Re-Reading the RSVP Cycles: Scores in a Climate Emergency

Claire Pencak

6 November 2019

A cross -disciplinary symposium that brought together artists, academics and students from performing and visual arts, especially dance and choreography; from planning, architecture and landscape architecture; and those interested in sustainability and in particular Deep Adaptation theory.

The starting point was the RSVP Cycles: Creative Processes in the Human Environment (1969) by Lawrence Halprin which brought together his practice as a landscape architect with the choreographic practice of dancer Anna Halprin. RSVP is an acronym for Resources, Scores, Valu-action and Performance. It describes a process for civil participation rooted in a concern for environmental issues and social justice. 50 years on from its publication the need for scores for change are even more urgent today. This symposium revisited the RSVP Cycles to consider what scores might offer at this time and how might they contribute in particular to the Deep Adaptation Agenda of resilience, relinquishment, restoration and reconciliation. Just over one year since the publication of ‘Deep Adaptation: a map for navigating climate tragedy’ by Jem Bendell (July 27th 2018) and the paper has been downloaded more than half a million times. So, this symposium is simultaneously a looking back and a looking forward.