MOVING NOTATIONS ON STANDARD DEVIATION
Denise Shu Mei
How are you? What a wild mercury retrograde, huh? I’ve been experiencing extreme variation in my location, schedule, mood, food, to-dos. Space-time expanding. More variation than I have had in a year of pandemic lockdown. More migraines than I can remember. Still, I retreat to same patterns to cope. Still more, I try to make sense of the shifting.
For 12 days, I recorded my movement patterns according to ableist standards of standing, sitting, laying, and any deviations along those vertical, horizontal and angular lines. (Side note: it’s only now at this moment that I realize the root for standard is to stand, but I digress). Formulating the standard average of that data, I created a corresponding musical composition and recorded on jaw harp. Essentially the track reflects my daily movement patterns.
I’m sending this track to you with the invitation to move with it, perhaps evoke some reflection and resonance in our movement patterns. Could you listen to it? Could you record yourself moving to it? It’s weird, because jaw harp is an instrument that I’ve always played experimentally, never having actually played according to set rules. So there is this tension of repetition. So I added an echo. To resonate the gaps.
Nowadays it seems so much of big data collection is used to fit us into boxes. Like yes, there are parts of us that link up. But whenever I face the existential crises of the algorithm’s hold on my human experience, I remember the freedom of movement, how it so easily defies the standard equation. How can machines predict our movement when we ourselves program to unpredictability. Still, there is so much beauty in the resonance of repetition, in the remembering that we are connected.
If both astrology and quantum physics are parallel truths, can you imagine that what’s happening in the grandness of celestial heavens is mirrored in the minuteness of our embodied existence? I digress. I dance.