Dr. Deepta Sateesh (Srishti Manipal Institute, Bangalore) and Dr. Laura Denning (independent artist, UK) propose a performance lecture that incorporates moving image and spoken word within a live presentation. We propose an experimental exploration of the body as a sensory, moving being learning and grasping the environment (it) is engaged in and with. Drawing upon work developed in our ongoing collaboration, we will inhabit ecotones/thresholds that are experimental (and spatio-temporal), to articulate through movement the ontology of being in the in-between.
We will inhabit the threshold without seeking to reference being between two worlds. Places of the in-between, ecotones in landscape terms, thresholds in conceptual and physical terms, are those of extreme dynamism and flux. They are places where change occurs, they are places of change, generating new things that come into the world, from sentient beings to materials. These are places of wetness – estuaries, bogs, marshes, moments of rain or snow. Here, water and wateriness are conditions and medium for life to happen (and death) – for goings- on to continue to go on.
The responses/correspondences have a certain rhythm – of feet/hands moving through space and time – rhythms with sound, textures, an uneven earth, atmospheric changes, and from moment to moment, synchronised with certain operations of movement – through, over, under, between, with, across – continually constructing rhythms. Deepta and Laura generate parallel and responsive collaborative work which uses movement, spoken word and moving image to reveal sense-abilities, transcorporealities and porosities, between the somatic and the intellectual.
The environment is an ever-changing world that can be continually uncovered through immersive experience. This uncovering constitutes learning to read, understand and engage with the goings-on of a weather-world. To respond to this, are ways of immersing in and with material, space and time, moving through conditions of wetness, inhabiting the liminal led by breath, and body and its sensibilities – not just the five senses but beyond them to include senses of direction and space. This immersiveness is one that privileges temporality, the unknown, and of weaving generative practices together, always moving into the next moment, tactics towards an immediate future. Inhabiting an ecotone is dwelling in and with emergence, change, dynamism, threshold, an in-between of habitats, of spaces. Both are the same in terms of experience – one of being neither here nor there, but everywhere through time – of liminality, of moving through worlds of the situated or the constructed. How can we inhabit the liminal-ecotone-threshold, a world of being in an in-between, every movement is a negotiation, subtle – to dwell, move, breath, eat, drink, sleep… and have a shelter for these in a wet world.
About the artists
Laura Denning – I am a transdisciplinary artist working across film, sound, social participation and installation, often using mark-making and walking as experimental methodologies. Most of my work aims to reveal novel insights that can contest familiar ways of thinking about people, place and sensation. Recipient of the inaugural scholarship in Environmental Humanities at Bath Spa University, I have recently been awarded my Doctorate. This practice-led research positioned art practice within experimental geography in order to open up the registers within which art might operate, and to foreground the environmental and ecological focus of my art practice.
Deepta is a design researcher, educator, architect and planner, working in landscapes in conflict. Her environmental practice is focused on creating new pathways in design, education and policy. Her doctoral research in the Western Ghats of India gathers situated practices, movement, and the politics of the colonial eye, and draws from design, environmental humanities and philosophy. She is also a dancer, equestrian, cellist, wanderer and photographer. She is Director and Founder of Odde Research Center, and Dean of Research and Collaborations, at the Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design and Technology, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, Manipal, India.