DEEP TIME, SLOW VIOLENCE, HAUNTED LANDS
DEEP TIME; SLOW VIOLENCE, HAUNTED LANDS
This presentation aims to set up a dialogue between philosophical debates informing the concept of the anthropocene (loosely defined as the age of unprecedented human disturbance of the earth's ecosystems) and recent indigenous performances concerned with the effects of climate change, not just on indigenous lands and lifeways, but also in global terms. My case examples are Cut the Sky (2015), Marrugeku's poetic dance and spoken word critique of environmental degradation in northwestern Australia; Pacific Washup (2003), a durational performance by Maori and Pacific Islanders cast upon Sydney's shores as climate-change refugees; and Alison Aku-Matu Warden's Calling all Polar Bears, which offers an Inupiaq perspective on the fate of animals affected by the melting of polar icecaps. These works are informed by indigenous epistemologies that offer synaesthetic understandings of temporality, spatiality and ecology. I am particularly interested in the ways in which they bring geological time scales into the social time of human history and how they use the embodied arts of performance to figure interspecies connections as well as relationships between humans and their environments. Concepts of 'deep time', and especially of 'deep listening' as developed by Marrugeku through kinaesthetic choreographic practice, inform this presentation, along with Rob Nixon's work on the 'slow violence' of incremental destruction dispersed across time and space.