Jennifer Monson

Jennifer MonsonJennifer Monson (Artistic director, choreographer and performer, iLAND) uses choreographic practice as a means to discover connections between environmental, philosophical and aesthetic approaches to knowledge and understandings of our surroundings. As Artistic Director of iLAND she creates large scale dance projects informed and inspired by phenomena of the natural and the built environment. Her recent projects include BIRD BRAIN (2000-2011) iMAP/Ridgewood Reservoir (2007), NYC  and Mahomet Aquifer Project (2009)in Illinois and SIP(sustained immersive process)/watershed(2010) in NYC. Her current project is Live Dancing Archive. Monson is on the faculty at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign in the Dance Department. She was hired through an initiative of the Environmental Council to foster sustainability across the campus and nationally. She is currently a Marsh Professor at Large at the University of Vermont.

As part of the panel Performing Queer Ecology at the 2012 iLAND Symposium she will present Bewildering desire

My talk proposes a queer reading of environmental dance practices developed in my project BIRD BRAIN and in the work of Robbinschilds with A.L. Steiner in the video/performance piece C.L.U.E.  Like many marginal landscapes, queer bodies are often in an unstable and dynamic relationship with definitions of nature. Can the movement of a queering body through landscape provide us with a way of de-naturalizing the often romantic view of a natural landscape? I will focus on the intimacies of sensory and experiential practice of somatic dance as a way of activating desires in and of a landscape. In destabilizing normative notions of desire for landscapes and bodies might we find new avenues for respecting and sustaining ways of moving and living in relation to the social and ecological communities we inhabit?

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