An embodied tour led by Jack Gray
Nau mai haere mai whakatau mai ra.
Welcome to this space.
Ko Jack Gray taku ingoa.
Ko kaikanikani ahau.
My name is Jack Gray and I am a dancer.
This Audio Move experience has been co-created in collaboration with Yana from Papaya Stories.
We are pleased to share this 20-minute experience with you as part of Te Whāinga: A Culture Lab on Civility at Silo Park. Acknowledging the support of co-presenters Tamaki Paenga Hira, the Auckland Museum and Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Centre.
Take a moment to connect within.
Let’s start with our feet.
Step your feet hip width apart and place your hands down by your sides.
I want you to breathe in through the nose, and out through the mouth.
HONGI – breath in…
PUHAA – breath out…
Ano, lets do this again.
HONGI – breath in…
PUHAA – breath out…
I want you to put your hands on your hips. Stand with mana, authority, let your shoulders be strong, your backbone connecting from your tailbone to your head. Lift your chin and notice the fullness of your presence. If you need to make space for other people, trust yourself to navigate that easefully and naturally.
I’m going to ask you to put your attention into your feet. Have a sense of your weight. Is it more on the balls of your feet, or on your heels? See if you can centre yourself so your weight is evenly distributed.
I want you to lift your toes. Take a big breath in and out.
Release your toes to the earth, to Papatuanuku, The Earth Mother.
We are going to bend our knees, slightly tracking our knee joints directly over the toes. Bend for two counts, and straighten for two counts. Let’s do that again. Ki raro (go down) TAHI RUA and ki runga (go upwards) TAHI RUA.
Let’s put our hands by our sides. I want you to WIRI your hands. It is a trembling motion, quick sharp vibrations. Some say the wiri comes from the wind blowing through trees.
We will now raise our arms directly in front of our chest, KIA WIRI – keep trembling the hands. Feel the energy this brings. This energy is called IHI.
Let’s put the hands on our hips again and repeat the words after me.
Korero mai. Speak after me.
One more time.
Ihi is your inner fire, it is an energy that is created from within.
Speaking of within, how about we explore our own standing place – our Turangawaewae.
Say with me.
Means to stand, position, situation, site
Leg, foot, footprint
Altogether, I want you to stamp your right foot. I’ll count you in.
Let’s do that again.
Ka pai, very good.
Now that we have activated our tinana, our body, and our breath, and connected to Papatuanuku, I want us to consider our footprint and standing place, or turangawaewae.
I’m going to give you a provocation.
You will look for a piece of chalk on the floor by the wall.
I want you to find a space to draw, it could be on the wall, or the floor, somewhere in this vicinity.
I’m going to invite you to make some marks. It could be a drawing, of a place, a feeling you associate your standing place with. Where is your turangawaewae? What does it look like, feel like, remind you of? Is it a maunga, a mountain, an awa, a river? Did you travel by waka, or canoe? Do you know your ancestor’s names?
I’m going to play a short piece of music, and give you time to start drawing, mark making and sharing a part of yourself and what you identify with. There is no right or wrong.
Are you ready?
[2 minute breakout]
Wow, nice drawings! Love the colour and some of those images there. Tino Ataahua! Beautiful.
Ok, so now we have created our foundation for our journey ahead, we are free to move out of one of three doorways.
Point to the North facing door. Tokerau.
Point to the East facing door. Rāwhiti.
Point to the South facing door. Taitonga.
You can leave your belongings here with the guide, but you must take your iphone with you.
Point to any one of the doors, and on my word, you can commence.
Haere ki mua, go forth.
I want you to go for a quick journey through the silo spaces, and think about the energy we created in the standing place. We want to share this breath, and consciousness, so walk tall, effortlessly, and gracefully. Choose a pace that matches your internal rhythms. Connect to the beat of your heart. Listen deeper. Whakarongo.
You are on your own journey, yet there are people around. Don’t be afraid to look at people in the face as you move around, not in an overt way, but just taking their humanity into your gaze.
You can go anywhere you want in the silos. Be mindful of the people you pass, and navigate accordingly.
I want you to now choose a spot, somewhere private to stop.
