‘When I slam my body into a wall, I know that it’s there’

‘When I slam my body into a wall, I know that it’s there’

Facilitating Intimacy

Paper & Digital Workshop facilitator – Kristina Johnstone (Pretoria, SA)

– Session and Q&A facilitated by Sarahleigh Castelyn (London, UK)


This presentation reflects on the facilitation of embodied practice in a virtual space of teaching, learning and creation, specifically looking at ways of facilitating touch and the importance of creating moments of synchronicity (shared time). The presentation takes the form of an online movement workshop combined with a paper presentation. 

When working without the touch of another (human) being, I explore how the affordances of environment and surfaces can facilitate a feedback loop for the sounding body in motion. Drawing from my experiences of facilitating embodied practice for a diverse group of Drama students at the University of Pretoria, and the discourses and practices of Karen Barad (2003;2012), Brian Massumi (1995; 2014), Erin Manning (2009;2014), Tetsuro Fukuhara (2018; 2021) and Tossie van Tonder (2021) among others, I search for techniques (Spatz, 2020) that may structure embodied practice in spaces of isolation and in times where notions of continuity and discontinuity are ruptured. Some of the techniques/principles that emerge include witnessing (which includes the camera lens becoming an agent), the sharing of (real) time, affordance, tone, pressure and feedback. I also note how it is the absence of synchronicity, the absence of shared time, which creates and entrenches exclusion. How can embodied practice continue to articulate an ethics/aesthetics for performance when forced into digital realms? 

In the workshop, we used available surfaces (a wall is recommended or a steady table, armchair, or other surfaces) to explore possibilities for movement and sound. 

Biography: Kristina Johnstone

Kristina Johnstone is a Belgian-South African dance artist and teacher. She has been a guest lecturer at the University of Cape Town School of Dance and the Makerere University Department of Performing Arts and Film (Kampala, Uganda). She is currently working on an artistic PhD research project at the Wits School of Arts and is a lecturer in Movement and Physical Theatre at the University of Pretoria, School of the Arts: Drama.