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Collective Peristalsis
or The Efforts of Moving Through Together 

By Shannon Murphy 

Thesis Precis

This year my research has been looking at the pedagogical applications of biomimetics, most specifically the alimentary canal, aka gut tube, as an example for collaborative practice. Collaboration between the organs, bacteria, and glands of the digestive tract demonstrate a collective choreography; one that moves us to provide nutrition and sustenance. Mimesis here was not to copy but allow for differentiation and disorientation. Prioritizing improvisation, I am interested in how one might challenge learning by getting lost to learn and then relearn and get lost again while sourcing the gut tube practice as a sentient tether. Enterically lead movement practices revealed dances potential for enacting a co-constructed care network allowing me to think on social care next to the inherent historical violence of dance and health/medicine. My Thinking Partner He Jin Jang tasked me in identifying symptoms of my research. A queer relation to care and pedagogy emerged through the differentiated yet interdependent potential ways of being together. I found myself moving toward making visible the collaborative nature of the self while concerned with how we might relate to others’ gut tubes. It is a rigorous questioning that asks for simultaneous reflection and activation and potentializes proprioceptive citizenship. My research moved from the studio into the city of Philadelphia looking at my neighborhood, Old Kensington and City Hall as sites for bio-social and bio-political inquiry. This box contains a collective archive: an experiential map both personal and generative, activated through the connection of practice and person.

Research As Action

Collective Parastalsis

Montpeillier, France

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