On October 12, the Arts Research Center at UC Berkeley and the Curatorial Practice at the California College of the Arts are partnering to host a live-streaming of the Creative Time Summit, an annual conference in New York that brings together cultural producers–including artists, critics, writers, and curators–to discuss how their work engages pressing issues affecting our world. To jump-start the conversation in advance of the event, attendees have been asked to submit a paragraph on a keyword associated with one of the summit themes: Inequities, Occupations, Making, or Tactics. This posting is by Ana Labastida, Community Student Fellow at California College of the Arts.
I propose that we consider the work of Donna Haraway on interspecies relations as a viable theoretical framework from which to elaborate strategies. Haraway defines “the world as a knot in motion” in which the interactions between species at all levels shape the world. I find that this perspective can provide a great tactical advantage: we can see ourselves within a pattern of relation. This calibrates our perception of our role in this planet. I find that this perspective addresses the vital need to participate in tactics that are coherent and complex enough to engage with the way our planet works not just our species. While sustaining all that is human, Haraway opens the discussion to the realm of all those others who live and die in this planet and with whom we are inextricably dependent. Haraway’s ideas go beyond biological systems though and speak of the roles other living beings have culturally within human systems. I propose that rethinking histories and societies from this interwoven, agency-filled perspective of the world could allow us to be healthily demoted from our superior and lonely self-imposed exile which could maybe liberate some mental space to act responsibly.