Monday, June 23, 2014

Lab Luck Notes 6/23

Here are Lab Notes from Tonight! Thank you to Michal and Michael for hosting in their beautiful home. Thanks to Mazey for being super cute--a first of many lab lucks for here I hope! Some pictures are below. Would love to see some of the "heads" pictures too.

Lab Luck 6/23/14
This is an incomplete recap. Hopefully I didn't misinterpret anyone.

Recap of Body Stories:
Michal-More recountable. Easier to remember stories than dances.
Louis-Tracing of the body is like a polaroid time capsule-->Here we are at this time.
Nadia-Speaking one on one with personal material. Speaking and then listening. She didn't expect it, but it made partnering easier, natural, and safe. Ready to move. Stories helped her engage rather than be mushy/zone-y from a long monday.
Scott-Wonders about the possibility of telling stories simultaniously to dancing/partnering/being manipulated, a la Ami Legonge (spelling?)
Christian-Wonders about going beyond story. Story is about past, while dancing is about present.
Alex-Wishes to revisit Roel's idea of bringing everyday experiences/movements of our lives into our investigations. 
Expresses that the beginning of lab can be causal/mushy/chatty/unclear. Also noticed that material was sensitive/deep and that when going to these places there should be time to process/a way to contain so that we are not left raw and vulnerable. Acknowledges that some of this is personal responsibility, but also could be addressed more.
Liz-Suggests a coming together or doing a closing exercise to cap the experience/help create a safe container.
Louis-commends Alex on her bravery to share so intimately. Acknowledges that it is a choice to go into sensitive material. 
Kaitlin-Found this session valuable, but struggled to enter satisfying dances.
Scott- Found that he was often in Authentic Movement mode. Remembers a lot of solo work.
Louis-Compares entering duet from story like diving into a lake and the story gets left at the surface. How do we integrate?
Alex--liked having a physical product (the paper body) to ground us and help us stay on our theme. Everyone agreed.
Scott-Liked the paper, but felt it was disruptive to catch up those who had not made a body when they came in halfway through the session. Would like to emphasize commitment and attendance--feels that it is valuable and special.

In regards to attendance
-Some members have been spotty in attendance and may need to be checked in with about their commitment to lab.
-Perhaps we have sessions that are more or less flexible based on their content? Alternate?
-Bringing special guests: default protocol is to email the group the day before (at least) and only bring them if the facilitator says yes and no one says no. Let's create a respectful environment where it's okay to say no and dissenters don't have to be anxious about it. Dissenters can also just simply say "no" and not be aggressive, knowing that their opinion will be valued by the group.

June 30-August 18. 
(for now we will have the space available both for the day after Orcas and the first day of SFDI) 
Next Lab Luck on August 25th, and the fall session will start again after Labor Day. 

Summer Session Theme: UNDERSCORE. 
Yup. Just and underscore every monday. Between 7pm and 7:05 someone (likely whoever is there and takes a lead) will call out "beginning" or signal in some other way, and then the underscore will commence and talking will stop. Anyone who comes in late will join silently. Dancing will go until 8:40, and then there will be a harvest.

Special SUMMER SESSION policies:
-Come when you can
-No assigned facilitators
-Bringing appropriate guests (use good judgement) is ok--even encouraged! Just notify group beforehand. Also be clear with guests you bring that we are a closed group and attendance is by invitation only. 

Other things:
Michal is looking for housing on July 15th for out of town people coming in for Orcas. Let her know if you can offer a space! 
Fall session--Focus on music. Maybe with improvised music as part of it. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Lab Luck Notes 4/28

Thanks to Alex for hosting!

May 5 to June 16 with the next lab luck on June 23rd. 
There will then be a 3-week mini-session before Orcas TBD at the next lab luck. 

