Encounters with Clinamen

Weather is not an object experienced from a distance, but rather a medium in which every living being is immersed (Orrù & Ringgaard 2017). This writing is a weather report that views clouds as ‘containers of possibility’ and as an infrastructure for critical thinking. Clouds and the body are used together as vibrant, experiential and living matter that aim to reinforce a direct relation to nature - merging land and sky. To clarify, I use clouds as a catalysis and ignition for thinking about the environment, and the body as a way to experience and move through this thinking. The practice is important because it allows for the theoretical and practice to lean on one another, and hence develop a more profound artistic research practice that is activated off the page, directly involving the reader. Clouds are used either as real elements in the sky to marvel at and make us imagine, or as metaphorical devices to expand our thinking. A reason for this dual use is to demonstrate the heterogeneous uses that nature offers and how they can be useful for artistic research to theoretical bridging in thinking about environmental challenges.

Now, I wish to bring you directly into my nebulous and corporeal intentions. This project began as a workshop which explored an embodied approach to urbanism by using a Butoh choreography called Body Weather. This dance generates an opened up space for critical thinking, reading and reflectivity into relational theory. Meaning that it allows to merge together three parameters - body, space and nature – into an affiliation with one another. The workshop investigated the body as a medium for exposing situated knowledge in critical spatial practice. The day began with a weather report formulated into two brief seminars. The intent was to set the tone and introduce the themes of clouds and bodies, tying earth and sky together. Their kinship is investigated throughout the interventions; theoretically, corporeally and artistically. The event took place at the AHA! Festival, an annual event that stages mediations between art and science to explore their unique translations and knowledge-harvests (AHA Festival 2016). This is a transdisciplinary collaboration between four weather enthusiasts: a Body Weather dancer, a PhD in architecture, a professor in Literature and a poet.1 Thinking in imaginative terms, I gathered us into a poetic journey through clouds and weather in all its forms, shapes, visions and moods, including an assembling of poetic cloud texts (Orrù 2017a, Orrù 2017b).

The aim was to explore complex environmental challenges by conducting embodied modes of inquiry as a way to engage in critical spatial practice. This is done by setting up a corporeal relation to clouds and atmosphere, exploring their common materiality. Each intervention followed weather, using the dynamic metaphor of clouds that was constructed into five corporeal configurations. The exercises called an intermission invite the reader to perform alongside the text with guided instructions and videos. The reader is invited to take a pause and consider looking inwards, looking around and looking up. These five intermissions include: Blind chairs, Blinded, Mimicked & Observed, Slow Swarm & Line, Slow-moving Cloud Characters, and a Poethic Performance.

Components include both indoor and outdoor practice in order to have varying temperatures, sounds and materialities that allow for a heterogeneous experience and contact. The physical inquiry of body is meant to challenge established ideas of how the body can be used in architecture because it produces new ways of thinking about space that emerge from conducting profound sensorial and reflective experiences. Hence, the ingredients propose diverse ways of approaching weather, atmosphere and imagination also seen as environmental conditions. Therefore, asking what kinds of opportunities do they give us to think about bodies and about body weathering in terms of environmental awareness and action? Hence, in investigating Body Weather, I query whether embodied artistic methods can create an atmosphere-making practice which becomes motive for ethical behaviour and critical thinking in spatial practice. By atmosphere-making, I mean a practice that maintains a vibrant relation and effect on the surrounding space that is set off by the bodily movements. Here, atmosphere refers to the generated ‘impression’ in space, using the body as an extension of space.

fascination is for the basic, the boring, the mundane, and all the mischievous work done behind the scenes. It is a doctrine of environments and small differences, of strait gates and the needle’s eye, of things not understood that stand under our worlds.’

