The Body Keeps the Score: Blink / Yawn Registry, 2020


Articulo 123, Mexico City

Layered in time, the body is on camera, then on paper, then real life: choreography was always something between drawing and cartography. In the case of “The Body Keeps the Score: Blink / Yawn Registry”, the video and the video on paper is the score (the seconds between blinks and yawns, the quantity of blinks and yawns), as blinking makes a rhythm of itself, its own shape and form. Sometimes we blink faster and wider, other times we blink slow because we are drowsy, or we yawn when we feel drowsy. As repetition warps their functions, blinks and yawns abstract themselves toward semiotic notation: blink as number, as punch-in, as time signature, as musical note; yawn as bass, as footnote, as iteration, as point of reference.

The videos focus, through their simplicity, on these systems of choreography that play out to no end, unrecognized, unaccounted for, and yet they mark the body with a rhythm inextricable from the happenstance of living.

Blinks and yawns are isolated for their involuntary design as mechanisms that check us into continuity; they beget their own record of annotation as a happening without intention. Through this lens, time itself is recast as a measurement relative only to the dryness of the eyeball and sequential blinking, or the length of activity that results in fatigue and sequential yawning. The otherwise untraceable history of yawns or blinks becomes imprint on the physio-memory of the body. “The Body Keeps the Score” seeks to amplify this. In a pre-choreographic return to annotation, blinks yield scribbles and yawns yield curves, marking up the body as it imperceptibly bears the score, replete with unseen dance. 

Choreographer: Renata Pereira Lima
Duration: 58:26min loop
Mixed media: 3 projectors, 3 head sets, 3 usbs, Bonafont water fountain with motor
Three channel video, color, sound
Documentation: Sergio Lopez
Writer: Addison Bale

The artist has annotated the eyeball.
In the corner: Called
“The Body Keeps the Score: Blink / Yawn Registry”
/ stop / like muscle memory, or other conditional metronomes that move us into conscious and unconscious behaviour.
Blink like beat / stop / Blink to wet / stop / start over
/ trying not to blink / start. Thin flesh come down over eyeball, pressed tight, makes a thick curve barbed with eyelashes open
/ Open / stop—open / Stay—open / the room feint in the reflection of her iris, the iris brown and beautiful to look at / blink / Stop / record / blink for archival purposes. Blinking / and yawning are so primordial they are like nothing, they are like the wind dancing in the trees / it is not dancing / stop / but when the choreographer (Renata) records
blink and / yawn they are supra-movement or
not-even-movement / like research they are pre-choreography or anti-choregraphy and they are also the / moment.
We cannot look away from the eyeball / stop— we / do not know what it is looking at / Stop / we know not / what we look at / start over / we cannot look away from so much.
It is / like the artist knew I would think of phone screens or how funny it is to stare at anything at all if you are not going to join in on the action / start over / all / yawn.