situation, right now I do not know what kind of questions you would want to be asked.

      Well maybe you could start by asking about my methodology.

      Okay. What is your working methodology?

      There are different channels that articulate my creative process, on the one hand is the theoretical issue or conceptual approach.

      It mainly consists on reading texts that will provide me a context, an appropriate context. Then I try to understand the structural thinking of the writer and extract certain concepts that later will become practices in relation to my experience, my needs, my desires ... This proceses of translation it is in itself a way of understanding, we can call it an educational tool but nevertheless there is not a didactic intention what underlies the practices. It is not easy to transform a concept into a practice, the practice should contain the concept more than represent it, and it has stand on its own. For example, if we talk about "Thought and Language" by Lev S. Vygotsky, I developed a practice out of organizing objects based on the categories that Vygotsky creates around the formation of concepts in animals and men. In this way objects were creating narratives through their organization. Something that interested me was to integrate my own body in the landscape of objects. This work, “La emocionante economía de los objetos en red" I never got to develop. I think I could make a fairly extensive list of works I ever did.

      Another thing that helps me to deal with the references is developing grids that on one side summarize and organize the author's thinking and secondly give a certain structure to the work, or at least to the process. These grids function as tools from which to develop practices. Using objects or other kind of technology are also recurrent principles in my work.

      Maybe another step is the observation of the practice. Sometimes I record things but it is not the principal method of analysis. If I'm working alone, I am guided largely by what I feel when I run practices and these practices are giving me feedback, or in turn, informing me of the need of other guidelines to enrich them. When I work with others and I stand as an observer, strangeness is a concept that interests me, amuses me. I think that humor is essential in my work but I do not specifically do comedy, if I want to find humor I rather avoid it.

      Usually when I'm working on something it becomes obsessive, so that times of daydreaming and sometimes insomnia produce a certain state of clairvoyance. Sometimes I wake up at night thinking of a project and I have a revelation, sometimes it develops and sometimes not. Sometimes I write things down and they make no sense when I read them again. Any time of the day can be a discovery; a conversation, an image, an occurrence. At this moments time functions in a circular manner. Casual becomes causal.

      I always try to find my own production conditions, but these conditions are usually inserted in the course of what we call professional life. I deeply envy the ability of many friends to build their lives from their own desire. I guess it is a matter of choice but I also think it is a capacity that not everyone has, and of course I’m not talking about success. This is also part of my methodology, I would not call it a tool but certainly it is functional.

      As you can see, and as it is usual in the work of many artists, work is endless and quite impossible to separate from all other areas of life, if we can still believe that life is made up of plots.

      Why this interest in tools?

      Basically because working with tools will divert you from working with the idea of ​​technique.

      And what problems do you have with technique? Don't you consider that “technique” works with tools? That each technique has its own tools?

      Firstly, technique means to take for granted the principles upon which this technique is established and omits both the context in which this technique is developed and the operation of those principles in such contexts. So we face the problem of the universality of the term. does it operate under any circumstances? Can it be articulated by anyone? Where is its operativity and where is its agency? I think this problem leads us to the regimes of identification proposed by Ranciere in “Le Partage du Sensible". Ranciere attributed to the images three regimes of different identification in Western history; the ethical, the poetic and the aesthetic. I think technique initially starts as part of the first and third regime but usually ends up inhabiting the second, with the disadvantage that it ends up losing the referent. From this point of view the work with techniques seems to be an alienation. I’m not disavowing educational processes or information processes that  are incorporated by almost all art schools, based on technical work, but I do consider that a reification is necessary each time that the technique is embodied, we need to take technique out of the flesh.

      Regarding the second question the answer is yes. During the Carlos III Masters Program, I appropriated a definition of tool by Fernando Broncano, which would make a distinction between two types of tools: Tools for living, which would be the group of objects around us and without which we could not live as such as glasses, a bicycle, bottle, a notebook or an iPad ... and on the other hand, tools for learning; which would another group that serves to develop skills such as the small wheels that we put on the bike when we begin to use it. In either of these two categories it becomes visible what is utilitarian or functional on tools and consequently a reference to a specific context on which they are operating. In my opinion the technical work would contain both types of tools. Actually the idea of ​​tool can be extrapolated and viewed from many perspectives and in different cases. The fact is, if the tool is intended and used as a tool. I think it's important to bring it at the conscious level, but also we run the risk of alienating the tool.

      Could you tell us about the work that you are developing now?

      Right now I'm working on a project called "Reproduction" that is about producing a conversation between a group of people, at some point stops and he task is is to repeat  the conversation as originally happened. Once the tool is installed it can become more complex. There is a delay in time that produces new possibilities of meaning in that repetition. I am interested in these new circular and concentric meanings and how subjects appear within those micro-contexts. There are two other issues that I would emphasize. How much structure does a structure need? and how does a structure become inhabitable. These two still embryonic ideas, I think stem from the reading of Grammar of the Multitude by Paolo Virno.

      Would you like to add something to finish?

      I would continue but the truth is that time is short I hope we can meet again from August 4th when our schedules are more relaxed.


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