(Peters 2015, p. 33) 

Meaningful Fictions in the Air

Take for a moment viewing clouds as real entities in the sky. Clouds can be appreciated as fictions in the air that have an intensity, effect and propagate meaning. This notions the act of worlding as a poeisis; a dynamic and poetic gesture which is in constant movement.6 John Law (2004, p. 2) suggests that in a world that is entangled and complex, ‘we’re going to have to teach ourselves to think, to practise, to relate, and to know in new ways. We will need to teach ourselves to know some of the realities of the world using methods unusual to or unknown in social science’ (Law 2004, p. 2). Such methods support the aim for generating a catalysis in order to keep pushing the boundaries and forms of inquiry in environmental and artistic research. For me, this signifies making an encounter between the material and the artistic, following Law’s advice of generating new methods to deal with complexity.

Clouds offer up such potential. They offer heterogeneity (multiplicity) and as Law supports, they ‘open space for the indefinite’ through ‘creating metaphors and images for what is impossible or barely possible, unthinkable or almost unthinkable. Slippery, indistinct, elusive, complex, diffuse, messy, textured, vague, unspecific, confused, disordered, emotional, painful, pleasurable, hopeful, horrific, lost, redeemed, visionary, angelic, demonic, mundane, intuitive, sliding and unpredictable’ (ibid, p. 6). When environmental discourse is riddled with complexity and numerous approaches, there is a need for methods that create a kind of stillness and deepened reflectivity. Still enough to hear, think and act critically.

These practices are simultaneously both phenomenological and philosophical, and relate to the basic elements of life and the everyday. Clouds help us to imagine, wonder, be curious, and to view things alternatively, especially when they are decontextualized. Body Weather practice aides in affording an inner decontextualization with its dynamic metaphors to move with, move towards, move as and dialogue with. Weather as a medium to think and practice with can transform you into something else so you can grasp the world, with all its complexities, from another perspective. Similarly, thinking of data in the form of a cloud makes it accessible, somewhere up there it can be reachable too. Thinking in such terms is about bringing forth another relationality and connectivity to upper and lower elemental hemispheres. By stitching together weather to body, the idea of an elemental infrastructure becomes a desirable thought that sows together land and sky via the body, ultimately, bridging between humans and non-humans (naturecultures). 

‘the land itself no longer appears as an interface separating the two, but as a vaguely defined zone of admixture and intermingling…creatures live in the land and not on it…For it is in the nature of living beings themselves that, by way of their own processes of respiration, of breathing in and out, they bind the medium with substances in forging their own growth and movement through the world.’

(Ingold 2011, p. 119-120)

Emotional weather report – everybody talks about the weather

Another rather mundane connect and tie to the sky is through the constituent of emotion that arises from weather. Weather as emotion is a boring habit at times. When one speaks about the weather, one has nothing to say, remarks Tolstoy (cited in Diaconu 2015). Diaconu describes this weather emotive connect as meteo-dependency in which ‘the appreciation of weather depends on physiological criteria of corporeal and emotional well-being […] the drama of the clouds, entitles the beholder to assign a capricious or ¨moody¨ temper to the weather: the mobility and fluidity of cloudscapes are a reflection of life’ (Diaconu 2015). Weather offers the open space for emotion to leak out and be expressed. Weather as an emotion has a continuous motion and can also become something corporeal. (ie: weather swings) Here the body and weather become facing boundaries, folding and unfolding in form and sensation, coming and going like elements in space. It reminds me of John Berger who views weather in similar terms where weather does not inflict itself on us but rather we reside in it and therefore adjust and maintain a resilience by adapting to it (The Derek Jarman Lab 2016). Emotions can also play a significant role in thinking and reflecting about space, Mark Johnson (cited in Pallasmaa 2012, p. 244) writes, ‘Emotions are not second-rate cognitions; rather they are affective patterns of our encounter with our world, by which we take the meaning of things at a primordial level […] Emotions are a fundamental part of human meaning.’ With this in mind, emotions take on another type of significance that should be considered, particularly when they arise from weather-thinking and embodied practices. These emotions tie us to the environment in a more profound relation.

Similarly, clouds like emotions are in flux; constantly changing and moving - round, through, towards, out, over, above, below, along! In Body Weather practice our bodies are also in fluctuation, they are riding on a cloud and they are moving as a cloud body. Clouds are our metaphors - our tropes - swerving about and beckoning us to move through space in alternate manners. They are unpredictable, and therefore in a state of poeisis, or rather, they are Poethical - political, ethical and poetic - as they reformulate the relation to space.7 They beckon us to take a stance with the environment and to express our concerns and what we think and feel about it.

