michael j. morris

Chakras, Marriage, and the Love Art Lab

I’ve been reading about chakras lately. I am preparing a guided experience for my somatics survey class as well as deepening my knowledge/experience of yoga (both for my own journey in the form, as well as in preparation to begin teaching yoga for the Department of Dance at OSU in the fall). I am mainly reading from Anodea Judith’s Wheels of Life: A User’s Guide to the Chakra System. The energetic or subtle body has been a focus of my yoga practice for some time, but this is the first time that I have delved very deeply into this system of understanding of the body/human experience.

Judith calls chakras “organizing centers for the reception, assimilation, and transmission of life energies.” The seven main chakras are as follows:

Chakra One (Muladhara): Located at the base of the spine, associated with survival. Its element is earth.

Charka Two (Swadhisthana): Located in the lower abdomen is associated with emotions and sexuality. Its element is water.

Chakra Three (Manipura): Located in the solar plexis, associated with personal power, will, and self-esteem. Its element is fire.

Chakra Four (Anahata): Located over the sternum, associated with love. Its element is air.

Chakra Five (Vissudha): Located in the throat, associated with communication and creativity. Its element is sound.

Chakra Six (Ajna): Located in the center of the forehead, associated with clairvoyance, intuition, and imagination. Its element is light.

Chakra Seven  (Sahasrara): Located at the top of the head, associated with knowledge, understanding, and transcendent consciousness. Its element is thought. (Judith 25)


As I have been dipping into this study, it has revitalized me a bit after a week of disappointment and anger surrounding the state of equal rights in this country. As I have incorporated these ideas into my meditation practice, I have brought more wholeness and connectivity to my daily experience.
And I’ve made some other connections between chakras and same-sex marriage, mainly through the beautiful work of the Love Art Lab

Here is how the Love Art Lab introduces themselves:
“We, Elizabeth M. Stephens and Annie M. Sprinkle, are an artist couple committed to doing projects that explore, generate, and celebrate love. We utilize visual art, installation, theater pieces, interventions, live-art, exhibitions, lectures, printed matter and activism. Each year we orchestrate one or more interactive performance art weddings in collaboration with various national and international communities, then display the ephemera in art galleries. Our projects incorporate the colors and themes of the chakras, a structure inspired by Linda M. Montano’s 14 Years of Living Art. 

“The Love Art Laboratory grew out of our response to the violence of war, the anti-gay marriage movement, and our prevailing culture of greed. Our projects are symbolic gestures intended to help make the world a more tolerant, sustainable, and peaceful place.”


Every time I visit their website, I leave inspired (and not only because I am greeted with a flow of “We love you”s). In Annie and Beth’s work, I see an elegant and provocative synthesis of living, loving, and art-making. There is something beautifully balanced in their work, a way of addressing a more complete way of living and being in their practice. I love that their weddings are organized around the chakra system. I love that their material is both personal and universal. I love how queer it is, how subversive to normativity, and yet joyously so. Their work carries intense personal and political weight, and yet it is full of light and love and fun. It sometimes involves risk and vulnerability, and yet it seems to demonstrate that risk and vulnerability are okay, they are a part of living, and a BIG part of loving. I think I want to share some of their work with you as a counter-balance to the anger of my previous post. It isn’t that I’m not still angry and fed up of the voices that discuss homosexuality and same-sex marriage in the terms detailed in my last post; but in addition to anger, I also want to honor love and balance and connection. I want to relate the beautiful elegant system of the chakras to holistic, healthy living and loving. And I want to honor same-sex marriages that exist, whether or not they are recognized by the government. That’s a crux in this debate surrounding same-sex marriage: it isn’t whether or not anyone has any say as to the existence of same-sex marriage; it’s about civil rights. But for now, I hope you are as inspired by the beauty and joy of the Love Art Lab as I am:
(all materials are from the Love Art Lab website)













“25 Ways To Make Love With The Earth:

1. Tell the Earth, “I love you. I can’t live without you.” 
2. At first you may feel embarrassed to be lovers with the Earth. Let it go. It’s OK. 
3. Spend time with her. 
4. Ask her what she likes, wants, and needs– then try to give it to her. 
5. Massage the Earth with your feet. 
6. Admire her views often. 
7. Circulate erotic energy with her. 
8. Smell her. 
9. Taste her. 
10. Touch all her all over. 
11. Hug and stroke her trees. 
12. Talk dirty to her plants. 
13. Swim naked in her waters. 
14. Lay on top of her, or let her get on top of you. 
15. Do a nude dance for her. 
16. Sing to her. 
17. Kiss and lick her. 
18. Bury parts of your body deep inside her soil. 
19. Plant your seeds in her. 
20. Love her unconditionally even when she’s angry or cruel. 
21. Keep her clean. Please recycle. 
22. Work for peace. Bombs hurt. 
23. If you see her being abused, raped, exploited, protect her as best you can. 
24. Protect her mountains. Stop mountaintop removal mining. 
25. Vow to love, honor and cherish the Earth until death brings you closer together forever.”


