Image of Pause written on wall
November 2019 – November 2020

Gesture/ Pause/ Proximity is a research and development project, by artist Marianne Holm Hansen and curator/producer Orlagh Woods, to explore to what extent a greater awareness of non-verbal communication may enable us to develop more inclusive conversations [and, eventually, spaces for that conversation to take place].

The project emerges from previous works and collaborations, as well as a shared and ongoing desire for practices that engage groups and individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds in equal and meaningful discussions. It aims to connect art, science and lived experience to question if, then how, a knowing and creative use of gesture, pause and proximity - in conversation and as conversation - may enable us to accommodate differing language skills, overcome language barriers and establish forms of dialogue that disrupt or resist hierarchies of speech, status and power. 

The project is taking place through collaborations and conversations with scientists, experimental psychologists and academics (UCL, Goldsmiths, Queen Mary's University), group psychotherapists and movement therapists (Tavistock Institute, Goldmiths) as well as artists, architects, writers and performers, to collectively explore and share how the non-verbal is approached, used and understood across disciplines and practices.

To broaden perspectives and draw in diverse personal experiences of the non-verbal, a series of public research sessions were staged for invited audiences, staff and general visitors during a residency at the Wellcome Collection Reading Room, London, in early 2020 (see below).

The project paused due to the covid-pandemic, but resumed in early November 2020 with a series of online conversations between small groups of artists, writers, performers, psychotherapists and architects on Gesture/ Pause/ Proximity - in Practice. While the overall subject remains, the emphasis has unsurprisingly shifted to pause (and silence). The work and conversations continues.

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The project is generously supported by
Arts Council England and Wellcome Collection, London.

Past Events

Gesture/ Pause/ Proximity: Small Group Conversations
Online: Monday 9 November 2020, 10am-12pm (GMT)
Online: Thursday 12 November 2020, 10am-12pm (GMT)
Conversations between invited groups of artists, writers, performers, psychotherapists and architects to discuss and collectively explore notions of Gesture/ Pause/ Proximity in general, Pause and Silence in particular, from within diverse practices and diciplines.

Gesture/ Pause/ Proximity: Public Research Workshops
Wellcome Collection Reading Room, London
29 January - 4 February 2020
Gesture, Pause, Proximity: Travel
Wednesday 29 January, 2020 | 2pm – 3.30pm
What gestures do we use every day and how do they relate to our background and experience?  Join us for a session to collectively map out nonverbal communication across cultures.
Gesture, Pause, Proximity: Body
Thursday 30 January 2020 | 2.30-4pm
This event is BSL interpreted
What are gestures and how do we use them to communicate? Join us to creatively explore how body movement and gesture impact on everyday conversation.
Gesture, Pause, Proximity: Face
Friday 31 January 2020 | 2-3.30pm
How do we recognise, read and communicate thought, sensation and emotion without words? Join us to explore the role and impact of non-verbal communication through a focus on facial expression.
Gesture, Pause, Proximity: Pause and Silence
Tuesday 4 February 2020 | 2-3.30pm
What is the difference between pause and silence, and what role do they play in everyday communication? Join us to collectively take a breath and explore pause, silence and the different ways they impact conversation and social interaction.
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