keywords: fields, rest, community, media, history, kin, reparative practice, anti-racism, consent, agency, intention
Fields are places of exploration where events occur. A field is a topology of dynamics and relations which remind us to avoid commonsensical divisions; a field is not reducible to the objects within it (because within each object, is another field of interacting relations ad infinitum).
Agriculturally, a field is a demarcated space of potential sustenance. A field also represents the notion of calculable observation. A field of vision denotes all the points of an environment that can be perceived at a given moment. What shifts when a field moves from a knowable and measurable object of cultivation, to an unknowable, mutable entity?
When a magnetic field is cut in half, it is immediately repaired and redistributed such that polarity remains present in each portion. In this way, the concept of a field, as a space which preserves the tension of opposites, may be considered a resilient role model for interdisciplinary inquiries; helping us as artist-researchers to avoid re-discovering what we already know.
How do we locate a field? In navigational and land surveying techniques, triangulation is a way of determining location “by measuring angles to it from known points at either end of a fixed baseline, rather than measuring distances to the point directly”, allowing for a more confident measurement.1 Triangulation is also used as a method in qualitative and quantitative research, used to evaluate consistency of findings,2 and theoretical triangulation uses multiple theoretical perspectives “to examine and interpret data”.3 Additionally, our technologically mediated movements across landscapes rely on GPS, a technology of triangulation.
We are not surveyors of the field, we are not standing at an authoritative distance with focused binoculars observing and critiquing the minutiae that specialized equipment permits us to witness. Rather we are guests in the field, finding ourselves in a perpetual state of becoming, we are mercurial tessellations in the plane of immanence. Somersaulting in and out of, over, underneath and through the field. We emerge from each tumble to discover ourselves in a new location; an ever-shifting vantage point. In the field we play with the uncertain, invite the accidental, and welcome the yet-to be-known. “A relational field is unlimited in the sense that it is full of un-actualized potential for value creation, both economic and affective, and for the generation of events and newness. But at the same time a relational field is limited in the sense that there are certain points beyond which it does not go.”4
This cooperatively-authored "field guide" was created in the Fall of 2020 in response to the communication-based, curricular and experiential challenges which arose while participating in remote learning environments. Working with the support of the USC School of Cinematic Arts’ Interdisciplinary Media Arts and Practice division, we became aware of the need to develop community around sharing techniques for rest and repair during times of existential and cultural crisis; the notion of kinon, as a hybrid and term combining kin + canon, emerged as an artifact from those exchanges.
Kinon offers a repositioning in relation to the canon. While the canon represents fixed, and authoritative constructs of history or a field, the kinon moves away from the hegemonic and immutable, towards a construct of knowledge which embraces plurality, and many worlds.5
While there are varying practices and cultural definitions of kinship, we draw from the idea of kinship as a form that goes beyond ancestry and genealogy.6 In using ‘kin’ to position this work, we consider community as beholden, connected, and existing in states of care for each other.
Working from the position of kinon aligns with our intention to repair and explore forms of community. Specifically, kinon has been a strategy to find and develop reparative practices for engaging with problematic material including racially charged assigned media; and reparative practices for remote learning. Borrowing from the Japanese practice of 金継ぎ [kintsugi], which is a form of golden joinery, we seek to honor breakage and repair as inevitable aspects of history and growth; we treat the act of mending as a transformative practice, something to be made visible rather than disguised.
(Dis)Orientations, Strategies, sequences, episodes, (breakout) groups, layers, dimensions, invitations, un-ceded territories
How does arts-based research incorporate uncertainty into practices of knowing? How might techniques of intentional disorientation be applied to a non-methodological research methodology?
Drawing on Massumi's notion that 'good' questions "wear inconclusivenses like a badge of honor"; exploring the premise that fieldwork enhances philosophy, suggesting disorientation as a tool for perspectival-exchanges with others.
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Hummingbird's space flight 2020: link
The Stranger: link
work done in parallel with this research: link
If we think of ourselves as in possession of two bodies—a physical body and a data body—how do our understandings of ethics, consent, sensibility, sensuality, sovereignty, pleasure / pain, knowledge, legibility and identity apply to the convergence of these two ways-of-being in the world? What hybrid possibilities exist for being physical and data?
Across modalities that are usually considered separately—remote labor, education, and health, videoconferencing, mixed reality and multiplayer gaming, etc. where do we find our common history of computational presence?
Drawing on post-pandemic notions of locality, community, and embodiment—with a particular focus on the promises of peer-to-peer technology—can we reflexively resist, generate and/or hack the medium we are presently entangled with?
Work being done in parallel with this project: link
How does media challenge the linearity of history? How can we use media to explore and understand historical events in ways beyond cause and effect?
How has this history of extraction been laminated into our bodies? How does it support this moment?
Drawing on research into human/uranium relations; u
sing media to explore the circularity of radio active fallout, encountering the strangeness of uranium mining as paradoxically destabilizing the planet while facilitating exponential and irreversible growth of urban/technological infrastructure.
Morton, Tim. (2013). A Quake in Being, An Introduction to Hyperobjects. Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World. (pp. 1-24) University of Minnesota Press. https://doi.org/10.5749/j.ctt4cggm7
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Spragmos and Silence; Acoustemologies of Burrow Canyon Mine 2020: link
Photo documentation of Burrow Canyon Mining complex 2020: link
Oral histories of the Downwinders: link
Jacob Kirkegard's Chernobyl project: link
Karen Barad EGS lecture(s): Troubling Times and Ecologies of Nothingness: link
Reintroducing tools for navigating our engagement with media—best practices for how we view, listen and sense, to how we perform, be audience, adapt and re-use methods.
dismantling constructions of a spectacularly-oriented, normalizing We, in which compulsory (non-consensual, un-disclosed, irreversible) modes of engagement fix our identity and our interpretation ... simply put, living Glissant's notion of a moment of departure, where we "consent not to be a single being."
topics: peer-to-peer, consentful tech, design justice
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Muñoz, Jose Esteban "disidentifications" ℭ
Moten, Fred “Consent not to be a single being” link ℭ
What is a media history authored by and of indigenous practice?
What are the aesthetics and strategies of indigenous media practice?
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Malidoma Patrice Somé: Grief, Ritual and Sacrifice. link
For Zitkála-Šá, directed by Raven Chacon: link
Work done in parallel with this research.
What is reparative touch? What is embodied knowing?
What shifts when we read the body in kin, or the touch-body, through the lens of matter and making?
How can touch reconnect us to our embodied selves, to move beyond the boundaries of self? And how do our bodies reach across external thresholds.. those that are imposed, unavoidable or desired? How is touch part of an a/synchronous screen-mediated community?
What elements of touch are transmitted through screens and computational systems? What aren’t? What is lost during digital transmission of touch ? Can we reinvent and decolonize these systems?
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A provocation / manifesto-in-progress: link
What constitutes 'user'? How do we trace shifts from viewer to user in media authorship and consumption?
What are the performances, protocols and actions of 'user'?
What are strategies and practices of creating for the 'user'?
How have mechanics and materialities of 'user' shifted as algorithmic economies and economies of attention expand?
What is an Anthropocenic or Chthulucenic formulation of 'user'?
What are the politics of user-platform relationships? How is user administered?
In what ways have media practitioners worked with the materiality and object of 'user'?
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A space that will never be filled. A reminder that the undetermined is infinite.