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Sensory athletics


Thinking about the body from the inside
Thinking about space from the body

This workshop aimed to create an awareness of the own body's special characteristics, and understand the connection between "spaces and movements", was held in conjunction with the "minimum interface" exhibition.
Our body is composed of many different parts. While the functions and mechanisms of the single parts have been resolved, it remains largely unexplained how the different parts work together and display movements of the body as a whole.

In this workshop, obstacles in the form of elastic strings are set up in a flat and empty environment. By throwing their bodies into these bands, participants experienced in a direct manner how the body responds to exterior impulse. Through objective observation and analysis of such response, the workshop promoted logical thinking/judgment integrated with new awareness and development of our well familiar yet at once still partly unknown bodily senses.


Sensory Athletic (YCAM original workshop)

Dialogue through transforming environments and bodies


Sensory Athletic (YCAM original workshop)

Dialogue through transforming environments and bodies

Workshop details
Duration: 4 hours
Number of participants: 10
Age group: Fourth grade elementary students up to adults

Workshop program
(1) About the workshop
(2) Warm-up exercise
(3) Understanding space
(4) Athletics (1st round)
(5) Sharing impressions
(6) Athletics (2nd round)
(7) Presentation
(8) Sharing impressions
(9) Wrap-up

Elastic Strings
Elastic strings are put up in a grid pattern at intervals of 50 centimeters on the floor and ceiling. The resulting space is subsequently transformed by bundling or crossing these strings, or setting up additional ones in horizontal direction to produce partitions of sorts.

Athletics (1st round)
In the first round of "athletics", participants form pairs, determine an entrance and exit of the space defined by the elastic strings, and play a game in which both take turns slipping through the spatial construct. As soon as either one of the pair manages to get through the maze without touching a string, the elastic strings are bundled and new ones added to make course increasingly complex and harder for the next person to get through.

As the game demands movements that are different from how the participants normally move their bodies, the exercise gradually stimulates their bodily senses. With increasing difficulty level, the mesh of lines and fields generated by the elastic strings emerges as a three-dimensional indicator of the scales and movements of the participants' bodies, observing which helps the participants develop an objective view of their own bodies' characteristic features.

Athletics (2nd round)
In the second round, a chair is placed along the route through the maze. Participants now repeatedly try to master the course with the addition of such ordinary businesses as sitting on this chair, and get smoothly from entrance to exit. In this special environment with limited mobility, the body movements required for such ordinary actions are defamiliarized, which exposes the participants' body sensations to additional impulse. Different from the first round, this time the space's configuration itself remains unaltered as the participants try to make their way through it time and again, so the participants naturally make their bodies memorize the environmental setting without consciously responding to changing conditions.
Ultimately, at a point when the participants have learned to move smoothly through the maze, the lighting switches to spotlights as used in stage performances, and the participants show their newly developed skills one by one in a presentation-like style. During these performances, every now and then the spectators witness the potential of keen beauty that is hidden in the movements displayed.
Through these two rounds of athletics, the participants realize how the human body adapts to exterior impulse, and learn methods of observing that process from the outside.
Tour Information
  • November 9 - 10, 2013 Kids Design Exhibition
    Venue: Niigata Science Musem (Niigata)

  • August 12, 2013 Venue: Ube IZUTSUYA (Yamaguchi)

  • November 3 - 4, 2012 Kids Workshop Carnival in Ishinomaki
    Venue: Ishinomaki Ookaidou Elementary School (Miyagi)


Organized by:

  • Yamaguchi City Foundation for Cultural Promotion

In association with:

  • Yamaguchi City
  • Yamaguchi City Board of Education

Co-developed with

  • YCAM InterLab

Produced by:

  • Yamaguchi Center for Arts and Media [YCAM]
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