Portal Obscura: Ecology Incarnate

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2024

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Abstract

Human-caused environmental destruction is the result of a life rhythm that requires numbing to ecological impact. Through my Embodied Interdisciplinary Praxis Thesis, I have developed my dance practice, begun a community practice, and curated a performance, portal obscura, all investigating ecological relations through dance. Ecological relation is defined as focusing attention on the relations between living creatures (flora, fauna, fungi, and bacteria) and their environment (including land, air, water, and objects). I propose an ecological dance aesthetic that moves with an expanded sense of time, space, and selfhood while interweaving worlds of reality and imagination. Through this research project, I developed a dance practice that honed my awareness and sensation of self and ecological relationality. I shared my practice in a solo performance, portal obscura, where I invited the audience to traverse the performance space and interact with poetry and sculptures devised to enhance the ecological awareness of situating, observing, and relating. I stress that noticing connections and making communities across differences are essential first steps to a less human-centric environmental ethic.

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Piper, Julia Martina (2024). Portal Obscura: Ecology Incarnate. Master's thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/31038.

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