A Memory Lane to Analyze the Physicality - Organizing my thoughts for the research project

Way to the Personal Process

This is a part of my process with­in A Mem­o­ry Lane to Ana­lyze the Phys­i­cal­i­ty. See more about the basic premis­es and ideas behind this blog here. I present the Stock­holm Uni­ver­si­ty of the Arts Project I will be men­tion­ing in this arti­cle is in more detail here. This time time I will be think­ing about my approach in more detail. I will present some pos­si­ble top­ics that I am cur­rent­ly lean­ing towards. Then I tell a bit more about the direc­tions I am inter­est­ed in.

The groups and individuals

I have always been inter­est­ed in the human beings. My idea of good time is to dis­cov­er new fas­ci­nat­ing phe­nom­e­na of human behav­iour. I have noticed that if there are more than (about) six indi­vid­u­als in my ensem­ble, my process will need me to put more effort and time for remem­ber­ing every­one and not just using men­tal short­cuts to remem­ber everyone. 

I can nat­u­ral­ly treat larg­er groups as ‘a col­lec­tion of peo­ple’. This means I think it as a social­ly and phys­i­cal­ly moti­vat­ed organ­ism con­sist­ing of these peo­ple. Ensem­bles work for me very dif­fer­ent­ly from how the indi­vid­u­als work, and I would be inter­est­ed in find­ing some brain sci­ence to explain it.

In prac­tice this means that I feel like I can either study groups or indi­vid­u­als with one set of tools. If I want to swift my per­spec­tive between the two points of view, I need two com­ple­men­tary toolsets. It makes sense to me that con­sid­er­ing the things from both of these per­spec­tives might be very fruit­ful. Groups con­sist of indi­vid­u­als and indi­vid­u­als con­tribute to the group itself, so study­ing one with­out the oth­er would­n’t make sense.

The two time scales

I have two basic time scales that inter­est me with this work. First scale is about the per­son­al lev­el. It fas­ci­nates me. What kind of jour­neys of life-long learn­ing do exist? How do they form the artist? What kind of struc­tures are cre­at­ed in the moment by the cir­cum­stances of a situation?

A moment of time

Cir­cum­stances of a sit­u­a­tion, or con­text, are some­thing that I can per­ceive and define myself. Nat­u­ral­ly I can­not record it in full detail as can­not do the work with­out any per­son­al bias.

I can actu­al­ly per­ceive a lim­it­ed amount of infor­ma­tion in a moment. But if I pick apart the phys­i­cal­i­ty of the moment, the process gives me a lot of infor­ma­tion about what hap­pens. I already dis­cussed this in the sec­ond draft of my research plan. Adding some his­to­ry to a moment would give me an under­stand­ing of why some phys­i­cal choic­es are made in the moment. Phys­i­cal­i­ty of the past moments lingers with any cho­sen moment of time. This lin­ger­ing inter­ests me greatly.

Under­stand­ing the flow of moments feels like some­thing that helps me “hold the space”. Hold­ing the space is a ped­a­gog­i­cal con­cept which I under­stand to mean doing small phys­i­cal choic­es to con­trol the ebb and flow of a les­son. In this research my skills in hold­ing the space could form a basis of what I will be look­ing at.

The journeys through time

The sec­ond time scale of my research must be about longer jour­neys. What hap­pens in the space builds on the indi­vid­u­al­i­ty and the expe­ri­ences of the peo­ple. It would be dis­hon­est if I did­n’t in some way con­sid­er their past experiences. 

I feel that dis­cussing things with peo­ple them­selves is the only way to under­stand the fin­er details of a sit­u­a­tion. The con­tent of this dis­cus­sion is still open to me.

If I remem­ber cor­rect­ly from my per­son­al­i­ty psy­chol­o­gy stud­ies, ‘a per­son­al­i­ty’ could be defined through three vari­ables. These are per­son­al nar­ra­tives (‘I am…’-stories), per­son­al­i­ty traits (mea­sure­able traits of per­ma­nent nature, like Big Five) and behav­iour­al pat­terns (what a per­son does, how they think etc). I must nat­u­ral­ly still recheck the sci­ence behind this. I feel like what I would be inter­est­ed in all three of these. I don’t have the the­o­ret­i­cal back­ground need­ed for their prac­ti­cal appli­ca­tion. They do still give me a sci­en­tif­i­cal­ly defin­able pic­ture which would give some weight to my research.

The spectrums of humanity

I would also be per­son­al­ly very curi­ous of how neu­rospec­trum affects how peo­ple work. Artists with an autism or ADHD might be able to offer some inter­est­ing views on how the sit­u­a­tions affect them. I feel like this kind of idea could be use­ful to cre­at­ing stronger, more colour­ful artis­tic spaces.