A Poetics of depth – environmental imaginations

Weather can be liberating as it allows for imagination to float along the sky’s horizon. With cloud-gazing there is an opportunity to imagine all sorts of things: shapes, animals, stories, flying mountains. Clouds are here to help us imagine with and provide ways in which belonging in and with the world is in essence strongly tied to natural elements.

Body Weather practices submerges the body into becoming a cloud character. It creates potential and force for cultivating inventiveness through clouds to encourage ecological poethics. Law Professor Jedediah Purdy introduces the concept of environmental imagination, wherein the poetics and ethics of ecological matter can sit side by side providing opportunity for transformation. For Purdy (2015, introduction, p. 11) ‘Imagination means how we see and how we learn to see, how we suppose the world works, how we suppose that it matters, and what we feel we have at stake in it. It is an implicit, everyday metaphysics, the bold speculations buried in our ordinary lives.’ This imagination takes on a serious and playfully note as it manages to be used for critical spatial-making and to consider space from new perspectives. This playfulness sits at the heart of these Body Weather interventions. In order to cultivate a hopeful practice that deals with the drama of the environment, a new method needs to be created so that it generates a desire for care. Purdy (2015, introduction, p. 11-12) asserts this further when he says that ‘Imagination also enables us to do things together politically: a new way of seeing the world can be a way of valuing it - a map of things worth saving, or of a future worth creating […] the link between ways of seeing, encountering, and valuing the world - that is, imagination - and ways of acting, personally, politically, and legally, that have shaped the world in concrete ways.’ This political aspect of finding uncommon forums of architectural practice can have a significant effect on the field and on how we approach environmental activism and space matters.

Throughout, I have discussed the key modes in this practice which use imagining, storying, mimesis and performativity to unearth hidden connections, switch perspectives and tackle complexities so that new empathies and behaviours can arise. These modes are referred to as ‘exploratory actions' by Architecture Professor Catharina Dyrssen because they hold the potential to 'bring out, or reveal, the unknown and open up for the unexpected’ (Dyrssen 2010, p. 236). In Body Weather practice, the ‘unnoticed’ becomes noticeable and the in-between becomes a prime material to reflect upon – a crack in the stone, a scratch on the glass, dust on a curve. Providing this open space for discovery is an important element in critical spatial practice and finding corporeal ways to do this is a fundamental part of embodied methodologies.

Clouds are also signs of weather to come. Hence, memory and a sense of urgency is rooted in their atmosphere. In this elemental landscape, there is the opportunity to take weather and nature seriously. Ultimately, clouds allow us to think about the weather in terms of climate change as they make us attentive. Diaconu supports this, she writes that ‘they are able to raise the awareness of climate change and at the same time to enhance aesthetic experience, by shifting the focus of aesthetic appreciation from dramatic weather shows to less conspicuous weather conditions […] Humans may even begin to see the beauty of some landscapes only when they are confronted with the prospect that they may well disappear’ (Diaconu 2015). Hence, finding ways in which to become with the weather allows an entirely unexpected glimpse into the environmental discourse and it catalyzes action.

Final elemental reflections

Making narratives with clouds using Body Weather choreography awakens a collective creativity and evokes transformation. The research concepts have unfolded through flux, time, senses, body, emotion and motion. They transpired to the surface as the practice unfolded through the proposed intermission interventions. These interventions have explored how embodied exercise can help in being aware of one’s presence in space, but also of otherness. They can situate the ecological-self by using elemental media to think, move and reflect with. Hence, the use of ‘clouds’ can act as an infrastructure for thinking, as critical fictions to be guided by, as a form for merging naturecultures, and for inciting emotion, mood and reflectivity. These clouds are both part of an elemental media of knowledge but also metaphors for thinking with. Our journey went through clouds as a philosophical metaphor for thinking and gathering curiosity. Clouds became fictions that could be read and interpreted. Clouds were seen as binding matter between earth and sky, and as ‘filler space’ topics, and emotional carriers for conversations. Mostly, clouds have served a triggers of imagination and environmental concerns.

