How to Land: Finding Ground in an Unstable World foregrounds the importance of embodiment as a means of surviving the disorientation of our twenty-first century world. Linking somatics and politics, author Ann Cooper Albright argues that a renewed attention to gravity as both a metaphoric sensibility and a physical experience can help transform moments of personal disorientation into an opportunity to reflect on the important relationship between individual resiliency and communal responsibility.
Long one of the nation’s preeminent thinkers in dance studies, Albright asks how contemporary bodies are affected by repeated images of falling bodies, bombed-out buildings, and displaced peoples, as well as recurring evocations of global economies and governments in discursive free fall or dissolution. What kind of fear gets lodged in connective tissue when there is an underlying anxiety that certain aspects of our world are in danger of falling apart? To answer this question, she draws on analyses of perception from cognitive studies, tracing the discussions of meaning, body and language through the work of Sara Ahmed, Jean-Luc Nancy, and Shaun Gallagher, among others. In addition, she follows the past decade of debate in contemporary media concerning the implications of the weightless and two-dimensional social media exchanges on structures of attention and learning, as well as their effect on the personal growth and socialization of a generation of young adults. Each chapter interweaves discussions of movement actions with their cultural implications, documenting specific bodily experiences and then tracing their ideological ripples out through the world.