Critical Dialogues (2017) Critical Path, AU

Following the body’s natural edge to the abyss of space

Issue 8, Environmental Impact, 27 August 2017, pp. 47-53.

To help us to move confidently toward an uncertain future, we must prioritise embodied approaches to understanding the marriage of human cognition, perception, affect, and action in ever increasingly extreme and technologically mediated environments. The pursuit of creative expression and peak performance in many contexts is a fuzzy goal but not a fickle one. With detailed adherence to disciplinary protocols, creative practice can occur in high-risk operation, training and research environments and achieve a great deal. The artists’ mastery of dynamic risk and safety to support the value of the body movement, and bodily experience, becomes a tool to understand environmental impact in extreme sites just like it would in hybrid performance laboratories and media studios. For the earth-bound artist, simply imagining having an extended microgravity experience and orbital perspective is a delicious phantasmagorical feat, but the chance to embrace the astronaut 2.0 of the commercial spaceflight era is fast becoming a reality [1]. As a live artist I’ve gained valuable insights by working as a commercial diver and simulation astronaut and I am now training for suborbital flight [13]. The aim of my body of work is to develop effective research strands and successful partnerships that will address the urgent need for knowledge about changes in human expression caused and inspired by these extreme environmental interactions. My work mostly builds on intuitive and conceived action states derived from accumulative aquatic experience: namely learning that through aquabatics the artist’s aquatic body does not conceptualise itself as performing in water, but rather the intention of the art becomes a technology which consecrates a living status between the artist and site moving in/of/as one body of water [10]. In the field of astronomy this relationship would be known as a syzygy: the environmental impact is yoked, and simultaneously affects (celestial) bodily performance, orbits and eclipses.

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Pell, Sarah Jane (2017) Following the body’s natural edge to the abyss of space. Critical Dialogues, Issue #8 Environmental Impact, 27 August 2017

Guest Editors Liz Lea & Kyle Page: In volume #8, artists examine how environments shape experience and output in the creative realm.

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