(T)Error on Tour. Nordic Whereabouts

Lapiņa , L. (Speaker)

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganisation and participation in conference


A migrant mermaid (re-)turning astray. Attempts at still water divination

This performance builds on my dance practice by a marshland in Copenhagen. In addition, I draw on my research on racialization, differentiated whiteness, Danish exceptionalism and shifting migrant positions, as well as my work on affective methodologies, which integrates autoethnography, memory work and embodied engagements with non-human nature.
As the COVID19 lockdown begun in March 2020, I took up dancing on a wooden platform on Utterslev mose, a marshland close to where I live in Copenhagen. I danced almost every morning. I observed the light grow brighter, birds building nests, arriving and leaving, the seasons and the vegetation change.
I got to know the marshland as a polluted, fragile infrastructure out of balance, embedded in ongoing violent histories. Dancing, I reached out to rusting bikes stuck in the poisonous sludge at the bottom of the bog. I observed joggers circulating around the bog as the lockdown extended, on paths laid out as part of the Danish welfare state projects to activate unemployed people in the 1930ies. I read about thousands of fish dying by asphyxiation in the 1980ies.
The brokenness and ongoing violent histories of the marshlands (re-)directed my gaze at my own strayness as an Eastern European migrant in Denmark. The stillness of the water resonated with the very literal inability to “go back home” under the lockdown. It also prompted (re-)turns to my childhood summer spent by Riga gulf in (post-)Soviet Latvia.

In addition to dance, the performance includes video projections and audio elements that draw on my poem “Migrant mermaid”, as well voices inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Little Mermaid”.

Terror on Tour is an international network of interdisciplinary academics and artists whose research practices engage with intersections of terror and travel. After five successful interventions - at the University of Roehampton, UK (2015), the University of Chichester, UK (2016), the University of Innsbruck, Austria (2017), HEAD – Genève, Switzerland (2018), and Trinity College Dublin, Ireland (2019) - Terror on Tour continues to cross physical, conceptual, and disciplinary borders. In bringing the conference to Nordic Europe and placing it in the “borderscape” city of Malmö, we aim to develop new intellectual and creative synergies that interrogate the “North” as a utopia/dystopia/heterotopia, particular through the notion of the “stray”.

[t]ERROR on Tour 2021 invites proposals from all academic disciplines for original papers, performances, and projects (art installations, videos, screenings, etc.) to be presented in a spirit of interdisciplinary exchange, conviviality, and focused concern.

Drawing on the etymological origins of the term “error” (errare ‘to stray, err’), we focus on the notion of the “stray” as a thread running through the various interventions. Whether treating Nordic/northern spaces as desirable utopias, nightmarish dystopias, or inherently contradictory heterotopias, we anticipate contributions that engage with liminalities, transgressions, fringes, hybridities, edges, and borders. These concepts will be pursued in relation to: issues of belonging; fear of the stranger; nostalgia for non-existent pasts; and moving between two or more worlds in a widely-conceived “North”.
Period9 Jun 202111 Jun 2021
Event typeConference
Conference number6
LocationMalmø, Sweden
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • attunement
  • affective methodology
  • naturecultures
  • multi-species ethnography
  • dance as method
  • arts-based methods