Connecting with worlds

Year: 2016

Author: Somerville, Margaret, Duhn, Iris, Vladimirova, Anna

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In this presentation we begin considering possibilities for entanglements across space, matter and time as collective research practice and as ways of connecting (us) with the world we create together in this project. Our aim is to outline our process of connecting with the world in order to explore possibilities for entanglements that let differences and specificities emerge and flourish in ways that matter to the project. Specifically, this paper introduces ‘curious practice’ (Haraway 2015) as a possible approach to posthumanist research with emphasis on openness to the other to create conditions for new ways of seeing/naming/sensing worlds. We consider entanglements and matter through our initial provocation to explore water as relations and as ‘data’. What if water is considered as data and human subjects as only coming into being in relation to water? How does water produce the human and what does a reading of data as water produce? Water leads to new materialist and new animist theories in the northern hemisphere to consider thinking about droplets of water in forest. Forest is understood as motion coming into matter through choreography of tangled energies, flows of human bodies meeting and merging with flows of water, plants, animals, stones, feathers, leaves, air, sounds, shadows, light. By being highly distinctive and possessing unique features, each human and more-than-human subject within the sylvan encounter is in this flow, being informed by water. As ontologically prior, an event taking place in the forest is analysed from the perspective of a collectivized agency of the forest ecosystem. The ability of forest ‘to remember’ and make its memories intelligible to other participants of the moment is highlighted in this analysis.Our attempt to develop enabling ways of our mutual ‘flow’ and sensitivity to entanglements is embraced as an innovative approach to research practice. In asking: What are the entanglements that connect us with the world in this project, we engage with dis/continuities across spacetime in a way that they become creative sparks. We follow the threads of those creative sparks, and think about why they matter and what they can do for this project. We conclude with a brief overview of methodological ideas that inspired us and discuss how these entanglements understood from a posthuman perspectives might inform our thinking about data in this project.