PhD Thesis: The Ecological Body ~ extracts
Break the pattern which connects the items of learning and you necessarily destroy all quality. (Gregory Bateson)
I choose pattern as a primary ecological principle. The perception of pattern involves an awareness of overview and horizontal view simultaneously and an apprehension of past and future within the present moment. Pattern indicates to me flow, movement and design, connection, repetition, aesthetic, meaning, process and product. All of these qualities and concerns are present in my movement research projects.
One of the key principles of ecological thinking is to recognize the existence of patterns and to see that we exist as part of those patterns, rather than as separate from them.
In this case, I am suggesting that an embodied awareness of movement can support us to recognise our own patterns of movement, and those of our fellow beings, as an intrinsic part of the changing environmental patterns. This could help us to experience ourselves as part of the pattern of life (for example, as part of the food chain, or as a contributing factor to global warming), whilst still acknowledging our unique capacities and contributions to planetary life.
The creation of pattern may be seen as the mutually reciprocal creation of aesthetic and meaning. When we notice a pattern, we notice some kind of coherence usually highlighted by the process of repetition. Through the pattern, we understand how the pieces fit together, that is to say the structure of meaning inherent within the pattern.
These observations hold true for body patterns. A held physical pattern is the embodiment of a character strategy, developed over time. Its inherent structure reveals information about the individual’s characteristic tendencies and relationship to the environment. Appropriate patterns of behaviour can be anticipated once the body pattern has been noticed, acknowledging the influence of past conditioning on present circumstances. Equally the performance of that behaviour in the present immediately conditions possible futures.
Interlocking environmental and human patterns create a tangible weave of interdependent dynamics between the individual, their community and their environment. This promotes a sense of being a resonant part of a living system, rather than an isolated individual. Autobiographical material perceived as pattern translates, once again, into the ecological notion of niche.
The rhizome is an a-centred system, non-hierarchical and non-signifying […] uniquely defined by a circulation of states. (Deleuze & Guattari)
I choose rhizome, as defined by Deleuze and Guattari, as a suitable methodological pattern for devising and scoring ecological performance.