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The 6-levels of the ACTION

“The sea is not less beautiful in our eyes because
we know that sometimes ships are wrecked by it.
On the contrary, this adds to its beauty.
If it altered the movement of its waves to spare a boat,
it would be a creature gifted with dis­cernment and choice and not this fluid,  perfectly obedient to every external pressure.
It is this perfect obedience that constitutes the sea's beauty.”
Simone Weil, Waiting for God (1941)


This research refers to Damasio's Nesting Principle (Damasio 2003) to draw a line of research that bridges action and emotion in the artistic process.

This principle describes that the person, in order to make a proposition, orchestrates different levels of emotion—the maintenance of homeostasis, drives and motivations, background, primary and secondary emotions—in the ongoing dialogue with the environment. The crucial aspect of this principle is that it is the web of interrelations between the differentlevels of emotions that generates the response: the emotions are a metabolism.

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Graphical representation of Damasio’s Nesting Principle realized by Prof. Yosuke Yanase

Applying this principle to my artistic practice, I traced a clear link between emotion and action and have developed a 6-level approach to action.

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The 6-level approach to action

It is a tool for accessing an action from its somatic, imaginary, physical, underlying, symbolic and political components. This approach contributes to creating artistic narratives and allows the artist to experience and explore the components of an action and their relationships.

It is the web of connections between its components that determines its nature and its relationship with the environment. The aim of this approach is to dissect action, to challenge its automatism and to highlight the connections between the somatic and its communal dimension.
Guiding questions include: What do we mean by action? In which way is a muscle contraction an action? Or for that matter, a memory, an awareness, a sensation, a sentence, a speech? Am I aware that politics and economics have an effect on my soma? Can the somatic action have an effect on the community?


One day I started to collect garbage, like many other people do. This action was held by an organic balance between active and passive, happiness and despair, between contraction and elongation, decision and laziness, control and release, nature and culture, artist and person.





Beyond moralizing, beyond the politicization of ecological practices, beyond guilt and the uncertainty of the future, beyond the colors of recycling, my deep self is still there, picking up trash, like Sisyphus happily pushing the boulder up the mountain.

This daily action was perhaps one of the most significant experiences of my performing career.

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I want to research how to access a flow of energy in which I become an integral part with the external environment and I would like to do this through blurring/cracking the univocal and linear sense of action, through touching its limit and its absurdity, accessing the urgency of the action itself, experiencing the urgency that pushes us towards life and therefore lays us bare in the face of death.
I think that experiencing the absurdity of the action provokes a reverse of perspective, a reverse of paradigm of survival, it breaks the univocal and unidirectional vision of the self towards the external and it may blur the  borders - the skin - of the “I” that gets in contact with - what before was considered - “non-I”. I envision this process as an apparent loss of identity, a process of decentering that allows us to become “our own reverse”, to become ec-centric. A reversal of identity, a reversal of a question mark, that let us perceive the infinite and necessary bond with the outside.


“The flexible environment must also be included
along with the flexible organism because [...]
the organism which destroys its environment destroys itself.
The unit of survival is a flexible organism-in-its-environment.”

Gregory Bateson,
Step to an Ecology of Mind (1987)


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