Body|Mass Series > Body|Mass|Optimism

Body|Mass Optimism
Audio Clip

My body is your body is everybody is nobody: temperature, pressure, texture, and time
My flesh is your flesh
My skin is your skin
This is about touch and time
About body pressure, temperature, and texture
My body is offered as an affirmation and dissolution of the self. I could be any body, my skin, any skin.

This is the offering of contact with a body and the opportunity to see the evidence of that interaction in gold as a reminder that we are all stardust and that this contact, this moment, and this body are fleeting. We are all made of the same organic matter and will return to the stardust from which we came. We are a collection of selves in a shared environment with individual experiences that over time make up the whole of our lives. The embodied self is the pinnacle of our physical existence. I do not offer spectacle, but my time, my heat, and my body are yours.

My body is your body is everybody is nobody: Temperature, pressure, texture, and time

My is flesh before you ready to receive yours. What will you do with your touch? Will you caress me? Squeeze me? Kiss me? Slap me? How do you want to see that touch, that moment marked on my body? Will you close your eyes? Or affix your gaze with mine? Will you approach from the back or meet me straight on?

Touch is democratic and universal. We are all born with an inherent instinct for touch. Our first movements after we are born find us reaching out for touch, grasping objects, and puckering our lips to nurse.

A caress is a common form of touch. It can be described in terms of stroking, fondling, brushing, petting, and nuzzling.
What does it mean to caress someone?
To brush their skin?
To linger across a body?
Would it be full of love or lust?
Be soft or dominating?
Would it be aggressive;
made to sting or burn?
Why would you be caressing this person?
Do they need comfort?
Human contact?
Or do you?
What would be your relationship to this person?
Why would you want (or would you even want) to touch them?
What part of their body would call out to you?
Would you have them touch you back?
What would your mark look like?
Would I be able to discern each and every fingerprint?
Would you cover large swathes of my body or confine your caress to a small area?

My body is your body is everybody is nobody
This is about temperature, pressure, texture, and time

Touch is defined as the sensations we feel due to stimulation of the skin by mechanical, chemical, or electrical events. Fundamentally, what we call touch is a sensory system to process the world through encounters with temperature, pressure, and texture. Touch receptors exist primarily in the skin, our visco-elastic bodysuit. It is our physical sense of self. We know our external world by assessing what we can ‘feel’, be it the shoes on our feet, the warmth of the sun on our cheeks, or the pressure of our bodies connecting with that of another.

Our bodies exist in a constant state of touch. We are always experiencing and reacting to our world through our nerve endings whether we are conscious of it or not.
The arrow to time is how we measure our lives. Time is an important factor in our understandings of relationships and touch.

My body is your body is everybody is nobody
This is about temperature, pressure, texture, and time

Squeezing a body is all about exerting pressure from at least two points of contact
I often envision a vise being used to hold an object in place, adjusted to the correct pressure to hold the object stable while force is exerted on it
Squeezing then becomes an act of stabilization as well as pressure
Why do we squeeze each other?
The most common form might be the hug. We wrap our arms around each other and an press our bodies together. We mutually squeeze, exerting force on each other.
Studies have shown that long hugs are good for emotional wellbeing. Hugging a friend for thirty seconds can release endorphins and produce a feeling of calm. Our bodies need the exchange of pressure from those we feel affections toward.
Squeezing a body can serve many functions: We squeeze a shoulder to offer comfort, we squeeze a hand to offer connection. We squeeze an arm to stop movement. We squeeze the waist to convey sexual attraction.
Hugs use the whole body to squeeze. Most common squeezes utilize the whole hand. But to squeeze with two fingers is often referred to as a pinch.
We pinch people for all kinds of reasons: to alert them, to flirt, to baby them (think of all the grandparents and aunts who pinched your cheeks growing up) A pinch is simply a hyper-localized intensive squeeze.
Your intent when squeezing a body is not only informed by location but by method.

My body is your body is everybody is nobody
This is about temperature, pressure, texture, and time

How would you squeeze me and for what reason?
Would you start with a hug? Pressing your body around mine. Where would your points of pressure be? Would i feel in in your hands, your biceps? Would your torso touch mine? Your hips?
Would you squeeze my shoulders? My forearms?
Would you linger long enough to feel my muscles react under the weight of your pressure? Wait to feel a knot move out of the way allowing you to press deeper?
Would you go for soft tissue or where bone is closer to the surface?
What would it feel like to you to feel my body release into your pressure?

When was the last time you were squeezed? Hugged? Felt another body’s weight against yours? How did you react?
Would this inform how you would interact with me?
Would you try to comfort me? Exert power? Exchange pressure for that endorphin release?
What would your squeeze say about you? Your relationship to me?
What would you take away from this connection?

My body is your body is everybody is nobody
This is about Temperature, pressure, texture, and time

Touch in our society has become more benign and taboo. Our ways of touching are becoming prescribed, often devoid of real reaction. The skin barely registering a change when another body is connected with. For beings that exist in a constant state of stimulation, we are being dulled and touch starved.