Purdy acknowledges that ‘humans spell out their imagination in the landscapes they shape, and the landscapes write their forms on human experience and the imagination it fosters’ (Purdy 2015, introduction, p. 26). In such ways a discourse with clouds becomes a two-way negotiation and conversation. Using Body Weather choreography allows for combined landscapes to emerge and motivate imaginations that have allowed me to examine the research from unexpected entry points. Dyrssen (2010, p. 229) agrees that ‘Explorative experiments should subvert conventional strategies; shake up ingrained patterns of thought; provide quick feedback, increased curiosity, and discoveries of hidden possibilities; reveal possible links and points that need to be mapped; and get the creative process moving forward.’ Through unorthodox modes we find forms in which the discomfort becomes fuel for inspiration. The difficulty with using this artistic approach is that, since ‘truth’ is not the aim, one must remain open but not ambiguous. Accordingly, there is a certain amount of intuition that drives the research process. This can be at times unsettling, but it is in this discomfort that curiosity cab be engaged. Imagination after all is a difficult substance to capture. By igniting artistically-led and poetic approaches to infuse environmental awareness, urban participants are more likely to partake. Conjuring imaginations connects weather-worlds to the ground, non-humans to humans, and ultimately, through the Body Weather practice, body to space in an entangled poethics. In these entanglements, new relations and assemblages are constructed that allow for deeper reflectivity and attentiveness. Such approaches to urban-making steps beyond mere materiality in order to extract ‘theory out of the clouds’, onto the ground and into our bodies.

Our cloud-thinking suggests that the moment is urgent to take action and Peters’ (2015, p. 260) reflections remind us that ‘our survival may depend on knowing how to read the signs in the atmosphere.’ With such urgencies, Cloud Weather and Body Weather become entirely different practices that can generate new situated knowledges and approaches for environmental awareness and action.

To close our deliberations, we will complete our cloud travels with a final performance having understood the profound implications that body, cloud and nature relations can offer through these intermissions.


1. In alphabetical order: Carmen Olsson, Anna Maria Orrù, Dan Ringgaard, and Morten Søndergaard.

2. Donna Haraway (2003) refers to human | non-human relations as ‘naturecultures’ in her Companion Species Manifesto which allows us to think through these relationships from a horizontal and non-hierarchal perspective.

3. The word fabulation in this context refers to a feminist practice of storying called speculative fabulation (SF) exercised by Haraway (2012). SF is a mode of thinking in other typologies and worlds, where the borders of thinking, doing and making are shifted so that non-harmonious agencies are made transparent and put together in uncommon configurations. In her writing, Haraway calls these SF narratives – ‘stories for resurgence on a damaged planet’ (The Evergreen State College Productions 2016) (Orrù 2017b).

4. In assuming a naturecultures stance, these becomings don't just become, but rather, they are becoming-withs because they are in unison and non-hegenomic.

5. Situated Knowledges is the notion introduced by Haraway's (1988, p. 585) argument for a situated and embodied knowledge.

6. Worlding is a term that denotes a form of generating worlds we want to live in, ecologically speaking. Nel Janssens (2012, p. 57), from her study into philosopher Nelson Goodman (1978), points out that this world-forming is not to become one single unified entity; for there are multiple worlds simultaneously, many hold different concerns, inhabitants, significance and properties (Orrù 2017b).

7. A poeisis is poetic and poetry at the same moment. In the Random House dictionary, Poeisis is a combining form meaning “making, formation,” used in the formation of compound words. Briefly, Poethical practices encourage an ethos as a poetic and political embarking, and reconfigure ethics into a mode of relationality.


All images and videos are products of the artists and participants, who have authorized permission to be published.




AHA Festival, 2016. Art & Science Festival. [online]. Gothenburg, SE: Chalmers University of Technology. Available from: https://vimeo.com/193256998 [Accessed 1 May, 2017].

