To move and think with things is to become responsive both to the qualities of those things and to their capacities to move and be moved in different ways. It is also to become responsive to the processes and relations from and within which these things emerge. With this in mind, Derek McCormack approaches the theme of speed and slowness in the form of the following question: how might we think and move with atmospheric things?
The talk considers an ‘atmospheric thing’ in two senses: as a relatively discrete entities, irreducible to objects, immersed in and shaped by a “turbulent cloud of solicitations that we’d have to call meteorological” (Michel Serres). Also, the concept of atmospheric thing can refer to the sense of a happening in process, a sense of affective doing. In order to hold these twin senses of ‘atmospheric thing’ together I use the shape of a simple device – the balloon – as a kind of enabling constraint for thinking in movement. The presentation revolves around a series of stories of the circumstantial excursions of the balloon as it becomes and does atmospheric things in a range of contexts. Through these stories he explores what it might mean to incorporate elemental, atmospheric forces, into the speeds and directions of our thinking and moving as part of the cultivation of worldly sensibilities that are only ever partially dirigible.
what_now 2014 was presented by Independent Dance in association with Siobhan Davies Dance
Dr. Derek McCormack is associate professor of human geography at the School of Geography and Environment at the University of Oxford. He is the author of Refrains for Moving Bodies: Experience and Experiment in Affective Spaces (Duke University Press, 2013) and is currently working on a book about atmospheric things.
Bio as published in 2014.
Independent Dance’s series of WHAT festivals was initiated by co-director Gill Clarke in 2009. It was a platform for invited artist-curators to ask questions about and through dance.
what_now 2014 was presented as a public residency, taking as its starting point the suggestion that artists need to construct new conditions for the realisation of community. It was a festival of processes and activities, and addressed new forms of social organisation and production.
Four public talks addressed the thinking body and its potential in and for movement. The speakers were invited to talk about how attention operates, and how we direct ourselves and our thinking as full-blooded humans, with varied approaches including philosophy, human geography, education and performance. Each public talk was followed by a discussion, which was also filmed, and placed on this page.