It’s winter. Days are short, nights are long. Life slows down. The temperature drops. It’s time to let go and hibernate. You enter the space of the night, where you can rest and let go of ideas you carried along till here. In that process of letting go, the ‘here’ and the ‘now’ become more present. What does it take to be present to the world? The realisation that we are all radically interdependent. This in turn asks us to change what we see, sense and make in our daily lives. Wong and Krier’s pluriversal guide Arturo Escobar gives us a thought exercise: to embody a genuine sense of interdependence, we need to move first “from considering things in isolation to considering things in interaction” and second – this is trickier – “from considering things in interaction to considering things as mutually constituted”. Arturo Escobar, Designs for the Pluriverse. Radical Interdependence, Autonomy and the Making of Worlds, Durham: Duke University Press, 2018, p. 101That is, viewing things as existing because other things co-arise with them. Perhaps easier to grasp is the southern African concept of Ubuntu, which implies that the becoming of humanity is dependent on other beings and the cosmos: “I am because we all are.”
Nina van Hartskamp / Worlds Within – Bodies, Bedrooms and Breaths (21 minutes, 30 seconds)
On their way to the moon, the crew of Apollo 17 photographed the Earth in December 1972. It was the first time humans could look at the fully illuminated ‘blue marble’ from space. Artist Nina van Hartskamp was intrigued by this photo and the emotions it stirred at the time in Western industrialised societies. Somehow, this ‘big picture’ linked to a big question of her own: how can new, radical imaginations help reduce the environmental destruction caused by humans? In an attempt to formulate an answer, she looked for the smallest private human space, the bedroom, and cultivated the breath of dreamers. Inside the petri dish, the microbes in the air we breathe create planets, worlds, of their own. How do we as humans relate to these worlds that live in and around us? Sit down and look at these worlds in wonder.
Camila Marambio, Ariel Bustamante / Passing Wind: A Game of Transference (Sound work, 16 minutes)
2022, Karukinka, Tierra del Fuego
Air wizard Ariel Bustamante and eco-sensual curator Camila Marambio connect with the indomitable, playful and enormously biodiverse elementals of the Andean Region by walking and talking hand in hand. For this exhibition, Bustamante and Marambio created a dialogue in which the sexual power of the wind is the subject of conversation. If you are willing to engage: take off your shoes, lie down, close your eyes and let this sound piece enter your mind space through all your listening pores: “Permission given, permission taken.” Thanks to Isabel Torres and Nicolás Grum for playing.
Collins+Goto Studio (Tim Collins, Reiko Goto) with Chris Malcolm
The Plein Air | Silva Datum Musica LP (Recording, 51 minutes)
Can we humans hear a leaf breathe? Environmental artists Tim Collins and Reiko Goto share the result of a decade of research they initiated with ecologists, biologists and data scientists: a plant-driven synthesiser. Together, ten sensors and software generate real-time tree leaf data. Photosynthesis is one of the basic functions of life. It’s also quite a mystery. By making audible the physiological changes (transpiration, CO2 levels) during photosynthesis, Collins and Goto open a door for us as humans to start experiencing empathy with the vegetal world – a world foreign to most of us.
Miek Zwamborn / Darach
1-13 2021, Knockvologan / Isle of Mull
While Wong and Krier were visiting the Isle of Mull, writer and observer Miek Zwamborn took them to a magical place: a massive old oak tree that umbrellas a complete ecosystem. How to understand this complex world? By returning, observing, returning and observing, Zwamborn slowly begins to understand what she sees and tries to find words for it. Or she starts a conversation with another very old, resilient oak tree, by rubbing its surface onto paper. The tree sap mixing with the crayon and the small insects crawling over the paper are the important ingredients of this encounter.
Tom Morton (Arc Architects) / Listening to the Travellers (13 minutes, 50 seconds)
“None of us wanted to be pinned down. It was forced on us. We had to, because there was nowhere for us to go. We were forced to live like other people.” Scottish Traveller Barbara McDermitt shared these words in an audio recording in 1979. The travelling people of Scotland made a living from crafts such as tinsmithing and basketry, horse trading, labouring on farms and fishing for pearls. Their tents made from bent hazel wood and tarpaulin were weighted down with stones: they could hold their ground in any storm. But persecution by settled communities, church and state, intended to integrate the travelling people into mainstream society. It decimated their community and way of life: a quality of sensing the world otherwise was silenced. For storyteller and architect Tom Morton, it is important to remind the collective memory of these stories and ways of living. The past isn’t one thing. It endures, in different forms.
Mhairi Killin / Fata Morgana
2020-ongoing, Isle of Iona
Artist Mhairi Killin lives on the Isle of Iona off the west coast of Scotland where she works with the precious relationships between land, sea, humans and other living beings. The activity of the UK army in the region impacts ocean life with its by-products of military waste and underwater sound pollution. How can you give a voice to the sea, and what lives in the sea? Plug in your headphone and hear how Killin’s Fata Morgana combines military waste and patriarchal power with the myths of King Arthur’s half-sister Morgan le Fay, and Banshee witches.
Serkan Taycan / Between Two Seas
A scenic, marked, four-day hike as a disguise for a political statement? Artist and scientist Serkan Taycan leaves this open. In fact, his Between Two Seas walk runs parallel a prestigious infrastructural project in the İstanbul region: to bypass the Bosporus with a new canal. While walking, the realisation of what’s at stake and what will be lost is inescapable. Taycan delicately balances between art, recreation and politics.
Yaşar Adnan Adanalı / Silenced Çeşmes
Urbanist and İstanbulite Yaşar Adnan Adanalı made a series of photos of public drinking fountains (çeşme’s) as part of the podcast episode Testing İstanbul’s Waters. None of these fountains supplies drinkable water, most of them are fenced in, ignored, or obstructed. A display of dysfunctionality that raises questions about the right to fresh drinking water.
Kıvılcım Özmen & Besê Diribaş / Dersim's Waters
As part of the podcast episode Testing İstanbul’s Waters, impact maker and Dutch politician with Kurdish roots Kıvılcım Özmen shares the stories of her grandmother Besê Diribaş (1915-1996) about the layered meaning of water in Dersim. Eastern Anatolia has been home to many Kurds for centuries. Some continue to live there even after the Dersim massacre (1937-1938). Thanks to İlke Ercan for the English recording and to Metin & Kemal Kahraman for the use of their song Ferfecir.
Lonnie van Brummelen, Siebren de Haan, Tolin Erwin Alexander / Stones have Laws (100 minutes / compilation 15 minutes, 30 seconds)
Stones Have Laws (Dee Sitonu A Weti) is a mesmerising introduction into the life of the Saamaka and Okanisi Maroons in the former Dutch colony of Suriname. Combining stories of African ancestral traditions and escaped slavery with enacted contemporary rituals, the film explores how the community’s powerful ties to the river delta are endangered as industries threaten to devastate the region through deforestation and mining. Lonnie van Brummelen, Siebren de Haan and Tolin Erwin Alexander closely involved the Maroon community in the development of the project, using an experimental process of collective scriptwriting. The result is a unique cinematic form that bridges filmmaking, poetry and theatre.