Performing the Electrical or My Heart is an Electromagnetic Chamber Scenographies of Power, Ecology and Speculative Practice

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Performing the Electrical traces the histories and futures of electrical discovery and knowledge through cultural performances, socio-political assemblages, and the more-than-human worldmaking functions of energy in general and electricity in

Performing the Electrical traces the histories and futures of electrical discovery and knowledge through cultural performances, socio-political assemblages, and the more-than-human worldmaking functions of energy in general and electricity in particular, or what I refer to as energy-as-electricity. This project seeks to transform how energy-as-electricity is perceived, and thereby to re-vision the impact that energy-rich relationships might have ecologically—in both the social and environmental senses of the word. As a practice-led inquiry I use my scenographic sensibilities in combination with performance studies and energy humanities lenses to identify how energy-scapes form through social performances, material relations, and aesthetic/ritualistic interventions. This approach allows me to synthesize vastly different scales of energy-as-electricity performatives and spatialities and propose alternative framings which work towards decolonizing and re-feminizing energy-rich relationships. This research considers the way power flows, accumulates, and transforms through performance as embodied expression, practice and eventful doings of human and more-than-human agents. It asks: if place is practiced space (Henri Lefebvre), how can decolonizing and re-feminizing energy-rich relationships transform normative power relationships (or power geometries, as cultural geographer Doreen Massey refers to such globalized interconnections)—which are formed through electricity, technologies and colonial-capitalism? I ground this inquiry as an ecological intervention in order to investigate how performing with electricity differently (both in collective imaginations and quotidian interactions), can change the ways that electricity is produced and consumed in the time of the Anthropocene, Capitalocene, and Plasticene. The following study produces written and tacit knowledge that expands the framing of energy-rich relationships shared between human and more-than-human performatives. My provocation is that experiential encounters are critical for expanding the ontological plurality of energy-as-electricity with ecological a/effect. Drawing on the insights of performance scenographer Rachel Hann, I demonstrate that scenographic methodologies in an expanded field, along with embodied sensing, provide productive insights into this endeavor of expansion. This project both serves as a space making/space keeping provocation and offers a methodology for devising more desirable futures.