Richard Move's Reading Reflections

Monday, May 16, 2022

Donna Haraway’s Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene (2016) is, to borrow her phrase, a “companion animal” that travels with me as I enter into the weblike network of site-specific creations, animated by the interconnected presences of environment, human, animal, plant, insect and object. I hope that Haraway would, therefore, “make kin” with my own, choreographic version of “multispecies worlding”, that is enlivened by the landscapes from which Herstory of the Universe emerges. In Staying with the Trouble, Haraway offers an expansive definition of making kin: “My sense of kin making requires not just situated deities and spirits—still an unnerving act for so-called moderns—but also heterogeneous critters of biological persuasions” and I strive to give deities, critters and “motley kinds” (216) alike, a voice in ‘Herstory of the Universe’.

Mel Y. Chen’s Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (2021) is another partner I call upon to unveil the inhabitants of my worldmaking as I aspire to make work that also creates “a biopolitics that perpetually resituates, recombines, and rearticulates the matter of life—and potentially its very own ecologies—in the particularized bodies of its animals, objects, humans”.

Drawing on Haraway and Chen, I can firmly situate Herstory of the Universe within current materialist theory while making kin with these transdisciplinary scholars to reveal a coexistence with the subjects and objects of my choreography that, potentially, “offers a different way to conceive of relationality and intersubjective exchange”.

Recently, I have become more aware of thawing permafrost and its myriad inhabitants of “motley kinds”, as Haraway calls them, – each with unique and startling stories to tell. Both of the articles The Great Siberian Thaw (2022)  and SIBERIA DISPATCH - Russian Land of Permafrost and Mammoths Is Thawing (2019) provide succinct overviews of what to expect as the permafrost begins to melt.