Artist in Residence 2022 - Movement Research by Elize Chan
"Visual Association Practice and Self-Body Movement"
The human body is supported by the spine and balanced bones and muscles on the left and right sides. There are about 640 muscles responsible for controlling the bones in different shapes: block, strip, sawtooth; in various thickness: as thin as silk, thick as a cord, as thin as a finger, and as large as covering half of the whole back. Through the contraction and relaxation of muscles, we can undergo normal physical activities: sit, lie down, stand up, walk, and perform numerous subtle and complex movements to complete daily tasks. However, due to the poor posture and living habits, our muscles are in tense or strained conditions, causing physical discomfort and even more serious impacts on daily functions, sometimes adversely affecting our personal emotions.
The so-called "Intelligence of Dantian 意守丹田'' in Chinese medicine, from another perspective, implies the brain transmitting information from the cerebral nerve bundles to the nerve bundles of the lumbar spine and abdomen, connecting the entire spinal nerve. By controlling the contraction and relaxation of the spinal muscles, nutritions are transported to skeletal muscles and internal organs through the arteries, and wastes are carried away via veins and lymphatic system. It is difficult for people to distinguish the distribution of muscles through naked eyes. By repeatedly observing video clips of muscle movements and associating them to self body muscle movements, we can train the brain to bring the repairing signals to the target joints at a more precise location for recovery.
I will observe the skeletal muscle activities through video clips, strengthen the visual connection with myself, and try to relax and repair the muscles through repeated visual associations and voluntary movements, so that the body can return to a state of balance. I will also invite different people (artists, hearing impaired, children, seniors and adults) to participate in this program - those with sensory impairments (hearing impaired), strong visual associations (artists), better learning abilities (children), slower recovery (elderly), and general adults - all of them have physical discomfort due to some poor daily habits, and hope to develop each person's self-relaxation and healing effect through this activity.
First of all, I will find out the daily habits of the participants (hereinafter referred to as "you") which cause your discomfort. According to your daily habits, I will let you observe some video clips (about 2-4 minutes) of relevant muscle activities of some common posture-induced syndromes, such as:
1) “Phubbing Syndrome” – longus colli (inclined/vertical/descended), longus capitis, rectus capitis anterior, rectus capitis lateral, scalenus anterior, sternocleidomastoid
2) Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (TOS) –splenius capitis/cervicis, iliocostalis cervicis, levator scapulae etc.
3) “Mouse Hand/ Mouse Pain”– flexor/extensor carpi radialis, flexor/extensor carpi ulnaris/ extensor hallucis longus/brevis etc.
4) Tennis Elbow - brachioradialis, extensor carpi radialis longus/brevis, extensor carpi ulnaris, etc.
5) Psoas Muscle Strain - quadratus lumborum, intertransversarii, erector spinae etc.
Then, you will come to a darker and quieter area. Here, you can close your eyes, choose a comfortable position: stand, sit, or lie down, start breathing slowly, and revise the physical muscle activities in the images in the mind — muscles contract, then relax— the corresponding body parts move along with the muscles, which can be subtle and singular, or large and with several joints. As you slow down your breathing, you begin to look inside your body structure, and practice having a sharper and more subtle perception of the state and activity of each group of joints. Randomly, without predetermined movements and postures, the perception of the moment naturally guides the next reflex action, slowly relaxing the muscles that feel sore and tense, while continuing to breathe slowly until you feel completely relaxed. Perhaps, the body may not be able to relax completely at one time, especially some complex and long-term tension, muscle memory usually makes it become tense again. Therefore, you may come and do the exercises once a week, letting the body slowly learn to self-regulate, while you can practise freely at home, at work, or anywhere in daily life.