micro gesture gravity

micro gesture gravity

The most dangerous weapon in the world is the human index…
Bill Viola

a concept for a multimedia dance project

by Enkidu rankX

We live in a world of signs and symbols. Our perception is naturally hardwired to decode the human gesture apparatus and find meaning in whatever it encounters – even to the point of overstretching and inventing signification where there is none.
Up to 70% of our everyday communication we perform via means of gesture and body language, often extending, clarifying or even completely counteracting the content and meaning of our words and symbols.

In this world of ubiquitous chatter there is a special group of signs and gestures that I might call “micro gestures”. They range from the casual wiping away of an argument with the back of the hand to the complex system of hints and clues given by brokers on the trading floor or team sport players to their comrades. These carefully choreographed and often densely coded series of more or less complex expressions of face and hand are at the heart of human emotion and relationship. In lovers dealing with each other one of these small movements can conjure the highest pleasures of love or the most painful feelings of jealousy and separation thus manifesting the degree of intimacy achieved by humans in close contact: one little flick of the wrist can mean heaven or hell to each and everyone of us.

In a time of grand gestures, highly meaningful actions and generally “the big”, the project “micro gesture gravity” is looking for these most minimalistic and basic elements of this ambiguous grammar of feelings. Its goal is the analysis, depiction and communication of intimacy – to show finally how ambivalent yet highly subtle we deal with each other on the playing field of life, love and death.
The project is composed of three phases:

  • First a small team of researchers will analyse and dissect a certain quantity of classical micro gesture languages (as mentioned above) and establish a catalogue of texts and photos of their meanings and usages.
  • Secondly a choreography is worked on with dances resulting in a narrative piece of dance and theatre (in the German tradition of the “Tanztheater”). The resulting piece is augmented with live video filmed and processed in real time.
  • Thirdly a film is made as a result of step one and two. This film is combined with an open source database of these micro gestures accessible and extendable by everyone interested around the world.
  • We can also imagine that there could be some scientific support or cooperation not only with protagonists of our western lifestyle but also with scientists, artists and people in general from many different cultures as to enlarge the project to a more meta-cultural experience. The ultimate goal of this project being: an openly accessible map of signs, emotions and interactions, which can then be used by artist around the world for their future productions.

The inherent subject of the project is intimacy; intimacy as the reduction of space and the abolition of boundaries between the “you” and the “me”, as a measuring scale of our humanity. With people more and more experiencing the world though second hand perception (such as TV and computer screens) the most sensual and human component of our communication is in danger of getting lost. And if we loose our gestural language, the codes and signs of intimacy, we are in danger of potentially ending up as deaf-mutes, unable to share.

“Micro gesture gravity” is focussed on regaining and expanding this language, giving those participants and spectators an option for sensitivity, intimacy and the language of the soul. In the “here and now”, between “you” and “me” there is truth – even if no word is said.

Berlin, 26.03.2010
Enkidu rankX