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Being Human Being Nature – Felt Thinking in Movement

Being Human Being Nature -  on Felt Thinking in Movement

Being Human Being Nature - on Felt Thinking in Movement

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Research Film based on PhD thesis:

Dances with Sheep - On Somatic Ontologies of Human Nature and Wellbeing and Re-Pairing Human-Nature Condition with Felt Thinking in Movement by Anna Dako

With Human Nature being standardly defined as ways of thinking, feeling and acting, the contemporary discourse on the topic reveals a primary emphasis on thinking, i.e. mental processes as the essence of being human. This observed prioritisation of cognitive activity over the lived experience, and which Merleau-Ponty calls ‘disembodied scientification’ (Merleau-Ponty and Edie, 1964) creates and re-enforces the commonly visible boundaries between the human and the natural world(s).

How can creative processes in nature help us rediscover the essence of being human?

In this film, guided by the living processes of somatic movement and creative arts engagements, where somatic means acting from the body ‘as perceived from within’, and which emphasizes our inborn ability for internal perception, I propose to bring the role of feeling alongside the thinking processes and engage in more embodied ways of reflecting upon human nature.
I thus propose to pursue a more personal perspective on the subject matter grounded informed by movement experience per se and seek new models for everyday mindful practices that spring from being ‘with’ Nature and which can support holistic re-connection with the natural self as well as the critically developed ecological thinking. This experiential journey of deep and responsive listening to the living environment has been shaping itself through movement and expressive arts experiences in Scottish landscape over the period of two years (2017-2019). Moving with nature proves to be an integrative, sensuous and imaginative experience of the self and feeling part of Nature influences not only our ecological responsibility, but also personal growth, wellbeing and finding our own voice.

What makes this film particularly special is that all video footage has been captured as part of the research process and without any plan for film production. There are no characters in the film, just living beings guided by the process. It functions on multiple levels: as a documentary, a practical guide, and an authentic story in itself.


concept, editing and production: Anna Dako

movers (in alphabetical order):
Anna Dako, Grace Archer, Gulliver Brodbeck, Kelly Suleman, Marta Bury, Martina Polleros, Sarah Luczaj, Valeria Lembo

camera: Jack Wylie (Lumiere Imagery), Anna Dako
audio recording: D-range Aberdeen
narration: Anna Dako

Cove Park - Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park 

Cairngorms National Park
Multi-Faith Chaplaincy, University of Aberdeen
Kingswells, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK 

phd project supervision:
Dr Elizabeth Curtis (University of Aberdeen),
Prof. Vicky Karkou (Edge Hill University)


External Examination:

Prof emeritus Sondra Fraleigh

Prof Mary Modeen

with special thanks to the winds, hills, valleys, rivers, lakes, forests and animals of the Scottish Highlands

Aberdeen, 2019

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