June 2020. We can’t be together in the studio. So we created packages for each other. Memory packages. One person alone in the studio creates a package for the other one with as much information as possible. That can include all kinds of text, video, pictures.
The other person unpacks the memory and responds with a package aswell, a response package. This chain of exchange can go on and on. Here some excerpts from our exchange.
Title: A knee and a half.
What is A knee and a half?
Is a gesture that not only represents the basic sitting form of most Iraqi nationals, but also reflects directly on the overall culture, although it is also present in other cultures. When used in speech it is used to express a tough act carried out strictly in a certain situation or it could also be synonymous to readiness. For example, saying “he sat with a knee and a half against someone” Is in other words, someone who was faced by a strict person who showed him he was wrong. Meanwhile, sitting with a knee and a half at dinner, means you ate all the food there was for dinner and so on and so forth.
What are the characteristics of a knee and a half?
This seating position is done by both men and women. It is rather a relax position after a long difficult day, a very casual way of sitting that is supposed to be very comfortable for the sitter. When one is seated in this position it means they are in relaxing mode.
How do you do a knees and half?
The dancer should start on the floor, starting from something similar to the sitting Yoga position with crossed legs. Then one of the two legs is raised placed the palm of the foot on the floor. Usually one’s arm rest on the higher knee.
How do you prepare for a knee and a half?
1-I attached a video with warm up inspired from Iraqi gestures and movements. In addition to the music playing which I am using to stay in rhythm.
Here is a link of the music:
You can do the warmup you want, but take the movement rhythm from the link.
Use as little space as possible.
Perform the movements at a basic mechanic form.
2- Don’t go into a certain direction, treat the space as a circle or round space, don’t consider right and left directions or front and back.
Why I chose a knee and a half?
This position is widely spread as a tradition in a large area extending from India to the middle east and other cultures. However, the common cultures between different areas can also have a specialty to each. In the Iraqi culture it has many manifestations and representations that are only locally known.
Iraqi culture is deeply rooted in my childhood as I grew up in Iraq where I come from. I remember when I was little every occasion was linked to a certain music and dance or movement that follows.
Specific music and dance combinations were always synonymous to a specific event like a wedding or a ritual or a funeral etc.
Movement was always present during my childhood, it always used the music and movements to lift my mood, which always works for me.
thank you for the one and a half knee material from yesterday.
feelings and thoughts during this process of taking on and changing the material of one knee and a half:
I felt respect and didn’t think of making fun of the position or disrupting it completely.
I wouldn’t have known why (and also not how)
I imagined many many people sitting in this position, something that it available for everyone
who can cross their legs in this certain way?
I imagine kids imitating the parents and other adults and already getting used to it from an early age on. I imagined millions of millions of memories and situations connected to this position.
But I noticed that for me it needs practice, my knees for example are not used to this position plus having had a surgery on the knee I don’t connect relaxation to it.
Rather a form I wanna keep up with.
At moments I feel exposed by having the groin so visibly opened, as a woman. I notice how my body has learned not to spread the legs while sitting.
I wonder what tough acts carried out strictly can all be. In my imagination appeared a screaming woman with a knife.
I really wonder about this tough acts.
Is tricking someone a tough act?
In german you can pull someone over the table if you make a deal that’s bad for the other person f.e.
Would this be an aquivalent to the tough act?
When one and a half knee means eating all the food for dinner: Did you eat then more than the others, maybe even their parts? Or is it a strong and vital act, since you were hungry and can eat a lot.
One and a half knee. Eineinhalb Knie.
What a poetic image. I see a fragmented leg. Knees and legs stapled on top of each other, folded into each other. A body folded where one can not identify anymore how it functions.
Or you ask in the shop:
May I please have 200gramms of goat cheese, three tomatoes and one and a half knee?
I wonder if the position one and a half knees is to a lot of people also connected to community, sitting together, being close and cosy.
So far for today.