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Skidmore College

Tang offers unique way to unwind, revitalize

February 29, 2016
SoundMind workshop photo
Sound meditation workshops involve listening

Need to unwind and revitalize at the end of the day?

On Thursday, March 3, head over to the Tang Museum at 5 p.m. for SoundMind, the second in a series of sound meditation workshops led by Skidmore professor Adam Tinkle inside the exhibition Liz Collins–Energy Field. The two-hour experience is free and open to all who wear comfortable clothes, bring an open mind, and are willing to vocalize.

“There is something really great about unwinding in close proximity with strangers,” says Tinkle, noting that the experience involves touching, listening, and producing vocal sound.

A lecturer in both documentary studies and arts administration, Tinkle explains that SoundMind draws on “a small but influential tradition of people working in music, performance art, visual art, and dance who thought about infusing mindfulness practices—things like meditation and yoga—into their artistic practices, to see how that influenced their thinking about movement, voice, and attention.”

Tinkle guides the experience with text scores—his own and those of other artists—that work as simple instructions for vocalizing with others and producing something beautiful. “I’m interested in ways of forming community,” he says, “of overcoming our natural tendency in this day and age toward individuation, all being in our own space and on our own phones. Using our voices together in the same space is a powerful reminder that we have the option of being together.”

Museum educator Megan Hyde, who is curating the series, notes its focus on “a creative wellness practice—ways that we can activate our bodies and our minds through listening and vocalizing”—which makes Energy Field an ideal setting. Designed by artist Liz Collins, Energy Field is the first in a Tang series inviting artists to imagine what a museum community space can be. Her space is designed to revitalize the lounger or visitor through color, shape, and texture, including exploding supernovas on the ceiling, chevrons on the wall, and stripes on the floor, offset by plush carpeting, raining yarn, and upholstered furniture.

“I really love the piece,” says Tinkle. “The whole space is comfortable, and part of what I do is helping people achieve a kind of comfort in their bodies and their senses that they can use as a jumping-off point. Every aspect of what I share is mobile; you can use it in your music career or yoga practice or sports or daily walk.”

He admits, “like many things at the Tang, SoundMind relies on an understanding that it’s OK to get a little weird” and engage with art in mind-expanding ways. “The Tang excels at providing visitors with that expectation,” he says, and as a result, “everybody who came to the first workshop was totally ready to get down with it.”

After the March 3 session, the final SoundMind workshop will take place at the Tang on Thursday, April 7, from 5 to 7 p.m.

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