SKIN is a journey into an environment that reveals our involvement into the life forms transformations.

SKIN unfolds cycles of human, non-human, mineral or vegetal bodies. All are part of the same process. The place for this understanding is a multispecies skin environment.

The vehicle is the somatic performance that we experience together: each of us being performer and viewer at the same time, each of us unfolding a rich universe around this learning.

The role of the architectural installation here is to enhance the somatic perception, to give materiality to it. It is the one allowing us to imagine other alternatives for our practices and conceptions. It is the one that allow us to design for life.


The event is framed within the project ECOLOGIES OF INTIMACY: BORDERS.

Our skin is a membrane of exchange, a way to be in contact, but also the geography where we place the limit of ourselves in multiple occasions. How it is to inhabit that limit and discover its deepness?

The INSTALLATION that we propose for SKIN is a dermal environment. One in which different epithelial scales conform an artificial skin made out of different skin sensors of human and non human organisms. The skin is not only a physical border, but also a political one, so here we will be giving voice to “the uncounted” – the non humans– in the understanding of what a skin – a border– is.

The environment that we will build for SKIN is made out of these scales and lines that operate as limits and frontiers in the space of the Dance House.

The scales will conform a kind of planetary skin allowing us to make somatic discoveries.

SKIN is part of a collection of immersive environments already made in Boston (USA), Hamburg (Germany), Madrid and Bilbao (Spain).

The structure of SKIN will be composed of somatic experiences, short talks and projections. After the experiences, the participants immerse themselves in the installation interacting with it.





This is a research in somatic architecture that investigates how borders can be understood as places of encounter instead of places of separation. Borders are more mobile than they appear to be and from this point of view they are capable of transforming the entities and bodies that they, originally, intended to separate.

The research will study I/ human and non-human bodies; II/ the barriers, borders or frontiers themselves; and III/ will foster a somatic architecture that by working with both and bringing them into relationship allows for encounter and coalescence rather than separation and conflict.

This somatic architecture does not pretend to eliminate conflict, no configuration can do that, but in this case conflicts will be changeable, capable of producing transformations and instead of remaining stable these bodies will continuously seek new conflicts as a place of expression, learning and change.

How can human bodies and their ecological, social or political environments reinvent themselves according to these fluid boundaries of contact and intersection? How is somatic design (architectural, urban or landscape) capable of enabling this?

The depth of somatic research will be our methodological tool, our place of rehearsal and discovery. It will be applied to other bodies and to our own. After all, borders dictate the movement of bodies and their validity. Somatic research will lead us to the roots of these circumstances.

The planned somatic work is arranged according to five aspects of the boundaries that bodies undergo (it builds on previous somatic ethnography projects):

1/ Visibility. Visible borders are immediately recognised, but the invisible ones orchestrate our actions in a techno-political way and define the capacities of our bodies and our identities. The invisible is a frontier that we rarely manage to cross and inhabit. (The somatic work will use the tools associated with “Half of the World”)

2/ The skin. One of the most recognised bodily and somatic frontiers: how far does it go? Can we transform it? Can we put on other people’s skin? Can we intersect it? Can we understand it as the main tool capable of dissolving limits and propitiating coalescence? Eroticism and sensual ecologies are able to dilute any division; do they create different ones? (Somatic work will use the tools associated with “Another Skin – Skin in the Air”).

3/ Imaginaries & body images. The image we have of ourselves determines our actions. Knowing these imaginaries shows us the limits, categories and boundaries with which we act, live or design. Knowing them, we can change them. (Somatic work will use the tools associated with “Alice”).

4/ The political. Here we will study the somatisation of political conflicts or political dynamics. How bodies incorporate them and are affected by them. (Somatic work will use the tools associated with “A Plane Dividing the Body”).

5/ Links. Links support us but also sometimes result in limits of various kinds. Revealing new links, inter-species links, will encourage the inhabiting of that place between species that is so necessary in our designs. Where do the borders that separate us from non-humans lie? (The somatic work will use the tools associated with “The Medusa Hand” and “Coral Bodies”).

What is a body?

Is it this entity that is traversed by everything?

What is a border and how does it operate in us?

Is the border a priori that entity that does not allow itself to be crossed by anything?

Infrastructures sustain imaginaries and vice versa. Boundaries, borders and frontiers are infrastructures. Can we imagine different ones? Is “dizziness” a somatic tool for this? Which others can we explore?

Some limits are political, others geographical, technological, visible and invisible. Some we find, others travel attached to bodies in movement.


Direction and authorship: María Auxiliadora Gálvez

Pop-Up Somatic Architecture material: Cut and folded paper and threads.

Collaborators: Anastasia Angelidou and Andreas Lamprou.

Event made in collaboration with the Dancehouse Lefkosia, Nicosia, Cyprus.

Acknowledgements: Thank you Maria Loizidou, Mauro Gilfournier, Arianna Economou and Christiana Antonoudiou.