We walk in step, our feet, the Earth, this duet

Jarvis, Beatrice [Artist] (2019) We walk in step, our feet, the Earth, this duet. In: Storytelling and the Environment : 13th Annual Storytelling Symposium; 12 - 13 Apr 2019, Pontypridd, Wales. (Unpublished)


We Walk in Step, Our Feet, the Earth, this Duet’ I stand, my lower legs submerged in the ice-cold Atlantic. A cormorant stands close. His feet solid on the rock. I wish to stand beside him. He dries his wings in the dawn air. My clothes sodden. A wave arrives. I am caught. Alone and together now with breath and wave A shock and pure joy Here I am I am here. • Can choreographic work emerging from the experience of landscape create an embodied archive of a place, generating a somatic narrative of place? • How is the experience of the landscape translated into the actions of the body to become a somatic reflection? • How can a choreographer create a process, which enables dancers and non- dancers to actively deconstruct their experience of their environment, translating narratives of experience? • How can site responsive performance become a social medium for the study of the political and cultural shifts of embodied terrain retold through body stories? Making works in isolation often in very remote or isolated environments, my intimate series of landscape embodiment rituals raise the dichotomy of site-responsive practice as potential platform for increased environmental awareness. Reviewing my recent environmental commission in Donegal in a framework of deconstructive Ecopsychology, I will address through theoretical and practice based models how far the artist and landscape form a dynamic synthesis within the collaborative experience and embodiment of landscape. I will debate how far site specific performance and the practice of long distance walking offers an embodied landscape narrative. Asking how my somatic practice generates specific meta-narratives of the terrain I explore; I will present samples of my recent video works which trace the story of St Columba leaving for Iona from the shores of Donegal and the specific embodied responses I have made to these places. Framing my series of endurance walks across the landscapes of the Wild Atlantic Way in Eire; I will explore key texts by Berry, Synder, Laban, Mabel E Todd, Gindler and Steiner to question how durational site responsive practice addresses notions of affect and effect within the social reception of ambulatory and performance practices as socio cultural platform for cross community ecological representation. Traversing terrain and disciplines, between dance, long distance walking, personal pilgrimage and environmental reactionary practice; this paper will explore the sensitive and poignant synergy between land and body and address how this version of story telling constructs an alternative narrative of place. This paper and film presentation seeks to raise the seminal question: how can the body can become mirror to its surroundings, asking through embodied practice, photography, film and writing; how does the body become a living archive from which a narrative can be construed? How does the discipline of embodied practice reflect the process of the body immersing itself into landscape to construct a meta-narrative of terrain; how can performance be used as a mechanism for cartography to make landscape more accessible as terrain and resource?

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