[-empyre-] Introducing Special Guest Joan Haran -- On Cyborgs and Goddesses: the work of Haraway and Starhawk

WhiteFeather whitefeather.hunter at gmail.com
Mon Nov 11 08:26:02 AEDT 2019

Thank you so much, Joan, for your thoughts. I, too, am finding these to be
such (organically) fertilizing conversations and I do hope a Ruderal
Witchcraft Manifesto might arise from this thread.

In both the projects I described, the politics of remediation were fairly
acute. In each case, I was confronted with my own naivete about
bioremediation and conservation (at the time imagining these only
beneficial), through discovering the more capitalist intentions for how
they could/would be used and how I was possibly implicated. The politics of
remediation are rife with ethical dilemmas, I learned, and surely the
morally ambiguous Hecate was cackling at the crossroads there. Certainly
the corvids were.

I like Oliver's reflexive cautioning about the tendency to romanticize (in
this case, the ruderal), particularly as creative thinkers and empathic
makers, while at the same time, I very much resonate with Margarethe's
delving into the shadow work of compost processes, and I wonder how to best
embrace our human interventionist roles in such complex workings.
The Mi'kmaq curator/ethnologist I consulted with in Halifax had very clear
boundaries around those specific ruderal territories of the gold mine
tailings. His perspective was, in his strong words, that people need to,
"leave it the fuck alone" and let time take care of it instead. This
sentiment links to your musings on slow violence and different paces of
harm, Joan, which I find fascinating. Does slow violence ask specifically
for slow recovery? Is the technology of magic a good facilitator here?

One of the interventions that environmental scientists had already
attempted at the tailings sites was to 'cap' the toxic piles of sand--cover
them under some kind of sheeting, essentially, so that animals (deer) would
not eat the plants that grew there and absorb the metals, etc. I should
note here that concern for the toxicity levels in the animals was in part
motivated by the desire of local hunters to hunt and eat them without risk
of bio-accumulating poison (much like how reindeer in Sápmi have
bio-accumulated cesium from the spread of Chernobyl's radioactive snowfall
on lichen and are sometimes rendered inedible). In reality, the capping
approach backfired, causing the toxic metals and arsenic to leach more
concentrated into the groundwater, exacerbating the problem.

When my scientist collaborator asked how best to acknowledge and work
within multiple areas of expertise (e.g. indigenous science) going forward,
Roger (the Mi'kmaq curator) told her to look to the artists, because
artists are already doing it. Perhaps ruderal witchcraft is likewise
powerful in some capacity to squat along the edges of boundary spaces and
see with two or three eyes focused on contiguous perspectives, a long
observance facilitating a more measured response? In Mi'kmaq
philosophy/practice, there is a concept of "two-eyed seeing" that is used
to describe a way of producing knowledge that respects the situated
knowledges of indigenous peoples as well as Western science, for example.
What about using imaginary hindsight/ foresight, for what Marisa described
as the possibility "to develop / expand a means of re-valuation that can be
tied to beings-with or of the ruderal? that which may not regard
accumulation / ownership, and instead focus on a care of multispecies others?"

PS - Marisa, I still have the bundles!

So looking forward to hearing more about this and the Cyborgian goddex

On Sun, Nov 10, 2019 at 1:05 PM <joanharan at gmail.com> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> I'm hoping this doesn't fankle the threading, as I'm not getting my own
> posts to reply to. I will eventually get to the discussion about cyborgs
> and
> Goddesses, but first I'd like to ramble a little more about the foregoing
> ruderal witchcraft thread, mainly to express my joy at the work that you
> are
> all doing. I've been fascinated by Oliver's work since I first heard him
> talk about it in Oregon in 2013, and as I've been wandering about on my own
> research journeys since I've been delighted to discover we're caught up in
> the same cat's cradle as Margaretha and Beverly Naidus, as well as other
> research friends like Michelle Bastian at the University of Edinburgh who I
> just had to email about WhiteFeather's exploration of lichenological time.
> WhiteFeather, I found myself reacting with visceral horror when you
> described the Norwegian government's policy of waterblasting as I so
> quickly
> became invested in their tenacious lifespans. I also found the comparison
> between your artistic poetic inoculation and the "industrial scale
> bioremediation" that usurped it very striking. I'm thinking of Rob Nixon's
> work on slow violence and wondering about different paces of harm and
> remediation.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> <empyre-bounces at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au> On Behalf Of margaretha
> haughwout
> Sent: 10 November 2019 07:58
> To: soft_skinned_space <empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au>
> Subject: [-empyre-] Introducing Special Guest Joan Haran -- On Cyborgs and
> Goddesses: the work of Haraway and Starhawk
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> _______________________________________________
> empyre forum
> empyre at lists.artdesign.unsw.edu.au
> http://empyre.library.cornell.edu
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