Susan Sentler
The Liquid Architecture of Bodily Folding


Bodily folding, which includes enfolding and unfolding as points of en-trance and departure or pathways that change spatial navigation through and with a particular material, matter or substance, could be seen as the baseline state of being within the continuum of action. Biologically, enfolding nurtures the self. It is a form of nest building, a fractal development of an internal structure, a deepening with the self. Unfolding, on the other hand, opens to the world. Unfolding is readi-ness, structural stability and creative mobility. It’s movement beyond the self. In this interview, Susan Sentler, dancer, choreographer and multidisciplinary artist, discusses folding as a cellular, bodily and geological practice as well as a form of somatic intelligibility.

Natasha Lushetich:

You’ve been using what you refer to as “folding” in dance improvisation and choreography for some time now. For G.W. Leibniz, the “fold” is not only the matter but also the grammar of the universe. It’s how the universe moves. Planes and surfaces that were once unimaginably distant in space and time are folded and re-folded together, until they come to form dense territorial, temporal and material configurations we refer to as “the world.” Writing three centuries later, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari rearticulate the fold as an exis-tential refrain. 1 With its obvious reference to music as a form of temporal and af-fective organization, an existential refrain is an emplacement, an investment of energy, and a patterning.

In the instructions for the folding sessions you do with Glenna Batson we read:

Looking at the sheet draped over the chair
Lying on the back
Noticing the landscape underneath, folding and reverse folding of the landscape of your own being meeting the floor, the positive space of the contact, the negative space and the continuity of what is behind – what touches and what sequences from the touch to its reverse [...]. Noticing the river across the top of the foot, the flow into the depth of th eye so that each eye finds a deep inner curvature in which to rest the retina, taking the inner self, the part of the brain that sees the world, back into itself, into the gyri of th floating brain, soft, full of deep clefts and inner folding.

1 Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, trans. Brian Massumi, (London: Continuum, 2004): 343.