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  • Writer's pictureSerafina Christine

Somatic Map Making

This is a first image in a series I'm currently working on.

I don't really know what I'm doing, but I'm calling it Somatic Map Making, or Somatic Body Mapping. I think it's really more somatic map making. I'm still in process as you can see!

I wanted to share with you a bit about this, and maybe inspire your own process of exploration. The piece above is a self-portrait of sorts. It's inspired by the questions of how my body perceives and feels in the world. I started by asking myself: What systems are at play and influence my body? What are the cultural messages that impact my body? How does it feel to be in my body and in the world? As I sat with these questions I began to get images, and began the process of creating the piece of art you see here. It's a snapshot of the ways I feel in the world.

The hands that are grabbing me, pulling me back that I keep trying to leave. These hands represent the different things like trauma, poverty, lies, normalized abuse.

The mouth being duct-taped shows that I am not to speak or have a voice - and ironically on the ear, which has an ear plug in it - we are told words don't matter. Why would words matter if they don't impact those in power?

The computer chip shows I am programmable, and a work in progress.

As I sat with it, and began adding elements, I was feeling the tightness in my body, the constriction I feel when I go into the world that often explodes into pain in my neck and shoulders, sometimes leading to migraines.

I feel the lack of acceptance for my insights and wisdom. And put a band-aid on my third eye, because you know, you can't be too smart. Too wise. The band-aid is removeable though, so maybe I just put it on when I go out into the world, but when I'm at home and in safe spaces I don't wear it.

I'm always moving to something new, no matter how much the hands, the conditioning, the impacts of capitalism, try to impact me.

Paying attention to the sensations in my body as I move around in the world allowed me to note sensations as I walked to and from meetings, or just wandered along the streets. I took the time to feel into the sensations when making this piece and asked them, what are you tied to? What do you represent? What is the bigger picture of this sensation?

How separate or not separate are we really? We are in a hyper-individualized culture that doesn't seem to find itself healthy, and its many, often unwilling, participants are ill. How does that impact my body and my experience of the world?

I didn't find answers to a lot of these questions. They were simply contemplations. When I was done this piece, I realized its a snapshot of how I feel right now, the impacts and the influences of this moment. It might be very different in the future. I hope it is; I hope there can be a more positive somatic body map, with more pleasurable sensations than bombs or a duct-taped mouth. Let me know if you try this project out or want me to explore this further in the blog. :)

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