Still, I feel like I am a sto­ry-crafter with a super­pow­er in lis­ten­ing. Can I cre­ate data out of sto­ries I hear from peo­ple’s lived expe­ri­ence? I would love to treat their per­son­al ten­den­cies and inter­pre­ta­tions “as they are”, with­out need­ing to use psy­cho­log­i­cal mod­els to put extra lay­er onto them. Nat­u­ral­ly, psy­cho­log­i­cal mod­els can offer me some gen­er­al expla­na­tions of what hap­pens and help pre­dict the dynam­ics of future spaces. They might still not offer a good start­ing point for this kind of research where I am after the fine details

I am inter­est­ed also on the dis­cus­sion about jour­neys length and depth. I am only inter­est­ed in the moments and not the per­son­al lives per se. The lives of the peo­ple phys­i­cal­iz­ing the moments do still have their lives, and their past expe­ri­ences will affect how they expe­ri­ence and act in a room. As a teacher, I any­ways sel­dom have or need a priv­i­lege to see to the past of a per­son so it feels unnec­es­sary to delve too deep into it while doing research on the moments.

Finding the essential

As an artist and as a human being, I would want my research to serve a bet­ter world in some way. It is about being after a study of con­tex­tu­al­ized moments. Then I have to just decide what lev­el of con­text I choose for this research. My intu­ition tells me that I still lack clear intent, the ulti­mate pur­pose for my research. I am not sure if I actu­al­ly need one at this point, but I can­not just ignore the discussion.

I have made two pre­lim­i­nary deci­sions about my study: first I want to study col­lab­o­ra­tive artis­tic process­es in which I am part of and then to let the process­es present them­selves. These two deci­sions make me slight­ly reluc­tant to decide a strict frame­work of phys­i­cal­i­ty to study as I haven’t yet entered the spaces. One pur­pose of this blog seems to be to make sure that I have made flex­i­ble enough but also clear enough study plans to actu­al­ly ana­lyze the real­i­ty I am pre­sent­ed with. 

I also feel that I would be most inter­est­ed in serv­ing spe­cif­ic intents that come from the every sin­gle work­ing group. As an exam­ple of an goal to cre­ate a space of lis­ten­ing to each oth­er. What are the con­crete steps they take to shape that kind of envi­ron­ment: how do they prac­tice that par­tic­u­lar choice in that par­tic­u­lar group? 

I could in the­o­ry record every action that hap­pens in the phys­i­cal space. And have dis­cus­sions with the work­ing group about the kind of space they seek to cre­ate, and all the prac­ti­cal tools they plan to use for it. Then I could con­tin­ue the dis­cus­sion after­wards with each and every group mem­ber about how they expe­ri­enced the par­tic­u­lar choic­es. A good tac­tic would be to inquire what is it that in those choic­es made the per­son feel that way.

The Work during Grant Period 1.4.2024-31.3.2025 (6/7)<br />
Planning for the Room for Grace within the Plans (10%)<br />
My project will be about making observations within the practical work and within different forms of training. I will do these observations in a subjective way considering how my subjective points of views and influence in the project might affect the observations. I am still making practical plans and having discussions about where to visit and what kind of data I am actually collecting. </p>
<p>The general principle in this kind of work is that ‘what is available’ will automatically affect ‘what I will study’. I will study whatever I will have available to me at given points of time. There is also possibility that working with an individual professional will influence where I go next to learn where they were taught their skills. Likewise, if I encounter an interesting pedagogical framework, I might follow up to the alumni of that school to see how it is applied in practice. </p>
<p>Something might simply come up, and I need to have room to react to it.

Study of Intentional Spaces?

Idea to study the intentionally-created spaces and the choices we do to shape those spaces interests me very much. 

Vocal­iz­ing the intent of the space with­out going to the prac­ti­cal, phys­i­cal choic­es (see Facets of Phys­i­cal­i­ty) might be an inter­est­ing choice. I am unsure how well it would work, and if a process to go into a more detailed def­i­n­i­tion might be need­ed. Sim­i­lar­ly to when a per­son nav­i­gates con­sent, we might need to estab­lish a [meta­phys­i­cal] con­tain­er. A con­tain­er that defines what is allowed in the space — or what might not be allowed in the space.

