Summer School 2021 | Elements of Care

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“Since 1800 human population has grown seven-fold. The Romantic concept of nature has become extraneous. Almost no part of the “natural world”; has escaped our touch. Microplastics are found in the Antarctic or at the deepest points of the oceans. What are our special responsibilities for caring for a poisoned planet? What are the results of our posthuman ecologies on both the planet and our own bodies? Human and nature have become inextricably mixed. Our waste inhabits the bodies of other creatures (and our own); but we now discover our own bodies are not singular, but microbial multitudes.

How can artists combine scientific knowledge and process with an aesthetics of care to encourage sense of human/nonhuman intra-action. The course will explore the writing of Donna Haraway, Karen Barad, Heather Davis a.o., as well as the art of Mary Magic, Špela Petrič, Saša Spačal and others, to propose new artistic approaches related to these issues.” (Regine Rapp and Christian de Lutz)

The intersection of Art, Biology and the Environment offer unique opportunities to visual artists. This innovative summer course, which is already on its fourth edition, will allow non-specialists to acquire theoretical and practical skills in biological and environmental sciences in connection to the visual arts.

The Summer School explores the interdisciplinary relationship between art, life and environmental sciences through hands-on exercises, combining theory and practice in an informal environment, e.g.: seminars, debates, visits, and the creation of artworks with biological media.

This year’s Summer School has an extra piece of news! We are partnering up our Summer School with the Summer Lab at Hangar! (www.hangar.org) Summer Lab is A six-day programme taking place during July (2021) composed by a series of intensive theoretical and/or practical activities: seminars, biolab practices, lectures or expeditions among others activities. The summer lab seeks to facilitate dialogue between different areas of knowledge/practice and social contexts, diluting the distance that often occurs between artist, curators, scientists, researchers and/or social agents. Through the structure offered by an intensive transdisciplinary program, spaces of transversal knowledge will be generated where where all participants will be considered as producers of transversal knowledge.

The activities in the Summer School at Cultivamos Cultura will address issues such as the cultural representations of technology and science, ethical concerns and the evolution of bioart as a cultural phenomenon. One week program with the opportunity to extend the stay for one or two additional weeks to develop an art project in a collaborative environment. The practical component will focus on hands-on exercises in the laboratory, workshop, and within the natural environment. The possibility of transforming abstract concepts into art objects, the collection and selection of organisms for artistic purposes will be highlighted, and, finally, visits to different parts of the natural park, will take place.


Faculty: Marta de Menezes, artist, curator, art director of Cultivamos Cultura; Luis Graca, MD, PhD, Head of Cellular Immunology Unit and Professor at the University of Lisbon Medical School; Regine Rapp _ Art Laboratory Berlin; Christian de Lutz _ Art Laboratory Berlin; Ana Baleia, São Luis, Odemira, PT; Maya Kempe, São Luis, Odemira, PT; Crystal Kershaw, São Luis, Odemira, PT

Preparing for the summer school blog

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Diário – Sofia

Dia 1 – Cá vamos nós! Depois do pequeno-almoço, tal como de uma mini visita ao mercado, de um bom pequeno almoço e de uma boa conversa inicial, foi nos introduzido o mundo dos “elements of care” por zoom. Aqui, com a ajuda de um set up genial diy, deram-se a conhecer as diferentes perspetivas sobre o tema dadas pelos participantes, tal como pelos textos, o que me fez entender o quão complexa esta conversa é. Numa tentativa de chegar à minha própria definição escolhi – decisões, dedicação, ação e amor – como palavras-chave.

No laboratório começamos o nosso papel como micro-mommys, criando comida para os nossos futuros bebés micróbios, criando sete misturas diferentes de agar-agar com açucar, caldo de vegetais, proteína, leite, vinho, lavanda e sangue menstrual. Este último foi o meu preferido, pois foi uma mistura do meu sangue com o da Maria – nunca tinha mostrado o meu sangue a tantas pessoas.

As minhas experiências e misturas foram as seguintes:

  1. Agar-agar e sangue + tecido
  2. Agar-agar e sangue + sangue
  3. Agar-agar e leite + lambidela
  4. Agar-agar e açúcar + tatuagem + cuspo + pétalas de rosa
  5. Agar-agar e lavanda + sangue
  6. Agar-agar e caldo de vegetais + sangue
  7. Agar-agar e vinho + tecido com flores e fruta
  8. Agar-agar e vinho + cabelo
  9. Agar-agar e açúcar + cabelo
Sete misturas com Agar-agar
Conjunto – micro-mommys to be
Agar-agar com sangue

Dia 2 – Começamos o dia com uma bela visita aos vizinhos do lado – Finalmente! Finalmente descobri o que estava por detrás daquela montra e daquele portão. Nunca me deixa de surpreender o que as pequenas portas de S.Luís escondem, nunca na vida iria imaginar um espaço tão grande, tal como tantos artistas. O que mais me interessou no trabalho dos mesmos foi o mundo dos têxteis da Ana Baleia, em especial as suas tentativas de criar um tecido com diferentes bocadinhos de outros tecidos.

