I have been reckoning with my relationship with rocks. This means reckoning with my relationship to my colonial settler ancestors, to the land I’ve grown up on and with, and to how I construct a self.
This performance practice–collecting, organizing, throwing, touching, gazing at, dancing with, listening to rocks–began forever ago, of course. But it also began with slow movement experiments on my own at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, climbing and laying on the rocks of Squirrel Island, Maine, on Wabanaki land.
This process has now been many places–on roofs and in apartment bedrooms and in the waves of Rockaway Beach. This process has now become more explicitly collaborative, since I met Emily Rose Cannon and we began to dance with rocks together. In Spring of 2022, at the conclusion of my MA in Performance Studies at NYU, Emily Rose and I shared slivers of the process through text, participatory practice, and video.
Emily Rose and I continue to marvel at, appreciate, and dance with rocks together. We lead workshops, which are announced on our social media (@_noraraine_ @internetversionofemilyrose).
Choreography, concept, video, and editing by Nora Raine Thompson
inner ear and inner eye
inner ear and inner eye, 2022
This video work was created in collaboration by Nora Raine Thompson and Emily Rose Cannon. The title is a reference to a phrase written by Wilson Harris in his 1999 essay and radio broadcast, “The Music of Living Landscapes.”
I recognize that I have grown up learning from and living on many indigenous homelands, including those of the Lenape, Mohegan, Mashantucket Pequot, Eastern Pequot, Schaghticoke, Golden Hill Paugussett, Niantic, and the Quinnipiac and other Algonquian speaking peoples, as well as the Penobscot Nation of the Wabanaki Tribal Nations. I pay respect to the people of these Nations, as well as this land, water, and ancestors past, present and future.
The following list is a way to acknowledge the many people, artists, experiences, and texts who have been, even if not directly cited, pivotal in this thinking with rocks. This list, like any attempt at acknowledging shaping forces, is incomplete.
Danielle Goldman’s I Want to Be Ready
Denise Ferreira da Silva’s “On Difference Without Separability”
Dylan Blair Bass
Erin Manning’s Always More Than One
Gilles Deleuze & Felix Guatarri’s “How do you make yourself a body without organs?”
Maria José Arjona
Mel Chen’s “Has the Queer Ever Been Human?”
My parents, David Thompson and Ginger Chapman
Penobscot Nation of the Wabanaki Tribal Nations
Performance Studies peers, T.A.s, and professors
Performance Studies Salon and Praxis workshop participants
Roger Callois’ The Writing of Stones
Sadie Mitchell and the Mitchell family
Sovereign, a podcast from the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies