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Vari(A)bilities V: “Inhabiting the Body: Gut Botany: A Poetry/Performance by Petra Kuppers”

June 11 : 11:00 am - 12:15 pm


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Vari(A)bilities V: Exhibiting Humanity; Inhabiting the Body
June 10-12 // Hosted on Zoom

Email education@ringling.org to receive Zoom Info

We invite the public to attend these free public keynote,
workshop, and performance events associated with the conference.

Vari(A)bilities V is Co-Hosted by New College of Florida, John and Mable Ringling Museum/Tibbals Collection, and University of Winchester


“Gut Botany charts my body / language living on Indigenous land as a white settler and traveler,” Petra Kuppers writes in the notes of her new poetry collection. Using a perfect cocktail of surrealist and situationist techniques, Kuppers submits to the work and to the land, moving through ancient fish, wounded bodies, and the space around her. The book invites the reader to navigate their own body through the peaks and pitfalls of pain, survival, sensual joy, and healing.  “The collection embraces inclusivity and entanglement; nothing and no one here functions in isolation. Kuppers invites readers to consider their own somatics: what is it to be in this body, here, now? At turns beautiful and provocative, Gut Botany is a tonic against loneliness.” Addie Hopes: Books about Caring, from a Distance.

PETRA KUPPERS is a disability culture activist and a community performance artist. Her third poetry book, the ecosomatic Gut Botany (2020), was named one of the top ten poetry collections of 2020 by the New York Public Library. She is also the author of the queer/crip speculative short story collection Ice Bar (2018). She is the Artistic Director of The Olimpias, an international disability culture collective; teaches at the University of Michigan and at Goddard College; and co-creates Turtle Disco, a somatic writing studio, in Ypsilanti, Michigan. https://petrakuppersfiction.wordpress.com/



About Vari(A)bilities V:

“Contortion Act”: Costumed acrobat balanced on one leg with other leg over arm, smoking hookah

The materiality of the body confounds us; it forces a reconsideration of the “linguistic turn,” perhaps even the “social constructionist” turn, by which we understand the world and identity as linguistically or socially constituted. But how do we look at bodies –our own, the first bodies exhibited to us as children, the bodies of clowns and circus performers, or even the bodies of everyday folks with impairments—people who are like us but also somehow different? And what knowledge do such encounters create or reify?

“Exhibited, with the Season’s Greetings”: Booted man center with snake wrapped around body flanked on left by Tom Thumb (person of short stature) in general’s uniform, on right by young girl in pink dress and lifting long white hair.

Co-Hosts New College of Florida and John and Mable Ringling Museum’s historical connection to the Ringling family and the circus, invites us to think about how the full range of humanity has been and is still exhibited and performed. We turn explicitly to the experience of specific and variAble bodies and their humanity.


For more info visit ncf.edu/mellon