FormWe conduct this ritual without speaking; encouraging, inviting and guiding the participants with body gestures only.
One person is selected as the focus; that person lies down and removes her shirt. We search her chest with a stethoscope, listening for the place where her heart sounds are strongest. The rest of the audience is gathered around her, sitting in an oval on the floor. We place a heart microphone on her chest, and the amplified sounds of her heart begin to fill the room.
The audience is immersed in the sound of her heart. We position them around her in careful and specific ways, encouraging certain movements of their arms and breath in particular. We draw out their attentions, directing their conscious focus on her. When this focus is established, one of us moves around behind the group, aiming small sounds and breezes at their backs and the tops of their heads, to be perceived subliminally.
PurposeThis is usually done quite early in the performance. First, we're introducing everyone to the idea of focussing on a person, energetically directing your attention to her. We experience a pleasure of contemplating the heart person, and she experiences a pleasure in being the recipient of our attentions.
We perform this act of attending all together, side by side, so we begin to have a feeling of group cohesion, experiencing a pleasure of cooperation.
The heart person's body can be felt to extend out amongst the group, including all of us: we enter what we're used to thinking of as her inner domain, we're inside her. So we begin to experience a pleasure of closeness, of intimacy. We cultivate a new way of sensing the heart person, and this introduces the audience to the idea of developing other new senses during the rest of the event.
By tweaking the audience subliminally from behind and above while their conscious attentions are otherwise engaged, we awaken a fuller spectrum of perception, acknowledging dimensions of their presence other than those identified with the pop sense of "self". While these perceptions may not "make sense" during the event, they still orient the audience's focus, and widen the extent of their curiosity.
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