Moving Surfaces I

Moving surfaces: water and the notion of flow.

The ancient philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus (530-470 BC) perceived  water as a state of flow and constant change, as becomes clear in his following epigram:‘We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not’ (B49a).

In this passage Heraclitus states that we can’t step into the same river twice. This is because the river is constantly changing. We step into the river and  we step out of it again. If we step a second time in the water, we step into a different water and river. The river constantly flows and is changed by its own course. 

I am specifically interested in the relationship between dance/movement and flow. I  use water as a metaphor for being connected. Flow is here considered as ‘a dynamic state—the holistic sensation that people feel when they act with total involvement…as a unified flowing from one movement to the next….in which there is little distinction between self and the environment, between stimulus and response, or between past, present and future’ (Csikszentmihalyi, 1975, p. 36). The flow is uninterrupted, it is a continuous motion that, just like a river, never returns or meanders back to itself. The river travels over ground, it is restless and restfulness at once.

River and sea photography is shown here to explore the notion of flow.

Photography: Benjamin Scheers, Carolien Hermans
Photo editing: Carolien Hermans

Amsterdam (The Netherlands), The Azores, Lisseuil (France), Wittering Beach (England), Wijk aan Zee (The Netherlands)


Here is a quote of Luce Irigaray that resonates well with my oceanic feeling.

‘And the sea can shed shimmering scales indefinitely. Her depths peel off into innumerable thin, shining layers. And each one is the equal of the other as it catches a reflection and lets it go. As it preserves and blurs. As it captures the glinting play of light. As it sustains mirages. Multiple and far too numerous for the pleasure of the eye, which is lost in the host of sparkling surfaces. And with no end in sight. . . . And whoever looks upon her from the overhanging bank finds there a call somewhere further than the farthest far. Toward an other ever more other. Beyond any anchorage yet imaginable’ (Irigaray, 1991, 46-7).