[-empyre-] empyre Digest, Vol 154, Issue 4

margaretha haughwout margaretha.anne.haughwout at gmail.com
Tue Oct 10 00:46:34 AEDT 2017

Elaine, and all --

Of course, who wants to grieve? But also, how can we make kin in the
absence of grief? I can't help but think that if we don't grieve we are
trapped in anxiety that keeps us away from the present and away from
others. Otherwise I can't see a way out of "managing" but not

I'm not talking about despair, or some over performative acting out, or
even sadness. I don't want to make too much of it, but I do think grief is
something else -- a kind of radical presence with the trouble, as Haraway
puts it, and as Lissette echoes. I think of it as a way of being outside of
time, of recognizing the past in the present.

But yes to the work of art and a way of making with kin....

The turtles are such a good way of locating this issue of the urge for a
totalizing view of how to manage a population and predict its impacts, and
also the desire to have indeterminate kin (is that a thing?) Sometimes it
is easy for me to flow between these two ways of being, and other times I
think they are very much at odds.



On Sun, Oct 8, 2017 at 3:28 PM, Elaine Gan <eganuc at gmail.com> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Thanks so much, Margaretha, for bringing us together around these great
> (and hard) themes. Everyone's posts this week has me thinking about many
> things—thank you!—but particularly the work of art in what Isabelle
> Stengers calls "catastrophic times." I don't want to grieve. No, not yet. I
> want to learn how to live again and again: we are still here and that
> recognition demands that we make kin, kin through which and with which "we"
> are being remade. Maybe that's what Margaretha calls "personhood"?— the
> ability to make kin and keep each other alive when a hurricane, earthquake,
> or plague of human exceptionalism obliterates "us."
> I'm interested in radicalities, work(s) of art, that aren't defined
> entirely by refusal against or critique of the Capitalocene, but by
> capacities to make kin. I learn this from Donna Haraway: making kin comes
> before, after, and in between the cracks and crap of capitalism and
> bourgeois liberalism. I'm looking for propositions for more-than-human
> worlding, for Haraway's Chthulucene, the "not yet finished, ongoing,
> abyssal and dreadful ones that are generative *and *destructive..." I
> don't want to grieve the road kill. I don't want to care for invasive
> species and toxic waste. I follow weeds, but I also fear them. I want to
> learn how we can bend our roads, design our cities and stomachs—so that
> they do not collide with migration routes of monarch butterflies, breeding
> grounds of giant catfish, life cycles of too many companions. If capitalism
> is a way of organizing things, as Jason Moore theorizes, then what is a way
> of making, making-with, kin? How might we map this double internality?
> I met a non-native yesterday, hanging out in Echo Park lake (one of the
> oldest and likely most haunted) in LA. I met several non-natives, in fact,
> but one that made me stop was a red-eared slider turtle who swam up to me,
> likely trained to equate people with easy food. These turtles are common,
> listed on many websites as "cute" little things that make "great household
> pets." Hundreds live in the lake; most likely, abandoned by owners who
> decided they just weren't so cute anymore. From what I could find online
> last night, this group of turtles has only been around since the lake's
> overhaul in 2012. Of course, my first question was: hey, what happened to
> the turtles that lived in the lake when it was drained completely for a
> two-year renovation? The next few questions were harder: are these turtles
> kin? Are they nature or culture in the Capitalocene or the Chthulucene?
> What is my/our responsibility to species that we've domesticated,
> displaced, mutated, and rendered disposable, when they've gone feral and
> survive outside of human control? Some become road kill. Some become new
> companions. But others are taking over, creating new indeterminacies
> (generative *and* destructive naturecultures). What then is the work of
> art in attending to these that are changing what it means to be human (and
> nonhuman)?
> xElaine
> On Sun, Oct 8, 2017 at 9:49 AM, Brian Karl <brianbkarl at gmail.com> wrote:
>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> I've been dipping in and out of Charles Foster's "Being a Beast" of
>> late (sub-title: "Adventures Across the Species Divide"), in which he
>> rather literally tries to embody a phenomenological experience closer
>> to that of a badger, an otter, a fox, a deer and a swift by burrowing
>> in and snuffling about closer to the earth for days and weeks at a
