michael j. morris

why ecosexuality?
18 November, 2011, 12:42 am
Filed under: research | Tags:

As I come to the end of my course work (only one more quarter) and move into the phase of my PhD program dedicated to preparing for my candidacy exams, I find myself constantly zooming in and zooming out—zooming in to examine the complexities and nuances of the theoretical frameworks with which I am engaging, frameworks like queer theories, ecofeminism, queer ecoogies, posthumanism, psychoanalytic theories of sexuality, etc., and how those frameworks function to illuminate the performance materials with which I am engaging; and zooming out to consider what the importance of this project might be, the ways in which I might clarify why I am drawn to theorize this notion of “ecosexuality” in various works of body based performance.

It is this second scale, zoomed out as it were, that occupies my thoughts tonight. These are some of the answers that occur to me:
-In opening to the possibilities of ecosexualities, the possibilities that sexuality might be a part of how we experience the world in which we are implicit, there is a necessary rethinking of the boundary between the human and the more-than-human. This rethinking allows value to become more pervasive. It is not my intention to depreciate what we consider to be human; nor is it my intention to expand what we think of as human, to colonize that which is not human under that category in order to ascribe it value. Rather, I’m interested in how the dissolution of that boundary might allow for a more pervasive value for the world in which we are always already implicit.
-Sexuality is a productive site at which to consider this expansion, this dissolution of the clearly human. Sexuality is central to subjectivity, in discourse, in politics, and often in the lived experience. We come into our subjectivity through our entry into the matrix of sexuality. Sexuality is a field in which lives and rights are actively articulated, legislated, contested, and protested. Sex and sexuality, amidst all their complexity and contestation, can be the sites of intensities of pleasure and even rapture, sites of profound interpersonal connection, sites of collective identities and communities. If sexuality is central to subjectivity and the subject is always implicit in the world, then sexuality pervades the world. In many ways, sexuality has been territorialized and restricted to a small set of experiences and encounters; to consider sexuality to be more pervasive in our experience of the world invites the world to becomes more central to our subjectivities, allows the world to be a site of intensities of pleasure and rapture, profound interpersonal connections, and even coalitional identities and communities.

I’m still talking in the language of theoretical discourses. I’m still working through the theories. I want to zoom out farther, make this project more legible outside of these specialized systems of language.

What I mean is: I want to be able to fall in love with the world. I want to be seduced by the world. I want to feel towards the world the bittersweetness of being both made whole (as by a lover), and the profound sense of partiality, lack and incompleteness that are revealed (produced?) by the desire for the lover. I want to allow for the possibility that in/through/with the world around me, I might experience the kind of dissolution that I experience in sex, a pleasure that blurs the boundaries of where I end and my lover begins. Ecology and ecosophy are already predicated on inherent interdependency; autonomy is an abstract fantasy, and the individual is never fully individuated. We (can) know this in/through sex, but in sex we know it through the intense rapture of sensation and pleasure of connection and exchange. An ecological consciousness is a recognition of one’s own interdependency, an interdependency that is only possible if no part is fully sufficient on its own. It depends on a necessary and productive lack. As long as I conceive of myself as separate, as autonomous, as a human who exists separate from but in the world around me, I lack. I must be completed by the world in which I occur in order to be whole. From lack springs desire, eros, the bittersweetness of longing to be complete in the recognition of one’s partiality and insufficiency, and we take pleasure in that bittersweetness of desire, that longing to be whole. Through ecosexuality, I’m looking to find that rapture, to live in the world in such a way that the pleasure of my interdependency, my implication in the world around me, is present, blurring my boundaries, dissolving my self. As long as I remain “myself”—individuated, autonomous, “human”—I lack, and in lacking, experience the pang of desire. I experience pleasure, fulfillment, and wholeness as I let go of the “I” who lacks and surrender to the necessary interdependency in which there is no “I,” only how what has been called “I” functions as part of a much larger system. With this recognition/surrender of “self,” I think there is then a different way to live in/as the world.

Performance is where I’ve seen this lived out, where I’ve seen these ways of living explored and practiced and re-presented. This is the world-making potential of performance, that in the creative act of doing things differently—something that is “allowed for” in performance in ways that are not allowed in other settings—we explore/practice other ways of being in/as the world. This comes with us back into other settings of living, beyond the performance, in small and big ways. I look to performance to see how ecosexuality is lived out.

These ideas are still only sketches, still only beginning to come together, but there is it. In the most basic sense, I want to fall in love with the world. I want to find profound pleasure in the recognition of how I am a part of the world around me, how I am necessarily interconnected, insufficient on my own, lacking without the world to complete me, and in that pleasure, I want to lose track of my edges, explode my boundaries and flow into my experience of being-in/as-the world.

1 Comment so far
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i read this. twice. as usual i want to say so much but work/FH have me by the booboo today.

i just wanted you to know that i’m over here seeing/hearing/observing/witnessing you and your work.

i will either write or draw a response to this over the weekend. b/c this is rich. you know it is. and the last sentence makes me want to make something.


Comment by cocoloupedance

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