À tarde tivemos o prazer de ter uma conversa com a Marta sobre o seu trabalho – Obrigada Marta! – tal como uma conversa com a Christina, a Kira, e o seu peixinho. Sempre me vi como metade peixe, foi bom saber que não sou a única.

Depois do jantar tivemos a continuação desta última conversa, mas desta vez com a ajuda de pequenas bolas de plástico, numa espécie de ioga, focávamos nos em especial nas linhas laterais do nosso corpo – onde se situa o aparelho auditivo dos peixes, que também é associado ao seu equilíbrio.

Experiência – Ana Baleia
Ateneu do Catorze

Dia 3 – Acordámos tão cedo. Mas fomos à praia! Obrigámos os ouriços a acordar cedo connosco, mas algo me diz que eles já estavam à nossa espera, pelo menos os da minha poça…nenhum quis vir comigo. Ó menos descobri que não tenho jeitinho nenhum para isto, enfim. Apanhamos os ouriços, ouvimos o mar com a ajuda da Christina – pelo menos eu ainda apanhei os fones a funcionar! – demos um mergulho (eu, a Daniela e a Ada – o resto não teve coragem) e voltamos para S.Luís.

A tarde foi dedicada aos nossos ouriços e a outro mergulho no rio –com ajuda da playlist da Kira, tentámos recriar os movimentos do mar de Abril/Maio com uma “dança”, mas os ouriços não queriam nada connosco, tendo sido preciso de uma injeção com água do mar para podermos iniciar o processo de fertilização; fomos ao rio à procura de lama, mas não nos lembramos da maré! Desta vez fomos quase todos à água, curiosamente praticamente só as mulheres – talvez a ligação mulher/peixe seja mesmo mais complexa.

Ouriços – baby making (+ claro=masculino; + escuro=feminino)

Dia 4 – Foi um dia dedicado a experiências e a um certo descanso, com tarde teórica à tarde. Fizemos as nossas caixas de petri de vidro – as minhas foram:

  1. Agar-agar e sangue + casca de ovo de pombo (dos terríveis pombos, que curiosamente estão cada vez mais fortes)
  2. Agar-agar e sangue + cabelo

Continuamos também a conversa com a Marta, foi pena é não a termos acabado. No zoom houve uma conversa muito interessante, a qual resumi numa das frases que foram ditas – “to care é uma constante negociação”.

Dia 5 – Olá Luís! – Foi um dia de conversas fascinantes sobre o sistema imunitário, tal como sobre vacinas e tudo o que para mim é um pouco complicado. Nunca pensei no sistema imunitário como criativo, pode-se dizer que estava errada.

Aproveitei para tirar fotos às minhas experiências, facilmente concluindo que seria uma cientista horrível por não ter tirado fotos nenhumas do processo (ups), no entanto tenho um pequeno vídeo de um ouriço-do-mar a dançar ao som de Cardi B…há que ficar contente com pequenas coisas.

O dia acabou com um jantar na praia e um copo de vinho na casa da Marta, conseguimos nos esquecer de tirar uma fotos de grupo (outra vez) – como lembrança de todos vós tenho uma lista de sandes, to care por vezes vem da barriguinha. Até um dia!

As 9 experiências
As últimas 2 experiências
Group photo (with only a few missing)

Dimensões do cuidado

Dimensões do cuidado perpassam as atividades cotidianas, da Summer School, relacionadas à alimentação. A necessidade diária de ir ao mercado envolve, em certa medida, conhecer, e interagir com, a comunidade local. Como cada caminhada pela Aldeia São Luís não é solitária, o percorrer implica uma importância no acompanhar e no estar acompanhada ou acompanhado. Devido a essa questão surge uma pergunta, ao pensar sobre os ouriços-do-mar junto à sua dinâmica de fecundação: por quê, na praia, eles foram encontrados em agrupamentos? Mesmo sem se suscetibilizarem ao toque mútuo, os ouriços observados formavam conjuntos, cada qual composto por indivíduos a habitar concavidades próximas. Em que medida há ou não relação, entre essa forma de dispersar-se pelo habitat e um fecundar que conta com o balanço das águas para ser concluído –já que machos e fêmeas expelem individualmente o líquido no qual se encontram, respetivamente, espermatozoides e óvulos? Como os ouriços-do-mar pressentem estarem cerca de seus pares?

