Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Excessiveness and Deficiencies, by Nancy

Excessiveness and Deficiencies

Social Acupuncture

O' Donnell's description of the social body is fascinating. He parallels the physical body and the social body has having excesses and deficiencies. This is the same scientific and spiritual philosophy behind the ancient art of acupuncture. "The amount of resources plugged into the media spectacle, with its endless parade of entertainments, is an excess dialectically related to a deficient and apathetic, politically alienated public." ( O'Donnell, Darren, Social Acupuncture, Pg, 47). " In the physical body, a chronic holding pattern may develop due to tension in a given set of muscles: the shoulders creep up or the butt is clenched and the excess of nerve impulses in the areas-the excess of energy-creates a tension that restricts the flow of blood and nutrients." (O'Donnell, Pg, 47.) One hand washes the other; excess leads to deficiency and deficiency leads to excess. Could this be the basic dance or movement between the opposite energies that affect all of us physically, emotionally, spiritually, and mentally? How do we balance and how can we feel comfortable with being out of balance in a society where equality has many different meanings?

"In the social body, and excess of power or opportunity held by one group-white people, for example-is contingent on a deficiency in other parts of the social body, and again we have pain, restricted mobility and worse. Classism, racism and sexisms can all be read this way." (O' Donnell, Pg, 47.)

I think that The Talking Creature is a brilliant idea and revealed so many levels in explaining how we separate ourselves in any given situation. The SARS scar in Toronto left the city very quiet. It seemed that during this summer of civic isolation, anyone with enough wealth did their best to get out of town, leaving us poor people behind, creating an opportunity to establish connections and foster networks among those stuck in the city." (O' Donnell, Pg, 52.) O' Donnell created a space and opportunity for people to get together and talk even when there was a threat to one's personal health. O' Donnell's thoughts intrigue me: The art of conversing with strangers can be a fundamental experience to freedom. I had to think about this for a while especially because people could have or probably were exposed to SARS. But was it SARS or the manipulation of people’s emotions that brought on fear. There was tension, fear, and trust issues that were most likely going through the participants that took a risk and engaged in The Talking Creature. As I read, The Talking Creature, it seemed as though people were committed even if they were unconsciously riding the wave of tension and being uncomfortable. Bravo!

Donnell says…the conversation sparkled, almost manic in its urgency. The catalyst was the act of risk-taking; the energy invested in approaching strangers, or in turn, trusting the stranger who had approached you, provided the forceful dividend of a surprising ease. The shared experience of talking to a stranger was the starting point, but that point was, more often than not, left far behind. (O' Donnell, Pg, 54).

The Talking Creature seems to be a practical formula for balancing the unbalances of excess and deficiencies. The participants took risks, made a commitment (investing time and energy), and trusted the process. Could this be an elixir for creative problem solving, connecting, inspiring, finding the equality in the inequality, and life experience?

I also liked the project that O' Donnell did call Beachballs41+All. This piece shows how excessiveness can work in a positive way to break though stereotypes, preconceived thoughts about abundance thus making the impossible possible. The objective of O' Donnell's project was to introduce the sensation of abundance by changing the way toys were given out to the kids at a community pool. The kids could take as many toys as they wanted. "In its excessiveness, the event began to bear the weight of metaphor, artistic intention and intervention-but an intervention where the artist is barely noticed, and instead of being a creator, is a conduit for already existing energies and resources, redirecting and tweaking them." (O' Donnell, Pg, 83).

I think that Darren O' Donnell's is bold, heart warming, controversial, and transforms the barriers the separate art and life.

I made my acupuncture appointment for this Friday.

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