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Landscape in Motion examines the relationship between urban infrastructures and the human body. Through research that joins landscape architecture and site-specific dance, LIM aims to create an innovative methodology that uses the interfaces between the human body and place to inform both artistic creation and landscape design processes.

Research for LIM was conducted in the richly layered neighbourhoods of Ramsay and Inglewood in Moh’kinstis/Calgary, Alberta in Canada. These neighbourhoods sit at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers, a place that is of cultural and natural significance to Indigenous peoples, particularly to the Blackfoot confederacy (Siksika, Piikani, and Kainai), as well as the Tsuut’ina and the Stoney Nakoda (Îyâxe Nakoda) First Nations. When colonial occupation of the area began in 1875, the settler communities of Ramsay and Inglewood grew up around this confluence, severing the ready access that Indigenous populations had to the area.

As a nexus for both the railway system and the rivers, Ramsay and Inglewood now comprise a dense fabric of residential and commercial buildings, cultural heritage sites, crumbling industrial buildings, brownfields, wildlife preserves, artist studios, a gentrifying brewery culture and vacant lands. Currently, the city of Calgary is implementing the construction of a new Light Rail Transit (LRT) line that will profoundly transform the Ramsay/Inglewood area. ᅠ

Landscape analysis annotation. Crossing temporal and spatial scales
Landscape analysis annotation. Crossing temporal and spatial scales.


LIM’s developing methodology employs a framing device called critical experiential archaeology. This device refers to the temporal and material excavation that happens in the project as well as the notion of landscape as a palimpsest. It also underscores the fact that the relationship between a site and a researcher is iterative, continually developing, and that it requires a researcher to be on guard, watching with a penetrating gaze for any colonial tendencies and assumptions within the research.

Using this framing device, the research team embarked on a project that examined existing urban landscapes using both spatial data and experiential activities. We collected information from historical texts, photographs, mapping sources, and on-site ethnographic research to gain an understanding of the sites and their broader landscape systems. The landscape design team synthesized data concerning the historical evolution of the sites and the main landscape systems and features, while the dance research team used site-specific physical and phenomenological research methods in the field.

In conjunction with this archival research, through a creative (and non-authorial) investigative tool they later termed decolonial flânerie, the research team approached the sites in empathetic, kinesthetic and phenomenological ways to uncover and amplify the bodily memories of those not represented in official histories. Searching for physical and gestural traces left by both biotic and abiotic inhabitants in past, present and future, the research team worked to uncover innovative ways to gather, collate and represent the range of experiences on site.

Plan view synopsis with call-out choreography diagrams
Plan view synopsis with call-out choreography diagrams.

The score-maps comprise plan and perspective views, complemented by gestural photographs. They proved a synopsis of the main spatial organization of landscape components, alongside annotations that show the placement and quality of key choreographic actions.

The Web of Experience demonstrates a series of ‘temporal frames’ that highlight community inhabitants for a given site - both human and more-than-human - as well as their intersecting experiences. Conceptual framework.
The Web of Experience demonstrates a series of ‘temporal frames’ that highlight community inhabitants for a given site - both human and more-than-human - as well as their intersecting experiences. Conceptual framework.

To witness the results of this research, please refer to the dance films collected on this website. These films offer a ‘documentary-style’ representation of the choreographic dialogues that took place between dancer and site as well as the ‘sense of place’ that emerged in our research process. Further research into how this methodology can inform landscape design processes is currently underway.

Woman tumbling down hill 1Woman tumbling down hill 2
Violent tumbling down hill. Example of sequential photographs to represent individual actions and their respective qualities.

For more information on the LIM research and methodology, please refer to the following:

Enrica Dall’Ara and Melanie Kloetzel (2020) ‘Landscape in Motion: Score-Maps, Design Processes and Choreographic Creation’, AMPS Proceedings Series 20.2: Connections: Exploring Heritage, Architecture, Cities, Art, Media, University of Kent, UK, pp. 161-172.

Enrica Dall’Ara and Melanie Kloetzel (2021) ‘Scaling Up and Down: Landscape design processes and choreographic inquiry’, in Proceedings of Nordes 2021: Matters of Scale, 15-18 August 2021, Kolding, Denmark, Nordes, eds. Eva Brandt, Thomas Markussen, Eeva Berglund, Guy Julier and Per Linde, pp. 444-448.

Melanie Kloetzel (2024) ‘Decolonizing Site-Specific Performance Methodologies: Preliminary Steps’, Contemporary Theatre Review 34:2 (forthcoming).


In the spirit of respect, reciprocity, truth and reconciliation, we honour and acknowledge that this research took place at the confluence of the Bow and Elbow Rivers, in a place called Moh’kinstis on Treaty 7 land, which is the traditional territory of the Blackfoot confederacy, including the Siksika, Kainai, and Piikani, as well as the Îyâxe Nakoda (Bearspaw, Chiniki and Wesley) and Tsuut’ina First Nations. This territory is also home to the Métis Nation of Alberta, Region 3 within the historical Northwest Métis homeland. We are beyond grateful for the opportunity to conduct our research on this land and aim to further the decolonizing tenor of this research in ways that connect to the truth and reconciliation process.

Landscape in Motion draws on research supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada through an Insight Development Grant.

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