Devora Neumark and Louise Dubreuil Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec Battlefields Park
Sunday, September 21, 2003 / 13h 30
We asked people to join us in this tickling experience. We said “Initiation into La brigade des guerrières riantes is a seriously playful process.” This participatory durational performance was an invitation to explore the path of the peaceful warrior in laughter, in silence, even in tears.
Robert R. Provine’s recent publication Laughter: A Scientific Investigation explores how laughter is a universal and often contagious social experience with reputed health benefits. He writes: “Just as social interactions are the key to understanding tickling, tickling is essential to understanding the associated social vocalization of laughter. Tickling is not a footnote in the story of laughter but at the very heart of it.”
During the initial part of the event we asked participants the following:
What is your earliest memory of conflict and how it was resolved? For the next five (5) minutes write continuously without stopping with as much felt detail as possible. If you have a blank, keep writing even if it is only to say: “I have a blank.”
Then, without discussion the next question was posed:
How is this memory still resonant in your life? What about this conflict and the way in which it was resolved still plays itself out in your current life when you find yourself in conflicted situations? As above, write non-stop for five (5) minutes. Once this second question was responded to in writing, we opened it up the floor to those who wanted to either read what they wrote out loud to the group or wanted simply to talk about what they wrote and found out in the writing meditations.
This entire writing piece was done after physical warm ups and before the laughter warm ups and the initiation. Each participant then received a badge of courage as testimony to their willingness to practice presence and compassionate coexistence.
A participant in my workshopping session prior to the durational performance (during which people underwent an initiation into the Laughing Warrior Brigade through enduring 2 minutes of group tickling) said... “Laughter, yes its like a flower in the heart... once it seeds it has the power to propagate to other hearts everywhere.”
With appreciation to Judy Ringer & Aiki Works Inc., The Inter Arts Office of the Canada Council for the Arts, and Robert R. Provine.