Bateson Reading Group - Video Dialogue - Week 6


(Mindful Ai) #1

Originally published at:

Readers Underground participants:

Geoffrey Edwards
Johnny Davis
Lucy Sames
Douglas Duff

Recorded 14 February 2019

Reading Discussed:
Gregory Bateson: Style, Grace and Information in Primitive Art and Comment in Part II
Nora Bateson: Rain (poem) and Knowledge and Complexity

Lucy starts the motor of the loom, weaving past discussion threads with Nora’s “unbounded threads” + stringing together primary processes of plural selves and multiple existences with Donna Haraway’s string figures and multispecies storytelling. The group plays Cat’s Cradle, creating a complex ecosystem through their discussion of grace, paradox, intersectionality, transcontextuality language, viruses, trance, integration and space.

(Lucy) #3

Hi all, thanks for a great session. In case it is of interest, these are the extracts I read from Haraway (I hope it’s ok to reproduce them here?) -

Haraway, D., 2016. Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene , North Carolina: Duke University Press.

p. 10

Multispecies Storytelling and the Practices of Companions

String figures are like stories; they propose and enact patterns for participants to inhabit, somehow, on a vulnerable and wounded earth. My multispecies storytelling is about recuperation in complex histories that are as full of dying as living, as full of endings, even genocides, as beginnings. In the face of unrelenting historically specific surplus suffering in companion species knottings, I am not interested in reconciliation or restoration, but I am deeply committed to the more modest possibilities of partial recuperation and getting on together. Call that staying with the trouble. And so I look for real stories that are also speculative fabulations and speculative realisms. These are stories in which multispecies players, who are enmeshed in partial and flawed translations across difference, redo ways of living and dying attuned to still possible finite flourishing, still possible recuperation.

SF is a sign for science fiction, speculative feminism, science fantasy, speculative fabulation, science fact, and also, string figures. Playing games of string figures is about giving and receiving patterns, dropping threads and failing but sometimes finding something that works, some - thing consequential and maybe even beautiful, that wasn’t there before, of relaying connections that matter, of telling stories in hand upon hand, digit upon digit, attachment site upon attachment site, to craft conditions for finite flourishing on terra, on earth. String figures require hold - ing still in order to receive and pass on. String figures can be played by many, on all sorts of limbs, as long as the rhythm of accepting and giving is sustained. Scholarship and politics are like that too-passing on in twists and skeins that require passion and action, holding still and moving, anchoring and launching.

p. 12
In relay and return, SF morphs in my writing and research into speculative fabulation and string figures. Relays, string figures, pass - ing patterns back and forth, giving and receiving, patterning, holding the unasked -for pattern in one’s hands, response -ability; that is core to what I mean by staying with the trouble in serious multispecies worlds. Becoming-with , not becoming, is the name of the game; becoming -with is how partners are, in Vinciane Despret’s terms, rendered capable.

p. 13
Companion species are relentlessly becoming -with . The category companion species helps me refuse human exceptionalism without invoking posthumanism. Companion species play string figure games where who is/are to be in/of the world is constituted in intra-and inter-action. The partners do not precede the knotting; species of all kinds are consequent upon worldly subject - and object -shaping entanglements. In human-animal worlds, companion species are ordinary beings -in - encounter in the house, lab, field, zoo, park, truck, office, prison, ranch, arena, village, human hospital, forest, slaughterhouse, estuary, vet clinic, lake, stadium, barn, wildlife preserve, farm, ocean canyon, city streets, factory, and more.