>> time in the wild. He fully admits the absurdity as well as doomed
>> enterprise of this, but meanwhile gets in a lot of philosophizing
>> about human species' different relation to nature as well as lots of
>> good sensorial thinking about different ways of relating to the
>> complex and interactive physical world--what is framed and highlighted
>> (or high-smelled or -heard) by different species' sensory organs and
>> foraging needs...
>> Responding to Margaretha's last inquiry:
>> Well, my non-humans of late are pretty diverse: long, ongoing
>> relationship continues with Bando, my mostly outdoors Siamese cat, who
>> still sleeps with us humans most mornings after long nights
>> tree-climbing and...who knows what adventuring.
>> We have been together for going on six years, but it's changed and
>> deepened in new ways since moving to the edge of a big open space
>> trail last year where both he and I encounter different species every
>> day--perhaps most spectacularly of late when he led me down the
>> beginning of the trail one night a few weeks ago to discover the sound
>> of rustling in some bushes to be caused by a pretty good-sized
>> rattlesnake -- we got within five feet before my phone-light made out
>> the coiled shape just as it began to hum and buzz at us...I think
>> Bando got my intensely adverse response since he allowed me to scoop
>> him up and carry him back down the trail right quick, where often he
>> is a muscular wriggling objector...
>> Bando's mouse-hunting season seemed to have mostly ended a few weeks
>> back til last night we heard the tell-tale crunching of tiny bones
>> through our bedroom window (he was bringing back inside several mouse
>> bodies a week for quite a while there during late spring and summer,
>> and he consumed them pretty much entire -- save usually for the guts
>> -- munching them during the wee hours while we humans listen in the
>> dark in exasperated, embarrassed, brutalized, just-woken agony (I've
>> managed to save a couple that he brought in pre-kill, as well as a
>> couple lizards that he also doesn't seem to want to kill and consume
>> as quickly). We also have an occasional tussle around the catdoor, as
>> a raccoon tries to get in, and that triggers the cat into action, and
>> us into...a holding pattern of too-adrenalited helplessness at 2.am.
>> or whenever...
>> I've been learning to drive more slowly around the bends of our little
>> canyon road so I have better chances of not hitting any of the many
>> deer that stumble and nimble and amble around here. I startled a
>> resting one into lumbering up from a kneel the other morning out in
>> the yard -- little staghorn nubs on his just-past adolescent head
>> maybe ten feet away. They usually come in small families, of course,
>> but occasionally as solo ramblers.
>> And speaking of solo ramblers, the local coyotes move around too much
>> to get to know them as individuals, but, still, spotting them trotting
>> along even country roads, varying from the size of a large fox to a
>> large german shepherd  (three different times in the last week)
>> reminds that they must be constantly nearby, even when unseen (and of
>> course occasionally we hear the group howls from up in the hills
>> somewhere).
>> The madrones' and eucalyptus' different peeling bark patterns
>> (non-patterns?) never cease to fascinate, and I notice the big
>> California Buckeye bulbs are coming out on the trees again (looking
>> forward to the fat, long, aromatic blossom branches in the spring).
>> Occasional chittering of squirrels and raucous jay or crow calls from
>> a near distance. And more occasionally a solo owl hooing. Swells of
>> crickets near and far we can count on every night -- the frogs have
>> taken their mating calls somewhere else of late...
>> More than enough from me, for now. Enjoy your trip to the farther
>> northeast, Margaretha!
>> B.
>> On Sat, Oct 7, 2017 at 6:00 PM,
>> <empyre-request at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au> wrote:
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>> >
>> > ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> >
>> > Today's Topics:
>> >
>> >    1. Re: Beginning Week 1: Radical Aesthetics, EcoAesthetic
>> >       Systems and Entanglements (Randall Szott)
>> >    2. short answer post :: all of -empyre-, what non-human
>> >       relationships are you cultivating? (margaretha haughwout)
>> >
>> >
>> > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
>> >
>> > Message: 1
>> > Date: Sat, 7 Oct 2017 14:18:43 +0000 (UTC)
>> > From: Randall Szott <placekraft at yahoo.com>
>> > To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au>
>> > Subject: Re: [-empyre-] Beginning Week 1: Radical Aesthetics,