The slap is a complicated gesture to discuss. It’s context is extremely important.
It’s a deliberate act. Accidentally slapping someone, while it can happen if a body interrupts the path of a moving hand, isn’t really a common thing. Therefore, the slap always has intention behind it.
The slap also, unlike most forms of touch, exists almost exclusively in the realm of the hands. We don’t often slap with our feet, our legs, or our torsos.
The slap we are likely most familiar with is the ‘do not touch that’ swat from our parents growing up. Whether we were reaching for the hot stove or an expensive fragile object, we were likely interrupted by a quick and harmless ‘thwack’ from a vigilant adult.
We make have smacked our siblings or other kids on the playground for taking our toys, invading our personal space, or simply because we were having a bad day.
A smack on the hand, arm, leg, or butt could be punishment for infractions.
As we age, the smack evolves into more nuanced territory. It is no longer exclusively used to harm or punish. It can now be a form of play.
How many times have you lightly tapped someone you were flirting with? Did you do it to their shoulder or upper arm?
Have you tapped their thigh while giving a sly smile?
Have you been spanked while being intimate? Did you enjoy it?
I am offering you a body to interact with. How would you approach the slap?
Would you be trying to hurt me? To punish me for some perceived infraction or past offence?
Would you respect the boundary of my clothing?
What would you picture in your mind as you do this?
Would you be fully present or fantasizing about something or someone?
When was the last time you were slapped in a loving way? In a harmful way?
Where on your body was this?
Can you still feel the pressure of mass interrupting force?
Does it sting? Does it excite you?
Are you suddenly hyper aware of your own thoughts?

Touch in today’s culture is highly policed and politicized. We have sexualized physical interaction to the point where children have been accused of sexual harassment and women have been murdered for perceived infidelity based on physical interaction with other men. Some men have grown up lacking touch for so long that they don’t know how to respond to it. And many cannot bring themselves to be physically close to other men. Physical contact outside of the socially prescribed has the possibility of literally killing us.
Wanting to touch and be touched is not to be confused with consent. Our bodies are our personal vehicle for the exploration of the world and we have sole agency over it. That agency includes being able to refuse a touch. This applies to every individual body.

My body is your body is everybody is nobody:
This is about Temperature, pressure, texture, and time

When was the last time you were kissed?
Where on your body were you kissed?
Your face?
Your shoulder?
Your hand?
Somewhere else?
Kissing as a topic invariably leads to discussions about sex, but I have found that most of the kisses I receive are not sexual in nature at all.
We are quick to forget all of the social kisses that our culture encourages.
We kiss on the cheek to greet each other.
Formal greetings include a kiss on the hand.
A minor injury can be followed by a kiss from a loved one or a caretaker.
We kiss children’s and lover’s foreheads to check their temperature or offer a sense of security.
We kiss shoulders to show affection.
We kiss quickly and repeatedly to flirt.
A kiss can also signify a mark. Judas kissed Jesus as a form of betrayal. In the Godfather movies, a kiss on the cheek make you a marked man, destined for death.
Where were you kissed growing up? How many family gatherings began and ended with a gauntlet of kisses?
Did your cheeks ever sting?
Do you remember trying to wipe away all those kisses once you were safely in the car?
Our society puts a lot of emphasis on the ‘first kiss’. While we have been kissing and kissed for all of our lifetimes, it is the first kiss with sexual intent that we use as a milestone. It is a method for demarcating the transition to adolescence.
Society simultaneously fetishizes and condemns this moment. We route for the young lovers on TV and in the movies. But when it’s our own children, it can be too soon,
not the right person,
you must consider your reputation.
That is especially if you’re female.
The first kiss milestone is fraught for young femmes. It’s society’s sexual awakening of the archetyple innocent virgin. The moment that ignites a fire between the thighs.
Where as for young males, it’s a right of passage.
Proof of future virility.
The first conquest.
Kissing is a common way for lovers to explore their bodies. Lips, with their multitude of nerve endings, map the body in their own unique way. They sofly envelop a swath of skin, pressing flesh against flesh with a furnace between the folds.
Kissing remains one of the most persistent signs of love, affection, and care as we age. In addition to our lovers, we kiss our aging family members, new babies, even our pets. We kiss to stay connected as the years march on.

My body is your body is everybody is nobody
This is about temperature, pressure, texture, and time

How would you approach the kiss?
Where on my body would you aim for?
Would it be a long kiss?
Would it be a series of short staccato pecks?
Would you go for my forehead?
My cheek?
My shoulders?
My lips?
My feet?
Would you kiss me and runoff?
Would you linger?
Do you expect me to kiss you back?

My body is your body is everybody is nobody

I wholly and fully believe in the power of human touch and connection as a catalyst for change. Physical connection is fundamental to our wellbeing. We are instinctually programed on how to read the language of touch: Temperature, pressure, texture, and time

Thank you for sharing your bodies, your touch, and your time with me

My body is your body is everybody is nobody
This is about temperature, pressure, texture, and time

Love always, Narcissa Gold