I walk up the winding staircase and into a room full of people slowly rolling on the floor. I am late, but in this city this has no relevance. I put down my things, and walk onto the floor to join the others. I kneel down and allow my body to be guided by gravity, my mind wondering at what kind of an experience this is going to be. This is my first contact improvisation class. I don't know anybody here except for a brief encounter with some of the people at a contact jam the night before. My body releases into the floor, I begin to tune into the breath, the physical impulses of my limbs, the internal and external sensations. And then there is another body pressing itself into mine. There is an immediate recognition, this is a body like mine, two arms, to legs, head, torso. This feels like coming home, like a hug. And yet, it is new, unfamiliar, exciting. My body begins to learn, listen, communicate, drawing through the other body, through the ground, through the space. The simplicity of this is striking. The teacher softly guides us speaking in Spanish. My analytical mind only catches some of what he says, but it doesn't matter, because everything is understood in my body, in my cells.
I came to Buenos Aires a month ago. It feels both like a lifetime ago and just yesterday. Words fail me as I try to summarize the nature of experience in this city. Just a series of paradoxes: modern and antique, friendly and hostile, ordered and malfunctioning, rich in culture and grotesque. Through all of this my body moves, sensing, learning, questioning. And as I move through the city, the city pushes through me, carving out new topographies, changing me from the inside. Open-ended. That is the word that seems to come closest to describing this place. There is no clear definition, it is up to me to continuously define my experience. It is possible to feel oppressed, strained, and if that is the internal state, then that is what will be amplified by the city. But if I choose to feel inspired, curious, open, then the nature of my experience reflects that. This continuous process happens rapidly, I have to stay present, conscious of my internal choices. Just like moving with another body, I move with the rhythm of this city. As I move I listen, I draw, I breath, I dance, I paint, I eat, I sleep... all is an improvisation.