(2021)

It is a study that ventures into the somatic, botanic, and activist fields, weaving them together. It aims to observe and foster alternative ways of 'taking space' in the urban setting learning from ecosomatic knowledge and plants' relational abilities.
Throughout the process, we expose our tangible selves and investigate our material co-extension with the environment to re-imagine the infrastructures we inhabit and look for the (im)possible ways to interfere with the urban fabrics.

PERHAPS OF THE FUTURE
TURNING THE SKIN INSIDE OUT
TO ACCEPT TO WELCOME HYPERSENSITIVE BODY
MERGING AND COINCIDING WITH THE VERY SUBSTANCE OF THE WORLD
WHAT DO THEY NEED TO BE TAKEN CARE OF?
WE ARE EXCITED AND WE ARE HELPLESS
LEANING TO THE SADNESS
LEANING TO THE NUANCES OF THE NOISE
LEANING TO THE VOID
LEANING TO THE SURPRISES AND DOUBTS
MICRO RAVES OF THE FIELD




The research stems from my interest in plant communication sparked in 2019, influenced by exploring the sensitive capacities of plants through dance practice. It directed my attention to environmental awareness and opened up a question about the sources and conditions of our relating to the world. Throughout the research, this question’s urgency became more apparent. Within my two-year involution in this subject, I heard many voices that helped me position my research as a response to the specific cultural problem formulated by Valeria Graziano as the “collapse of the oikos” relating to the “ecology as much as economy.” [1] 

The concerns about decreasing environmental awareness and disconnection with nature have been diagnosed by Richard Louv as “nature-deficit disorder”. Following a rediagnosis of Richard Louv’s theory by Elizabeth Dickinson, the core of the problem can be placed in “how psychological, interpersonal, and cultural fracturing promote disconnection in the first place, leading to the notion that nature is outside of humans who suffer from decreased contact with it.” 

“The problem is not caused by technology, urbanization, fear, and overprotective homeowner’s associations or by decreased contact with nature but by over-rationalization, objectification, suppressed emotion, a decreased sense of place, and anthropocentrism. Retheorizing shifts the problem from a modern fall from nature to a long, gradual history of psychological and cultural estrangement with nature and place—a notion that needs to be added to nature education discourse.” [2] 

Indigenous scholars like Vanessa Watts and Zoe Todd contribute to the inquiry by questioning the Euro-Western approach to human-environmental relations based on the epistemological-ontological distinction and problematizing the concept of Anthropocene.

“With the prevalence of the Anthropocene as a conceptual “building” within which stories are being told, it is important to query which humans or human systems are driving the environmental change the Anthropocene is meant to describe. What “modernist mess,” as Fortun eloquently describes it, characterizes this moment of “common cosmopolitical concern”—Latour’s term to describe the fact that the climate is a shared heritage, cross-roads, site, or milieu that we all inhabit, and one which deserves our deep attention as a commons and context for engaged involvement in the crises of climate change—that is the Anthropocene? And, finally, who is dominating the conversations about how to change the state of things?” [4]

The recognition of this problem opens up a field for action. It invites us to look for alternative ways of understanding human-environmental relations and their practical consequences.

In Exposed. Environmental Politics and Pleasures in Posthuman Times, Alaimo writes about the trans-corporeal subjects enmeshed with the world and exposed to material-semiotic interactions that create uneven hazards in the context of climate change.[5] The work of Alaimo inspires the title of the research and helps to formulate two research objectives:

I. Opening a group reflection on human-environmental relations in a situated urban context. Drawing attention to the notion of being exposed by recognizing vulnerabilities, sensitivities and potentials deriving from our embeddedness in specific material-semiotic interactions. Opening question about situating one's sense of agency concerning one's environment and the role of (trans-)corporeality in it.

II. Fostering the sense of enmeshment with surroundings and the experience of porosity. Sensitization to feel the complex entanglements and the subtle process of interweaving tissues, sensations, affects, and meanings.

“WHAT WOULD IT MEAN FOR PRACTITIONERS TO RE-VALORIZE ART AND CULTURE, NOT AS KINDS OF SPECIALIZED PRODUCTION, BUT AS ELEMENTS OF A BROADER PROCESS OF PARTISAN SOCIAL REPRODUCTION?”

/Valeria Graziano · Partisan Welfare: Group Phantasy as Social Infrastructure [in:] Solidarity Poiesis: I will come and steal you · Berlin 2017/


The research working methods have been shaped by mixing my choreographic interests, dance practice and cultural studies. I apply an ecosomatic approach following the wish for knowledge production to be rooted in material, kinesthetic, sensuous intelligence. Thanks to the dialogue with prof. Marta Kosińska and following the meshwork metaphor, the Exposure became for me a space for problematizing the way of generating knowledge about human-environmental relations. In this regard, I can distinguish two additional objectives:

III. Building a space for creative involution where the knowledge is generated not through extracting and interpreting data but through facilitating an engagement with the problematic and opening up a critical dialogue. Research is approached here as a collective process of becoming attentive and critical. On this basis, the research aims to create a space of “dense relations, energy flows, and co-constitution of the involved actors” what Andrea Ghelfi calls an ecology of proximity, [6] as a place from which to reflect on human-environmental relations.

IV. Proposing the meshwork choreography as a research practice following a “partisan mode of inquiry” and placing it within a broader discourse of qualitative methodologies.

Can choreographic research building on the meshwork approach be a receptive and generative place to reimagine human-environmental relations?



[1] Valeria Graziano, Partisan Welfare: Group Phantasy as Social Infrastructure [in:] Solidarity Poiesis: I will come and steal you, (ed.) Robin Vanbesien, Berlin 2017.

[2]Elizabeth Dickinson, The Misdiagnosis: Rethinking ‘Nature-deficit Disorder’. “Environmental Communication”, 7:3, 2013.

[4] Zoe Todd, Indigenizing the Anthropocene [in:] Art in the Anthropocene. Encounters among Aesthetics, Politics, Environments and Epistemologies, (eds.) Heather Davis, Etienne Turpin, London 2015.

[5] Stacy Alaimo, Exposed. Environmental Politics and Pleasures in Posthuman Times, Minneapolis 2016.

[6] Andrea Ghelfi, Worlding politics: Justice, commons and technoscience, PhD diss., University of Leicester 2015. (after: Dimitris Papadopoulos, Experimental Practice. Technoscience, Alterontologies, and More-Than-Social Movements, Durham 2018.)


CREDITS

Initiated by Dorota Michalak
 
Substantively and energetically the study is nourished by Dorota Michalak, Katerina Delakoura, Iro Grigoriadi, participants of the workshops at Utopia Laboratory and Self-organized Free Theater EMPROS in Athens. All coincidental encounters, places, weather, atmosphere have a very high impact on the work being a huge resource feeding the study.

Thanks to: Μυροβόλος Μεταξουργείο, Mariana Kastalia, Ελπίδα Ταξιάρχη, Sunayana Shetty, Stergios Dinopoulos

Documentation: Sunayana Shetty, Stergios Dinopoulos, Alekos & Christos Bourelias

Poster: Yiannis Selimiotis

SUPPORTED BY
︎ Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań (in the frame of MA thesis in Intercultural Communication)

︎  Beauftragte der Bundesregierung für Kultur und Medien im Programm NEUSTART KULTUR, Hilfsprogramm DIS-TANZEN des Dachverband Tanz Deutschland

︎ Utopia Laboratory in Athens

︎ Self-organized Free Theater EMPROS in Athens

CARRIED OUT IN
Athens (GR), June-July 2021

Berlin (DE), August-November 2021


︎ ︎ ︎dorotmich@gmail.com