About the Lab  

In this 10 day Laboratory, we want to question whether the body is losing extensively the perception of it means to be in contact with the environment and with other beings, beyond the omnipresence of digital life. At first this assumption may sound nostalgic or rather as an attempt to return back to the times, when humankind was not so affected by the use of all sorts of technological devices. Yet it has become undeniable, that our ways of relating to either an environment or to one another have changed considerably. Specifically, the ability of the body to sense, observe and adapt to a certain locality, social field or condition has become an unpredictable and uncertain territory, where the borders between what is real and what isn’t are blurred.

By looking at this current phenomenon, we want to investigate how we can generate a lived, authentic and immediate experience that enhances our perception and awareness of not only the body, but also of the environment. Therefore, we want to explore the notion of embodiment by applying different methodologies and ways of doing research with, through and within the body. More than ever, the principles of embodiment are used to bring the body more fully into the process, especially towards its inner experiences and knowledge. Beside that, these same principles are accepted also to transform organizations and to create change in communities. But how can the embodiment be envisioned and experienced through the perspective of the environment? How can the body exercise and perform its skills to relate to an environment? Which techniques and strategies are available to deepen the comprehension of the relation between the body and space? And what role does the notion of site specificity play in such embodied practice? These are just some of the questions and issues which haven’t been yet raised at the core of this emerging research field.

The Body Mapping Lab will examine these questions by focusing on the design of collaborative sessions and special classes based on different embodied techniques, research methodologies and performative approaches. It will apply the fundamentals of performance and performativity by activating a wide range of communication processes (or moments of interaction) that enable the body to engage socially and locally. In the Lab, we will also experience the qualities and characteristics of some movement practices, which aim to dissolve the duality between body and mind. These include: yoga, 5 rhythm’s and martial arts. Consequently, the body will not only be trained in its senses and expression, but also in its competency to observe and especially, to listen to the environment. To summarize, the Lab is about the unfolding of an ecological and embodying act and about the immersion into a body-to-environment and body-to-body relation.

About the Location

The Teufelsberg (English: Devil Mountain) has been so far the ideal location to connect and engross the ideas and approaches of the Body Mapping Lab. Not only because of its location in the middle of the Gruenewald forest of Berlin and being a perfect place to discuss about urban ecology; but also because Teufelsberg has been a fertile ground to develop a practice-based research beyond the traditional academic or institutional context.

Below is the narrative from Richard Rabensaat, founder of the Teufelsberg association, about the location:

“Since the Allies evacuated the Field Station Berlin two decades ago in 1992, the area of Teufelsberg has been a crystallization point for ever new soaring plans, wild projects and sometimes absurd ideas. The “flying meditating ioguies” couldn’t land, and David Lynch pulled off in a huff. One of the panorama towers became a swimming pool for frogs and stickleback. When the owners buried their building plans, left the ground and suspended custody, it didn’t take long until the Berlin party scene discovered the area. With it came the copper and metal robbers, who carried the technical equipment out of the abandoned buildings and left but non-salvageable residues on the abandoned estate.

The three domes and the tower, an exciting symbol of a divided city and memorial of a time in which the warring blocks stood face to face, are broken. The covering of the central tower is largely destroyed. But there is new life emerging on the historically charged site. Graffiti art, project studios, a dealer of antique building elements, sculptors. Many different artists are coming. What they find is a place where they can realize their utopian ideas. It is a growing scene for which Berlin is, and has always been, a fertile ground: in search of a society the driving force of which isn’t mainly commercially interested and towards a new outline of living together.”

You can read more about the location at these links:

http://neue.teufelsberg-berlin.eu – official website