Now they are into their Blue year with two exciting weddings planned and other art events already taking place:






So I know just scrolling through these images (and following links to more image galleries and videos) I am thoroughly inspired, to live and love and create. I hope you are too.

I’m off to see RAVE, the newest BacKspace show here in Columbus. Should be a blast.


So much happening

As I look out over the calendar for the next few weeks, it’s more of the same: art event after art event, with so much to see. I hope I get a chance to see it all. I hope you do too.

This week, 1 April, is the long anticipated launch of “Synchronous Objects for One Flat Things, Reproduced” (you can read more about it in the New York Times, featured in my previous post). This is in conjunction with many other exciting events related to Forsythe’s work.


william forsythe

The Wexner Center for the Arts and the Department of Dance at OSU is hosting the “William Forsythe Symposium: Choreographic Objects.” Here is the official description of this event:

“You’ll hear about how this idea takes form in the works on view in the exhibition William Forsythe: Transfigurations and inSynchronous Objects for One Flat Thing, reproduced by William Forsythe, an ambitious new web project created by Forsythe with Ohio State’s Maria Palazzi (Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design and Department of Design) and Norah Zuniga Shaw (Department of Dance) and an interdisciplinary team of collaborators from across the arts and sciences. To celebrate the launch of the web project, invited outside experts contextualize the project in terms of its relevance to current trends in the philosophy of cognition and architecture.

A celebrated roster of special guests joins Forsythe for these talks: Mark Goulthorpe of MIT’s School of Architecture; Alva Noë, professor of philosophy at the University of California Berkeley; Synchronous Objects creative directors Maria Palazzi, director of ACCAD and associate professor in the Department of Industrial, Interior, and Visual Communication Design, and Norah Zuniga Shaw, the director of the dance and technology program and assistant professor in the Department of Dance; and Charles Helm, the Wexner Center’s director of performing arts and curator for the Forsythe exhibition.”

If you are not in the Columbus area, or if you are and are unable to be in attendance, follow the link above to watch a live stream of the symposium on Wednesday.


The previous day, 31 March, Alva Noë, professor of philosophy at the University of California Berkeley, will be giving a lecture and book signing at OSU in the Sullivant Theater from 12pm-1pm. He is a member of the Institute for Cognitive and Brain Sciences and the author of Out of Our Heads: Why You Are Not Your Brain and Other Lessons From The Biology of Consciousness and Action in Perception, both of which explore the idea that “consciousness is not something that happens inside of us–not in our brains, or anywhere else; it is something we do.” It sounds like a riveting lecture, and extremely relevant to dance as well as human existence.


This week will also host the performances of “Monster Partitur.” Here is the official statement from the Wexner concerning this event:

“Dancer Alessio Silvestrin delivers a mesmerizing performance against a backdrop of sculptural elements created from life-size models of human skeletons and line drawings traced from these gnarled forms, which also serve as cues in the performer’s score (the word “partitur” in the title is a reference to the musical scores utilized by orchestra conductors).Monster Partitur is a condensation of and companion to Forsythe’s Bessie Award–winning You made me a monster

Show Times
Wed, Apr 1 | 2:30, 5:30, 6:30, & 7:30 PM
Thu, Apr 2 | 12, 12:30, & 7 PM
Fri, Apr 3 | 11:30 AM; 12, 12:30, & 7 PM
Sat, Apr 4 | 12, 12:30, 1, & 7 PM
Sun, Apr 5 | 12, 12:30, 2:30, & 3 PM

Please arrive early to see the performance. Performances are free, but audience size is limited to approximately 50-60 viewers per performance, who will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis. The performance is approximately 20-25 mins. in length (and seating is not provided).”

You can read more about my experience in contributing to the production of this piece here.


Hixon Dance is presenting “Airs and Dances: An Evening of Live Music and Dance” starting next week.  Here is their official description:

“In our upcoming concert, Hixon Dance will present 4 new works, all accompanied by live music!

Featured music includes Claude Debussy’s “Sonata for Cello and Piano,”
Francis Poulenc’s “Sonata for Clarinet and Paino,” and two works by local composer Jacob Reed.”

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