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a piece offering
psychic field notes on our Self and our Selves
necessitates pre-established bodies that then participate in action with each other. Intra-action understands agency as not an inherent property of an individual or human to be exercised, but as a dynamism of forces in which all designated ‘things’ are constantly exchanging and diffracting, influencing and working inseparably
- Karen Barad
In more accessible language, that means:
we interact, with emphasis on the act. Nothing is separate, we live in the consequence and influence of how we engage with one another.
So, may we move and disrupt, together, intentionally, with attention to everyone and everything affected by the ripple. With particular care for those of us who have been made marginalized by oppressive design- the earth included.
embroidery chicken, balkan folk art
There is a particularly disturbing contrast of living on such striking, sacred land that has been cared for for millenia, and the degree to which the settler colonial cultural identity of “vancouver” is consumed with theft, capitalism, proprietorship, start up (whatever that means), entitlement, entrepreneurship, individualism, hoarding. vancouver is literally the most expensive city in canada, and the cost of living is only swelling and getting uglier. It is also a city with extreme class disparity and ongoing state-led hostility and in many cases extermination of the poor, the addicted and the non white, with a palpable void of care for Black and Indigenous lives.
I migrated here from Yugoslavia in 1995 and left in 2010. After 10 years of space, pandemium and my partner guided me back. I threw a few tantrums about returning to a place that i was displaced and assimilated into; that i didn’t feel connected to. Like being 4 years old rolling on the floor and whining aimlessly, one sock and no frontal lobe. Embarrassing!
I hear this word echoed a lot in my thoughts: Connection. and i want to be careful to not misuse it and render it defunct. Connection isn’t passive, it’s charged!! it’s bidirectional. Like any relationship, it is dynamic and requires us to contribute to exchange of energy, to resist where necessary, and to surrender comfortably whenever we can. The way joints connect to bones. If we aren’t careful we can dislocate from each other, too.
Through listening, noticing and implementing, i eventually stopped bracing and planted both feet, and i learned to be here with deep gratitude. This focused presence becomes not only possible but luscious when i pay attention to decentering the capitalist and colonial identity of this place. I’m sharing this in an effort to encourage generative energy among those of us who are yearning for expansiveness and depth; as an option for those of us who long to be somewhere else.
If i want to feel a sense of community, abundance, sustainability, mutual aid, creative collaboration and grassroots care in the barren lot of the apocalypse, i have to plant viable seeds, too.
What is our intimate relationship to how we inhabit our space? Not just our home, but our neighbourhood, our friendships, our communities, the traditional land we have settled on, our bioregion? Are we aware of the rippling of our actions and how they either nourish or deprive others of care? I can’t help but picture myself speaking in a silo: i assume everyone on this mailing list agrees with the general perspective of careful togetherness, in their own way. So, i suppose i am suggesting for us to engage and dream big together. Maybe i am imagining how i want to show up in my communities when a greater sense of relief soothes us. When our collective nervous system is rested and open to emergence, i want to come out with big facilitator energy and open arms.
anyway, what is something you can do right now to make yourself more comfortable? give yourself permission to bundle, to cushion, to roll your shoulders, to close this page. Any new sensations?
There is no good or bad here.
(thank you bonny)
Ancient folk art from Lepenski Vir, the basin of the Danube river (Mesolithic and Neolithic periods, 6300-5900 B.C.E.) Quartz sandstone
Archaeologists say the heads seem to be a mixture of human and fish features, accounting for their strangeness. Some designs look like fish skeletons. The gorges and pools in this part of the Danube were long a home to sturgeon and other large fish that sustained human life. Perhaps a fishing people imagined their souls migrating into fish after death.
(James Gorman, 2019)
Recently i understood that my work is steeped in prayer. Process is always occurring, and form is always being explored. I’ve been trying to alchemize all my efforts of neural repatterning. The tools collected and the energy of grief transduced into tangible sources of care. I’ve been on call for survivors of trauma. I’ve been making balms, seasoning blends and digestible medicine. I’ve been depressive, fatalistic, compromising on SeLf CaRe~* and wondering how other people have the discipline and capacity to brush hair and change their underwear through it all. Learning to regulate these days requires incredible grace. Not grace like Toni Morrison- it can and will be awkward: the type of grace that requires us to resist the urge to be urgent. To look at our tendency of wanting solutions, to fix things and seek directions externally. I think about emotionally supporting others who are in crisis and TRY to extend that to myself. Grace happens when we can bolster each other into our right to self determination, to empower each other into the ability to practice regulating on our own. Grace also happens when we yield into the fractals of our selves, with attention to the cellular knowledge of our ancestors woven through. Past selves are ancestors too.
My ancestors are resilient, seeing, suicidal, paranormal, dog, cook, contraband trafficking, socialist, problematic, patriarchal, matriarchal, beautiful, clinically insane, genius, peasant, humble, afraid, brave, weaver, destroyer and healer. In this lifetime we have the opportunity to pluck out the epigenetic pieces that require salvage and transformation. We all have the capacity to carry so much, including other people's pain. it’s amazing some of us don’t burst at the seams. I am a collapsing of all my ancestors and their experiences, so that wherever i arrive, i am home.
When i feel most connected, it’s when i do my little dance of trying to cultivate community care. It’s when i engage in curiosity, self discovery and repair. Through intra-acting directly with people whose vision of transformation align with mine. And i am also in practice of trying that dance with people whose values appear different. Because i believe that anything using a language or a method of absolutes is irresponsible to growth, coalition and collaborative survival- let alone thrival. I try not to look for problems and i’m losing patience with people who focus on flaws and who resist conflict. I am invested in facilitating healing, nonviolent conflict reconciliation and transformative justice, after all. One of my teachers, Fariha Róisín, lays down these fluid and inclusive ethics so meticulously and boldly in a recent newsletter. and yes, i feel personally attacked by the spirituality critique in season 5 of search party (haha). I am paying attention to how good it feels to redistribute, to emotionally support, to be fiercely vulnerable. To give myself to friendships that leave me feeling seen and loved. and to acknowledge that i am also tired of disproportionately focusing on my repair. I want to eat the sticky overripe fruit of all that labour, too.
I wish for us to feel the pleasure of moving from a place of feeling moved.
So, can we connect??? :P
Some news to share:
I am in a group exhibition in montréal opening this Thursday, January 20th at Projet Casa. I will be showing some new sculptures alongside brilliant artists like Haji Maa and Alicia Mersy.
I am also heading out there to make food for visitors on Feb. 13th with incredible chefs and friends: Ana Castillo and Nick Rony.
Please share with your loved ones who are based in mtl! <3
thank you for being here!