Roksana Niewadzisz

FOLK TALES AS TERRITORIES FOR POST-HUMAN EXPLORATION

Diverse folk tales, passed down across the generations in different languages, tell of seal women, selkies, mermaids, dove girls, she-wolfs, buffalo women, swan women: all zoomorphic or semi-zoomorphic beings, able to remove their animal coats or skins and take on human shape. They are liminal creatures capable of transformation. They embrace the wild and the civilized, animal and human, aquatic, aerial and terrestrial, natural and supernatural, archetypal and individual. They have the ability to move between worlds. Such tales offer rich territory for performative exploration of the normalized processes of oppression underpinning both human exceptionalism and the environmental crises associated with the Anthropocene. In my presentation, I will discuss ways of re-imagining these tales, in and through processes of carefully researched and documented performance practice, not as warnings to instruct women to behave, but as sites of remembrance, mourning and even liberatory enactment of other ways of being.

Roksana Niewadzisz
© Roksana Niewadzisz

Roksana Niewadzisz is a polylingual artist and researcher with a background in theatre, translations and art history, who has been developing her skills in Poland, Spain, Italy and Ireland. Currently she is developing a PhD practice-based project on post-human embodiment of animal-woman transformation folk tales across the Departments of Theatre and Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies at the University College Cork in Ireland.