Böhme, G., 2014. 'Urban Atmospheres: Charting New Directions for Architecture and Urban Planning', in C. Borch, ed. Architectural Atmospheres: On the Experience and Politics of Architecture, Basel: Birkhäuser, pp. 42-59. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central.

Diaconu, M., 2015. Longing for Clouds - Does Beautiful Weather Have to Be Fine? Contemporary Aesthetics, 13. Available at: http://www.contempaesthetics.org/newvolume/pages/article.php?articleID=719&searchstr=longon+for+clouds [Accessed September 15, 2015].

Dyrssen, C., 2010. Navigating in Heterogeneity: Architectural Thinking and Art-Based Research. In M. Biggs & H. Karlsson, eds. The Routledge Companion to Research in the Arts. London UK. New York, NY: Routledge, pp. 223–239.

Goodman, N., 1978. Ways of Worldmaking, Indiana: Hackett Publishing Company.

Haraway, D., 1988. 'Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective', Feminist Studies, 14(3), pp. 575–599. Available at: http://www.jstor. org/stable/3178066?origin=crossref.

Haraway, D., 2003. The Companion Species Manifesto: Dogs, People, and Significant Otherness, Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press.

Haraway, D., 2012. SF: Speculative Fabulation and String Figures / SF: Spekulative Fabulation und String-Figuren, Documenta (13), 100 Notes - 100 Thoughts (No033). Kassel, Germany: Hatje CantzVerlag. pp. 1–18.

Ingold, T., 2011. Being Alive: Essays on movement, knowledge and description, London and New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Janssens, N., 2012. Utopia-Driven Projective Research: A design approach to explore the theory
and practice of Meta-Urbanism. PhD Thesis, Chalmers University of Technology.

Law, J., 2004. After Method: Mess in Social Science Research, London and New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group.

Orrù, A.M., 2015. Time for an Urban (Re)evolution - Negotiating Body, Space and Food. [conference paper]. The 1st PARSE Biennial Research Conference on Time. Gothenburg, Sweden. November 2015

‘Imagination also enables us to do things together politically: a new way of seeing the world can be a way of valuing it - a map of things worth saving, or of a future worth creating…the link between ways of seeing, encountering, and valuing the world - that is, imagination - and ways of acting, personally, politically, and legally, that have shaped the world in concrete ways.’

(Purdy 2015, introduction, p. 11-12)

Intermission 2

Blinded, Mimicked and Observed

You need to be two people (one blindfolded, one not) for this exercise. Blindfold, you explore the space using your full body - crawl surveying the space with your limbs. Activate and use all your senses. Taste, listen. Touch everything. When you are the one who is observing the blindfolded, try to shadow their movements and keep them safe.


Blinded, mimicked and observed: larger space indoors - The duet work began wherein one person was blindfolded while the other was an observer. The observer was not passive, they were attentive, mimicking the others movements and kept them from harm. The blindfolded practice was to reveal the space with all their senses, using their full body to explore, to be humble to the space, and to trust that the input received would provide the imagination needed to communicate with the space. Elements such as scale, heaviness, sensuousness, materiality guided them.


