Exercising agency through embodied research and the making of screendances

Art, access and agency - art sites of enabling

Keywords: Screendance, embodied research, agency, co-creation


This article reflects on a series of embodied research processes to argue that screendance-making as ‘embodied practice’ offers a site to exercise agency. Drawing from the notion of affordances and prosthesis, the article suggests that in screendance, the mover and the camera enter into a relationship where agency is shared. Screendance offers opportunities to experience agency not as subject-centred, but rather in a field of relation – a co-compositional mode (Manning 2016:123). Drawing from Lawrence Halprin’s (1969) RSVP (Resources, Scores, Valuaction, Performance) score cycles and Ben Spatz’s (2020) conceptualisation of research journeys as cyclical and reversible, the article documents a series of online and in-person movement and vocal explorations and tracks how these embodied research instances create possibilities to reflect on, and experience agency in, moments of co-creation. This article suggests that embodied practice and art-making are agentic and epistemic, which may disrupt hegemonic knowledge structures and open a window towards what Boaventura de Sousa Santos (2014:188) calls an ‘alternative ecology of knowledges’.