• Performing geopower: Eile and border-fictioning

      McCloskey, Paula; Vardy, Sam; University of Derby; Sheffield Hallam University (Intellect, 2020-12-01)
      Since 2016 we have developed the Eile Project (EP), a transdisciplinary investigation of the border in Ireland which centres around site-responsive performance and audio-visual films in a process and praxis that we call border-fictioning. Through this practice we ask how the border might be differently understood, experienced, critiqued and altered through affective encounters in the artworks produced between bodies, the earth and sovereign power. In this paper we explore (somewhat experimentally) our notion of border-fictioning in the EP, specifically through one of the piece’s ‘experiments’ (#3 Territories of Eile). We draw on a specific concept, that of geopower, and a specific diffractive method. Geopower, or the forces of the earth itself (Grosz, 2008, 1999, 2011; 2017), allows us to comprehend and conceptualise the geo (earthly, material, affect, power) and the human (bio, anthropic, biopolitics, body, power) together in specific ways. A diffractive methodology (Barad, 2007; Haraway, 1992; Trinh, 1986) sees the production of knowledge and meaning as inextricably connected to (entangled with) the social and material practices of the world. The paper offers a discussion of that which emerges from a diffractive approach to border-fictioning in light of the concept of geopower. We show that geopower enables us to see the ways in which the EP's border-fictioning through performance and audio-visual film constitutes a particular kind of capitalisation of the earths forces - radically different from those of capitalism and sovereign power, and potentially resistant to colonial histories, and suggests new alliances and imaginaries that allow us to work-through the complex condition of the border and partition in Ireland through the entanglement of human (anthropic) and earthly (non-human) concerns within the tensions of the Anthropocene. Publication delayed due to Covid-19.