The Somatic Component Of Thought

Becca Jane Rubinfeld

[Forti begins:]

"Well I’ll talk more about speaking and moving..." [She moves her right hand towards her chin, and when she says the word “speaking” she makes two gestures as if to show the speech moving from her mouth and into the air. Then again on the word “moving” she repeats this gesture, of the hand moving from the mouth out to the space directly in front of her face. She then brings the hand back to rest on her knee.]

“...and as I say speaking and moving, [Again, repeating the doubled gesture of hand from mouth to air, but this time with a smile.] I made two gestures because there were two sentences I was speaking. So the language affected the syntax of my movement there.” [Again and again, but this time with delays as she searches for the words to the sentence. It’s as if her body knows the sentence before she does, it’s as if this time the hand does pull the words from her chest back to her thoughts and out into the room.

She takes her time, patiently moving from one thought to the other. Resting her right hand back to the knee she raises her left hand up to her hair line, brushing the hair way from her face casually. She makes this stroking motion three times, twice with four finger tips and one with open palm. Now both hands become involved.]

“It can work both ways,” she says, demonstrating. [Both hands open completely, and with the fingers facing each other they move back and forth moving in opposite directions at the same time. When the right hand moves forward and away from the body, the left hand twists inward back toward the body. Then switching, left hand out right hand in, almost appearing as if she’s opening and closing an invisible jar twice, back and forth.] “Sometimes,” she continues, “a thought will bring a certain [raising her right hand to her head and holding fingers in a C shape, the mouth of the letter facing inward towards her head and the thoughts within. Then both hands make a twisting fist in front of her body, a gesture of ringing out or coming together, a gesture that speaks to things twisting into place. And then she realizes—],—oh see I am doing this—a certain energy.”

[Her shoulders and head join the hands and arms in motion. She smiles.] “And the feel in my hands [the fists now tight together, wrists rotating back and forth, twisting, her eyes closed.] can affect my thoughts too. It’s hard to do it and talk about it at the same time. But I can feel my finger nails into my palms [fist opens to reveal fingers with expressive angles all moving toward finger tips and nails] and I remember a badger, I think, in a zoo [left claw-shaped fingers scratch the palm of the left hand, twice slowly.]

“That was in a cement cage with a cement floor [both claw-shaped hands close in on each other, finger tips approaching locking motion with opposite finger tips, and then pull away from tension in fast movements. Again, finger tips and nails grab each other, and just as quickly and pull apart.] and I know they have to dig in the earth and it was missing the earth. It was clicking its nails [She closes her eyes and winces and as the gripping and release of her hands continues with more commitment and more sound of clash and tugging of nails on nails.] like that, and I remember that[balling her hand into a fist] because I was talking about how my thoughts can affect my movement and my movement can affect my thoughts. [both fists moving parallel, inward and outward from the body to emphasize landing on words] Movement and thought. [Thought inwards movement outward. Rhythmic sing song and fist.] It’s the somatic component of thought. [Open hands meet at her temples and move out and together pulling thought into moment.]

This text is a transcription of a segment of an interview with choreographer/musician Simone Forti. The interview, which I stumbled across on Youtube titled as “Simone’s Invention of Somatic Component of Thought”, comes from a short documentary called LA WOMAN. In it, she talks about speaking and moving; I have transcribed both her words and her actions.