1. Lisa
2. Mike
3. Scott
4. Cyrus
5. Connie
6. Alex
7. Louis
8. Nadia
9. Sheila
10. Kaitlin
11. Roel
12. Katherine, Michal, and Christian are invited to come when they can, and please shoot out an email before they come to let us know, and don't make a habit of being only "sometimers" BUT we love dancing with you so much that we don't mind if you drop in as guests THIS TIME. : )

Sheila-Stories that we have about our bodies--telling/sharing of these stories. Body Mapping. History. Areas of the body/experience. Mechanics of different body parts. Bright places v. shadowy places. Where we tension. Would like to trace paper bodies to hang on the wall and to record histories/experiences on.
Lisa-The story of what you usually do with your body--everyday movements and how they inform your contact practice.
Alex-The individual experience v. others (ex. "the female experience")
Kaitlin-Suggests leaving 5 minutes at the end of each lab allotted to recording more information on our paper bodies. 
-Scott expressed interest in sometimes having the same leader for two weeks in a row for continuity's sake. Mike seconded.


CYRUS- please coordinate with Sheila about the Paper Bodies. Can we hang them in grassroots with painter's tape? Can we leave them up? If we can't, can we store them there perhaps rolled up in a corner? 

NADIA will acquire paper for the Paper Bodies.

EVERYONE will acquire nicknames by the end of this session. It has already been unanimously determined that Lisa is a "Starfish Fruit."

We have $700 in the lab fund. Woohoo!
Alex and Sheila volunteered to compile a list of possible retreat areas by the next lab luck (june 23). This list should include dance space dimensions and lodging options. Please send any locations you know of to Alex and Sheila for the list!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Greetings love-hogs,

Here are some further musings on Louis' luscious love-lab.
Yummy quotes:

"In the midst of creating forms, love creates a form that melts all forms." - Rumi

"One coincidence is worth a thousands appointments." - Arabic tradition

On the way home I spoke of this book and it's questing for how life keeps creating itself.
I feel all of these "laws" relate wonderfully to improvisation, which is really more of a life form than an art form...

Chapter 24: THE NINE LAWS OF GOD from Out of Control  by Kevin Kelly (circa 1988)

Out of nothing, nature makes something.

First there is hard rock planet; then there is life, lots of it. First barren hills; then brooks with fish and cattails and red-winged blackbirds. First an acorn; then an oak tree forest.

I'd like to be able to do that. First a hunk of metal; then a robot. First some wires; then a mind. First some old genes; then a dinosaur.

How do you make something from nothing? Although nature knows this trick, we haven't learned much just by watching her. We have learned more by our failures in creating complexity and by combining these lessons with small successes in imitating and understanding natural systems. So from the frontiers of computer science, and the edges of biological research, and the odd corners of interdisciplinary experimentation, I have compiled The Nine Laws of God governing the incubation of somethings from nothing:

Distribute being
Control from the bottom up
Cultivate increasing returns
Grow by chunking
Maximize the fringes
Honor your errors
Pursue no optima; have multiple goals
Seek persistent disequilibrium
Change changes itself.

These nine laws are the organizing principles that can be found operating in systems as diverse as biological evolution and SimCity. Of course I am not suggesting that they are the only laws needed to make something from nothing; but out of the many observations accumulating in the science of complexity, these principles are the broadest, crispest, and most representative generalities. I believe that one can go pretty far as a god while sticking to these nine rules.

Distribute being. The spirit of a beehive, the behavior of an economy, the thinking of a supercomputer, and the life in me are distributed over a multitude of smaller units (which themselves may be distributed). When the sum of the parts can add up to more than the parts, then that extra being (that something from nothing) is distributed among the parts. Whenever we find something from nothing, we find it arising from a field of many interacting smaller pieces. All the mysteries we find most interesting -- life, intelligence, evolution -- are found in the soil of large distributed systems.

Control from the bottom up. When everything is connected to everything in a distributed network, everything happens at once. When everything happens at once, wide and fast moving problems simply route around any central authority. Therefore overall governance must arise from the most humble interdependent acts done locally in parallel, and not from a central command. A mob can steer itself, and in the territory of rapid, massive, and heterogeneous change, only a mob can steer. To get something from nothing, control must rest at the bottom within simplicity.

