The Power and Performativity of Water (In Crisis)


*Central closed before I was able to use the recording studio + editing suite - so I used the built in computer mic and an old dysfunctional version of imovie (which is why referenced quotes are under the videos)

Reflective Assessment PD2 by Audree Barvé


“The regenerative social transformations of the next century will be inspired by water”

(MacLeod, J., 2018. "Hydrologies Of Transformation: Capitalism, Hegemony, And The Meanings Of Water". [video] Available at: <> [Accessed 3 February 2020].)

Episode 1: Water vs Capitalism

“potentially damages artists, art and culture in three crucial ways”:

1. “It insists that art prioritizes self-interest and individualism.”

2. Art must consent to “creative destruction as an apparently inevitable by-product of innovation.”

3. Requires art “relentlessly to pursue productivity, permanent growth and profit.”

(Harvie, J., 2013. Fair Play - Art, Performance And Neoliberalism. Basingstoke: New York.)

“Water and rivers performed alongside and intermingled with human protagonists and where water and rivers exercise a degree of agency in determining the form of the experiments.”

(Donald, M., 2015. Guddling about: Experiments in vital materialism with particular regard to water. Performance Research, 20(2), pp.33-38.)

“Colonialism and capitalism are based on extracting and assimilating. My land is seen as a resource. My relatives in the plant and animal worlds are seen as resources. My culture and knowledge is a resource. The act of extraction removes all of the relationships that give whatever is being extracted meaning. The alternative is deep reciprocity.”

(Simpson, L., 2020. Dancing The World Into Being: A Conversation With Idle No More’S Leanne Simpson.)

Episode 2: Melting as a Tool for Hope

“intense wetness in the eyes and nose… not spontaneous tears but a ceremonial excess and calling forth of tearing… By tears and mucus death is avenged.”.

“Rain equally symbolizes the wellsprings of life that follow spiritual reconciliation, just as falling rain atomizes water, releasing negative ions into the atmosphere. Rain refreshes and invigorates those who experience it.” 

“The relation between performers and water is one of intimacy and respect. Neither simple instrument adapted to human use, nor embellishment to beautify human space, water is woven into every gesture of the women’s lives like liquid flax.”

(Chiaroni, K., 2016. Fluid Philosophy. Performance Research, 21(2), pp.108-116. p. 112)

“the loss, damage or destruction of ecosystems of a given territory such that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants has been or will be severely diminished.”

(Higgins, P., 2020. One Law To Protect The Earth - Ecocide Law. [online] Ecocide Law. Available at: <> [Accessed 6 April 2020].)

“Ice encapsulated identity fluidity as the genre itself was destabilized and ice evoked bodily responses.”

(Tait, P., 2013. Ice Burns. Performance Research, 18(6), pp.81-88. p. 81)

“The process of melting a man’s torso made of ice merely by the warmth of the artist’s body can be understood as a slow and painful contestation, as well as an inevitable transformation of sex and gender in modern society.”

(Krpič, T., 2013. Performing Ice: On perception of cold, the performing body and the spectActor. Performance Research, 18(6), pp.46-53.)

 “It is against this backdrop that art activists argue that current and future socio-scientific

issues cannot be solved through science, government or economics alone, but rather that the quality of human existence depends on our ongoing experience and connection to the natural world.”

(Burnard, Cook, Jasilek and Bauer-Nilsen, 2018. Performing Arts Activism for Addressing Climate Change. Choreographic Practices, 9(1).)

“It can be hard to have intense feelings in a museum when those feelings go against social protocol. In an art gallery, anger, tears, arousal and certain kinds of laughter may appear to signal the disintegration of composure, naïveté, and a lack of class. In such spaces, as much as we are encouraged to be moved by works of art, we are also encouraged to remain cool.”

(Zerihan, R., 2014. Hold It Against Me: Difficulty and Emotion in Contemporary Art by Jennifer Doyle. Contemporary Theatre Review, 24(3), pp.400-402.)

“For women, the need and desire to nurture each other is not pathological but redemptive, and it is within that knowledge that our real power is rediscovered. It is this real connection which is so feared by a patriarchal world.”

(Audre Lorde, Lewis, R. and Mills, S., 2013. Feminist Postcolonial Theory. Hoboken, N.J.: Taylor and Francis)

Episode 3: Powerful but Uncharged

“Meandering on immense white glaciers like two shadows, sometimes together and sometimes alone, we finally found ourselves creatures being torn between life and death, between absence and misleading mirages.”

“Something that is, and that isn’t, at the same time.”

“And the ice, telling of itself through the wind, its voice mobile, sharp and shot, a counterpoint of loss and triumph, severe, and for a few times not that much.”

(Pagnes, A. and Stenke, V., 2013. Antarctic Dream – Ice as Architecture of the Human Spirit. Performance Research, 18(6), pp.71-80.)

“I am thinking of how modalities of life and death co-exist in spaces that are designated as spaces of leisure, for instance on the beach.”

(Cox, E. and Zaroulia, M., 2016. Mare Nostrum, or On Water Matters. Performance Research, 21(2), pp.141-149.)

“The iceberg is simultaneously mortal and immortal, living- and-breathing but also unyielding.”

(Cauthery, B., 2013. Bodies of Uncharted Ice. Performance Research, 18(6), pp.122-128.)

“Humans are part of larger systems. As humans feel the reciprocity and vitality that come from opening ourselves to natural systems, we see that we are intricately involved with the air, water, animals, plants and soil”

(Olsen, A. and McHose, C., 2014. The Place Of Dance. Middletown (Conn.): Wesleyan University Press, p.Introduction xvii.)


“Water does not have the characteristics of the living, but without water there is no life. Water does not have the expressions of life [growth, fertilization, reproduction, metamorphosis, nourishment, metabolism and so on], but these all only become possible through water. What is it that enables water to accomplish this? Be renouncing every self quality it becomes the creative substance for the generation of all forms. By renouncing every life of its own it becomes the primal substance for all life. By renouncing every fixed substance, it becomes the carrier of all substance transformation. By renouncing every rhythm of its own, it becomes the carrier of each and every rhythm.

(Schwenk - Clarke, J., 2010. Living Waterscapes: The practice of water in everyday life. Performance Research, 15(4), pp.115-122.)