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ACTS: A Virtual Embodiment Workshop Series

January - April 2021

Artist in Residency: Melanie Friedman

About the Series:

ACTS is a virtual, interactive, embodiment series of workshops hosted by the artist Melanie Friedman in collaboration with the Hatch Art Gallery.  Friedman is an Australian-based Canadian writer, performance artist and medical student. Using poetry and performance, she explores embodiment practices as a means of building resilience. 

The artist proposes to engage the audience in a shared experience focused on regeneration and healing. This year has been one of [insert descriptor(s) here] and it has impacted us all greatly in very different ways. For the artist, it was a year of reminders to be present. Each zoom call, each facetime chat, each time zone difference, made the artist reflect on what it means to share space and how embodiment can find its way into the corners of a screen. This series spans over the course of the entire semester, and each worksop will act as a  moment of reflection and sharing. 

If you have any questions, reflections, or responses to the series that you wish to share with the artist after participating, we encourage you to email us at:


Land Acknowledgement:

Although this event programming takes place via Zoom, we would like to acknowledge that our bodies and gallery take up space and are occupying the unceded lands of the the xwmə0–kwəy’əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaʔ/Selilwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. In this series we hope to create an environment of collective healing and to question what it means to embody or exist within digital spaces in relation to our physical bodies. What power is held convening in a virtual non-space when our collective bodies are elsewhere?

act i:  to me, i move

Saturday, February 20 2PM (PST) via Zoom

For this workshop piece, the artist will use light, water, gestures, and vessels to portray a sense of presence as a means of cultivating personal growth. She requests that participants bring their own vessel, gestures, water, and light to the piece so that each participant may interact with others through video and shared experience. The goal of this piece is to release something that plagues oneself. 

Performance instructions for workshop participants:

  • find a body of water (eg. sink, bathtub, ocean)

  • bring a vessel of your choosing

  • set yourself up to face your camera while performing

  • use the light where you are to guide you

  • create gestures within this space

  • act in a way to soothe the mind and body (this can be violent or gentle – let it go)

  • be mindful that you are present

  • be mindful that you are healing

  • be mindful

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Documentation from Zoom event on Feb 20, 2021

act ii:  we take what we need

Saturday, March 27 3PM (PST) via Zoom


The second installment of a three-part series. This workshop will focus on cultivating mental peace through a guided meditation. The artist has 300 hours of yoga teacher training with a focus on meditative practices. Participants will be asked to join in through zoom (cameras off) and listen as they are walked through a Yoga Nidra for approximately 20 minutes, Following this exercise, participants will be asked to provide feedback on their experience through an open discussion.

This piece asks participants to take what they need and come to the meditation as they are. This can take the form of laying in the dark in a comfortable position, sitting on the couch, or even going for a walk. The artist hopes this will help those seeking a moment of quiet find a way to take those much needed deep breaths.

If participants cannot attend the zoom meeting, the recording of the Yoga Nidra will be available following the event.

Listen to the guided Yoga Nidra recording here:

act iii:  wherever you are, is

instructions written by Melanie Friedman, 2021

This is an individual performance about place. The world seems to change all the time. Sometimes, we lose track of ourselves in the bustle of this change. This piece aims to bring us back to things we have in our control. Participants are invited to engage with the following performative instructions in whatever way they feel comfortable. This may include using a digital collection practice. This may include using expansive or contracted spaces. These instructions are meant to ground participants and bring them back into the daily flow of life, however that may occur, and wherever they find themselves. Participants will be invited to share their findings in a virtual discussion session and elaborate on how their collections came to be.


Find yourself paying attention to the spaces around you. What are the things about these spaces that draw you to them? Find a way to collect the things that bring you peace in these spaces.

Moments to note (collect them all, some, or none):

  1. Collect things that remind you of those you love

  2. Collect things that are remnants of a beautiful experience

  3. Collect things that make you wonder

  4. Collect things that bring you closer to nature

  5. Collect things that are unique or bizarre

  6. Collect things that make you feel

  7. Collect things that have no use

  8. Collect things that may surprise

  9. Collect things with some chaos

Notes on method:

  1. Move with purpose while you collect

  2. Move slowly in your spaces

  3. Pay attention to things others may not see

  4. Be spontaneous with your collection

  5. Let your collection breathe

  6. Collect only what is honest

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