Our bodies help us recognize, understand, navigate, and even create the urban space: the blue dot in Google Maps, traces of bodies in space that provide us with clues for our own movement, metaphors we use to talk about the city and its systems, and even measurement units. At the same time, cities can have a particularly interesting effect in bodies’ self-awareness and their interactions with the environment, other bodies, and themselves: think sidewalks, elevators, benches in public spaces, but also workspaces, supermarkets, and spaces for prayer and meditation.
How can using our bodies as mapping tools transform our knowledge and experience? And what if we look at our bodies as territories? In this workshop, we will use cartography as a framework to explore corporeal and social practices in the urban space.
We will begin by creating a shared understanding of what maps, bodies, and territories are and can be in the context of our workshop. Then, through a series of guided exercises that will include listening, walking, moving, and talking, we will explore how our bodies can serve as cartographic tools; helping us orient in, recognize, make sense of, and produce space.
Vanessa Vargas is a Venezuelan-born, Brooklyn-based dancer, performer, teacher, and writer. She started her career as a contemporary dancer in 1997 and has taught and performed at venues including 24 Hour Project, Chez Bushwick, Teatro Circulo, Dumbo Dance Festival, and Gibney Dance Center, Dixon Place, Triskelion Arts Center, Judson Church, and The Armory Show. She has also worked as a performance artist and facilitator in different exhibitions at The Museum of Modern Art, including Lygia Clark’s, James Lee Byars’, David Lamelas’, and Yoko Ono’s. Vanessa is currently part of Rastro Dance Company, an US-based collective of choreographers and artists, including Kerry Cox, Mariangela López, and Danielle Russo. She holds an MFA in Dance, B.A in Journalism, MA in Mass Media for Social Development, MA in Performance Studies (NYU).
Nelesi Rodriguez is a Venezuelan-born media educator, researcher, and practitioner. Her work focuses on contemporary subjectivities and understandings of the body as medium. She’s also interested in public scholarship and how creative practices are used/adapted as research and pedagogic methodologies. Nelesi is a Fulbright Scholar with a MA in Media Studies from The New School. Currently, she teaches at Parsons School of Design, conducts research at The New School, and explores the links between creative practice and survival with School of Apocalypse.