Indeterminate  & Entangled

Practice as research part 1 -

Practice as research finished Indeterminate & Entangled  -

My current research praxis is on the investigation of atoms and subatomic movement. The behavior of the subatomic, called quantum mechanics is the physics theory that explores and describes the motions and interactions of subatomic particles. My research explores those principles through dance because of its ability to access knowledge learned through the experience of my body. I’ve recognized that the simultaneous activation of the left and right sides of the brain or the “thinking” and “doing” sides, creates space for the body to function as the subject and object. In historical context, the dismissal of the Cartesian belief of subject/object duality as in Niels Borh’s atomic indeterminacy model, challenges the identity of matter bounded by observation, called object reality. Through dance and the choreographic form, my research investigates the foundational question of identity raised by Borh and extended and evolved by contemporary feminist/queer theorist and physicist Karen Barad by using my knowledge of quantum mechanics and the indeterminate nature of the subatomic particle, the electron to provoke movement, movement boundaries and performative concepts. 


I find commonality between my dancing body when provoked by the phenomenological experience of interior sensory stimulation and the electron, both possess indeterminant movement and unpredictable pathway trajectories. The discovery of potential sameness between the movements of the microscopic and macroscopic (as in my dancing body) is based on my understanding of the electron and my discovery of intuitive body knowledge that guides the exploration of movement without knowing the end form, this is also known as transpersonal movement as described by Bebe Miller. Sometimes transformative and always capable of plurality (myself as mother, daughter, sister, aunt, wife, student, teacher, etc.) my research adopts the indeterminant attribute of the electron and assumes the same of the identity of the dance performer. The current goal of my research is to investigate knowledge of the nature of electrons to explore choreographic development of movement and considerations of choreographic form.


The Uncertainty Principle described by Werner Heisenberg is one way to describe the indeterminate ontology of the electron and states that the speed and placement of subatomic particles, like the electron cannot be measured in exactness simultaneously. According to the observer-effect, observing an electron or any subatomic particle determines their movement, speed and placement. However, suspended from judgement particles exist in infinite potentiality. This research seeks to embody the infinite potentiality of electrons that exist in trans-materiality and across temporalities to influence movement creation and craft methodical movement pathways. The performative aspect of my research embodies the observer-effect and challenges perceptive-based bias by creating a performance environment that obstructs sight lines, thereby creating a performance that counters object reality because movement and intercorporeal exchange exists in its own trajectory even when there is limited or no view. Performative research is designed to challenge expectation regarding the politics prescribed to performing bodies by disrupting assumptions. A secondary goal ofthe research is to heighten the visual experience of the spectator in order to highlightthe conscious construct of perception and draw attention to the pathways of visual contextualization that centers the act of perception on the perceiver and not the perceived.


In studio practice and performance, I’ve been privileged to witness what I consider the likeness between behaviors of the subatomic and tendencies of human bodies in intersubjective motion. The outcomes of studio practice have defied my expectation of the research trajectory initially influenced by an investigation of quantum physics and most recently into the psychological and physiological act of perception. Over time, I’ve identified the root of interest as identity as it relates to (auto)coprography, described by Vida Midgelow as the alternative description of the body as an inscribed  surface and how it behaves under the influence of observation. Through traditional and studio-based research, engaging with the physics principles has generated theoretical questions that may have not otherwise emerged. Therefore, I argue that the continuous development of my research praxis challenges the hierarchy of theory over practice.

Alia Montijo

Chicago IL

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