[-empyre-] starting at the edge of water

Christopher Kennedy artiscycle at gmail.com
Thu Oct 19 10:20:40 AEDT 2017

Thanks for all the great questions Johannes! And response Ellie!

I'm not sure we can ever "know" fully what a plant feels -- but I think
perhaps we can gain glimpses from encounters that point us toward something
new or different if we listen deeply - through the body, the mind, the

So for me scores are a loose container, a mode of perhaps structuring or
unstructuring an experience with a place, a landscape, a set of living
systems. They don't have to be a text or straight forward set of directions
-- but a score can be many things beyond language; a collection of rocks,
marks on a page, one gesture or feeling.

I really learned about score-production from my time working with
folks at iLAND
- the Interdisciplinary Laboratory for Art, Nature and Dance
<http://www.ilandart.org/about/>. They just released a great field guide
that provides a collection of scores with a nice description that might be

[image: Inline image 1]

Christopher Lee Kennedy <http://christopherleekennedy.com/>
(201) 981-1576

On Wed, Oct 18, 2017 at 1:23 PM, Ellie Irons <ellieirons at gmail.com> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Thanks Chris, for the dispatches from on the ground at the EPA
> headquarters. I can’ t wait for more. And Johannes, thank you for your
> questions!
> I’ll sidestep the question of exactly how scores are derived for the
> moment, and address how they function, at least for me. For me, the scores
> (when executed out in the world in the presence of weedy plant life- they
> have to be enacted not imagined) are actually productive in revealing my
> inability to understand and communicate with vegetal life. A useful part of
> the experience for me is in that tension- right there in that moment where
> we run up against our human limitations. this can be humbling and
> revealing. In trying and failing to move/think like heath aster or
> horseweed, I realize things about the way I as a human perceive,
> categorize, and filter the world, and do so in a way no amount of sitting
> in front of my computer pondering could provide. And yes, it's about *me*
> learning from the plant, so one might ask: “where is the exchange?”, but to
> me that exchange is already embedded in the situation, given that we’re
> engaging with wild growing urban plants, shaped by centuries of
> co-evolution with humans under industrial and post-industrial capitalism.
> The exchange is baked into each of us, plant and human alike, right down to
> the herbicide remnants that are woven into our shared habitat and flesh.
> Going about day-to-day life in Brooklyn calls (generally) for overlooking
> the companion plants that have woven themselves into the city habitat. A
> periodic attempt to engage in collaborative practice with weeds, however
> limited by my all-too-human faculties, provides me with new tools & renewed
> fortitude for seeing and resisting the damaging human-centered narratives
> that play out all around me, all the time.
> I’ll toss out one more term that came to mind as I was writing:
> "biocultural restoration or revitalization" as described by Robin Wall
> Kimmerer in *Braiding Sweetgrass*.
> *“Restoring land without restoring relationship is an empty exercise. It
> is relationship that will endure and relationship that will sustain the
> restored land. Therefor, reconnecting people and the landscape is as
> essential as reestablishing proper hydrology or cleaning up contaminants”
> (Kimmerer, 228)*
> Although I’ve certainly spent time attempting to access the critique weeds
> might provide, I’m interested in applying this to what we’re building
> together moving forward as more and more people live together in cities.
> Can we escape the taming cycle that poisons us and creates ever stronger
> “kick back” from the beings we try to control? I just learned that on my
> college campus they are still “spot-treating” with Roundup to kill the
> broad-leafed plants that “invade” the lawn. I stood in the autumn sun and
> chatted with the perfectly pleasant purveyor of poisons just a few weeks
> ago. Of course the plants don’t disappear, they shrivel, then bounce back.
> This stuff is abstract, but also so real.
> Thanks for making me think!
> xx
> Ellie
> Attached: dandelion & red clover two days after being spot-treated with
> roundup
> On Oct 18, 2017, at 8:19 AM, Johannes Birringer <
> Johannes.Birringer at brunel.ac.uk> wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> It occured to me, after reading Adam's last posting on his labs about
> animal enrichment arts, enrichment devices and enrichment provisions, as
> brilliantly as its strategies are formulated,
> and as captivating as I also found Christopher's proposition that we could
> all be weeds or feel like weeds or work with "scores on behalf of weeds",
> that it is not so easy for me to imagine
> starting at the edge of the water and dancing with fish, crows, stones,
> cats, algae and trees, since I would not really know how stones or plants
> would want to collaborate with me, and are
> your propositions not generally formulated in one particular language
> (linguistic and conceptual), even the somatic one, and so how do you
> translate or come up with the devices for the scores?
> And why would stones want to collaborate with us or recover kinship, in
> the first place? How do you know?
> I remember some years back, in a performance lab, the musicians (Liquid
> Penguin) sat a plant on the eating table, with electrodes attached to it,
> and we listened to its sound and how it taught us
> its alphabet,  yet I figured the amplified sonics were deviced in the Max
> patch, and wondered afterwards how perverse it may have sounded to the
> plant to hear this translation collaboration; so my question is
> how you want to persist in your language (including the harawayan etc
> reference systems brought to the table)? And I'd agree with Adam that
> plants, fish, and other not human species may assess things
> showing signs of alienation.
> yes how do I access their art critique?
> respectfully
> Johannes Birringer
> ________________________________________
> [Christopher Kennedy schreibt]
> "resistance" is happening all around us. And sometimes its merely a matter
> of honing what John Cage describes as our "powers of observation" so that
> we can see all the mushrooms in our lives -.....
> This is all to say -- I would like to offer a score on behalf of the weeds
> -- a voice for them, an invitation for movement and reflection. They have
> so much to say... and at the EPA were developing all kinds of ways to
> translate between the human and non-human entanglements all around us.
> Feel free to adapt and translate, to try out and share with the list or a
> friend....
> [Adam schreibt]
> . To gain access to some non-humans and to inquire through trans-species
> communication as to their aesthetic preferences and methods of expressing
> of art critique
> 7. To wonder at human culture and personality through the lens of assessing
> human needs as if we were just another non-human in captivity, showing
> signs of alienation.
> <Liquid Penguin-GRAS_SOMU_1.jpeg>___________________________________
> ____________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
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