Research projects

Rock/Body: Performative Interfaces between the Geologic and the Body

Rock/Body is an AHRC-funded interdisciplinary research network led by Dr João Florêncio (University of Exeter) in collaboration with Professor Nigel Clark (Lancaster University) and in partnership with the British Geological Survey.

It brings together researchers from the humanities, social sciences, health and earth scientists alongside artists to investigate the human body as a site that exists in continuity with – rather than cut away from – the geologic. It aims to interrogate the nature/culture divide geologically, by taking performing bodies as both expressions of geological matter and forces, and prime sites of exposure and response to changes in the dynamics of earth systems. 

The network activities taking place between March 2015 and February 2016 include a series of research seminars and public events with four principal aims:

  • To develop the first cross-disciplinary, trans-historical, and trans-national network of researchers and creative practitioners interested in the performative interfaces between the lithic and the human body: the mineral underpinnings of embodied human performances and the performative nature of the geologic and human geological agency.
  • To further engage the arts and humanities with current geological research by using the performing body as site from where to critically engage with scientific narratives that posit a universalising “humanity” as dominant geological agent. To do so by investigating the ways in which bodies might affect and be affected by the geologic in different ways as a result of their various embodiments of race, gender, class, sexuality, and ability; how different bodies might embody different geo-logics and thus be granted varying degrees of geological agency.
  • To do the above by focusing on three composite sub-themes: “Flesh/Minerality,” “Extraction/Exhaustion,” and “Time/Duration.” 
  • To bring together the knowledge and methodologies of different academic disciplines and artistic practices and move beyond them, towards more complex representations and increased awareness of the performative nature of rock/body interfaces, their environmental impact, and their social, cultural and geo- and bio-political implications

For more information on the network and the participating researchers and artists, please visit the project website and follow us on Twitter.