Each and every one of us treads the same small planet. As a collective, we sometimes work together for the same goal but as individuals we spend each day seeking our own fortunes and futures. How we walk across this land can inform the fate of the land itself, the choices we make can sustain our ability to continue deriving nourishment from this our home. We may choose to collect ourselves in a tribe of like-minds or to meander down a path alone. It is how we see the road before us that informs the way we travel.
Eben Kirksey chooses to see the road not as one leading toward inevitable ecological destruction and global social and political apocalypse, but as a journey marked with opportunity at every bend. “Little bubbles of hope and happiness,” he says, can be the way we think rather than focusing on all that is wrong in the world. His studies in multispecies ethnography have led to multiple publications. The Multispecies Salon is an edited collection combining wisdom about the microbiome, health, food, environmental justice, and synthetic biology through the lens of the humanities. Emergent Ecologies looks at the relationship of chance and accident as they allow for forward momentum within the multispecies community and Freedom in Entangled Worlds emerged from his observations in Papua New Guinea. The current political times, Kirksey says, will perhaps usher in the sort of “collaborative and imaginative work that it takes to bring elusive desires into contact with reality.”
Pilar Millan uses participatory collaboration to examine the consequences of sociopolitical and cultural boundaries. Her work is at all times influenced by the environment around her,whether that is the European countryside, where she once stumbled upon an abandoned Soviet air base, or the anonymity of life in the city. Millan’s work manifests as in the form of many media. She uses film, photography, painting, drawing, objects, and audios, to create dynamic installations that convey her message.
Reading brings the world close to us and can open up our minds to places and ways of thinking that we have never known. What are you reading to escape or simply make sense of your small space on the planet? Pilar Millan turns to The Future of Nostalgia by Svetlana Boym while Eben Kirksey finds reflection in Geontologies: a Requiem to Late Liberalism by Elizabeth A. Povinelli and Testo Junkie by Paul B. Preciado.
St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia has issued an open call to artists wishing to submit for consideration for the first six exhibitions of the school year in the University Art Gallery. Deadline for submissions is March 10. Chosen artists are responsible for shipping their work to and from the museum.
We must find ways of living in small spaces that allow us to feel free while not enacting harm to others and the world around us. The interconnectedness of life on earth can be the key to our understanding of ways to steward our home, both physically and philosophically, to create a future that sustains all forms of life.