The Basic Principles of the Relational Flow

Moritz Majce

There are eight basic principles of a relational flow:

1. Receptivity

2. Multiple Attention

3. Reciprocity

4. Chorality of Space

5. Landscape

6. Flow

7. Body Gaze

8. Diversity of Species

ad 1) Receptivity

The first step is to ground your body and open your senses to your surrounding. You activate your sensory receptors and direct your perception to the outside. You do not search for a specific impulse but you listen with your eyes, your ears, your back, your skin, with all of your senses, aiming for a state of passivity that is at the same time not inactive. Your body and mind are both released and aware, meditative and oriented outwards. You let your body and all of your body parts become antennas, receiving information, energies, streams, movements from the surrounding space and its inhabitants which eventually start to move your body. Your movement is fed by the outside. You are not actively producing or seeking control but become permeable, exposed to what is around you, allowing it to enter and move you. The receiving is not before the movement, it becomes the movement itself.

ad 2) Multiple Attention

While receiving with your body and allowing yourself to be moved you do not focus on a single reference but spread your attention to two different sensing antennas at a time, using these two references as sources for your movement. You stay truly present with your body in both sensory perceptions, and let yourself be moved by and between these “anchor points”. “Being moved” here means both on the level of locomotion in space as well as affecting the specific qualities of your movement. You always receive from more than one direction, i.e. while devoting yourself to an incoming sensation you already include another one – like jumping from liana to liana in the jungle without hesitating, using the momentum in order to not fall down. A stream of relations is passing through you, pervading, moving you, creating an ongoing flow of movements between your body and the others in the space.

The basic molecule of this practice of a twofold spatial relationality is the “open trio”. In a trio each body has at least two reference bodies, therefore being able to relate to more than one other. While the “trio” is accentuating a stable relation of belonging together, the “open” highlights the necessity of staying receptive without being drawn into a closed circuit. An open trio must not be seen as isolated but is always listening to its environment. At some point it has to even jeopardise its cohesion as a trio, trusting in its own resilience.

ad 3) Reciprocity

While sensing with your moving body antennas, your antennas not only receive but they also emit. While you receive from the others, being moved by what is emitted by them, you are at the same time aware of yourself being perceived by the others. It is important that you conceive the others not only as impulse generators for your own movement but understand yourself as serving the others to create connections between them, be they performers or spectators, i.e. you feel responsible for connecting them. To be able to do this you have to be truly attentive to your perception of the outside, you have to be truly with the other bodies. Only then what is around you is no longer outside of you but at the same time you are no longer inside of yourself. It is a mutual and ongoing exchange of forces: Energy streams from somewhere/somebody through you and you emit it to somebody/somewhere else.

Like you, the others need your availability, your openness, your support. Your movement-in-being-moved serves and allows the others’ movement. As much as you are fed yourself you also serve as food for others. You relate to be moved, and you move to relate. You share, and you care. You move your antennas to both receive and to emit.

ad 4) Chorality of Space

Your body is being moved in space, drawing and connecting ever new lines from and to other bodies in space. These relation lines are not straight and static but they are turning, twisting, directing, reorienting your body. The basic ways of relating to an other body are a) with your body parts (limbs and head), b) with your gaze, c) by being moved towards / away from an other body, and d) by being turned towards / away from some one (in the sense of rotating, changing the direction of your trajectory). Each body you encounter during your journey in space is exerting a gravitational force on you, attracting your attention into its direction. This force is strong enough to affect your movement and its directions but not strong enough to hold you in its orbit. There are many possibilities of how to use the force of this pull, like surfing on a wave using its momentum. Just remember the principle of multiple attention: It is always about relating to more than one other body – and therefore to more than one direction. It is about a coming from and a moving to. You are moving in-between ever new gravitational pulls. The space which is created by this movement is not an architectural space, it is a dynamic, relational space. It is a shared space that human bodies create together – a space of community. This practice is all about what takes place in the interspace between bodies.

The movement passes through all bodies without giving up the difference between performer and spectator. It is therefore crucial that the spatial relations that move you are clearly visible and palpable to others, so that the one being related to can see and understand her*his being a point of passage of your movement, making him*her feel permeated by your movement. Your movement unfolds within concrete and comprehensible directional references. Someone you relate to has to unmistakeably understand that your attention, i.e. your body´s movement is being influenced by their presence, pulled into their direction, while another part of your attention being at the same time with another relation in space. You make perceivable to both your co-performers and spectators who or what you spatially relate to, which particular bodies, parts or places you connect with each other, which specific bodies are pulling you in their directions, how your movement is channelling from one body to another, to another …

ad 5) Landscape

The space in which you are moving and which is moving you is not a frontal and not a pictorial space. It is fluid and transitional with soft, indistinct borders to its outside, providing a 360° view. It is a decentered and heterogenous space. Like a landscape, it consists of various locations and conditions. In this space it is not about presenting on a stage but about inhabiting an areal. It is about making encounters while being on a journey. You let yourself be moved by outside realities, and you use this momentum to surf between the forces of gravity (or of attraction). While listening with spread attention, you are being turned into ever new directions, as the space is moving, repositioning and realigning you. There is always more than one scene in this space of continuous transformation.

ad 6) Flow

The entirety of all movements of this common process of bodies in space is the flow. While individual bodies’ movements might (and at some point have to) stop from time to time, the flow as an overall continuous event is moving on, just as the view of the ocean consists of waves, and as the whole is more than the sum of its parts. You are part of a breathing, living, dancing organism, a shared state of infinite motion. While it is there, there is no center and no total ending in this movement, but always something turning into something else, someone affecting someone else, somewhere relations building up to somewhere else. If you have to leave it because of physical needs you do so naturally and with respect. The same applies when you re-enter.

ad 7) Body Gaze

In this space your gaze plays a decisive role. It too is a way to connect bodies and their movement. The gaze is however never the protagonist of a situation, but always its companion. I.e. it is not about actively seeking eye contact with someone but about allowing yourself to be looked in the eyes by someone while moving in the flow. It is about a moment of sharing, of being exposed to each other without avoiding, of allowing the one you look at while he*she is looking at you to build up trust. Remember that you are a receiving-and-transmitting lifeform, you are caring for your co-bodies and you are carrying your gaze. Someone being touched by your gaze is not the target of a presentation or an activation but a gateway in an ongoing stream of changing contacts and connections.

It is a gentle gaze, fragile and open, transmitting; a gaze that draws its power from its sheer emanation, without protecting itself or holding back, that it is neither social nor in need, that trusts to be faced and met without restraint, poised to release every soul it meets. It is an eye contact that feels not like a bullet shot out of a head but which surges from the whole body; a looking that is a harmonic and integral part of your body’s movement.

ad 8) Diversity of Species

There is no predefined look or shape for moving in a relational flow. You have to be honestly devoted to the upcoming moment and yet unknown directions, without trying to control or fix a movement, which might cut it off from its surroundings. Within this practice no movement persists in isolation for its own sake but is only born in and grows out of the relations to all present bodies. A fragile yet clearly directed movement of an arm, hand, finger can be more intense, more honest than a sequence of elaborate movement which nonetheless stays unclear in its relation to its surrounding. The challenge for you as a moving interpreter is to explore, find and develop your own ways of and materials for moving based on the first seven principles. Together with your co-performers each of you is like different species inhabiting the same landscape, heterogenous characters connected by a physical multitude of spatially related movements. While discovering and developing further your own habits and melodies of moving-as-being-moved do remember to stay open for your cohabitant performers’ genuine qualities, enjoy and let yourself be affected by their energy signatures without neglecting your own bodies’ requirements of moving.

August 2020