By Isabel Pina Ferreira and Lizzy Burt

Public art exhibition to show link between the human body and geology

Experts in visual culture, geology and health will work with artists and dancers to show the connection between rocks and the human body as part of a new University of Exeter study.

A public art exhibition, which includes video installations, films, a dancer in residence and performance pieces are a key part of the research project.

A team of experts from the humanities, social sciences, health, and earth sciences will work together alongside the artists. They will meet at three seminars in 2016, at the British Geological Survey in Nottingham and at the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute in Cornwall and Streatham campus in Exeter.

The project, Rock/Body, examines the human body as a site that exists in continuity with, rather than cut away from, the geologic.

Researchers will examine the parallels between mineral depletion in rocks, both mined and quarried, and human bodies exhausted by high-intensity labour and performance in contemporary 24-hour economies. They will also investigate the ways in which certain forms of performance art might be able to attune the bodies of artists and audiences to the rhythms of the geological world.

The public programme of events on September 8 and 9 includes a free exhibition of works by artists and a specially-commissioned performance piece inspired by the Exeter landscape.

Dr João Florêncio, from the department of Art History and Visual Culture, who is leading the project, said: “The geologic literally grounds the movement of the human body, and minerals sustain it in the shape of our bones. We will explore this connection, but we also believe the links between the body and the geologic can be useful to help us address contemporary ecological issues.

“Geologists and visual arts experts are rarely given the chance to work together. We want to look beyond the divide between nature and culture, the sciences and the humanities, by showing that the performing human body can express geological matter and the dynamics of earth systems."

The study, Rock/Body: Performative Interfaces between the Geologic and the Body, is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council.

For more information visit the project website or follow the network on Twitter @UofE_RockBody.

Date: 20 April 2016

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