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  • JoAnna Mendl Shaw

Blink Moments

We blink when we are processing information - or perhaps at the moment when the information enters the brain.

  • Blinking occurs at the conclusion of an action

  • Blinking is the hidden punctuation to thought

  • Blinks are the rest stops, when the brain is assimilating information.

  • This is not just true for humans…

  • Horses blink as they are assimilating information.

The podcast Radio Lab discusses the presence of “Blink Moments” in film. Jad Abumrad talks with Film editor Walter Murch who describes a strange discovery he made years ago while working on The Conversation: The blink moments occurred when his characters were assimilating information. Murch uses blink moments in his editing process to modulate the trajectories of his films.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his book, “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” that the blink moment is the moment you make a judgment about a situation, right before you add your own twist like rationalizations, logic and even comparison to previous situations. It’s that brief, that blink moment where your subconscious mind actually knows the answer before you do.

That momentary pause is important. It is that nano-second when we take time to let the mind do its work. The blink moment allows our brain to assimilate information. The blinking chunks the information, saves the information and allows the brain to remember information.

Choreographers in 2018 tend to ignore the blink moments in favor of constant motion, a barrage of information. Today our dances often favor relentless motion. They do not allow for any blink moments. Hence, the viewer is not being given time to take in information. The outcome is a kinetic assault.

Of course kinetic assault could be the very intention of the choreographer, a device chosen because assaulting the viewer will create a visceral experience of the physicality…perhaps. I submit these are two very different brain activities. One is muscular. The other is mental processing. An expansive interlude of nothing could actually accentuate the intent to assault, exhaust, inundate.

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