Staying with the Trouble: Notes on Chapter 3, pp76-98

This week I asked you to re-read Chapter 3 pp 59-76 and read Chapter 3 pp 76-98. This latter section talks about four “worldings” or art/science collaborations. As usual I am responding to sections that most students were interested in or wanted explained, am working through the chapter chronologically, and putting names of students next to sections they asked about. Visiting any links I have added is optional

“The core concept is material play, and the IFF proposes and enacts not think tanks or work tanks, but play tanks,which I understand as arts for living on a damaged planet.” p78-9 Students including Lingjia

  • This is a description of the work and ethos of the Institute for Figuring (IFF) set up by Christine and Margaret Wertheim.
  • Governments and institutions set up work tanks and think tanks to address difficult issues – the IFF has play tanks instead.
  • Such play tanks bring the resources and solutions of art to bear on current environmental struggles.

Infecting each other and anyone who comes into contact with their fibrous critters, the thousands of crafters crochet psychological, material, and social attachments to biological reefs in the oceans, but not by practicing marine field biology or by diving among the reefs or making some other direct contact. … Intimacy without proximity is not “virtual” presence; it is “real” presence, but in loopy materialities.” p 79 Students including Randy S, Qing Lin, Isaac R. and Isaac B.

  • Haraway reclaims negative-sounding words like infecting here and infesting in the paragraph just above this quote in her text. Depending on the context infecting and infesting maybe generative and life-giving activities – for example the spread of reef crocheting to 8,000 people, and the further spread of this project to people who come to view it.
  • The fibrous critters are the coral that the crafters are making.
  • Haraway contrasts the practice of crocheting the reef as a activity in support of coral to the practice of going to the reef to do research or just visit. Implicit here is a question/criticism: when/how much should we physcially interfere with things to save them, and when should we leave them alone.
  • She suggests that the art practice is as rich at multiple levels, psychological, material, social, as the research or visiting.
  • Loopy materialities. She makes a claim that the crafters have as real and material a relationship with the reef as anybody that physically visits, because of the materials they are using to craft with and the similarities in process between corals building themselves and 3D crocheting techniques.

The result is another strong thread in the holobiome of the reef: we are all corals now.’’ p 80 Students including Ambre, Ethan M

  • Haraway wants to say that the holobiome of coral reef comes to include a community of crafters and their practice of making a reef – the holobiome is the component parts of a collective community.
  • We are all corals now – I think these means two things: reprising the notion that ONE human being is a collective symbiotic community; and calling for an understanding that we need to think and act as if, not just the individual, not just the human, but larger human and non-human collective communities are important.

The resurgence of peoples and of places is nurtured with ragged vitality in the teeth of such loss, mourning, memory, resilience, reinvention of what it means to be native, refusal to deny irreversible destruction, and refusal to disengage from living and dying well in presents and futures.” p 86. Students including Marissa, Mike M, Grace C.

  • In the sentence above this one Haraway says that indigenous people have a special relationship to genocides and exterminations,because they have suffered them.
  • She suggests we may therefore want to look to their experiences and stories as we may all have to face exterminations and extinctions.
  • She lists practices of survival whatever the devastation that has occurred: which include both staying the same and changing, refusing to be in denial, and finding ways both to live and die.

The sensible order inherent in the storied cosmos of Changing Woman, the Holy Twins, Spider-Woman, and the other world-making Holy people is the pattern for right living.” p 91

  • Haraway is talking about the relationship between weaving and story-making in this section.
  • Especially myths and stories about Gods and the making of the world – worlding stories. Links to information about
  • The order of the stories is sensible – meaning that it is tangible, something you can feel as in woven cloth.
  • The stories are literally woven into the cloth.
  • The patterns indicate how people should behave, relate to others human and non-human.

The decisions and transformations so urgent in our times for learning again, or for the first time, how to become less deadly, more response-able, more attuned, more capable of surprise, more able to practice the arts of living and dying well in multispecies symbiosis, sympoiesis, and symanimagenesis on a damaged planet, must be made without guarantees or expectation of harmony with those who are not oneself – and not safely other, either.” p 98 Students including Zachary T.

  • Haraway urges us to change – the us is humans who are deadly!
  • She wants the change to include realization of collectivities, of becoming with and acting with humans and non-humans.
  • She wants to say that there’s no guarantee things will go smoothly.
  • People like you (humans, new yorkers, students) may or may not agree with you. People and non-humans not like you may or may not be your allies.
  • She makes a joke at the end “and not safely other, either” – which loops us back into the idea that it’s hard to tell where we begin and end. Sometimes it’s easier to work with people/things when we are sure we know they are different and how they are different.