Hello my name is Laura, I am one of the directors of Exit Map and I am what you call the mind and heart behind this project but it wouldn’t be anything without the many people who co-created this project, produced audios and took part, especially my co-directors Anne-Gaëlle Thiriot, Tania Soubry and long term audio collaborator Alice Labant who joined me in creating this archive that was generously supported by Siobhan Davies Studios.
Moving On are audio projects that were conceived by 17 dance artists during the Covid isolation. Each project was about 2 hours long and offered 3-4 individual yet collectively woven voices that facilitated a weekly practice and provided for much needed wellbeing. Our ambition was to instill mobility and by making use of parks we moved outdoors furthering a connectivity within our own body by relating our bodies to nature. For instance, we inspired grounding by speaking about roots and breathing by observing how the branches resemble our lungs and along the way created and refined tools to make experiential anatomy, somatics and the poetry of dance accessible through words and sounds only.
Initially we wanted to make sure that we, the local SE London collective of humans, were OK because people all around us suffered from the effects of being socially distanced and from immobility by always being at home. Progressively various aspects naturally grew and opened our perceptions to how we make sense of nature, how language and collectivity lay the foundation for personal, professional and social development and how dance is being reassigned new meaning when we move with nature; the one outside of us and the one inside of us becoming increasingly inseparable. We found ourselves connected to the more-than-human and by engaging with it every week, like a ritual, it changed us, gave us strength and an outlook for a future where life and matter are more organically linked.
Covid gave us time. Although we made little money (which went right back to our artists) we gained through exchanges, new collaborations, personal and professional development, which was possible because we had time. It allowed us to move closer as a collective of human beings and the more-than-human as a new spaciousness expanded our notion of ecosystems and the growing and weaving of self with other became a dance itself.
In the aftermath of Covid the project started to feel less urgent and wanted. People’s lives sped up, places like pubs and events like indoor dance classes reopened. We however wanted to continue because we found out that Moving On was more than a tool to meet the challenges of isolation. Just in time, when we were about to stop because everything had changed and it seemed too hard to continue, we received this archiving grant by SDD. Two days on the Arts Council England offered financial support to enter new stages that could expand our work into an installation. While there is more to tell, what feels paramount now is for us to remember what we gained; such as the importance to slow down so that new connections based on embodied sensitivity and listening to what is going can inform changes. In the time where information and communication largely take place online, now more than ever, and tomorrow even more, embodied presence has to be remembered, experienced and cultivated. Breathing, feeling the ground and giving space to feel means we can activate the shifts so as to move on together.
To inspire these processes you will find some of the audio guides and projects we created in the timeline to take to the park because they can facilitate connectivity and engagements that we feel are a useful resource to meet the everyday. Other than that, enjoy reading and visually digesting the timeline, graph and interviews. Should you be interested in joining our hub of local SE London dance artists or become part of our community of people that like to move outdoors and that continue to go to the park and move, feel free to join our Openly Spaced Out meet-up. Just get in touch. You are warmly welcome.
Thank you for reading and sharing the journey.