Every weekday afternoon, except on Wednesdays, a small crowd of apparently distracted and lazy teenagers gather in the halls of the dance school. A quarter of an hour before their dance teacher opens the doors of the classroom, they are all already there, relaxing, chatting and laughing, at that introverted yet outspoken reverie pace in which teenagers usually talk to each other. At 16h45, Mme. Martinez finally releases the previous class and the awaiting students begin to walk towards the dance room through a narrow corridor that suddenly becomes a kind of dual emotional route. Those who leave still hold the look of being immersed in some state of deep thought while those who go in seem to be preparing themselves to enter the same state. We are at the Pôle Danse et de la Musique du Conservatoire de Versailles. Each one of the children who are in this class is there because they want to. Because at their young age, they know they want their body to be the medium through which they express that which motivates them. It is 17h00, the class seems to start. The group of teenagers drop themselves on the floor and begin to relax. They slowly move responding exclusively to their own will, there is no routine to follow. The music invades the atmosphere of the class and the low voice of Mme. Martinez arrives as in waves from different spots of the room “just feel, let your body speak for you.” A long while later, the dance class begins.
Sentience explores the experience of the body, through the routines of dance. Not dance itself, but the discipline of dance. As for how dancers embody an example of our body’s sensitivity and our ability to experience in a subjective way the context that surrounds us. The human body is a complex mixture of matter, sensation, perception, mind, and consciousness. We are sensitive substance. We are matter and sensation. This substance is the mechanics that allow us to feel. The way in which this mechanics associates with the rest of the aggregates that make us up, perception, mind, and consciousness belong to a universe still poorly understood. Right in the middle of that universe is where the self dwells. Dance is a bodily movement with an aesthetic purpose. Therefore it is a form of expression of the self. Dancers have an exalted awareness of their body that allows them to work their physique to exhaustion, possibly in an attempt to transcend the limitations of its substantiality, or perhaps, to lose consciousness of it, so that dance can take on a life of its own. A kind of absolute yet ephemeral state of consciousness.
This series was presented at the Forage group exhibition, in Mi* Galerie, (Paris, France) in May 2018, as part of the title defense for the MA in Photography & Image-Making by Paris College of art.