In the body-part process, one is given the chance to explore all thoughts, feelings, experiences, wants, needs and desires of the part. (Rutkowski, 1984) All parts of the body have a voice that, when given the proper tools and environment, will speak volumes. Some parts speak easier than others. The hands and arms are generally easier to translate from the interior of the self to the exterior of being seen. This is because we already use our hands to express and they are exposed physically to the public. In fact according to Winter (2001), “one of the most undeniable observations of nonverbal behavior is that people move their bodies (gesticulate) when they talk.” Certainly our hands and arms tend to move the most when most of us talk. The pelvis has a lot to say as it is often the focus of our sexual expression. It is the ‘core’ of our bodies and culturally has a lot of ‘baggage’ (for lack of a better word) surrounding it.
In the last of the body-part images (Figure 5, Snake Spine), we again see a subjective drawing of a body part. This particular body part contains all sorts of cultural feelings and images with it. One can think of the phrases, ‘weak spine,’ ‘stiff as a board,’ ‘ramrod straight,’ and, ‘spineless.’ All of these express an emotional content using the spine as a metaphor.
In the realm of process, these sayings can take on a different meaning than is generally associated. The phrase ‘spineless’, which one might think of as being cowardly, inferior, or without strength, takes on the aspect of fluidity and swift power when associated with snake like movements.
The drawing “Snake Spine” (Figure 5) expresses a primitive, subjective vision of my experience of exploring the spine during my month-long training at Tamalpa Institute in 1987. Like the ‘Flying Pelvis’ (Figure 3 see previous post), this drawing uses a technique with oil pastels that creates a sense of movement by blurring the image a bit. This image uses three colors and is one of the more realistic drawings I have ever created. This drawing is also the one that most people who see my images say they like.
Rutkowski, A. (1984). Thesis: Development, definition and demonstration of the Halprin Life/Art Process in Dance Education. Unpublished doctorial dissertation, John F. Kennedy University.
Winter, R. (2001). Handbook for action research in health and social care. New York: Routledge.
Reprinted from my unpublished manuscript: Renewal and Rediscovery of the Self in the Life Art Process: 20 years as participant, assistant and facilitator. By Richard Brunner R-DMT. Copy write 2006.