Embodied water flows: creating and following paths of least resistance

Authors: Luke Whaley*, The University of Sheffield
Topics: Human-Environment Geography, Social Theory, Water Resources and Hydrology
Keywords: Water, flow-forms, natural inclusion,
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Madison B, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Life forms are flow-forms, and they pool together. The pooling influence of living bodies brings into the mix the varied and shifting dimensions of existence. The infusing of the biophysical and material, sociocultural, political and economic. In these ‘poolings’, bodies of water co-here (attune, resonate) and flow begins: trickles, confluences, then streams and rivers. Process, pattern, ecology. Paths of least resistance form; form is formed: furrows to be followed, followers to furrow. Dynamically bounded bodies – the co-creation of river and riverbank. A case in point? The human body. Dispositions - ways of doing, feeling, thinking - sediment in the body: flow furrows deeper channels, depositing what it carries around a slow bend, burying much of everything below discursive consciousness – beyond scrutiny. We are left with the task of exegesis. Closer still and we must be students as thoughtless beings – feeling-perception, flowing perceptively. Humans are not beings but becomings: human becomings, in the all-inclusive sense of everything becoming together at once forever. A co-creative, fluid-dynamic transformation of all through all. River and riverbank. Boundaries and boundlessness. Water as material and metaphor. Organisms as flow-forms – embodied water flows. Organisation as paths of least resistance, systems furrowed and followed, formation and reformation, endlessly to an unknown sea. How might this watery enlivening help us to think through and beyond current impasses? What currents will carry us away and where may they be flowing? If we are truly ‘bodies of water’, how may water’s behaviour help us understand our own?

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