A method for corporeal analysis? (You’re not alone)

After three days of experiments with corporeal analysis, I can see some patterns for a possible method :

  1.  Pre-analysis. What are the most important parameters at play in the material? In my case, I found 3: 1) Initiative. Who decides what to do (in the detail), A. the children themselves or B. the adults? 2) Bodily position. A. seated. B. free to move on the floor /ground. 3) Place. A. indoors. B. outdoors.
    This approach made me think about John Cage and his experiments with I-CHING. By chance, my analysis came up with three parameters each of which has two states (although the relation is not binary). This gives 8 combination (2+2+2+2)I-ching.png
  2. Corporeal analysis. A) define energetic elements. (In the case of my two case field recordings, it was a) noises and b) voices (high and mid pitched). B) For each element do an incorporation / bodily rendering of the flow of energy. The processes are documented, resulting in a video, where the elements are combined in one screen. Like this:

    … or this:


  3. Verbal analysis. The resulting video from the corporeal analysis is now subject to a third layer of analysis, where I purposefully blind myself from the knowledge of the original material (ie the field recording), and take a fresh look at the new materiel, putting words on what I experience, when perceiving the (inter)actions.

This process results in a list of words / descriptions, which – combined with the former 2 layers – can be used as a point of departure for a further analysis, along more traditional ethnographic lines.

You’re not alone

Oh no love! you’re not alone/ You’re watching yourself but you’re too unfair/ You got your head all tangled up but if I could only/ Make you care/ Oh no love! you’re not alone  (David Bowie, Rock ‘n’ Roll Suicide)

In a former blog post, I asked ‘Is there anybody out there?’. To my relief, there is! You’re not alone, there are intelligent life forms out there!

My fellow students, and other people from the environment around Educational Anthropology, have luckily been responding, on Facebook.

From there, I came to hear about Erin Manning, who is a former dancer/choreographer, and who is now a scholar within philosophy. A career path similar to Maxine Sheets-Johnstone’s. Manning has written some really interesting texts and has done some exciting projects, so I am going to dig deeper into this.

In her recent book, The Minor Gesture (2016),  she writes about ‘research-creation’, and here is what she has to say:

“research-creation […] generates new forms of experience; it tremulously stages an encounter for disparate practices, giving them a conduit for collective expression;”

Research-creation is another way of saying ‘art-based science’, and what’s interesting about Manning’s thinking is that she succeeds in breaking free from the typical pitfalls of combining art with science. This combination most often either becomes science-about-art, or it becomes art-that-illustrates-science. The combination ‘art’-‘science’ can at its best challenge the whole question about what knowledge is, and, as Manning puts it:

[Research-creation] hesitantly acknowledges that normative modes of inquiry and containment often are incapable of assessing its value; it generates forms of knowledge that are extralinguistic; [ …] ;  it proposes concrete assemblages for rethinking the very question of what is at stake in pedagogy, in practice, and in collective experimentation.

Words on movements

At Forsøgsstationen, ‘The Lab Station’, I met Rikke Jeppesen Rod. She is a dancer/scholar, and just recently has done a project, Embodied Immediacy, with dancer-poet Catherine Magill (AUS). Rikke gave me a booklet they had done about the project, and this is what inspired me to the 3) part of the method, see above. The two dancers have each done a dance/movement improvisations, and then both have written words/poetry about what they have experienced/witnessed. What’s interesting is to read the two accounts about the same situation, and reflect about differences/similitudes. What happens, when we experience something? Do we experience the same things? Of course not. This is as true for everyday life as it is for science, and it’s a fundamental problem in both.

See my former posts about my experiments with the body as an analytical tool:
Using my body as an analytical tool – is there anybody out there?
Necessary mistakes on the path to an embodied analysis
Fieldwork on fieldwork, day III



  1. Du har fat i noget, og anden gennemsening af videoerne gav meget mere end første. Men stadig har jeg ikke overblik nok til en virkelig kvalificeret kommentar. Jeg tror jeg savner en lidt tydeligere relation…men det kan sikkert komme når jeg kigger på det for tredie gang


  2. Tak, Birgitte, jeg ser frem til at høre mere fra dig:-)

    Jeg er ikke selv helt klar over (endnu) hvor dette arbejde fører hen. Der er noget, jeg har svært ved at komme helt til klarhed på, og det har at gøre med tid. I de eksempler på ‘kropslige’ analyser jeg har lagt ind ovenfor arbejder jeg med et 1:1 forhold mellem de oprindelige feltoptagelsers tid og den tid, jeg udfolder den kropslige analyse, i videoen. Jeg har lagt mærke til (og det kan man jo ikke vide, når man som dig, og offentligheden i det hele taget, ikke har adgang til kilden), at den kropslige analyse visse steder bryder med den direkte mimesis – af dynamikkerne i lydene fra feltoptagelsen – og i stedet laver nogle gentagne mønstre, der bryder med ‘oplæggets’ tidslige sekventialitet, Jeg ser ansatsen til en analyse på et andet plan, end den direkte ‘dynamiske genfortælling’. På det her plan handler det om nogle forbindelser, der er tilstede i materialet, men hvor selve rækkefølgen, i tid, af begivenhed-på-begivenhed ikke er det vigtige, men snarere hvad man måske kunne kalde ‘de syntaktiske sammenhænge’. Det her lyder selvfølgelig rasende abstrakt, og det er vigtigt for mig at får det til at give mening, med enkle ord…. (det kan være det aldrig lykkes….). Noget, der måske kan hjælpe er at tænke i forholdet mellem komposition og improvisation. Den analytiske tilgang, jeg pt er kommet frem – ‘den dynamiske genfortælling’ til forholder sig til materialet som var det en komposition, i den forstand at den går ud fra, at den præcise rækkefølge og indbyrdes timing giver mening og skal fastholdes. Et alternativ – som har blik/øre for ‘de syntaktiske sammenhænge’ – ville betragte materialet som en improvisation, i den forstand at den enkelte begivenhed står i et forhold til de foregående som ét af en mængde (men ikke en ubegrænset mængde) af mulige udfald.

    Der skal tænkes og analyseres mere, og jeg håber, at du (og andre) har mod på at tænke med:-)


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