Reformulating a practice : replacing the Tai Chi stick for the pole in a subway car.
In a normal day I can spend at least 1 hours in the subway. Since a long time I have tried to make this time meaningful: reading books, writing notes, listening to podcast. Some months ago, while holding myself in the pole of the subway car, I realized that my hands were already practicing without me noticing. I am used to exercise regularly with the Tai Chi stick and since the pole has the same diameter than the stick, my hands automatically started to engage the rest of my body into the exercises. The difference is that the pole does not move, so it requires a different approach to the exercises, an actual reformulation that reinvents the practice and translates it for a specific context in the public space.
The body acquires a leading role in the public space because, through its actions, its dances and movement, especially through what it repeats, through what it exercises and practices, it is responsible of implanting worlds, the body realizes the world, makes a world come true, proposes possible worlds and the public is the framework of proposals, exemplifications and instantiations of these worlds. Hence the importance of becoming aware of what we repeat because it always implies as a result a world to which we give value and legitimize with our actions. By exercising we make explicit a world that was implicit as a power: the possibility of making a different world effective is in our hands, as well as installing values and materializing ideas.
The action of making the anomaly public is to make instance “the other”, to put “the other” as an example, to make otherness available to others, to throw it where it can influence and generate an a/effect. An anomalous behavior triggers in people’s mind the question what is this person doing? It adds uncertainty and indeterminacy into an everyday life situation. Hence, the public space, as a frame of the common, is the place par excellence where a practice acquires political relevance: its function is to provide spaces for repetition and insistence, spaces for integration where it is possible to institute something and practice together with others : make anomalous practices inclusive and stay open to otherness.
Every situation can turn into an opportunity for continuing practicing.
Draining heart fire in the subway car. Sensing the magnetic-like feeling of the metal pole in a subway wagon, sensations of heat and tingling on my palms, an energetic entryway. Holding the cylinder with both palms helps to focus and be in the moment and further develop one’s internal energy. It ignites Chi circulation in the body, feeling of relaxation, reducing stiffness and elevation of the body temperature. In addition to that, it also trains hand, wrist and arm strength.
Stimulating acupuncture or meridian points in the palms, especially the Lao Gong point in the centre of the palm. The root of Chi of the upper part of the body is on the hand. “Respiration must lie in the hand.
Photos by Kiana Rezvani (Berlin) and Isabel Ortiz (Santiago de Chile)