Monday, January 7, 2008

"Where Am I?" (aka The Best Hour of Radio I've Heard in Ages)

On my walk to work today, I listened to an episode of Radio Lab (my favorite NPR show, completely addictive) from 2006 called "Where Am I?" The entire hour is great, recommended listening for anyone interested in the body's relationship to space and the communication between the brain and body about location and movement. But one segment, "The Butcher's Assistant" (about 15 minutes), will especially appeal to dancers, notators, anyone who analyzes movement. It's about a man who, at age 19, lost his ability to detect the location of his body parts (a sense called proprioception, similar to kinesthesia). For a while, he lost his ability to move. But, in time, he regained it. What's fascinating is how: he discovered that with self-observation and great concentration, he could control his body (sort of like Patrick Swayze in Ghost!). But he can do this only when he can see himself. Which means he can't do it in the dark. (Which means he's left his lights on all night long for over a decade!)

Hearing him talk about how he analyzes movement and body position is fascinating. He mentally breaks down movement into its components and thinks through each component -- not dissimilar to what notators do.

I guarantee you'll like it.

Here's a link to the show. (If you only want to listen to this one segment, scroll down to "The Butcher's Assistant.")

And here's a link to Pride and a Daily Marathon, a book written about the man by his doctor.

No comments: