Melbourne reflections


“Seeing reflections in a Rorschach test indicates an intellectual mind,” said Joe Kiraly, as we walked along the Yarra river this morning.

William Fox saw Scott’s inner journey to the Pole reflected in his shaving mirror.

When people tell me things that are strongly connected to physical experiences, I can remember them more easily.

“You know more through the body”, Joe said, and we kept walking.


My first walk with Simon Pockley was through a park near the Melbourne Zoo. I had asked him to be my supervisor, and this was our first meeting. He was talking about knowledge, and the interfaces through which we can access it.

Suddenly he stopped and stamped his foot on the ground. “This is a repository of knowledge”, (or words to that effect). His stamping gesture turned this idea into an experience, and I imagined what traces of past events the earth held.

Walking further, he told me the story of the Gwion Gwion – a story of ancient Aboriginal knowledge embedded in the land, and passed on through the arts and rituals of its people (the land’s people).

I ‘heard’ this story through my whole body. The feeling had started with the stamping, and continued through our walk and talk. It reached a climax as the story ended, when we reached the book, Gwion Gwion (Doring, J. 2000), in the Museum Victoria bookshop. Simon showed me pictures of everything he’d told me.


The Rorschach test assumes the philosophy of Immanuel Kant.

In his book, Philosophy you can use: Ideas of the world’s greatest thinkers – and how you can use them in your daily life (2000 p.4), Rob Siedle wrote that Kant believed that:

we, as humans, have special “moulds”, or faculties, in our minds, and that we use these to interpret and understand the things we see and hear.

Reality is a different experience for everyone.


The ancient cultures knew about exhausting resources, they had learnt the lesson that you couldn’t take endlessly from the earth.

Leslie Cannold, Melbourne Weekly, Jan 14-20 2008


Further thoughts for expansion:

That “path dependency” (Wikipedia definition), interpreted from a psychological perspective, is reflected in individual “movement signatures” (Laban) and cultural behaviours.

The relationship between path dependency and “repetition compulsion” (Freud)

Acting at the point of balance, or Golden Mean (Euclid, Aristotle, Pythagoras), between repetition compulsion and the “disruptive narrative” (Roslyn Crisp, Michael Buckley), and between ideas (thoughts) and feelings (gesture).

Recognizing, accepting and developing movement signature as adaptive behaviour.

Recognizing uncertainty as part of my own movement signature.

Acknowledging the certainty of one’s path, defined in early childhood.

Embodying all possible qualities within one’s individual movement signature can erase one’s sense of identity. Reference the actor who can play the role of any person but himself: Alec Guinness, in the film Kind Hearts and Coronets (Hamer, 1949 [the year I was born]).

Chance and determinism in the development of our paths.

The relationship between Rorschach and Henri Bergson.

“Draw, Antonio, draw.” (Michaelangelo)


Literature to follow up:


Somatic awareness as a source of knowledge:

Martha Eddy, CMA, RSMT, Ed.D.

Martha Eddy, CMA, RSMT, Ed.D. is Director of the Center for Kinesthetic Education in NYC and Director of the SOMAction Movement Therapy Training affiliated with Moving On Center in Oakland CA.


The Need for “Social Somatics:” Somatic disciplines are those systems of study that view physical reality and specific bodily or even cellular awareness as a source of knowledge, usually to be gained through touch, movement, and imagery as processes of embodiment. Somatic experience focuses on self-awareness and tends to be internal and indulging in time, occurring in a “neutral” environment. This century’s use of the term “somatic” (as a model of holism derived from bodily wisdom), was intended by early thinkers (e.g., Thomas Hanna, Don Hanlon Johnson, John Vasconcellos) to also be applied to external action and social change. Hanna (1984) defined somatic study as a study of the living body existing in relationship to at least five somatic assumptions. One such assumption regards “somatic ecology” in which the soma demonstrates interdependence with the environment, “social as well as physical” (p.34). This talk will focus on somatic movement disciplines, especially as applied to dance, and their role in world interchange.


Leslie Bishko suggests that character animators can achieve more authentic human movement by attending to the principles of Laban Movement Analysis (LMA).

Bishko argues the important point that LMA, unlike the traditional animation principles of Walt Disney (Illusion of Life, Johnston & Thomas, 1981)

… possesses the link between how people move and what their movement communicates to others.

The Uses and abuses of cartoon style animation (2007)
Animation Studies
On-line peer reviewed journal

This paper has a three-fold objective:

1. To observe how cartoon style animation imposes limitations on what animators create and how they express through movement within the genre.
2. To demonstrate that LMA is a useful methodology towards understanding the impact that cartoon style has made on animation.
3. To introduce the terminology of LMA so that it can be referenced and applied to the creation and discussion of animation by artists and theorists…

While the Disney animators were defining Animation Principles and conducting frame-by-frame action analysis, Rudolf Laban was giving birth to expressionist dance in Europe, developing Labanotation, a notation system for human movement, and planting the seeds for what has today evolved into Laban Movement Analysis (LMA). Laban intuitively understood aspects of the body/mind connection that have become hot topics among cognitive scientists, somatic practitioners, psychoanalysts, athletes, dancers and actors alike. Together with his students and collaborators, he was able to distill the ingredients that are part of all movement patterns, formulating a rich and robust movement language that has withstood the rigors of broad applicability. LMA is a language that applies to all living beings, which, for our purposes, certainly includes animated characters. LMA provides a conceptual framework through which we can observe, describe and interpret the intentionality of movement. It possesses one key attribute that the Animation Principles are without – the link between how people move and what their movement communicates to others.

Leslie Bishko is an experimental animator, Certified Laban Movement Analyst and Associate Professor of Animation at Emily Carr Institute of Art+Design+Media. Her computer animated film, Gasping for Air, won 6 awards at major international festivals. Leslie integrates the rich movement theories of Laban Movement Analysis (LMA) with her art and teaching, towards creating expressive movement in computer animation. Her research investigates movement styles in animation, and the use of animated imagery for LMA studies. Lectures and workshops on Laban for Animators include the Montreal International Game Summit, Game Developers Conference, Radical Entertainment, Microsoft/Xbox Sports, Surreal Software, Laban/Bartenieff Institute for Movement Studies, International Council of Kinetography Laban, Society for Animation Studies.


In an age that is increasingly focusing on whole systems rather than a Cartesian split into separated parts, it is perhaps inevitable that the broad field of data provided by the human body and its movements will be increasingly incorporated into therapeutic settings.

Andrew Wells in Psychotherapy and Politics International 5(3): 230–231 (2007), quoted at