>> >         EcoAesthetic Systems and Entanglements
>> > Message-ID: <402365668.3318888.1507385923606 at mail.yahoo.com>
>> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>> >
>> > I want to thank William and Norie for their thoughts and my fellow
>> conversants for theirs as well. William - I read the article you suggested
>> and it does resonate for me in many ways. One thing I will point out
>> though, is that "sustainability" is not enough. The model of "sustainable"
>> has been increasingly displaced in agricultural circles by "regenerative."
>> Given the amount of damage being done in various domains (including the
>> linguistic - thank you!), we need to do more than sustain, we must
>> regenerate (heal, repair, improve).
>> >
>> >
>> > A last thought for the last part of the week's title. I find
>> entanglement a powerful descriptive metaphor in describing systemic
>> relationships, much more so than network/connection/node metaphors.
>> However, I want to throw another term into the mix, one of a slightly
>> larger descriptive frame - ENLIVENMENT. This concept comes from a feeling
>> percolating for years that I couldn't quite name, it hovered near readings
>> on pantheism, ecopsychology, and Kathleen Dean Moore's "Holdfast" or ?David
>> Abram's "Spell of the Sensuous" among others. Finally, I stumbled across
>> ?Andreas Weber's "Enlivenment" and the feeling had finally manifest in
>> words, words which then coalesced into a framework that has shifted my
>> thinking/feeling substantially. The essay is full of magic incantations -
>> worldmaking, householding, poetic objectivity, empirical subjectivity, and
>> the call to shift from the values of the Enlightenment (which Weber
>> describes as an ideology of death) to Enlivenment. Briefly, he c
>>  ha
>> >  racterizes it this way:
>> >
>> > "...a new stage of cultural evolution?that can safeguard our scientific
>> (and democratic) ideals of common access to knowledge and the powers
>> connected with it ? while at the same time validating personal?experience
>> that is felt and subjective: the defining essence of embodied
>> experience.?The Enlivenment that I envision includes other animate beings,
>> which, after all, share?the same capacities for embodied experiences and
>> ?worldmaking.?
>> >
>> > Enlivenment therefore is not just another naturalist account to
>> describe?ourselves and our world that can then automatically dictate
>> specific policies or?economic solutions...[it is]?a naturalism that is
>> based on the idea of?nature as an unfolding process of ever-growing freedom
>> and creativity paradoxically?linked to material and embodied processes. The
>> biosphere is alive in the sense that it?does not only obey the rules of
>> deterministic or stochastic interactions of particles,?molecules, atoms,
>> fields and waves. The biosphere is also very much about producing?agency,
>> expression, and meaning."
>> >
>> > Onward, then in enlivened entanglements with each other and our
>> nonhuman poetic collaborators!
>> >
>> > -r
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
>> >
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>> > ------------------------------
>> >
>> > Message: 2
>> > Date: Sat, 7 Oct 2017 13:41:03 -0400
>> > From: margaretha haughwout <margaretha.anne.haughwout at gmail.com>
>> > To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au>
>> > Subject: [-empyre-] short answer post :: all of -empyre-, what
>> >         non-human relationships are you cultivating?
>> > Message-ID:
>> >         <CAP1-Q3YrMjQPOFDGzG4R4eFDG0rH8Ms_qrzcbaWA6q-ju=Ktmw at mail.
>> gmail.com>
>> > Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"
>> >
>> > Hello all,
>> >
>> > I'm driving across the northeast today, watching trees head into
>> dormancy,
>> > and thinking about the conversation that has begun this week. Lots to
>> reply
>> > to. I look forward to catching up fully this evening and tomorrow --
>> >
>> > In the meantime, a question for all of -empyre-::
>> >
>> > What relations are you cultivating with on-humans at the moment? I have
>> > just moved, so my relationships are new and fragile:
>> >
>> > hawthorn tree at my studio
>> > crabapples, apples behind my house
>> > wild apples at colleagues house
>> > mouse behind my oven
>> > chamomile and brassicas in my greenhouse
>> >
>> > boneset in the trails
>> > joe pye weed in the marshes
>> >
>> > to name a few
>> >
>> > --
>> > beforebefore.net
>> > guerrillagrafters.org
>> > coastalreadinggroup.com
>> > --
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>> > ------------------------------
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>> > End of empyre Digest, Vol 154, Issue 4
>> > **************************************
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