Introduced by Gudrun Beckmann during the intensive week in Helsinki

BEFORE / AFTER: imagining statues.

In Short:

It is a short exercise to elaborate on different perspectives of a theme in an embodied way. There are numerous variations and follow-ups for this exercise possible. 

People & Place

Timeframe: Approximately one hour, can vary depending on the group size and activities before and after.

Participants: Three participants.


  • Think of two versions of yourself: as a youngster and a senior. Think of a value or characteristic that was important for you as a youngster that might be conflicting or somehow very much changed from the expected value/characteristics of yourself as a senior.   
  • Write these two words (values or characteristics) down.  
  • Share your words/values with your fellows. Feel free to rephrase the words/values after the discussion. 
  • Form a group of three. In taking turns, one participant plays the role of a sculptor who arranges the postures of the other two into a “statue” or “sculpture” representing the
  • two words/values the participant thought of. Don’t say the words, don’t speak; express yourself only with your body movements. Be precise.
  • What is the distance between the two “statues”? What is the gesture? What is the expression?  
  • When the “sculpture” is ready, ask the participants to notice what feeling the posture expresses. Then let them look at each other. 
  • At last, ask the “statues” to make some movements they want to make – ask them to change from being still towards moving, in reaction to each other. 
  • In each group, these instructions are carried out three times. There are no spectators.  
  • In the end, the groups can share their experiences and maybe choose one pair of “statues” to elaborate on with the bigger group.
  • When each group is ready, you can ask volunteers to demonstrate their “sculptures” and movements and share their values and experience. 

Each person could come up with the opposing concepts in relation to the theme of getting older, for example „wanderlust/homesick“, „ambitious/disinterested” or “worried/carefree”. These two different concepts are imagined and embodied in two “statues”. The motionless “statues” can be moved or rearranged; in this way, the two concepts can approach each other in an imaginative dialogue.


Possible questions for a short evaluation in a small group or collectively.

  • Could you feel which word the other has, especially when nothing has been said? 
  • Did you feel a tension between the two “statues”? Can you describe that tension? What was familiar, what was different? 
  • Could you suspend the desire to approach each other (the “statues”)? Were you be able to come into a dialogue and movement while still keeping your energy/core characteristic? 


The dialogue between the two values can be explored further by giving more time and attention to the movement of the statues.

You can, for example, ask the “statues” to make one movement at a time after the other and to see if a new collective formation of the “statues” is made without speaking. Then you stop moving.

 Connection to PIMDI:

  • Elaboration of differences or different perspectives.
  • The imagination of concepts of values through embodiment.
  • Exploring the concept/value of another through being moved or formed in a statue.

Text by Hye Joung Park, Gunndís Ýr Finnbogadóttir and Ingimar Waage.