Embodied Earth: Soft Clay//Hard Play

21 Sep 24
Gail Mahon

Saturday 21 September 2024, 1–3pm

Join artist-researcher Gail Mahon for an immersive workshop that blends playful interactions with gravity and clay. This workshop asks how we can realign our movement with Earth through reflexive memories composed of our bone ecology. Gail invites you to rethink your connection to earth minerals, guided by intuitive embodied knowledge.

During this workshop, clay and soil serve as the material lens to amplify the feeling of darkened somatic spaces with modes of non-verbal communication. This aims to help navigate and orient whole-body sensitivities to rhythms, repetitions, cycles, touch, and forces within the skeletal landscape. 

You will move through processes of improvisation, proprioceptive sensing through touching, carrying, balancing, weight sharing, and sculpting space to formulate unique expression of intensive play to locate moments of stillness and bodily communication. The group’s movements will combine throughout the session to form a living landscape, emphasising a shared commonality to minerals, clay and renewed perspectives excavated from sources of the ground.

Gail will share insights from her multidisciplinary PhD research investigating the skeleton as site for ecological exchange, an ecosomatic response to sedentary culture. Her approach invites you to interact with clay and earth minerals, deepening your care for health connected the integrity of a living networks with the more-than-human world. Join us to explore, create, and reconnect in this workshop.

You can book your place for this free workshop via our online shop here. Everyone is welcome, movements are adaptive and scalable to include most people and diverse needs, suitable to those aged 18 and above. This is a Public Programme event for Strata.

EMBODIED EARTH Workshop, Gail Mahon

NOTE: Images will be taken throughout the workshop, if you do not want to have your image taken, or contributing the documentation, please advise Gail at the beginning of the workshop.

Please wear comfortable loose clothing to move, they may get some clay them. Wear plain colours or small print, no logos or text if possible. You will be also asked to be barefoot for the workshop. Bringing a towel or change of clothing would be advised.
There will be a maximum of twelve people in the session.

Gail Mahon is a Northern Irish artist-researcher and movement educator, who explores location as embodied histories through temporal interactions between the environment, place, and people over time. Her research focuses on the unseen geologies and layered timescales found in the earth, mountains, and crystalline minerals of bone articulated by changes in human behaviour and evolving social conditions. This medium informs her visual and material lens through ceramics and clay studies, capturing slow states in film and images or performative actions. Her projects include fieldwork such as clay foraging, soil chromatography, and creating ephemeral sculptures, films, and soundscapes; emerging from the interplay between somatics and scientific inquiry derived through movement ecology.

Gail is currently a PhD Researcher in Ceramics studying Mineral and Cultural Compositions of the Moving Skeleton at Ulster University. She was awarded the Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Scholarship (AHRC) connected to multidisciplinary areas of Bioarchaeology at Durham University. A graduate of The Royal College of Art, 2015, has since developed collaborative and socially engage practices as an extension of her cultural programming projects as founding artist of the C.A.A.K.E. project (2016-2020). Her works have been exhibited internationally, including Italy, China, London and venues around Ireland. Additionally, her time supports working with local organisations connected to Derry City as artist-in-residence with Art Arcadia (2018 & 2023) and an active board member of ECHO ECHO Dance Theatre Company.