Performing Gaia
: towards a deep ecocritical poetics and politics of performance

  • Gareth James Somers

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This thesis develops a deep ecocritical model of performance analysis. It examines historical and social structures. It asks if, in the light of climate change and ecological degradation, new ways of looking at our everyday performances in life and in art might provide clues about how we recalibrate our perspectives and practices in relation to the more-than-human world.
It is concerned with critical analysis within non-theatrical and to lesser extent within theatrical performance contexts. It integrates study of representation, embodiment, landscape, materiality and metaphor to investigate relations and homologies [correspondences of position value, structure or function with shared roots] in performance relations between the human and the more-than-human spheres.
It identifies developments within ecologically oriented performance practice and braids ecosophic positions to overcome methodological problems caused by dualist epistemologies.
It argues that western metaphysics, hermeneutics and technological development contribute to positive feedback wherein we have become increasingly alienated from the more-than-human world. It charts progressive historical estrangement, objectification, enclosure, colonisation, de-materialisation and objectification of the more-than-human world. It does this to illuminate our anti-ecological and ecological performances in life, ‘culture’ and art.
Date of AwardSept 2011
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorDominic Symonds (Supervisor), Paul McDonald (Supervisor) & Justin Smith (Supervisor)

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