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The Floor is Lava: An Autoethnographic Study of Non-Normative Embodiment and the Entangled Ontologies of Body, Tool and Landscape

Part 2 Dissertation 2020
Jordan Whitewood-Neal
University of Brighton | UK
How can the experience and study of non-normative embodiment help to reimagine our onto-epistemological boundaries? The Floor Is Lava explores discourse on disability, agency and landscape through an autoethnographic study conducted in the Ashdown Forest, and presents a new methodology for critiquing experience, spatiality and alternative forms of embodiment in relation to technology. The essay leads towards a fictional imagination of the childhood game, questioning the ontological and epistemological consequences of a lava filled landscape when we reconfigure the relationship between the body and objects.

This unique autoethnographic methodology provides a framework which inherently questions the role of subjectivity in research, using the body, apparatuses, experiences, perception and specific context as both independent and interrelated facets of investigation. The wheelchair is contemplated as both an augmentation and extension of self, considering posthumanist ideas of matter and circumstance. The dissertation ran in parallel to a design thesis which, based on the same site, explored the eventualities of embracing these ontological entanglements through the proposal of an accessible woodland; while the essay was used to question the ontological causalities and theoretical conditions.

Jordan Whitewood-Neal

Katy Beinart
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