Clouds as Infrastructuralism - A Medium of Possibility

Weather does something to the body, and you are always immersed in the middle of it as it is inescapable (Orrù & Ringgaard 2017). In Body Weather, the weather is inside, internally absorbed and embodied. In order to link weather to the body towards a practice, I first consider how clouds themselves can become an infrastructure for thinking, a concept taken from John Durham Peters’ book on ‘The Marvellous Clouds’. Though Peters’ book has been written as a philosophical opening to computer and information science fields, his use of ‘clouds’ situates between the exact science of data shifting and storing, but also as imaginary metaphors of knowledge and environmental imagining. This idea of data storage as a cloud, holds in it the thought that such elemental media can also be bursting with ideas. Peters’ (2015, p. 30) refers to clouds as having an infrastructuralism, as having a demure capacity in which ‘fascination is for the basic, the boring, the mundane, and all the mischievous work done behind the scenes. It is a doctrine of environments and small differences, of strait gates and the needle’s eye, of things not understood that stand under our worlds’ (Peters 2015, p. 33). He means that cloud elements hold analogy to the practice of Body Weather; a certain mischievousness, a behind-the-scenes exploration of space, an everydayness of the body in movement, and a support for relating to a site that extends body into space and up into the sky. Space too holds bodies as a form of infrastructuralism; for survival, for becoming with, for relating and for connecting.4 For Peters, bodily infrastructure is on par with elemental media, ‘the elements that lie at the taken-for-granted base of our habits and habitat […] Media […] are vessels and environments, containers of possibility that anchor our existence and make what we are doing possible’ (ibid, p. 1-2).  If media is a form of communicating meaning to the public, then nature (weather elements) is at the core of this meaning just as much as a body. For it is after all a bodily act that helps us to access this media, and bodies are always involved. In assuming the body also is a form of media, Peters describes this body type as being abundant with meaning and belonging to a larger network than just itself. Implicating that this extended web of connections with others gives opportunity for sharing a space and a time that hosts a myriad of ways to engage in encountering one another (Peters 2015, p. 6). Clouds seen as a media can connect both to nature, and to bodies, via communicating through the atmospheres and ambiances they provide. This elemental atmosphere and its role is crucial because it is situated in critical spatial practice as a vital ingredient for enhancing the imagination. Imagination can inspire an activity to emerge through developing a curiosity which is the main catalysis in these embodied experiences. Hence, elemental media can bring with them new practices; weathering, forecasting, navigating and imagining, which are transdisciplinary gestures associated with embodied practice. Philosopher Mădălina Diaconu calls for a reflective aesthetic attitude toward weather. She writes that in this attitude one becomes ‘sensitive to the poetics of the everyday weather, both fine and bad’ (Diaconu 2015). There is potential in this alliance between weather and attitude; wherein the sky offers a medium and clouds are used as a media for thinking and for producing meaning with. Peters (2015, p. 4) refers to this meaning as ‘repositories’ that in essence sustain our existence. These sources become crucial to the way we create bonds and commitments to the environment, useful for forming environmental identities and attachments. The practice of Body Weather allows the body to reflect upon and ‘decipher’ this data and open up to new forms of knowledge generation, also because it is a situated knowledge practice.5

Weather-worlds – merge land and sky

Essentially, weather creates an atmosphere and being in the middle of this atmosphere is what Body Weather practice has become for me. It links up to the cloud language that has been used thus far. Philosopher Gernot Böhme (2014, p. 43) asserts that the term atmosphere ‘derives from metereology and, as a designation for an ambient quality, has a number of synonyms that likewise connote the airy, cloudy, or indefinite: these include climate, nimbus, aura, fluid; and perhaps emanation should be counted among them as well.’ Here atmosphere is understood as an ambiance that sets the tone for a given space. Furthermore, anthropologist Tim Ingold (2011, p. 115) explains that living beings exists and are an integral part of the weather-world, ‘to dwell within a weather-world in which every being is destined to combine wind, rain, sunshine and earth in the continuation of its own existence.’ For by looking at the clouds and the state of climate, we are aware of the great scale of environmental implications. Ingold believes that the earth and sky are not two separate entities, and prefers to view them as substances that are in constant flux and implicate one another (ibid, p. 119). In his rationalization, he suggests we should view earth and sky as mutually bound and only separated by ground. In this way we become more exclusively involved with the environment in his call for responsibility. He suggests that ‘To feel the air and walk on the ground is not to make external, tactile contact with our surroundings but to mingle with them. In this mingling, as we live and breathe, the wind, light and moisture of the sky bind with the substances of the earth in the continual forging of a way through the tangle of lifelines that comprise the land’ (ibid, p. 115). In his aim, he treats the body as a part of the landscape that mutually forms the making of it.

But why is it important to connect ground and sky as a common agency?

