(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. Crip drifts are methods for moving through the world as a disabled artist living with pain: touching, being-with, sensing for contact. 

One of the dissemination methods of this work is through videodance, a medium Petra has explored since the late 1990s. The videodance work that emerges from Turtle Disco/The Olimpias is low-budget/low-tech, community driven, and celebrates co-presence for people who cannot be in long rehearsals, can't commit to long production arcs, or specific touring schedules.

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.

In 2024/25, Petra and Kym are working on Virtual Reality experiments as part of a new series, Planting Disabled Futures.

One aspect of these cinematic crip drift works is an interest in expanded cinema and access: from virtual reality/immersion work to alternative presentation models and audiencing for film dance (for an early example of this kind of crip/tech work, see this report on a collaboration with SMARTlab at Central St. Martins, UK and the Center for Advanced Technology, NYU:  Sirens, 2003). 

In performance-based public presentations of the 2023  series (and in her Crip/Mad Archive Dances experimental documentary, 2024), Petra explores methods for engaging with the screen/embodiment limit. She does so in a number of 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

Rogue Dance – Raleigh, NC

Spark Micro-Short Film Festival – Buffalo, NY

Pittsburgh International Dance Film Festival – Pittsburgh, PA

IMARP - Imagens em Movimento Videodança – São Paulo, BR

Dare to Dance in Public Film Festival – Los Angeles, CA

Pebbles Underground Film Festival – Toronto, CAN

Constructed Site Dance Film Festival – online & in person / Pittsburgh, PA

Disability Culture & Videodances – University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Touching Time: Minnahanonck/Roosevelt Island

Feminist Border Arts Fesetival – Las Cruces, NM

Moonplay Cinema – Minneapolis, MN

Wicklow Screendance Lab – Wicklow, IE

Together Disability Film Festival – London, UK

Traces Film Festival – Northwestern University; Evanston, IL

The Film Collective Short Film Festival – [online], Bensalem, PA

International Portrait Film Festival – Sofia, BG

EXPS/SLC: Disability Currents  – Salt Lake City, UT

Becoming Fossil

Official Selection at Ann Arbor Film Festival – Ann Arbor, MI

Crip'd Ecologies: Unfurling Expanded Environments at Root Division – San Francisco, CA

The Portland EcoFIlm Festival – Portland, OR

Together Disability Film Festival – London, UK

Gallery Installation at DigiLabAiR | Emergencies of the Contemporary at Venice International Performance Art Week – Venice, Italy

Cinema Verde Environmental Film & Arts Festival – Gainesville, FL

Shapeshifters Cinema – Oakland, CA

Frome International Climate Film Festival – Frome, UK

International Ecoperformance Film Festival

o   Montfleuri sur Mer, Pinamar, AR

o   Cine Satyros Bijou, São Paulo, BR

o   National Center for Dance Bucharest, Bucharest, RO

o   Brown Arts Institute, Providence, RI