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  • Writer's pictureYorgos Karamalegos

An insight to Tatiana's Residency on Andrei Tarkovsky.

My dear Labbers.

In this article, you'll find Tatiana's recorded words from the first day of the 6-day Andrei Tarkovsky Residency in Paris, which took place last week.

Journey with her as she sets the tone for a transformative week to a group of passionate Labber artists, and don't forget that Tatiana will be in London for a three-day Physical Lab intensive from November 10th to 12th 2023!

Thank you - once again - Geoffrey Posada Serguier, for your spectacular photography.


Tatiana Spivakova,

Monday 30th of October 2023

‘We started this lab with an open discussion about the ethos of the lab’s work, its tools and grammar, but most importantly how the methodology is constantly moving, evolving, growing. I shared with them where I was with my own research, my quest for embodying presence, and where this whole inquiry came from, originally. I believe it’s always important to find ways to rephrase and deconstruct everything our methodology is about, not only when i’m opening the lab’s ethos to new labbers, but also for everyone - myself included, because the more I grow, the more I learn, the more I find new ways to tell our Physical lab story.

After this discussion around presence, embodiment, deconditioning, and all the tools rooted in our body, I shared with the group all the magical crossovers of Tarkovsky’s work and the Physical Lab’s work. How enlightening it is when you realise that your own inquiries and inspirations, mirror so wonderfully the ones pursued by an artist you admire for ages…!

Tarkovsky was always searching for truth in everything he created, he would say that an artist is « good only when he’s honest ».

But then, what does it really mean to be honest, how well do we need to understand ourselves, in order to be true ? I believe it is one of the trickiest questions ever, to truly understand how we feel, because it’s never one thing or the other, but everything at the same time.

(We also questioned the meaning of understanding and how it implied to « embrace the meaning of something », to receive ourselves and the world, to believe in how it makes you feel, from the deepest inside and out, as the only real Truth is under your skin… ! )

Tarkovsky gives a lot of importance to his childhood, as he believes it’s the first and foremost source of inspiration for creativity. No wonder his first movie « Ivan’s Childhood » is such a masterpiece… also the power of innocence, naiveness, the figure of the child, is present in every movie he made.

We then collectively raised that question for ourselves, as the first inquiry of our research :

« What elements of my childhood (memories, images, sensations…) are a source of inspiration to my creativity today ? » and I invited us to let ourselves write, without judgement, the first thing that comes to mind.

All the questions we raised, followed us through the six days of exploration and opened so many paths of insightful enlightening reflexions…

We also spoke a lot about the importance of dreaming as a source of creativity, the subconscious activity, the inner landscapes, the new borderless geography it creates, in the universe of Tarkovsky as much as in the Physical Lab’s methodology. As Tarkovsky is known to be an architect of dreams, I think this is what makes his movies so mesmerizing and it’s probably one of the reasons why his movies travel through generations, through time and space, because the purpose of his stories is not to understand from a logic point of view, but really about letting yourself feel and receive, letting your mind travel through sensations, and thus, I think he’s a master for transforming us into a more sensitive receptor not only as an audience member, but also a human being.

So here, once again, the question was, how does it make me feel? Diving deeper in our discussions around The Stalker through this question, it raised beautiful reflections around everyone’s unique interpretation of the story, and how all the main themes of the movie resonated in everyones’ spirit : Faith, Purpose, Unknown and most importantly - in Tarkovsky’s words - Human Dignity and/or Human’s search for Dignity, and how much all of these themes were rooted in our ability to Love.

Also, I wanted to share with them all the discoveries I made in my research about how Tarkovsky has shot the movie and how many obstacles he had to face in order to make it possible. In his journal, he writes about it, as one of the most challenging movies he has ever made, with all his hopes crushing one after the other, with disasters that made him start again from the beginning three times (after filming almost the entirety of the movie twice), cuts of budget, change of crew.. And yet, he speaks about his « urge to create when everything is collapsing ». I though this call for holding on to our craft, to what we believe in the most, to our purpose in telling and sharing stories, was such an important reminder, especially today.

So I raised a new question to the group, asking them : « What is it that I need to create, what story do I want to tell to the world, facing the current chaos ? »

In his book « Sculpting in time », speaking about the Stalker, Tarkovsky writes that he’s tired and pissed off about everyones' theories around what the zones means. He ends ups by saying « The Zone doesn't symbolize anything .(…) The Zone is the Zone. The Zone is Life. And the human being that goes through it either breaks or holds on. All depends on the feeling he has about his own dignity, and his capacity to discern what’s essential from what isn’t. »

Our primary talk was intense, deep and necessary, and before we started connecting to our bodies and searching for the core resonance of all of these elements in our flesh, skin, and bones, I invited the group to let go of any expectation, of any idea or anticipation that they might have about this exploration we were embarking on, (as I would do the same), because nothing ever goes as planned… So we better have fun with this deep dive into the unknown and start creating our own zone of mysteries and possibilities.’

Join Tatiana Spivakova on her final workshop for this year!

This weekend in London, 10-12 of November.

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