Cultivate increasing returns. Each time you use an idea, a language, or a skill you strengthen it, reinforce it, and make it more likely to be used again. That's known as positive feedback or snowballing. Success breeds success. In the Gospels, this principle of social dynamics is known as "To those who have, more will be given." Anything which alters its environment to increase production of itself is playing the game of increasing returns. And all large, sustaining systems play the game. The law operates in economics, biology, computer science, and human psychology. Life on Earth alters Earth to beget more life. Confidence builds confidence. Order generates more order. Them that has, gets.

Grow by chunking. The only way to make a complex system that works is to begin with a simple system that works. Attempts to instantly install highly complex organization -- such as intelligence or a market economy -- without growing it, inevitably lead to failure. To assemble a prairie takes time -- even if you have all the pieces. Time is needed to let each part test itself against all the others. Complexity is created, then, by assembling it incrementally from simple modules that can operate independently.

Maximize the fringes. In heterogeneity is creation of the world. A uniform entity must adapt to the world by occasional earth-shattering revolutions, one of which is sure to kill it. A diverse heterogeneous entity, on the other hand, can adapt to the world in a thousand daily minirevolutions, staying in a state of permanent, but never fatal, churning. Diversity favors remote borders, the outskirts, hidden corners, moments of chaos, and isolated clusters. In economic, ecological, evolutionary, and institutional models, a healthy fringe speeds adaptation, increases resilience, and is almost always the source of innovations.

Honor your errors. A trick will only work for a while, until everyone else is doing it. To advance from the ordinary requires a new game, or a new territory. But the process of going outside the conventional method, game, or territory is indistinguishable from error. Even the most brilliant act of human genius, in the final analysis, is an act of trial and error. "To be an Error and to be Cast out is a part of God's Design," wrote the visionary poet William Blake. Error, whether random or deliberate, must become an integral part of any process of creation. Evolution can be thought of as systematic error management.

Pursue no optima; have multiple goals. Simple machines can be efficient, but complex adaptive machinery cannot be. A complicated structure has many masters and none of them can be served exclusively. Rather than strive for optimization of any function, a large system can only survive by "satisficing" (making "good enough") a multitude of functions. For instance, an adaptive system must trade off between exploiting a known path of success (optimizing a current strategy), or diverting resources to exploring new paths (thereby wasting energy trying less efficient methods). So vast are the mingled drives in any complex entity that it is impossible to unravel the actual causes of its survival. Survival is a many-pointed goal. Most living organisms are so many-pointed they are blunt variations that happen to work, rather than precise renditions of proteins, genes, and organs. In creating something from nothing, forget elegance; if it works, it's beautiful.

Seek persistent disequilibrium. Neither constancy nor relentless change will support a creation. A good creation, like good jazz, must balance the stable formula with frequent out-of-kilter notes. Equilibrium is death. Yet unless a system stabilizes to an equilibrium point, it is no better than an explosion and just as soon dead. A Nothing, then, is both equilibrium and disequilibrium. A Something is persistent disequilibrium -- a continuous state of surfing forever on the edge between never stopping but never falling. Homing in on that liquid threshold is the still mysterious holy grail of creation and the quest of all amateur gods.

Change changes itself. Change can be structured. This is what large complex systems do: they coordinate change. When extremely large systems are built up out of complicated systems, then each system begins to influence and ultimately change the organizations of other systems. That is, if the rules of the game are composed from the bottom up, then it is likely that interacting forces at the bottom level will alter the rules of the game as it progresses. Over time, the rules for change get changed themselves. Evolution -- as used in everyday speech -- is about how an entity is changed over time. Deeper evolution -- as it might be formally defined -- is about how the rules for changing entities over time change over time. To get the most out of nothing, you need to have self-changing rules.

