Nonfiction of Levitation
August 10, 2013, Kosmica 2013, Laboratorio Arte Alameda, Mexico City, Mexico.
June 7, 2011, Kosmica 4, The Arts Catalyst, London, UK
Between the worlds of mythologies, science fiction, poetics, science and technologies, levitation — in its enormous variety of incarnations, from the purest lightness of angel to diamagnetic levitation of living matter — has been perhaps the most dreamed and desired invention. There is something profoundly contagious about it, and no wonder its opposite, gravitation, is one of the greatest mysteries of physics (and I’d dare to say of experience) to be solved. Yet, when it comes to the tangible reality, one can barely say more words than a merely body’s floating without any physical contact with solid ground or suspended in the air — what is it like to levitate.Avoiding fantasies, myths, pseudo-science and even physics (at least partially), as well as allegedly weightless phenomena like OBE, aka out-of-body experience, astral projection, and the imagination (although I believe it deserves a rigorous scrutiny), in this lecture I attempted to bring the floating ideas of levitation to the ground. With the help of six assistants and a custom designed strap harness system I performatively simulated various contemporary levitation technologies — flesh hook suspension, neutral buoyancy, aerodynamic hovering, free fall, orbiting. And in doing so, had drawn various perceptual ‘blueprints’ of lightness in terms of ‘naked’ experience, or simply put, how the absence of gravitational burdensomeness is being perceived.