I have come to think of Axis a bit like the permaculture of movement. Permaculture is an ecological approach to sustainable landscaping that looks at the intrinsic characteristics of the elements in the system (plants, landscape, water shed, critters). Through on-going observation one begins to understand the relationships between these different components and the patterns between various forces within the system. From this place of patient observation of the system in action, the permaculturist then looks for the places to intervene least invasively and with maximum efficiency. The goal is to shift the way the forces interact through the structures of the land to create a new sustainable (and perhaps self-regulating) pattern.
Lands subjected to decades of socialized manipulation and linear thinking, such as large farms, can be reclaimed through the implementation of permaculture techniques. The simplified geometry of industrial agriculture creates an ecology of isolated growing units with little relation beyond competition for resources. In this context there is no possibility of healthy symbiosis. Toxic chemicals are used to compensate and mask the damage being done to the overworked soil. By observing and learning about the interrelationships inherent in a particular ecosystem, the permaculturist can move toward a healthier and more sustainable way of growing food on such previously damaged land.
(Image Left: Monterey California farm via Richard Masoner on Flickr. Image Right: La Joya del Sol permaculure community on Costa Rica)
In much the same ways, the technologies of Axis Syllabus seek to re-integrate and harmonize the forces of physics as they interact with the structures of a moving body. Our contemporary culture loves the straight lines of skyscrapers, cities built on grids, highways cleaved in linear swathes through broad expanses. The emphasis of western culture’s religions on verticality further emphasizes this prioritization of the “straight.” Meanwhile, that which is not “straight” is demonized, whether for its sexual identity or its supposed inefficiency. A good child goes straight home after school and straight from school to work and gets a job and a house so he can be an upstanding citizen. Trajectories are clear and the best route is always a straight line.
Axis challenges this world-view by addressing it at its source: the ways we live in our bodies. Axis honors a tri-axial existence characterized by spherical space. It investigates and values the details of each participant in a movement. In this way, the guidelines for ethical movement come from an understanding of how to utilize each part's capacity. Dismantling into many pieces and “falling apart” is a valuable tool for safety, keeping options open, and efficiency. A fall transforms from a threat to our stature into an opportunity to redirect momentum in a new trajectory.
(image Left: stock photo of linear movement. Image right: an example of supported spherical movement from Pina by Nita Little at Kunst-Stoff)
As we change our bodies we change our world-view. Our bodies contain history. They contain our personal history of trauma, victory, use, and gesture. They also contain our collective history of familial and socialized values and prejudices. By discovering new options and making new choices in our bodies, we have an opportunity to write new stories in our bodies, minds, and collective future.