Would you rather steer a technological assemblage across alien seas? Or plunge your body into salt water, using repeated movements of your arms and legs to keep you up and propel you forward?
That’s the question I’ll be posing very early local time next Monday, as I lead a Critical-Creative workshop for registered students of NTU’s weeklong Creative-Critical Summer School. The program, hosted by the International Critical Poetics Research Group, will last from 25 June – 3 July, with a mix of public (free via YouTube) and private events. It’s an amazing line-up, and I am looking forward to catching as many of the public events as time zones allow.
My workshop will fit itself in between a “breakfast” poetry reading (9 am in the UK is 4 am locally for me, and I think the night before in Hawai’i) by Craig Santos Perez and a public talk on cetaceans and stranding by Astrida Neimanis. Our shared title for the day’s triple-header is “Care in the Anthropocene.” We’re all thinking about how climate change is changing everything.
Here’s my description of the workshop:
Living in the Anthropocene means immersing oneself in a hostile environment. In our era of rising seas and temperatures, are you a sailor or a swimmer? All participants will choose a team for the two hours traffic of our workshop. Sailors use technological prosthetics to engage their environments. Wooden sailboats are the icons, but the technologies could include anything from the alphabet to a MacBook. Swimmers, by contrast, use only their own bodies and formal patterns of movement as resources for survival. We will write as sailors or swimmers and discuss our writing both within our teams and in dialogue with a member of the opposite group. We will discuss what these two modes represent and how operate historically and today. Suggested readings include a poem by Craig Santos Perez and short essays by Astrida Neimanis (with collaborators) and Steve Mentz.
And here are the the three short suggested readings that I hope the group will have a chance to read:
- Susanne Pratt, Camila Marambio, Killian Quigley, Sarah Hamylton, Leah Gibbs, Adrianna Vergés, Michael Adams, Ruth Barcan, and Astrida Neimanis, “Fathom,” Environmental Humanities 12:1 (May 2020) 173-78.
- Craig Santos Perez, “Praise Song for Oceania” Habitat Threshold (Oakland: Omnidawn Publishing 2020) 66-72.
- If you prefer the video for Craig’s poem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6fmeBerLZc
- Steve Mentz, “Swimming in the Anthropocene,” Public Books (December 2020): http://www.publicbooks.org/swimming-in-the-anthropocene/#_=_.
Looking forward to this event, including Astrida’s public lecture later at 1900 UK time Monday!