(Extra)Terrestrial Crip Drifts: Dance Videos 2023/2024

One of Petra's core methods is crip drifting, also one of the motors of her eco soma investigations. 

In 2023, Petra collaborated with fellow disabled dance artist and film maker Kym McDaniel on three videos that present different facets of these (extra)terrestrial crip drifts. On this page, find information about these three videos, screening sites, and future opportunities.

One aspect of these crip drift works is Petra's interest in expanded cinema: from virtual reality/immersion work to alternative presentation models and audiencing for film dance. Petra has a long-standing interest in expanded media as a way to engage access in dance. She uses video to offer dance making opportunities for people who cannot be in long rehearsals, can't commit to long production arcs, or specific touring schedules. 

In this series of short dances (and in her Crip/Mad Archive Dances experimental documentary, forthcoming 2024), Petra explores with engaging the screen/embodiment limit. She does so in two different ways: 

Still Photo: A person in an icy landscape mounts the edge of a wheelchair ramp, cane and red barrier rail framing an orange down coat, cloudy skies.

On a Wheelchair Ramp in the Middle of Nowhere

 On a Wheelchair Ramp in the Middle of Nowhere

Video, 2:17min, 2023

On a giant wheelchair ramp in somewhere Utah, two disabled dancers meet for a brief improvisation encounter. This project was made possible by a grant from the Arts Initiative at the University of Michigan, for the Speculative Embodiment Working Group. A collaboration between Petra Kuppers & Kym McDaniel.

Still photo: Three people extend hands, touching with hand brace and gloves, a quirky smile, trees and mobility devices.

Link to 1 minute long trailer:


Touching Time: Minnahanonck/Roosevelt Island 

Video, 10:10min,  2023

Direction: Petra Kuppers // Camera, Edit, Sound: Kym McDaniel // Performers: Amy Ackerman, Stephanie Heit, Desiree Mwalimu, Mikel Mwalimu-Banks, Marina “Heron” Tsaplina, Petra Kuppers, and moira williams

A diverse cohort of disability artists in Lenape (Lenapehoking) Terrority (what is now known as New York City) come together for site-specific movement sketches on Minnahanonck (Roosevelt Island), a historical site of hospitals, mental asylums, and prisons. Moving amongst ghosts of the past, the artists seek to reclaim geographic and ableist narratives of abuse and dysfunction. Nature, sculpture, and the water are collaborators as they move throughout the island, acknowledging the land and envisioning inclusive futures. Touching Time: Minnahanonck/Roosevelt Island was commissioned as part of the Disability History Handbook for the National Park Service (NPS), itself a collaborative venture between the NPS and the National Council on Public History (NCP). The video will be part of the digital version of the Handbook.

Thank you to: The Disability History Handbook Project, the National Park Service, the National Council on Public History, the Speculative Embodiment Working Group/ University of Michigan Arts Initiative, Dance/USA Fellowship, University of Utah Professional Development Fund

Still Photo: A 360 camera shot: a new earth in a future dawn,  a dancer's arms extend outward/sidewards, trees and other movers huddle close. Emergence.

Link to 1-minute long trailer:


Becoming Fossil

Becoming Fossil

Video, 13:20min, 2023

Direction: Petra Kuppers // Edit and Sound: Kym McDaniel // Camera: Petra Kuppers, John Campbell and Kym McDaniel // Additional Sound: Rebecca Caines // Performers: Rebecca Caines, John Campbell, Charli Brissey, Amy Ackerman, Stephanie Heit, Desiree Mwalimu-Banks, Mikel Mwalimu-Banks, Petra Kuppers, Kym McDaniel, Marina "Heron” Tsaplina, and moira Williams

Becoming Fossil invites viewers to become time travelers through kaleidoscopic sensations of touch and elemental change. Join in and travel backward and forward in time around our small precious planet. Ride the waves of climate emergencies, and experience both extinction and resiliency in human and more-than-human touches.Realized as part of DigiLabAiR “ON CLIMATE EMERGENCY”, digital artist-in-residence curated by Verena Stenke (EntrAxis e.V.) Co-funded by the European Union / Creative Europe Program and PAV Performance Art Video.

Additional thanks to: The School of Art, Media, Performance and Design, York University; Minor Research / Creation Fund; The Speculative Embodiment Working Group, University of Michigan Arts Initiative; ArtsEngine Interdisciplinary Faculty Research Grant Award, University of Michigan; Duderstadt Video Studio, University of Michigan, College of Fine Arts Development Fund, University of Utah

hands touching old wood, growth rings tell history

Multiple hands on wood growthlines, fossils and naked human bodies merging, 360 camera work: an earth globe, overlayed with the solarized face of a dancer, arms reaching out into hair (from Becoming Fossil)

Screening Histories/Festivals

In addition to the official screenings below, all three movies had various showings at artist residencies, Turtle Disco events, the Co-Dreaming symposium, class visits, and more - thank you to everybody who has helped us make these films by giving feedback and allowing us to grow.

On a Wheelchair Ramp in the Middle of Nowhere

Constructed Site Dance Film Festival, March 31-April 10, 2023, online and live

On a Wheelchair Ramp in the Middle of Nowhere

Dare to Dance in Public Film Festival, Glorya Kaufman Performing Arts Center, LA, on October 21 2023

On a Wheelchair Ramp in the Middle of Nowhere

Pebbles Underground Film and Video Art Festival, April 20th until May 4, 2023, online

International Portrait Film Festival, Nov 9-19, 2023 in Sofia, Bulgaria

online from Nov 20-30

The Film Collective Short Film Festival, November 10-13, 2023

online in disability film selection

November 17 2023: Traces Film Festival gallery installation, 1:30-4:30p at Kresge Hall in the Art Department at Northwestern University, Evanston

Becoming Fossil

Cinema Verde Environmental Film and Arts Festival, on Roku channel from Feb 2024 onward

On a Wheelchair Ramp

Mostra Internacional de danca, December 10, 2023

 Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brasil

On a Wheelchair Ramp

Pittsburgh International Dance Film Festival, March 2023

Becoming Fossil

Presented as part of the Venice Performance Art Week, Italy, December 15-17

Touching Time: Minnahanonck/

Roosecelt Island 

Together! Disability Film Festival, Dec 2/3, 2023, London UK. Viewable at this link.

Becoming Fossil

Together! Disability Film Festival, Dec 2/3, 2023, London UK. Viewable at this link.

On a Wheelchair Ramp

Pittsburgh International Dance Film Festival, March 2023