Somastrobiology in the Galactic Neighborhood

Stauffer Communication Arts B (STAUFF-B) – B111

Saturday 28th, 8:30 am – 10:00 am

Aramo Olaya (University of California, Davis)

How could we communicate with aliens without having a decoding system? Most SETI research is based on the verbal idea of language, which requires symbolic decoding. What if we were to make contact without it? Would we still be able to communicate? Thinking of contact as an encounter between bodies allows us to imagine what we would need to share in order to communicate. How different could we be? The emerging practice of somatic communication can expand our imaginaries of alien bodies to envision scenarios of alterity and interaction in our galactic neighborhood. Somatic Communication is an emergent field in the interdisciplinary space between Science and Technology Studies and Performance Theory using movement and touch. It combines a range of body and movement techniques that train physical perception, energies, movement, and awareness of the whole system of bodies in an environment. It conveys the practice of deeper entanglement awareness. It integrates with post-human and non-human affect theories, matter performativity, and queer and decolonial perspectives of the body. It advocates for a planetary non-anthropocentric perspective of life and knowledge. Somatic communication offers specific techniques to make direct contact with aliens possible. It allows for the creation of a safe environment for possible empathy. Some examples include learning to feel the qualities of gravity, training breathing techniques and their relationship with embodied states, or practicing qualities of presence, touch, and movement as modes of communication. I will share some specific practices that allow for an encounter with a radical other that we’ve been developing at the Practice as Research PhD in Performance Studies at UC Davis.