Crimson Coast Dance

May 7th, 2021: OUR POROSITY by Geneviève Johnson

(Big Bang by Geneviève Johnson collage with Hubble telescope image of a nebula)

Big Bang and Stardust

One thing Hubert Reeves wrote long time ago always stuck with me :

we are made of stardust

(Poussière d’étoiles, Hubert Reeves, Le Seuil, collection « Science ouverte », Paris, 1984.)

Poetically, it is beautiful but he means it literally: we are made of atoms created in the cores of stars that have exploded.

(Stardust by Geneviève Johnson collage with Hubble telescope image of a nebula)

All animals, including humans, all things
animate and inanimate,
the planet itself,
the whole universe
is made from just a few basic atoms.
And life forms, from even a fewer of these atoms.
A common base, in different beautiful assemblages, connects us all.

Our State of Porosity

We move through the world and the world moves through us.

We are porous.
We are in a state of constant energic exchange with the world and each other.
We are not in a static finished state but in renewal, in transformation, evolution.

We are in a state of change…

(Photo by Dirk Heydemann – collage by Geneviève Johnson)

When I fell in love with Butoh in early 90s’, I encountered once again this experience of porosity between the world and me. This time: at a practical level. 

Butoh is an “anthropo-cosmo-morphic” dance.

We live and move the becoming-other.
We dance the porosity of our being, of our cells, the intermingling of the world with ourself.

Horizontal Relationship: Everything at a Same Level

I like to think about this horizontal relationship as a rhizomatic one:
(rhizome means “mass of roots” in ancient Greek)

Developed by Deleuze and Guattari, this type of relationship

(…) allows for multiple, non-hierarchical entry and exit points. (…) A rhizome works with planar and trans-species connections (…) in which different species interact together to form a multiplicity (i.e. a unity that is multiple in itself). (…)


(A Baroque Fear, by Geneviève Johnson and Holly Bright – skirt: Caroline Mercier – photo: Bounce Festival Victoria)

In Butoh, it comes from ancient Shinto philosophy and relates to many indigenous philosophies where it is believed that there is no distinction between the world (animate and inanimate) and human beings.

In many indigenous languages, the same pronoun is used to talk about a tree, a rock, the sun, a deer, yourself or a cousin. No “I” or “it”.
Everything is at the same level of existing, of being.
We are all made of the same fabric, exchanging in a rhizomatic relationship.

Humans are not above all but part of it all.
And all is part of us.
All in all.

(Impermanence, short movie by and with Geneviève Johnson – music by Sofina Johnson)

Embodied Memory of the Universe

This porosity allowing everything to be in everything creates what I believe to be our embodied memory of the otherness.
A universal memory at a physical cell level.
Our cells memory of everything and everyone who came before.
The physical experience of all that precedes us bodily recorded in our cells.

(Doodle poetry by Geneviève Johnson)

Fragmented Otherness as Self

The forces of the universe combine and separate elements every second,
allowing things to form and dissolve into other forms…

Keeping me in wonder and awe
in front of all the possibilities,
in front of all the potential poetic combinations…

Encompassing all flaws, mistakes, wounds, scars, cracks, fault lines, flukes…
as opening doors to nature, to people, to bodies and objects…
to the poetic uniqueness
that makes us all similar in our differences.