Thursday, September 23, 2010
"Cross/Walking" Opens Tonight
This show is a mash-up of interests particularly near and dear to me. First, I am a scholar of communication with particular interests in rhetorical studies and performance studies. For me, performance is both a mode of sharing and a mode of exploring. So, a lot of my work actually involves creating public events where I (alone or with others) share performance work exploring a wide variety of topics. But I also teach classes and run workshops where we use performance to explore phenomenon using a variety of protocols -- sometimes called "experiential learning" or "performative pedagogy."
Finally, I specialize in scholarship about environmental communication, including how we engage in public discourse about the ecological systems that support us. In environmental communication, we note that how we talk about nature, ecosystems, etc. is just as important if not more so than what environmental science usually tells about the same. I am drawn particularly to the role visual messages (from 19th Century landscape painting to pictures of the Earth from space, from films to activists' "image event" protests) play in shaping our understanding of environmental issues and motivating our action.
Another theme of this performance is how difficult it is to talk about particular experiences (in nature, in performance, in our everyday lives) without relying on common and shared experiences. But, I argue, this also robs the experience of its particularity. So, recognizing that we transform spaces (pre-existing territories) into places (particular sites of personal meaning and experience) through our actions and communicative operations there, I encourage the audience to be less concerned about the difficulty of sharing particular connections to particular places than with the practice of place-making.
Should be fun. Let's see how the opening night audience likes it.