“Our bodies remember trauma and abuse — quite literally. They respond to new situations with strategies learned during moments that were terrifying or life-threatening. Our bodies remember, but memory is malleable.’
Our intervention involved triggering spontaneous and unpredictable muscle memory, while tethered to the other person. A highly emotive and powerful spoken word poem by Lydia Lunch played in the background, acting as the sensory trigger. We were not allowed to speak and could only interact via our momentary physical response to some of the harsh words in the track. The experience was very vulnerable in the sense where each of our muscle memory and consequent body movement were physically influencing, reacting to and culminating together (since we were tethered by a blanket on one arm each). We performed this intervention live within a restricted space.
Our main sensory trigger was the aural input from the track and the psychological effect the harsh words used further induced spontaneous reaction from our bodies. Though we did not physically touch each other, the intervention made us completely vulnerable to either of our bodily reactions, resulting in a very emotive and profound experience. There were some parts where it got mildly violent and tense and we could feel our heart rate increase and we also became acutely aware of each others’ breathing.
The inspiration for this intervention was to explore how two bodies with their own unique muscle memories, communicate intimately without speaking. Being able to literally and physically feel a person’s spontaneous body reaction to an emotional trigger was truly profound.