Listening movements- dancing kin with a bog, ducks and reeds

Authors: Linda Lapina*, Roskilde University
Topics: Landscape, Cultural Geography, Anthropocene
Keywords: affective methodology, dance, embodied knowledge, care, attunement
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM
Room: Virtual 12
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


When the COVID19 lockdown begun in March 2020, I took up dancing on a wooden platform on Utterslev mose, a series of bogs close to where I live in Copenhagen. I danced almost every morning. I saw the light grow stronger, the seasons and the vegetation change. I made friends with ducks who sometimes remained sitting on the platform; I observed grebes build a nest. I made acquaintance with a birch tree that I now hug when passing by.
Apart from these immediately tangible relationships, I also got to know and became increasingly attuned to the bog as a polluted, fragile infrastructure out of balance, embedded in ongoing violent histories. Dancing, I reached out to rusty bikes stuck in the poisonous sludge at the bottom of the bog. I observed the many people, most often joggers, circulating around the bog in these weeks and months of lockdown, on paths laid out by unemployed people in the 1930ies. I read about thousands of fish dying by asphyxiation in the 1980ies.
In this paper, I propose dance as an affective methodology for listening to and enacting an embodied sense of place. I discuss how dance enables connecting to vulnerable, impure nature-cultures of the bog. I explore how dance can comprise an art of caring in and for a precarious, unstable present (Bellacasa, 2017), enabling embodied, relational knowledges that enact articulate this present as simultaneously ongoing and unknowable, open to what will emerge on the palm of the open hand (Sedgwick, 2003).

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