Responsabilidades partilhadas pelo coletivo, além de serem conferidas nos variados procedimentos relacionados à alimentação, foram na Summer School, também, exemplificadas na visita ao Ateneu do Catorze. Essa denominação do projeto reconhece como a identidade do anterior proprietário do local, o Sr. 14, influencia a atual essência desse espaço, gerido por um grupo de artistas. Nesse lugar evidenciaram-se, no elemento plural, pontos que fortalecem potenciais individuais. Sob essa perspetiva, então, a noção de parentesco ultrapassa a programada pelos códigos genéticos. Até que ponto as vestimentas descartadas pela comunidade local, que Ana Baleia reúne, tritura e coze num novo tecido, contemplam um parentesco entre os moradores de São Luís e a pessoa que usa a nova roupa produzida pela estilista?

Que tipo de parentesco há entre a sensação de deslizar na lama e a de ser um peixe? Que tipo de inter-relação há entre o ambiente do Cultivamos Cultura, o projeto desenvolvido por Kira e o por Christina? Na procura por substâncias a interagirem com o ágar-ágar, recursos materiais espalhados pela área local sintonizaram noções mentais ou, então, passaram desapercebidos pelas mesmas. O elemento definidor de estruturas trata-se, assim, da conexão –embora, por vezes, a desconexão gere acidentes que infiltram ativamente na trajetória em desenvolvimento.

Sendo do caos que se gera a vida, enquanto ele considera tanto conexão como desconexão, no acidente aplica-se essa mesma lógica? Os padrões desenhados nas asas das borboletas, ao serem diversos e advindos de um mesmo código, definem-se por meros acidentes? Como disse o Luís Graça, nem todas as nossas células apresentam genes idênticos, pois cada célula conecta com uma sequência do DNA. A arquitetura dos padrões é a mesma, mas não a sua visualidade. Esses acidentes são naturais? Somos produtos de acidentes? O que entendemos por natural? Se o acidente é natural, ele deixa de ser acidente? Nesse caso, como nomeá-lo? As palavras, utilizadas para tecer mundos, importam. Ao não possuir sistema nervoso, a borboleta sente dor? Como será, para uma borboleta, o sentir da dor? A forma como a borboleta sente a dor resulta de um acidente?

Como o Cultivamos Cultura concentra-se na biologia, uma ciência que estuda os seres vivos e as suas relações, o parâmetro do cuidado imprime uma certa ideologia na discursividade do curso. Essa posição foi demonstrada na coleta dos já mencionados ouriços-do-mar, numa praia de Vila Nova de Milfontes. No laboratório do celeiro, tentamos fazê-los expelir substâncias líquidas com espermatozoides e óvulos ao dançar com eles, enquanto escutávamos uma seleção de músicas românticas compartilhada pela Kira. Na realidade, esse ato de mover os corpos foi coletivo e, mesmo com uma sensação energizante entre corpos humanos e invertebrados, Marta necessitou adicionar um pouco de sal nos ouriços. Com isso, eles finalmente liberaram líquidos, através dos quais óvulos foram fertilizados.

Como, para manifestar o cuidado, é necessário dedicar trabalho e atenção, organizamos uma tabela de horários para que cada pessoa pudesse oxigenar as águas dos “bebês” durante a noite. Apesar de a maioria dos óvulos fertilizados terem morrido no processo, o percentual remanescente, a priori, seria superior ao daquele apresentado com uma fertilização ocorrida nas águas do oceano. Entretanto, a partir de um determinado momento, as células divididas em duas, progressivamente, a partir de uma única, cessaram o processamento da divisão. Como existem, na região, duas espécies de ouriços-do-mar, o provável é que os óvulos e espermatozoides obtidos na amostra fossem de espécies diferentes.

Ainda assim, no microscópio, foi reconhecida a envoltura circular que dá forma ao ouriço. Por quê a distribuição dos galhos que saem dos troncos das árvores não é simétrica? Há nalgum corpo animal algum órgão desse tipo, assimétrico? Essa assimetria seria uma estrutura tentacular? O sistema imune pode identificar qualquer forma que existe ou que não existe na natureza: ele tem a capacidade de criar defesas em qualquer direção. Isso significa que ele cria tentáculos? Tanto o sistema imune, quanto o cérebro, são dimensões misteriosas em nosso corpo. Devido à complexidade na criação de meio-ambientes para as divisões das células, o sistema imune é uma metáfora à realidade. Talvez por isso, o atual protocolo da medicina vise um direcionamento a cada indivíduo. Os tentáculos resultantes dos acidentes conformam estruturas únicas, ou seja, corpos singulares.

