We live in a frontier of new understanding spawned by cross-disciplinary scientific research emerging through increasingly sophisticated tools and models for studying human perception, action, cognition, and expression. This neuroscience research revolution proposes models for situating the brain/body interaction with the world in ways that are useful for performance training. As brain/body research explodes, new fields and new territories form in the spaces between fields, and so I am researching in areas that fall within and also outside the bounds of traditional neuroscience, such as branches of: psychology, philosophy, kinesiology, rhetoric, and somatics. My research has already uncovered powerful new territories that inform my studio practice with performers and teachers.
My central project is to link the cross-disciplinary research related to neuroscience with new models for performers and teachers to understand and practice the complex actions of performance in new ways. Borrowing from a contemporary trend toward ‘translational research’ moving scientific learning toward practitioner/patient-centered clinical health outcomes, my work can be viewed as translational research targeted at teacher/performer-based studio outcomes. I aim to cultivate a community toward artistic practice that freely raids and translates learning from other, sometimes challenging fields. My recent work has included manifesting performance practice linked with: processes of sensory perception and sensory binding; imagistic and kinesthetic roots of language; kinesthetic and emotional correlates of image processing; dynamic spatial awareness; accessing memory and emotion to sort, react and predict actions; the learning capacity of the brain/body (neuroplasticity) ; and models of nervous system regulation.
I am currently working closely with neurologist and visual artist Joseph Julian, M.D. on a book aimed at translating the profound discoveries of today’s neuroscience into artistic practice in ways that are digestible for performers, directors, and performance teachers to use in their creative work. As I uncover new links between the broad areas of my research and performance that may be useful for artists, I am streaming them into workshops, private tutorials and master classes for professional performers and teachers. Aware that some might hesitate when invited to weave a seemingly challenging notions such as 'predictive coding' or 'perceptual load' into a creative process, I lead artists through an intentionally gentle and pragmatic engagement with challenging scientific ideas. The ultimate goal is for students and teachers to easily situate their learning in the contexts of studio practice and life.