DIY: 2008 – Autobiology

A workshop exploring the connections between the body and the mind, biology and biography, drawing on participants’ “gut feelings” and generating autobiographical material “straight from the heart.”

Led by Curious.

Monday 6 to Friday 10 October 2008, 10am to 5pm daily.
Court Room, Toynbee Studios, London.

The Project
A week-long workshop led by Leslie Hill and Helen Paris (Curious) focusing on the generation of autobiographical material through body memory processes.

Autobiology will explore the connections between the body and the mind, biology and biography. The work will draw on participant’s ‘gut feelings’ and generate performance material ‘straight from the heart’.

The workshop will form an important part of the research and development for Curious’s current project in which they are collaborating with neurogastroenterologists at Barts and the London Hospital to develop biofeedback techniques for accessing the brain through the body and the body through the brain.

Recent scientific research has shown the body and the mind to be connected in elegant networks where information is exchanged from psyche to soma and vice versa via peptides which have been dubbed the “molecules of emotion”. This research topples 300 years of Cartesian thinking and scientists in this field can now demonstrate that far from a ‘mind over matter’ relationship between the brain and the body, the body actually IS the subconscious mind. These findings validate notions of what Paris and Hill, in their performance practice, define as ‘body memory’ and what Eastern philosophies call ‘bodymind’. In Autobiology Curious propose to apply this scientific research to the development of new techniques in the devising and presentation of performance work and, particularly, autobiographical work.

The workshop aims to enhance the artist’s consciousness of the relationship between their psyche and soma, biography and biology and will combine scientific research with the practical application of techniques in the studio.

At the end of the week, participants will have a deeper understanding of their own biology and how ‘mind’ is a system that operates across their entire body, not just in their brain.

Application Procedure
The workshop is for professional artists, teachers, post-graduate and recently graduated students. Participants must attend the whole week. The workshop is free because of DIY support, and is the first in a series of four workshops as part of a Wellcome Trust and Arts Council England funded project. To apply, please send a short statement detailing why you want to do the workshop and a biog (max one side of A4 in all) to [email protected]. Please include ‘DIY 5: Autobiology’ in the subject line.

About the Artists
Helen Paris and Leslie Hill are internationally respected artists known for their edgy humorous interrogations of contemporary culture and politics, work that has been called “as smart as it is seductive” (Irish Times). Their work embraces live performance, digital media, installation, publication, film and video. As Curious, they have produced over thirty innovative works as well as collaborations with national and international artists and companies. Curious are Artsadmin artists.

Any Questions
If you have any questions regarding Autobiology please contact Phoebe Davies on[email protected] with ‘DIY 5: Autobiology’ in the subject line.

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