A woman crosses a courtyard, reflected in a puddle.
Credit: Christian Kipp

Affiliate Researcher Sara Wookey explores ways in which movement and modes of transmission might contribute to the formation of knowledge and perception.

“It appears that people, in their daily lives, merely skim the surface of a world that has been previously mapped out and constructed for them to occupy, rather than contributing through their movements to its ongoing formation.” – Tim Ingold in Being Alive: Essays on Movement, Knowledge and Description (2011:44)

The above quote suggests a mapping out of ‘a world’ in which the inhabitants have the potential (although they may not take it up) to co-create its formation. This ‘world’ could be a space, a place, an object, or a practice.

What interests me about this claim is that Ingold is suggesting our movements are what contribute to the world’s ongoing formation. One might say that human movement as a contribution to formulating (an idea, motion, argument, thought, etc) suggests that embodied ways of knowing and being in the world have value as part of that contribution.

In this blog I will discuss ways in which movement and modes of transmission (between humans, material, and digital spaces) might contribute to the formation of knowledge and perception as we co-contribute to the world in which we live and move together.

A Shared Aliveness

I recently presented a paper and film project called A Shared Aliveness: Proximity, Rest and Play as part of the conference Subject/Object/Practice/Place: Connecting Creatively Through the Performing Arts, which was hosted by the University of Malta from 20-22 March 2024. The somewhat open-ended themes of the conference were focused on ‘connection’ and exploring different modes of ‘transmission’.

As my practice-informed research includes methods of transmission in dance between audiences, readerships, and participants, I was interested in presenting ‘transmission’ as a method for engaging students of landscape architecture through technologies of dance and film. The result was a virtual field trip as a source of engagement, learning, and embodied knowing of a site.

The concept of the virtual field trip was part of the Mobilising Peripheries project, in which I took part in February 2023, and that was commissioned by Rennie Tang, professor of landscape architecture at Cal Poly Pomona near Los Angeles. Tang was interested in how multi-modal ways of experiencing a physical landscape could, through digital technologies (in this case, digital film), enliven an experience of ‘being there’ virtually.

My 2024 presentation featured a 2023 Mobilising Peripheries project where three collaborative groups were invited to create a virtual field trip. Each team included a landscape architect, a dance artist, and a filmmaker.  The idea was to explore peripheries of varying constructed landscapes through movement and record that through digital film.

I was paired with landscape architect Catherine Mosbach and photographer-filmmaker Christian Kipp. Our assigned location was the Parc du Louvre Lens, a public park designed by Mosbach which outlines the periphery of the Louvre Lens Museum.

We started by asking: how do we visually transmit the feelings, sensations, movements, flows, and choreographies of a space for those who are not physically there?

I offered an improvisation score, or prompt, to Mosbach for us to work with. Our three words were play, rest, and proximity as a means of expression through movement, and across different aspects of the landscape.

This exploration, recorded by Kipp, was an unedited 20-minute recording, moving from one end of the park, through the museum, and out to the opposite edge of the park.

We were navigating multiple pairings of transmission between museum and landscape; park and neighborhood; dance, landscape architecture, and film; live experience and digital recording; artists and students; France (where the virtual field trips were documented) and Pomona (where Tang’s classroom of students is based).

We explored the proposal of ‘mobilising peripheries’ physically and metaphorically. We were being asked to express an experience of a site through embodied ways of knowing and to widen the perspective of space.

Lessons from Spatial Theory

This widening perspective builds on philosophies and ideas from spatial theory, such as the writings of the postmodern political geographer and urban theorist Edward Soja  on ‘feltspace’ (1996), which suggest there is more than one way to experience space.

The notion of ‘feltspace’ is useful for my research, as it aligns with the idea of ‘embodiment’, often used in dance to describe a bodily awareness. This bodily awareness or felt sense of the body is an entity that extends to the physical space through which the body is moving and of which it is a part.

Another word that is helpful in this line of thinking is ‘proprioception’, or the awareness of the relationship between one body part and another, for example the elbow to the hand. Yet Soja is arguing for a sense of space, or how we feel a space. A sense of the body, therefore, is essential in ‘feeling space’ as a thing to be felt through the body.

Soja’s theories find possibilities for the imaginary within the already complex and performance-like environment of shared public space. These concepts address the materiality of space, or the real world, as well as imagined representations of space and other ways of understanding the spatiality of human life.

What Soja refers to as ‘a distinct mode of critical spatial awareness’ is a way to understand socially produced space. The opportunity of connecting in the space of a museum and park in an embodied, felt way is part of an overriding opportunity to move past current models of spatial, relational understanding.

These old models have been fixated on a concrete materiality of spatial forms, or things that are empirically mapped, and of space conceived through ideas about space – in mental or cognitive forms.


How might the idea of a virtual field trip contribute to modes of transmission of information, agency, and ways of knowing between creators and users of digital technologies? The aim of data collection is information. How might artistic practice support an engagement with the experiences surrounding data collection?

My curiosity as to what embodied practices might offer is supported by Maaike Bleeker in her book Transmission in Motion (2017). She writes: “Dance has a history of exploring the potential of technology and systems of rules to intervene in such sense making practices in order to generate movement in ways independent from human intention and demonstrates the relevance of this history for designers of media and architectural systems and processes that engage with how users and visitors navigate specific technical-architectural conditions”.

I conclude by asking: how might creative methodologies and experiential approaches to knowing be a way in to supporting public understanding of complex ideas, discourses, insider knowledge, and academic articulations? And, how might this model be a source of questions for how discourses on technologies can be transmitted to others and offer up new understandings, new ways of knowing, and new ways to engage, invite, and illuminate expert knowledge?

Perhaps there are expanded ways to co-create the world in which we want to live and to engage creative practices as conduits for transmitting the understanding and agency of ongoing formations of technologies.



Bleeker, M. (2017) Transmission in Motion: The Technologizing of Dance. London: Routledge

Ingold, T. (2011) Being Alive: Essays on Movement, Knowledge and Description. New York: Routledge

Soja, E.W. (1996) Thirdspace : Journeys to Los Angeles and Other Real-and-Imagined Places. Reprint ed. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd