“Before The Wall: Body & Being”

Handing off the stick

Snow. An old man. A stick. A little boy.

Using the stick, the old man slides on the snow. The boy asks, "Can I try that?" The old man hands the stick to the boy, who begins to play with it, on his own.

Movement and play. The chapters that follow these opening minutes try to look into what might constitute, within a larger athletic field, some basic territory: 1) basic in the sense of being perhaps "prior" to a more finely articulated (elite-oriented) athletic practice; 2) basic in the sense of being a kind of distillation, drawn from already experienced practices, not too tied to any particular discipline, still 3) basically open to a range of possibilities, exacting as well as playfully untried.

Human movement, whatever its form, necessarily has its places of birth and ancestry, its horizon of inspiration and choices. Here, ground (birth, ancestry) and inspiration are: various ways of the ball, taken toward some everyday settings. And one of the choices: working within an approach different from the martial (arts) tradition.

Stretching for the ball

Athletics, everyday living, an in-between. Pertaining to such a territory, still undefined, what could be a series of moves or steps, in an area between, say, playing ball and waiting for the bus?

The ensuing chapters, then, try to look into a ground that is both specific and open. As such, they're to be seen less as intending to be instructive (something to be followed, mimicked) than proposing perhaps a more radical approach: exploring, re-exploring, on one's own.

This digital film, consisting of an introduction, five chapters and two epilogues, was made in Seattle from 1996 to 2001. The main location was a park called, when we were there, The Lid over I-90, later renamed Smith Park. Downtown Seattle was a secondary location