25.2 On Dark Ecologies



Issue editors: Angenette Spalink & Jonah Winn-Lenetsky

SKU: ISSN: 1352-8165 (2020) 25:2 Category:


Timothy Morton describes dark ecology as ‘ecological awareness, dark-depressing. Yet ecological awareness is also dark-uncanny. And strangely it is dark-sweet.’ The concept of dark ecology represents a crucial intervention in the current moment of political conservatism and climate change denial and enables a focused exploration of a wide range of issues relating to performance and ecology. Human activity on the planet is responsible for a number of ecological and political dilemmas, including (but not limited to) global climate change, pollution, leaking pipelines, fragmentation of ecosystems, diminishing natural resources and nuclear meltdowns. While some may harbour hope and positivity about the future, it is easy to feel overwhelmingly hopeless about these large-scale, complex problems. Morton refers to the awareness of these substantial ecological dilemmas as ‘ecognosis’, which he describes as ‘a riddle… It is something like coexisting. It is like being accustomed to something strange.’ It is this tension between hope and despair, the coexistence between ‘depressing’ and ‘sweet’ — this space of ‘dark ecologies’ in our current political and ecological climate — that we explore in this special issue. The essays in this issue consider dark ecology in relation to performance and explore the ways that performance can intervene in or engage with a plurality of dark ecologies.



Angenette Spalink, Jonah Winn-Lenetsky

My Sweet Disposability, Oh, Bury the Living and Unearth the Dead : A postcard from nowhere
Malin Palani

Plastiglomerates, Microplastics, Nanoplastics : Toward a dark ecology of plastic performativity
Katie Schaag

Choreographic Architecture and Vital Knowledge : Gaëtan Rusquet’s Meanwhile
Kate Mattingly

Estado Vegetal, a Gesture of Imitation : An Interview with Manuela Infante
Laurel V. McLaughlin

‘A Twisted, Looping Form’ : Staging dark ecologies in Ella Hickson’s Oil
Patrick Lonergan

Black-Light Ecologies : Punctuate! Theatre’s Bears wipes off the oil
Gabriel Levine

Choreographies of Mourning : Commemorating multi-species loss in boundaries/conditions performance assembly’s Operations (1945–2006): Movements
Hannah Kaya

Embodying Climate Change : Self-immolation and the hope of no escape
Clara Margaret Wilch

Hau : Living archive of breath
Carol Brown, Tia Reihana-Morunga

‘Global Weirding’ : Australian absurdist cli-fi plays
Stephen Carleton, Chris Hay

‘Dark Choreography’ of the Johannesburg Holocaust and Genocide Centre
Robyn Sassen

Remembrance Day for Lost Species : Toward an ethics of witnessing extinction
Shelby Brewster

No Away : Phantom Limb Company’s Falling Out
Brenda Bowen, Liz Ivkovich

We All Live Downwind [artist’s pages]
Shanna Merola

Embodied Narratives of Candomblé’s Afro-Bahian Caboclos : Dark ecologies and critical kinetics
Mika Lillit Lior

Towards Radical Coexistence in the City : Performing the bio-urban in Bonnie Ora Sherk’s The Farm and Mierle Laderman Ukeles’s Flow City
Lisa Woynarski

Reterritorializing India : The politics of dark ecologies in Deepan Sivaraman’s Peer Gynt

Unsettling Existence : Land acknowledgement in contemporary Indigenous performance
Chris Bell



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