February 17, 2020

Clay AD and Rusti: Dysphoric Feelings/
Euphoric Bodies

Heavy Breathing presents, Dysphoric Feelings/Euphoric Bodies by Clay AD and Rusti.

In this experiential audio workshop Clay (They/Them) and Rusti (She/They), friends and somatic bodyworkers, use their own bodies and experiences as a form of collaborative research, attempting to understand this thing called Dysphoria. This inquiry began when Clay was unable to find resources on this topic and invited Rusti to explore dysphoria somatically together, both from the perspective of being trans and experiencing dysphoria themselves and working with trans and gender variant clients in their respective practices.

Starting from embodied research, they asked themselves questions such as, "How would you describe or give language to what happens in your body/mind when you experience gender dysphoria?”, and “Is it always useful and strategic to be embodied when you’re experiencing dysphoria?”

In exploring the ways that dysphoria is both a social phenomenon and an individualized felt sense that differs for different bodies, a tool kit of body practices emerged to begin to unravel the boundaries and fault lines of gender dysphoria’s tangled relationship between self and other. Clay and Rusti found themselves in a messy cosmos outside of patholozation, where the body’s knowledge innately holds physicality, politics, autonomy and ancestors.

Workshop Instructions:

This is for trans and gender variant people who would like to dive deeper into understanding and working with their dysphoria. We hope the workshop can act as a stable frame to explore these topics, but we recognize this is very intense work so please take care of yourself. You can always pause the workshop and come back, or stop it. Ideally it would be great to practice in small groups for discussion afterwards, but it can also be practiced alone. Find yourself in a quiet room, in comfortable clothes; there will be minimal movement, but during practices we will suggest you change position (sitting/standing/laying) occasionally.




Clay AD was born in Indianapolis Indiana and now lives in Berlin where they are a somatic bodyworker, artist and writer. In their interdisciplinary practice they honour and explore illness, ecology, science fiction, transformation and the politics of care under capitalism -- by themselves, collectively and with their clients. They are a certified practitioner of the Pantarei Approach and their somatic work is informed by their background in improvisational dance, and personal practice of breath-work, meditation and visualization. Their first novel, "Metabolize, If Able" is available through Arcadia Missa Press UK and was named a finalist in the 31st Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Sci-Fi, Fantasy and Horror. They writing has been published by Pilot Press, Futures Journal, Hematopoiesis Press, and Monster House Press. They have led somatic and writing workshops at NGBK Berlin and Shedhalle Zurich, and read internationally including at the Institute for Contemporary Arts London. They received their BFA from Cooper Union in 2014.  
Clay's art and writing can be found on instagram at @pastacomplex and their somatic work @sentientsomatics

Rusti (she/they) is a somatic organizer and practitioner currently living in Philadelphia, PA. She holds a MA in Embodiment Studies from Goddard College and has been training with the Strozzi Institute and generative somatics since 2016. She has also been a practicing LMT since 2011. Rusti is driven by a deep belief in the capabilities that our bodies hold to help us navigate, heal from, and disrupt the social conditions we exist within and are shaped by. She is the author of "Social Bodies: The Shaping of Internal and External Worlds", as well as various articles and zines. She facilitates various somatic workshops in Philadelphia, using embodiment as a tool for social research and collective healing. IG: @thridspace.somatics

Sound Credit:

The sound editing was done by Kai Merke.

Kai Merke is a nonbinary trans artist and works in the fields between activism, stage art and sound production. They graduated from Inter-University Center Dance Berlin (HZT) at University of the Arts Berlin in 2018. They are currently founding a dance studio cooperative in Copenhagen (DK), and work as  a freelance choreographer, performer, sound producer and dramaturge. They co-founded Queer Producers, a weekly sound laboratory for queer sound artists based in Copenhagen, and work for FCNN (Feminist Collective with No Name) with Mariana Nobre Viera, Azahara Ubera, Emilie Empo Enlund, Xenia Taniko Dwertmann, Alejandro Karasik, Litó Walkey and Jules Fisher among many others. Kai is specialized in physical correlations between voice and movement through close a mentorship by voice anthropologist Ulrike Sowodniok since 2015. Kai's work on instagram: @kai.merke and

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Heavy Breathing ︎ 2018

Critical thinking often feels heady, abstract, and divorced from the body. How do conversations change when we are moving our bodies and out of breath? What new modes of thinking become possible?