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From the discomfort zone: Challenging with gestures

When we are born, we unconsciously make gestures, our whole life goes with gestures at every moment. One day when gestures get frozen, we are off from society. How can we use these gestures that vibrate with the living sensation of human breath? Human gestures have evolved through the centuries as we learnt to take […]

Written by Shombit Sengupta | Published: December 28, 2014 12:21 am

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When we are born, we unconsciously make gestures, our whole life goes with gestures at every moment. One day when gestures get frozen, we are off from society. How can we use these gestures that vibrate with the living sensation of human breath?

Human gestures have evolved through the centuries as we learnt to take on challenge after challenge. People’s living styles have radically changed human gestures. These gestures have been changing at every epoch from pre-historic to civilisation, agrarian to monarchical, religious, industrial revolution to mass production to electronics, digi-tech and the breakthrough scientific world we live in today. From those times when we lit a fire with the friction of two stones, we’ve conquered nature in many ways through inspired gestures that have multiplied, bringing in newer solutions.

Agrarian societies lived in bounded communities with a limited number and style of gestures. Monarchies and feudalism created gestures that subjects had to follow. Discovering the compass, the start of oceanic travel, reaching new countries, communicating with gestures established that gesture is a silent universal language. Take the worship of God where every religion created its identity and practice through unique gestures. All believe in God, but each prayer is identified by its own gestures. During the inventive period around 17th century when the Church and Western European Renaissance liberalised the arts, literature, philosophy and science from religious dogma, it created phenomenal challenge. When science challenged nature, it was translated through revolutionary gestures. Travelling on donkey carts to horseback, boat to train, car to aircraft made us learn different gestures.

The huge gesture of societal challenge led to the world’s first revolution in France in 1789. A dimension of “liberte” showcased the entirely new gesture of breaking the monarchy. The 20th century’s new ideology of Communism also created revolutionary discipline with new limited gestures, but the power to challenge in capitalistic, democratic society added unlimited gestures. World War I, the first technology war was, followed by World War II that brought atomic destruction — both radically moved human gestures. There is tremendous challenge in finding a new solution to old problems that set off conflicts like wars. Conflicts have to be resolved with sensitised gestures of peace that attack the problem both on the surface and at the root.

Western Europe saw the departure of modern art since 1870. Human gesture is among the great arts in our societies. Breaking the old classic mould, many new art movements have contributed to change the world through paintings, photography, cinema and industrial design. Modern art started with Impressionism where Vincent van Gogh’s bold brush strokes portrayed an oversized Starry Night; through Cubism Pablo Picasso besmirched Nazi bombing in his powerful political statement painting La Guernica; later Expressionism was discovered to have come before Impressionism. Surrealism challenged human perspective when Salvador Dali depicted melting watches in The Persistence of Memory, then there was Abstract art, Dada, Graphic art, Andy Warhol’s repetitive Pop art and Vanishing art where Christo wraps buildings and parks for a short period. These artistic gestures are weapons of challenge. They have impacted and changed society. Gesture is among the great human expressions of ideation.

Birth of Gesturism:

Can the varied gestures that challenge mediocrity, obsolescence and subservience to bring in vibrant new solutions be made into a new movement and ideology? An ideology that challenges to find superior answers to harried problems can take society forward. That ideology can be named Gesturism movement. As it originates in human society, Gesturism has unique gestures full of challenge, possesses spontaneous essence and expresses the vivacity in human behaviour. Gesturism considers both human involvement and human frailty in the face of living in a complex, global environment where speed and information overflow meet us every day. When it’s an art movement, Gesturism art is dynamic and creative, awash with pulsating movement, new and unique, always living, breathing and unprompted.

Just to illustrate, as soon as the sun goes down every day, or in a dark room, a candlelight or mashal light is used in villages, like in ancient times. You had to be careful not to burn yourself with fire, and worry about how long the fire will last. Electric light brings in a different set of gestures. To use a gramophone you had to change the needle, pump the turntable, put the record on it, control the speed, open the locking system to move the record, put the sound box on the record, turn the horn’s direction to where you want the sound. From there to the electrophone, record changer, tape recorder, CD player and now MP3,   imagine the revolution of gestures brought about in a century. In the last two decades, the mobile phone gesture has become a trend. The stationary phone was a live messaging instrument, isn’t the mobile phone now a theatrical human expression? Every moment, individuals across the world are creating their own gestures with the phone. From birth to death, uncountable gestures accompany us all the way.

The spontaneity and momentum of Gesturism establish that challenge is our most important missile to bring the new into the world. As Gesturism cannot be static, its ideology can become a new movement deployed in art, product design, photography, cinema and architecture. Gesturism provokes you to take on challenges, find new solutions to seemingly unsolvable problems, and implement the shock of new ideas to make an impact which can sustain. Emanating from the symbols and psychedelic waves that gesticulate our passion to take on life’s challenges, let’s ring in 2015 and ‘Make in India’ by experiencing Gesturism, the always alive, pure and endless movement.

Shombit Sengupta is a global consultant on unique customer centricity strategy to execution excellence for top management. Reach him at http://www.shiningconsulting.com

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  1. A
    amazed
    Dec 28, 2014 at 11:38 am
    Shombit Sengupta is giving us the final notice that he is about to enter orbit.There has been no sense in any of his articles for six months now. This is some sort of signal I think.
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