One answer is that it is a further connect with nature, to climate, and to non-humans and humans, wherein weather is taken seriously as a subject which summons further examination. Furthermore, this mode of inquiry helps to sustain an earth/sky connect because our place on land no longer seems to separate both, but rather, it can be viewed as an interface for this ‘admixture and intermingling’ where we reside. Ingold points out that we live in the ‘land itself’ and not on it which indicates more involvement with it, more responsibility for it, and ultimately more awareness. He goes on to explain that within this interface we also can mature as a species. Ingold states that, ‘For it is in the nature of living beings themselves that, by way of their own processes of respiration, of breathing in and out, they bind the medium with substances in forging their own growth and movement through the world’ (ibid, p. 119-120). Ingold offers a way to bind life, to bring together earth and sky, human and non-human actors. The practice of stitching is crucial in developing an ecological ethics and deep commitment for sustainable behaviour. Stitching in this instance becomes a mimesis between the body and weather-worlds. It provisions for an embodied practice in which making our way through the world is a form of relation-making. Haraway refers to such worlding approaches as a becoming-with when she calls for a reformulated cohabitation with more-than-human others. This formation, an ontological choreography of sorts, is associated with training to become a companion species. She states, ‘I believe that all ethical relating, within or between species, is knit from the silk-strong thread of ongoing alertness to otherness-in-relation. We are not one, and being depends on getting on together. The obligation is to ask who are present and who are emergent’ (Haraway 2003, p. 50). So how can a practice be constructed in order to create such alertness? Training the body to perceive such an emerging otherness gestures alternate modes of practices and approaches to climate which Law (2004) implies. Therefore, I use Body Weather as an act to catalyse this reformulation which brings the corporeal into diverse contacts with land and sky

Intermission 1

Blind Chairs

Blindfold yourself and sit still. Settle down. Once you are ready, slowly move to another place in the room, and sit again.

Blind Chairs: small studio space indoors - From their seats, participants blindfolded themselves and slowly moved from chair to chair, absorbed in the space surrounding their chair, finding their way to another seating point. The intention of the exercise is to undulate focus between the internal body and the external atmosphere, essentially to turn up the volume and make a stronger focus on the surrounding space through the body. 

Intermission 3
Slow Swarm and Line

Part 1: walk slowly at 1cm per second in any direction in the room.

Part 2: walk slowly at 1cm per second in a line forward with another body if available


Slow swarm movement and slow line movement forward: indoor loft space - The first part of this exercise was a slow-walking in a body swarm, concentrated on the skeleton (the neck, the lining of the spine, the torso posture, the hips, the shoulders, the length of steps, how the foot meets the ground, the shoulder’s position, how the hands and arms are moving, how hips are moving) and how it manoeuvres.

The next part of this exercise was to align bodies facing forward in the long edge. The participants focused on an imagined sky with clouds indoors. The bodies moved together again at 1 cm per second, imagining and relating to a very slow-moving cloud.


Finale  - A Poethic Performance

a discussion unfolds as we perform our Body Weather in the dark

a spotlight creates a puddle of pail orange on the floor

we move towards it

out of the dark, six bodies appear, ghost-like, moving very slowly

we move forward, slowly…one foot slithering past the other

cello stops.


the silence in the space has its own materiality,

it grows in thickness and presence as if it was an object or body in the room

Danni reads her cloud dialogue - Chinese and English - as we move

and eventually,

we end up covered in a pail orange glow.


Intermission 4

Slow-moving Cloud Characters

Part 1: Go outside. Walk slowly at 1cm per second in a line forward with another body if available. Understanding the temperature differently

Part 2: find a hillside landscape inclined upwards. Pick a cloud character, and re-enact the cloud as it slowly makes its way up the hill.


Outdoors: A slow-moving cloud mass up a wooded-hill and in a line – In the first part, participants faced upwards towards the sky horizon, they moved slowly forward at 1 cm per second forming a collective movement. The temperature had dropped significantly, there was now a public, and the soundscape had shifted to loud traffic and a strong wind that blows around each cloud body.

In the second part, participants dispersed along a wooded hillside on crunchy leaves, which offered another soundscape. They transformed into their cloud characters - small, round, spongey, or large and widespread - and proceeded slowly up the hill in non-uniform patterns. 



