The Science of Fear
Sun, 2008-07-27 02:26
This year Parkour Generations is embarking on an unprecedented exploration into the psychology of fear in the practise of parkour, entitled 'Comfort Zone'. The year-long project is being carried out in conjunction by Allchange, a company that uses the arts to promote social inclusion within education, social housing, health, social care and regeneration schemes, and is entirely funded by the Wellcome Trust. Much as with the physiological research into the effects and benefits of parkour for the human body that we are currently engaged in with Roehampton University's sports rehabilitation department, this project promises to provide revealing new insights into previously unquanitifed aspects of the discipline.
Yesterday Forrest and I spent the day with several experts from varying fields - including a cognitive neuropsychologist, a geneticist, a dancer, Roehampton's sports scientists, a writer, a film-maker and a music producer - looking to give shape to the project and define some parameters by which this research can be conducted. Young people from Arsenal's Positive Futures programme will be actively involved in the project as they take up the practise of parkour and are put through several programmes of engagement with the ultimate goal being to create a finished creative artwork of live performance and video in 2009. On the way, we hope to be able to understand better the science of fear through the practise of parkour.
Already some fascinating approaches have been postulated, looking at the effects of fear on the visual and motor perceptive systems of the body, which respond in very different ways, and how and why a trained individual seems to be able to override fear when engaged in his or her specialised activity.
Early days yet, but the project is looking as if it will be both interesting and useful for the parkour community... We'll keep you posted right here as it moves through the stages.