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An Urgency to Hesitate: Embodiment, Emplacement, and Emotion in the Climate Crisis

thesis by Rachel Anne York, 2020


Calls for urgency in the face of the climate crisis have not yet been met with robustly effective actions. The common mode, tone, and scale of delivery of these messages do not consider human emotion, and counterintuitively contribute to a pervading feeling of ecological paralysis. By engaging with embodiment, emplacement, and emotions, art has the opportunity to shift human awareness to the collaborations inherent to existence. Tuning sensorial sensitivity towards our collaborators shifts our behaviors and values. Art, particularly durational art, asks us to loosen a grip on progress and speed -  key contributors to climate change. Performance art imbued with ritual makes places to mourn losses of the climate crisis, allowing for release and continuity. What does it feel like when urgency pauses, takes a breath? How much more do we notice when we’re moving slowly? What does it mean to us to be together, with other humans, with other creatures, with other beings? 

Urgency Cover - paperback.jpg
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