Through my expe­ri­ence with inti­ma­cy direc­tion prac­tices I have noticed that it is often more use­ful to define what kind of con­crete behav­iour is expect­ed with­in the con­tain­er. If a per­son knows the areas where they are allowed to touch the oth­er per­son, and the ways they are allowed to deliv­er that touch, they can act accord­ing to that with ease. If I only know what not to do, there exists always an uncer­tain­ty about the unsaid intentions.

Dark image. Barely visible two hands touching with fingers touching each other, background is black and white divided between two hands<br />
Text:<br />
Ihmislähtöisen impron työtavat<br />
Suostumuspohjainen työskentely teatterityössä<br />
Ihmisteatteri.com<br />
Juuso-Matias Maijanen
A child, light orange, curly hair, and blue night clothes, reading with a intrigued smile a book with a red flaslight, black-and-white teddy bear under the person's arm. A side slider shows that the page is third one of six pages. Text: VASTUULLISEN IMPRON KOLME TYÖTAPAA Hetkessä neuvottelu Asioiden käsittely Etukäteiskeskustelut

We can cre­ate an inten­tion­al space. This could mean hav­ing a dis­cus­sion what kind of behav­iour­al pat­terns we expect in that space. It could include defin­ing the rules to nav­i­gat­ing the space.

My thoughts on professional spaces

I used to teach as a part of my Ihmis­lähtöisen impron työ­ta­vat (human-based improv prac­tices) that any respon­si­ble improv needs three sets of prac­tices to func­tion. First set defines how we pre­pare the space to serve its pur­pose (1). The sec­ond defines how we nav­i­gate the space in the moment (2). And the third type of prac­tice means nav­i­gat­ing it after the real­i­ty and the space clash (3). These prin­ci­ples tend to work for any process with human beings. See some screen­shots from the pre­sen­ta­tions before.

These prac­tices will always be there whether we speak of them or not. Some­times they are out-spo­ken and writ­ten rules of con­duct, safer space pol­i­cy or some­thing more for­mal. Oth­er times they base them­selves on some­thing less for­mal. These laws, reg­u­la­tions and best prac­tices could just be some­thing every­one knows because of their pre­vi­ous experiences.

Intentional professional spaces

I am expect­ing the spaces to be dif­fer­ent kinds of safer or braver spaces or pro­fes­sion­al spaces. Numer­ous dif­fer­ent kinds of pro­fes­sion­al spaces exist with very dif­fer­ent processs­es. They are built based on par­tic­i­pants pre­vi­ous expe­ri­ences in sim­i­lar spaces or on dis­cus­sions had at the space itself.

It might be inter­est­ing to look at how the assump­tions based on pre­vi­ous expe­ri­ences and train­ing will pro­vide room to the choic­es peo­ple make. How pos­si­ble dis­cus­sions are nav­i­gat­ed. I am cur­rent­ly con­sid­er­ing the study of pro­fes­sion­al spaces as one of the point of views for my research. Writ­ing about it already now has helped me to col­lect my thoughts a bit to pre­pare for a smooth start.

Memory Lane Recap

In this arti­cle, I have dis­cussed three aspects of what I am cur­rent­ly inter­est­ed in. First was Indi­vid­ual-group dichoto­my. Then the dif­fer­ent lengths of the process­es I wish to study (moments vs indi­vid­u­al’s life jour­ney). In the end I dis­cussed short­ly the inten­tion­al­ly defined pro­fes­sion­al spaces. I must return to this lat­er on.

The blog A Mem­o­ry Lane to the Phys­i­cal­i­ty tells a sto­ry about my prepa­ra­tions for the jour­ney with­in Stock­holm Uni­ver­si­ty of the Arts Pro­gramme. I will be writ­ing it as I pre­pare for the project in order to keep things prac­ti­cal. Project starts in 2024.

A Mem­o­ry Lane is an intro­spec­tive blog, inac­cu­rate and rough, but thrives to add trans­paren­cy and com­mu­ni­ca­tion to my process. That is why I will be look­ing for­ward to hear­ing any com­ments or obser­va­tions that you might have.

Thank you for join­ing this jour­ney with me. Look­ing for­ward to con­tin­u­ing it with you!

Juuso-Matias forming a triangle with their hands

Juuso-Matias Maijanen

Author has a background in physical acting (Bachelor of Culture and Arts in Performing Arts) and theatre and drama pedagogy (Bachelor of Culture and Arts within Degree Programme in Music and Stage Art). They are also an intimacy director with Intimacy Directors and Coordinators Inc. with a 'certification pending status' and have a vast amount of training with dramatic combat.

Author is currently preparing for their degree projecct within is a MA student at Stockholm University of the Arts (starting autumn 2023) and looking for people to collaborate with.