It could be by a wall, hidden, or in view. You might want to lean against the wall, or sit by an object. Whatever you do decide, make it purposeful, quiet and unapologetic. It’s not to obstruct or cause a stir, but just to explore the different ways we can be in space.
Now, as the place and what you do in it reveals itself to you, concentrate again on your breath.
I want you to now get your phone ready to take a photo.
This photo can be of anything. But it must be something that catches your eye and draws you into a contemplative moment.
Maybe you want to express an emotion.
Maybe you see something, like your shadow on the wall. Or maybe it is a self-timer photo that you place on the other side of the room. I’m going to give you 60 seconds to take the photo.
30 more seconds….
And now that we have ended, you are going to return immediately to the standing place, where we began the tour.
You will see your guide with a table for your phone. Choose your best photo and place your phone on the table.
What can you see?
Everyone in the world sees something different, we each have a unique perspective and we embody that daily. It is important to remember this, and also to notice that with diversity is also universality.
As a dancer, I work within the intangible realms a lot.
My body feels different day to day, and my memories inform my future. Thinking back to the marks you made on the wall, did you connect that imprint to your photo? Isn’t it an amazing thing to capture a moment, as fleeting as it is?
When we combine our inner energies together, we create wehi. The feeling of connection, impulses that respond to each other. Look as we respond to the space around us and our inner world.
Pick up your phone now.
It’s time to go for a journey to the outer world. Let’s do this safely.
Follow your guide out of the silo, exiting to the concrete below. There are access elevators if you require, otherwise it’s a simple walk down the stairs .
Lets listen to a track of music as we do this. Oh and you’ll need a piece of chalk for later, so make sure you have one in hand.
Haere tonu, let’s move ahead!
[2 minute breakout]
Point to the bridge crossings. Choose one to cross. When you get to the centre of it, stop. Take a 360-degree turn.
What do you see?
Your next experience is a 2-minute slow motion travelling movement pathway. Follow your guide for starting and end directions.
Le’ts move slowly across the space.
Ko Ranginui, the Skyfather is above. Slowly move your arms upwards, Ki runga. As you’re moving forward, can you feel the wind of Tawhirimatea? Does it curl or gust upon your arms? Can your body wave and respond similarly? A twirl, maybe. Be slow.
Keep making your way forward, ki mua. Now explore the way our feet will move. Perhaps you can think about tiptoeing, or maybe you can do short little runs and freeze just for a moment. Play with the speed of time.
Sometimes I like to walk backwards, it makes me aware of the back space. Lead with your spine. Look left, look right, look up, look down. Curve.
Maybe touch a part of your body, your forehead, or maybe touch the ground, or someone else’s arm? Do so gently.
I want you to be in time with the space around you. Is it fast or slow or in between? Can you connect your breath to these movements?
You have reached your final destination.
Look out and connect to Tangaroa, the Ocean.
Every day is different, sometimes sunny, sometimes rainy, sometimes grey. Nothing is constant, and yet all things are continuous. Overlapping and fluid.
Wai, water, is necessary to life. It separates and connects. It allows things to flow. And with life, comes death, and the portals to other places, realities, and understandings.
Have you stood on other shores, other distant lands, islands, continents?
I always love to soak my feet in the moana, feeling the temperature of the water gives me an idea of how close I am to home. Our ocean climate is cold here, it is brisk and filled with mauri. Energy, currents.
To me, water speaks of cleansing and clearing. I’d like to teach you a waiata, as our last thing together. Don’t be shy, it’s just me and you.
Waiata mai. Sing with me.
Let’s do a call and response. I’ll go, then you go. OK?
Ko puna o
Hoe ano ra
E haere mai ai
Ko te ara
Thank so much for singing this blessing for me. Think of a wish you want to send out to the moana and beyond, and use your wiri activate it across the waves, trembling your fingers towards the water to send it on its way.
Meet your guide and spend the last minute together writing something or drawing on the concrete to conclude. Do you have a word or feeling to express?
Thank you so much for embodying this journey. Together we have travelled from our inner world to our outer world.
Let’s take one more breath before we take our headphones off.