Hannah, D and Brown, C, Mapping turbulent gestures and liquid ground, Poetic Biopolitics: Practices of Relation in Architecture and the Arts, I.B.Tauris & Co Ltd, Rawes P, Loo S and Mathews T (ed), United Kingdom, pp. 221-244. ISBN 9781780769127 (2016) [Research Book Chapter]
As the French philosopher and social theorist Michel Foucault defined the concept, 'biopolitics' is the extension of state control over both the physical and political bodies of a population. Poetic Biopolitics is a positive attempt to explain and show how the often destructive effects and affects of biopolitical power structures can be 'poeticised' and deconstructed through the arts and humanities: in architecture, art, literature, modern languages, performance studies, film and philosophy. It is an interdisciplinary response to the contemporary global crisis of community conflict, social and environmental wellbeing. Structured in three parts - biopolitical bodies and imaginaries, voices and bodies, and social and environmental turbulence - this innovative book meshes performative and visual poetics with critical theory and feminist philosophy. It examines the complex expressions of our physical and psychic lives through artefact, body, dialogue, image, installation and word.
In this book chapter, scenographer (Dorita Hannah) and choreographer (Carol Brown) discuss their co-directed, site-responsive works as a re-mapping of place via the performing body. By experiencing multiple thresholds audiences are encouraged to imagine the spatial coordinates of stage and city differently to those of thier habitual occupation, particularly through reference to mutable myths, genealogical threads and corporeal memories. Reframing the body in the city in unexpected ways results in dance-architectures that acknowledge the fractured narratives of place and the risky ground of representation. As a critical spatial practice, the performance work is premised upon the absence of a ‘real enrootedness’ stemming from the schism between nature and culture, active and passive, masculine and feminine subjectivity, the corporeal and spiritual, the non-European and the European, the pre-colonial and the post-colonial.