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Monday, April 8, 2024

BODY AND SOUL: Petra Kuppers: How to go on a crip drift

Petra Kuppers (photo: Tamara Wade)

Petra Kuppers, a white queer disabled cis woman of size with yellow glasses, shaved head, pink lipstick and a black dotted top, smiles up to the sky, arms outstretched, embracing the world. Her mobility scooter’s handlebar is visible at the bottom of the image. She is in front of a multicolored wall: purple, pink, yellow and orange.

Listen to Petra Kuppers: How to go on a crip drift

on my Body and Soul podcast here.

Becoming Fossil in Venice (photo: Edward Smith)

Petra, with her mouth wide open, her collaborator and wife Stephanie Heit next to her, and a number of community participants all dancing in the light of Becoming Fossil, a community dance video about climate emergencies and resiliences. The screen shows a color-shifted close-up of a fossil coral.

Crip Drip Performance Meditation in Venice (photo: Edward Smith)

Petra in the light, eyes closed, with volunteers holding bags of salt crystals to hand out once the audience lines up.

Petra Kuppers (she/her) is a disability culture activist and a community performance artist. She
grounds herself in disability culture methods, and uses somatics, performance, media work, and
speculative writing to engage audiences toward more socially just and enjoyable futures. In these
pandemic years, she’s been engaged in crip drifts: working with human and more-than-human
others outdoors (or through dream journeys online), exploring interdependence, listening, being-
with, and complex joy.

Her latest academic study is Eco Soma: Pain and Joy in Speculative Performance Encounters
(University of Minnesota Press, 2022, open access). Her fourth poetry collection, Diver Beneath
the Street
, investigates true crime and ecopoetry at the level of the soil (Wayne State University
Press, February 2024). She teaches at the University of Michigan, and is a 2023 Guggenheim

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