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Performing Nature

Explorations in Ecology and the Arts

Gabriella Giannachi and Nigel Stewart

The essays in this volume explore the borderland between ecology and the arts. Nature is here read by a number of contributors as ‘cultural’, by others as an ‘independent domain’, or even as a powerful process of exchange ’between the human and the other-than-human’. The four parts of the volume reflect these different understandings of nature and performance. Informed by psychoanalysis and cultural materialism, contributors to the first part, ‘Spectacle: Landscape and Subjectivity’, look at ways in which particular social and scientific experiments, theatre and film productions and photography either reinforce or contest our ideas about nature and human-human or human-animal relations and identities. The second part, ‘World: Hermeneutic Language and Social Ecology’, investigates political protest, social practice art, acoustic ecology, dance theatre, family therapy and ritual in terms of social philosophy. Contributors to the third part, ‘Environment: Immersiveness and Interactivity’, explore architecture and sculpture, site-specific and mediatised dance and paratheatre through radical theories of urban and virtual space and time, or else phenomenological philosophy. The final part, ‘Void: Death, Life and the Sublime’, indicates the possibilities in dance, architecture and animal behaviour of a shift to an existential ontology in which nature has ‘the capacity to perform itself’.
Contents: Gabriella Giannachi/Nigel Stewart: Ecology, Nature and the Arts Spectacle, World, Environment, Void – Baz Kershaw: The Ecologies of Performance: On Biospheres and Theatres – John Adams: Performative Locations: Wilderness Space and Place in Early Film – Una Chaudhuri: Animal Geographies: Zooësis and the Space of Modern Drama – Mike Pearson: P-P-P-Pick Up a Penguin: Men and Animals in Antarctic Exploration – Geraldine Harris: Turing Test: doo-cot Theatre Company’s Frankenstein: The Final Blasphemy and the ‘limits of the (post)human’ – Andrew Quick: The Space Between: Disorienting Landscape in the Photographic Works of Willie Doherty – Elaine Aston: ‘A Licence to Kill’: Caryl Churchill’s Socialist-Feminist ‘Ideas of Nature’ – Bronislaw Szerszynski: Beating the Unbound: Political Theatre in the Laboratory Without Walls – Wallace Heim: Navigating Voices – Andra McCartney: Performing Soundwalks for Journées sonores, canal de Lachine – Valerie A. Briginshaw: From Performance through Narrative to Interconnected Subjectivities – Enzo Cozzi: Chilean Sacred Dancers and Western Secular Magicians: Two Paratheatrical Ecologies of Mind – Nick Kaye: Performed Ecologies: Body, Material, Architecture – Frances Bronet: Beating a Path: Designing in the Posture of Body – Johannes Birringer: Environments for Interactive Dance – Sondra Fraleigh: Spacetime and Mud in Butoh – Theresa J. May: Re-Membering the Mountain: Grotowski’s Deep Ecology – Nigel Stewart: Dancing the Time of Place: Fieldwork, Phenomenology and Nature’s Choreography – Gabriella Giannachi: The Museum of Voids – Alan Read: Play-Ground-Nature-Table – Wallace Heim: Performance and Ecology: A Reader’s Guide.