We hung my splints! A shoulder one, ankle ones, foot ones, some physio band and a shoe insole. My collection of splints, insoles and equipment is fairly large, I’ve been collecting them for years. The splints are a mixture of trial ones, prototypes, others are the NHS’s finest masterpieces. Designed to do something very specific, hold me this way or that way, restrict movement in my ankle or allow movement in my calf. Raise my heel, support my toes, stop my ankle from rolling, all at once. Let my left arm know that it could be straight, and if worn at the same time as my shoulder splint that my shoulder blades could slide together in my back. If I wore them all at once I could be an extra in a comedy horror movie! Medical professionals told me I should wear them but I didn’t wear them, haven’t for years and now they are coming alive.
With some of the splints hanging we played, moved, interacted with them, our mission to find unexpected ways of using them. We danced through them, with them, spun them, swung them, with no fixed tasks but just following our curiosity.
Rachel and Saffy then each wore one of my splints, Rachel had my white arm splint, Saffy my white night leg splint. I gave the qualities to explore while moving, for me I was looking for moments when the moving splints met the hanging splints. Through this task finding qualities of where moving conversation could be had. The softer, more subtle and fluid Saffy could be with the very restricted white night leg splint the more the splint as an object came alive. Vice versa with the white arm splint. The more weight, grounding, solid movements Rachel explored the more the splint stood out. When Rachel and Saffy found a relationship between the two when dancing, the starkness of the splints began to compliment or rub up against their choreography.
After photos to help the documentation process we went back to the FES stimulations task from the first day. We all moved, remembering the feeling of the stimulation, how much it resonates with us. Now taking it in turns we each moved for 4 minutes, exploring and discovering how the stimulations can create waves of movements. We spoke about how the stimulation starts off slowly, builds and then ends, pausing and anticipating the next stimulations to come. We began to translate our spoken descriptions into movement sequences.
Watching and sensing how we were moving didn’t sit quite comfortably. There is a difference between spasms and stimulation from FES. Spasms for me are stiff, rigid blocks that restrict, where as FES Stimulation is in some ways an enabler. It moves my ankle and toes in a way that I am unable to do yet. We picked apart this conversation and subjective feelings that the FES gave. In response we moved again, one at a time, one after the other for 1 minute.
FEET! Feet kept finding its way back into our conversations so we embraced them! Walking, tip toeing, falling, standing, padding through our feet and taking photos of them!
By the end of the day and the three days I was starting to gather a curious pile of bones to begin building a skeleton of a performance piece, where bubbling ideas could hang off and grow ready for our August R&D block.