These nine principles underpin the awesome workings of prairies, flamingoes, cedar forests, eyeballs, natural selection in geological time, and the unfolding of a baby elephant from a tiny seed of elephant sperm and egg.

These same principles of bio-logic are now being implanted in computer chips, electronic communication networks, robot modules, pharmaceutical searches, software design, and corporate management, in order that these artificial systems may overcome their own complexity.

When the Technos is enlivened by Bios we get artifacts that can adapt, learn, and evolve. When our technology adapts, learns, and evolves then we will have a neo-biological civilization.

All complex things taken together form an unbroken continuum between the extremes of stark clockwork gears and ornate natural wilderness. The hallmark of the industrial age has been its exaltation of mechanical design. The hallmark of a neo-biological civilization is that it returns the designs of its creations toward the organic, again. But unlike earlier human societies that relied on found biological solutions -- herbal medicines, animal proteins, natural dyes, and the like -- neo-biological culture welds engineered technology and unrestrained nature until the two become indistinguishable, as unimaginable as that may first seem.

The intensely biological nature of the coming culture derives from five influences:

Despite the increasing technization of our world, organic life -- both wild and domesticated -- will continue to be the prime infrastructure of human experience on the global scale.

Machines will become more biological in character.

Technological networks will make human culture even more ecological and evolutionary.

Engineered biology and biotechnology will eclipse the importance of mechanical technology.

Biological ways will be revered as ideal ways.

In the coming neo-biological era, all that we both rely on and fear will be more born than made. We now have computer viruses, neural networks, Biosphere 2, gene therapy, and smart cards -- all humanly constructed artifacts that bind mechanical and biological processes. Future bionic hybrids will be more confusing, more pervasive, and more powerful. I imagine there might be a world of mutating buildings, living silicon polymers, software programs evolving offline, adaptable cars, rooms stuffed with coevolutionary furniture, gnatbots for cleaning, manufactured biological viruses that cure your illnesses, neural jacks, cyborgian body parts, designer food crops, simulated personalities, and a vast ecology of computing devices in constant flux.

The river of life -- at least its liquid logic -- flows through it all.

We should not be surprised that life, having subjugated the bulk of inert matter on Earth, would go on to subjugate technology, and bring it also under its reign of constant evolution, perpetual novelty, and an agenda out of our control. Even without the control we must surrender, a neo-biological technology is far more rewarding than a world of clocks, gears, and predictable simplicity.

As complex as things are today, everything will be more complex tomorrow. The scientists and projects reported here have been concerned with harnessing the laws of design so that order can emerge from chaos, so that organized complexity can be kept from unraveling into unorganized complications, and so that something can be made from nothing.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Personal Fundamentals: Mike--PRESENCE

1/27- Mike shares his personal fundamentals

A very short record. Perhaps inaccurate.

-Lying and breathing and filling the room with our breath. Breath filling our bodies with lightness and releasing back into the floor. Expanding into movement to fill the room. Start to include grazing and into contact.
-We “skate” around the space with our pelvis over our feet. Finding our way into empty spaces all around the room. Open our awareness to the people around us, when one of us stops, we all stop. When one of us goes, we all go. When one of us falls, we all fall. When one of us gets up, we all get up.
-We choose a partner and think to ourselves how happy we are to dance with this person and how this is going to be the best finger dance ever. Then we finger dance: exploring that one tiny point of contact.

-We then separate and close our eyes and do a small dance. When we are tapped we start walking around. Pretend we are arrivals in a new city on a new planet with strange people we no nothing about. Pretend we want to fit in—we don’t want to offend anyone. We carry on replicating each other until it finally breaks off into groups. The dancing evolves organically. We listen to some beautiful music by Olafur Arnalds as we dance, which informs our dancing. We emerge sometime later from being lost in soft, generous, and present dancing.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Some long delayed photos!

Here are some photos I took from lab luck we had back in August or Sept. Kind of captures the spirit of the lucks I think!