prosody, privatization, performance and peace — Workshop with Robert Kocik

“The beat of a drum smites me through my chest to the shoulder blades. Every atom of my body is a
vibroscope.” Helen Keller

PROSODY can, conventionally, be thought of as poets’ elements of composition, such as stress, tone, sound pattern and pause. This workshop will, first, expand on and reimagine prosody. A few of the facets we’ll explore (embody/invent) together: sound meanings; prosody as cosmogenic (in that sound patterns matter, prosody is materialization); interoceptivity of speech and sound sequences signaling bioprocesses; the intermixed stages of the arising of words from unstruck sound to impulse, vocalization, gesture and movement; reEnglish; language itself as part of the noninvasive vibrational medicine it foresees; placing prosody and choreography in the same compositional space. Because I find prosody illimitable, I’m constantly rewording what it is. My fallback definition of prosody is, simply, vibe, as prosody is the very means of our communion, viscerally and invisibly as mood, attitude and intention. Intensive listening. Now, a pervasive long awaited truth and reconciliation waveform of sorts.

PRIVATIZATION is colonialism’s current upsurge and arrogation. Finance is extraction perfected by means of maximized exclusion. Privacy and self-ownership are integral to (if not constitutive of) concentrated wealth. Communalism in America was put death in the mid 19th century by individual authoritarianism and transcendental sovereign-singularity. Is selflessness a luxury? ‘I’ is defensive. Individuation is both germinal and terminal. You may need to immolate or solidify or weaponize, impartialize, immunize, implement or illimit your subjectivity. Identity is one thing. Identifying with it is another. Part of the practice proposed in this workshop will, underlyingly, call into question the real/provisional/illusory nature of self, as prosody (to open out and in) necessarily problematizes speaker, address, poet, person, as well as ‘problem’ itself.

The PERFORMANCE aspect of the workshop will be an enactment of the above. We’ll altogether be writing a libretto, or, script, and/or movement notation. Each participant will take her or their own notes, and perhaps develop his own practices. Along the way, this severalty will be developed into one work, with each contribution free to fuse or remain alone. (Indivisibility is individuation. I don’t even see a paradox there, but that’s just me.) Each one of us coming together in this context will be the content—basically placing our lives on the line. I’ll introduce the sessions, while anyone can bring in relevant research or guide discussion (this might even be required.) Outside composers or choreographers or somatic practitioners might be brought in to assist. The prospect of performing the work will be a key creative factor.

Prosody is, by definition, perhaps the least isolable of phenomena. It can’t manifest in the abstract, thus the workshop’s live performative socioeconomic contextualization that makes us the matter as we speak. We’ll hold an openness for how the sessions unfold, how the threads come together or fray. Openness itself occasions understanding. The research of Roshi Joan Halifax directly correlates heightened somatosensory attunement (vital to prosody) with greater capacity for empathy. Having been spoken into being, to respond with tone of voice moving us toward a world in which no one’s potential will be wasted by violence.

Readings will draw on: Édouard Glissant, Pauline Oliveros, Beautiful Painted Arrow (Joseph Rael), Nagarjuna, Judith Butler, mudita, 4E cognition, Panini, Max Stirner, Saidiya Hartman, Michael Hudson, Josiah Warren, Fiona Templeton, dzogchen, M. NourbeSe Philip, chöd, Pindar, lawmaking as creative writing, Eleni Stecopoulos, Toni Morrison, naad, Cecilia Vicuña, vibrational medicine, Lucy Parsons, poet-designed built-environments, dharmakaya, Russell Maroon Shoatz, Dr. Nida Chenagtsang, Brigid McLeer, Machig Labdron, adversarial readings of alt-right websites, William J. Barber, epigenetics, Layli Long Soldier, endosymbiosis, Charles Fourier, cymatics, Silvia Federici, and so on.

Robert Kocik

Robert Kocik is co-director and librettist for The Commons Choir. In 2008, with choreographer Daria Faïn, he initiated an experiential field of research called The Prosodic Body. Publications include: Over Coming Fitness (Autonomedia, 2000), Rhurbarb (Periplum Editions, 2007), E-V- E-R- Y- O-N- E (Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs, 2012), and Supple Science (On Contemporary Practice, 2013). mayday heyday parfait, an investigative musical theater work, premiered at BRIC Arts in 2017. Current architectural work involves the designing of homes for people with multiple chemical sensitivities.