CAP: ‘Ground Form’ audio score as a way to frame and support embodied research(ers)

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Here you will find an audio recording of the ‘Ground Form’ which you are invited to use to support your CAP practice.

A short 5 minute preparation task for the Ground Form recorded by Jane Bacon
Audio recording of the Ground Form recorded by Jane Bacon

This text about the ground form audio recording was originally written as part of: Doing Arts Research in a Pandemic: A crowd-sourced collection responding to the challenges arising from Covid-19, Compiled between April 27th – May 18th 2020 by Prof Vida L Midgelow, Middlesex University with the TCCE.

Creative Articulations Process (CAP) is an approach that supports artists-researchers to deepen their creative research processes. Enhancing the researchers capacity for dual-awareness and access to the felt sense (Gendlin 1981), CAP enables artist-researchers to be fluent in and about their moving selves and their dance making. As such CAP brings awareness to embodied knowing that we may otherwise struggle to recognise or articulate.

CAP  was first developed as a method for movement practitioners engaged in Practice-as-Research, wherein researchers might be said to pursue ‘hybrid enquiries combining creative doing with reflexive being’ (Kershaw 2011: 64).  As a method for Practice-as-Research, CAP pays particular attention to how we come to awareness and language when we place our soma at the centre of inquiry. The foregrounding of embodied languaging, or what we have also described as dancing/writing, is important not only because verbal/written language is the primary mode of research exchange (which we might well want to contest), but because through languaging we come to know, and know differently, our creative selves and our research practices.  To enable this CAP shifts between modalities of moving, drawing and writing,  with the intention of bringing them closer together. For the researcher working in and through bodily practice this is key to integrating physical, sensate and felt experiences with reflexive and critical processes.  (To read about the theoretical basis of this work see Bacon and Midgelow 2014).

Multifaceted and rhizomatic in nature, CAP incorporates  six facets – from Opening to Outwarding, across three intersecting forms: Preparations (activities that help prepare us, developing capacities that the artist-researcher will need), a Ground Form (a one-hour scaffolded practice which we discuss below) and the Expanded Form (in which researchers apply CAP in their own contexts).  Each facet – opening, situating, delving, raising, anatomizing, and outwarding – deepens and illuminates a different aspect of the same thing, or a different side of the same exploration, like a gem with many sides. Each facet also encourages a mode of attention and implies action. Indeed the processes might be thought of as actions akin to fishing, archaeology or any other activity that involves going more deeply into one place to reveal more than you had previously.

Both the six facets and three forms are iterative and cyclical, and any one element may be used in isolation or as a through-line of enquiry requiring a longer dwelling within the process. Throughout CAP the researchers own movement practices and research topics are implicit and can be discovered afresh in each facet and each form.

Opening: giving space and time

Situating: (what I know today about) what brings me here, where I am

Delving: (I wonder) what interests me …

Raising: working to enrich/ explore/render what I am interested in – to know more of what I am working with…

Anatomizing: working to expand/broaden/trial/clarify my practice

Outwarding: bringing my findings a shape or form (perhaps) in a moment of fruition and newly noting (perhaps) future directions/spaces/times that draw me

Just as Covid-19 spread across the globe and restricted many of us to our homes, we had begun to develop a rough and ready audio version of the Ground Form to share with the dance artists and researchers we had been working with. It is the benefits and use of this audio recording that the rest of this entry will, in brief, reflect upon.

The Ground Form is a 60-minute practice in which works through the six facets of CAP (ten minutes in each facet), and entails alternation between moving and writing (or sometimes drawing/marking). It is a somatic research practice that is improvisational in nature and is designed to be undertaken regularly (say once a week). Through this repeated revisiting of the Ground Form we hone the skills of CAP and enhance creative capacities for articulation.

The audio recording or score,  provides timing cues and verbal prompts for the listener. And, much like a spoken guide for say meditation or mindfulness,  emphasizes the development of interior attention.  The score takes the researcher on a journey of discovery within a repeated structure. The structure has a simple clarity and fixed duration, within which the researcher is invited to explore   – such that the emerging materials and the experience of the process may (perhaps) be different each time the Ground Form is undertaken.  This structure, or scaffolding, of experience and attention, supports creative thinking and awareness. Each step builds on the former steps, so that we complete the form with a sense  (hopefully) of achievement, for having engaged creatively and reflectively for a space/time. The insights and materials that arise through following the Ground Form may then usefully inform our wider research endeavours (should we wish).

This audio format replaces what would otherwise be undertaken as a group, in a physically shared setting and can also be followed by using solely written instructions. Yet whilst it is possible to follow the Ground Form from a written text, the audio score is more immersive. Removing the additional need for the researcher to worry about timing each section and releasing any concerns as to what is coming next. It therefore facilitates a fuller engagement with the process,  holding the time/space and structure for the listener.  Further, the audio score has afforded the users of CAP greater independence as to how and when they enter the process, enabling  researchers to continue to work at home and on their own.

Research artists that have been using the audio score have noted how useful it has been to be guided through the score and how it has felt particularly timely and necessary during this period of ‘sheltering’.  The  grounding of experience via the scaffolding of attention has helped them remain focused and open to their creative-selves – keeping them alive to the felt sense and exercising their curiosities  – things which have been so difficult to achieve when Covid-19 has consumed our attention. 

The recording helps me relax and settle in the present moment. I can immediately enter the state of practicing the Ground Form and somehow removes extra unneeded thoughts during that time. Listening to your voices keeps the experience fresh every time and it gives me the sense that I am not alone in this. It works a little bit as a guided meditation and it has been a good thing to do during this time.  (Dance Artist Evangelia Kolyra, http://evangeliakolyra.com)

The Creative Articulations Process (CAP), devised by Vida Midgelow and Jane Bacon, is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution + Noncommercial + NoDerivatives 4.0 license.

References

Bacon, Jane and Vida Midgelow. (2014). “Creative Articulations Process.” Choreographic Practices, Special Issue – Articulations, 5.1, Bristol: Intellect. 7–31.

Bacon, Jane, Rebecca Hilton, Paula Kramer, and Vida L Midgelow (eds.). (2019). Researching (in/as) Motion: A Resource Collection, Artistic Doctorates in Europe, Theatre Academy, University of the Arts, Helsinki: Nivel 10. Online at: nivel.teak.fi/adie

Gendlin, Eugine (1981). Focusing. New York: Bantam Books.

Kershaw, Baz, and Helen Nicholson, eds. (2011). Research Methods in Theatre and Performance. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.

2020-08-04T16:57:04+00:00 CAP, Uncategorized Posts|