‘I dance NOT in the place; I dance the place’

(Tanaka [no date])

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Tanaka, M., 2007. Min Tanaka and Alanna Heiss Conversation at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Centre and MoMA, New York [Online]. Min Tanaka | Rin Ishihara Dance Official Web Site. Available at: http://www.min-tanaka.com/wp/?page_id=900 [Accessed: May 7, 2017].

The Derek Jarman Lab., (2016). The Seasons in Quincy: Four Portraits of John Berger , [documentary film]. United Kingdom. Available from: https://seasonsinquincy.com/ [Accessed 22 January, 2019].

The Evergreen State College Productions., 2016. Making Oddkin in the Chthulucene. [online lecture]. 25 May. Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWQ2JYFwJWU [Accessed 11 January 2017].

Body Weathering – choreography by space

Body Weather choreography in my research blends together the inquiry’s thematics; the body with the environment, establishing a corporeal setting for exploring and thinking about and with nature. In this sense I am trying to demonstrate that not only space creates an atmosphere (Böhme 2014), but that bodies also play a significant role. Min Tanaka, Body Weather originator, clarifies that Butoh dance can be inspired by a myriad of elements; an idea, a song, a movement and an image, but also, ‘something someone says, certain incidents, human and non-human elements’ (Tanaka 2006). In essence, ‘nothing is choreographed. No concrete movement is predetermined or composed. The progression of the dance is not preconceived either’ (ibid). It is a dance form that is choreographed by the space, which makes it different for every space performed in. This project takes inspiration from the clouds and weather to see how the body can integrate upper and lower atmosphere landscapes.

Tanaka began his Body Weather ‘laboratory’ in 1985 on a farm in Hakushu - Yamanashi prefecture, Japan. For Tanaka, the notion to connect body and weather allowed for a leap into imagination wherein the ‘I’ is not the centre. It is in constant flux, drifting around and identifying ‘with someone else or something else […] This is true about human relations, meteorological phenomena, the sun, animals, and almost everything around us. A weather like contingent and ever-changing relationship’ (Tanaka 2007). To think of the body’s role in space having such critical affects should give embodied methods a vital position in the making of space. In Body Weather practice, the social body is erased - usually painted white - blending in with the landscape so a mimesis of the surroundings can unfold. Such a practice can be said to belong to feminist critical spatial practice, particularly dealing with feminist thinker Donna Haraway's term natureculture.2 In this cloud practice, clouds lie somewhere in the interstices of natureculture; nature-made but culturally influenced. When interacting with clouds, it is precisely the borders between human and non-human that begin to blur. Through the day’s cloud metaphors, the practicing body becomes the central medium of operandum embracing the atmosphere as a spatial material, visual delight, curiosity-driver and artistic matter for stirring the imagination.

The choreography Body Weather consists of a number of practice skills such as mimesis, elements of interaction, metamorphosis and reflection (Orrù 2015 and 2017b). Elements used to navigate in, through and around our urban realms wherein an exchange is constantly taking place between body and space. The workshop unearths this dialogue through fabulations, corporeal practice, writing texts and performance, and intends to turn the volume higher on what is being exchanged.3 We practice to affect parts of the body, release some parts, and allow new impressions to enter in and move us. These techniques called body manipulations can be used in spatial practice to reorganize connections and relations, both to the inside and to the outside of our bodies. Essentially, the body is activated to absorb the external landscape. The workshop elements are revealed as an intermission in the text, providing a moment for a performative reading and a chance to glimpse the theoretical entangled with physical practice.

‘Emotions are not second-rate cognitions; rather they are affective patterns of our encounter with our world, by which we take the meaning of things at a primordial level […] Emotions are a fundamental part of human meaning.’

 (Mark Johnson cited in Pallasmaa 2012, p. 244)

‘we’re going to have to teach ourselves to think, to practise, to relate, and to know in new ways. We will need to teach ourselves to know some of the realities of the world using methods unusual to or unknown in social science.’

(Law 2004, p. 2)