Os óbitos dos ouriços revelam como aprender a viver com a vida requer aprender a viver com a morte, já que os ciclos biológicos estão constantemente a trasladar essas duas instâncias, de modo a manter um movimento perpétuo. Regine Rapp e Christian de Lutz ressaltaram que as prefigurações do futuro são retratos de agora, ou seja: a condição de húmus do humano é um retrato do presente. Parafraseando uma conversa que tivemos com a Marta, sobre os seus projetos artísticos, vida é mudança e equilíbrio é morte. É curioso que a imortalidade humana ocorra quando a pessoa deixa de ser humana e se transforma numa divindade, num monstro etc. E, com essa transformação na duração da vida, o preço é o isolamento, a perda de conexão com as pessoas. Portanto, não podemos transcender-nos, caso contrário, deixamos de pertencer à humanidade. Essa perspetiva sobre os seres humanos é, portanto, oferecida pelo ambiente da Summer School, ou seja, pelas condições dispostas para fazer emergir uma conscientização sobre, e um encorajamento do, cuidado entre os seres humanos e as interespécies.

Sendo a utopia repleta de sacrifícios massivos, no nosso corpo coexistem diversas dimensões de constantes viver e morrer: invariavelmente vive-se sobre ruínas. As bactérias dividem-se em 20 minutos, os humanos dividem-se em 20 anos: essas díspares dimensões tocam-se e se permeiam nalguma medida. Com isso, até nas piores condições é difícil criar um ambiente estéril, nessa interação interescalar é fácil que haja infeções. Assim sendo, a doença não é algo a exterminar, se não que a conviver. A permeabilidade dos corpos estende ramificações interdimensionais, a aparência de pele obtida com látex e lixo por Mary Maggic identifica corpos imiscuídos. Nesse caso, o corpo do lixo e o corpo do homem. Mas o corpo do lixo é habitado por múltiplas espécies, assim como o corpo do homem. Não se trata, portanto, da dimensão do cuidado, se não que do cuidado nas suas múltiplas dimensões em interação, as quais tecem laços de parentesco.

Theoretical Teaching | Regine Rapp & Christian de Lutz

Welcome from the Pomeranian coast (near Darɫowo, Poland)

Although we were unable to travel to Sao Luis, we decided to teach from a coastal climate.

Elements of Care


Lesson Notes:


1) Monday, 5 July 2021, 4 – 5 pm// 5 – 6 pm CET Introduction & Concept We ask to shortly introduce ourselves: 3 sentences + 1 term how your work is related to “care”

TEXT Work  Summing up Tentacular Thinking (Haraway) Most important quotes/ ideas
Going further: How is this relevant towards creating art/ art science / hybrid art?
How is this relevant for artists but also for curators, facilitators?
And how can we go beyond Haraway’s approaches?

Hackteria Lab 2014 in Yogakarta with a text: Gotong Royong Art by Grace Samboh, Discussion

(2) Wednesday, 6 July 2021, 5 – 6 pm // 6 – 7 pm CET
Presenting Nonhuman Subjectivities / Nonhuman Agents
Symbiosis and Mycorrhizal Network (Saša Spačal with Mirjan Švagelj & Anil Podgornik)
Human-nonhuman co-creation (Heather Barnett)

NONHUMAN SUBJECTIVITIES
The Other Selves. On the Phenomenon of the Microbiome
François-Joseph Lapointe | Saša Spačal with Mirjan Švagelj & Anil Podgornik | Tarsh Bates | Joana Ricou

(2)
NONHUMAN SUBJECTIVITIES
On Animals. Cognition, Senses, Play
Rachel Mayeri | Maja Smrekar

(3)
NONHUMAN SUBJECTIVITIES
Aural Aquatic Presence
Robertina Šebjanič

(4)
NONHUMAN SUBJECTIVITIES
Under-Mine
Alinta Krauth

(5)
NONHUMAN AGENTS
Nonhuman Networks
Heather Barnett | Saša Spačal, Mirjan Švagelj & Anil Podgornik

(6)
NONHUMAN AGENTS
Swarm | Cell | City
Heather Barnett + plan b (Sophia New & Daniel Belasco Rogers)


And video of workshop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZTpxQmRsCI&t=271s

(7)
NONHUMAN AGENTS in Art, Culture and Theory
Interdisciplinary Conference

Who do we care for?

How do we care and what does care entail? Tentacular Thinking is a good start for our theoretical and practical exploration of the topic. Prepared and moderated by Art Laboratory Berlin’s Regine and Chris, we entered Donna Haraway’s world of Chtulucene.

Being introduced to lab work 101, we were ready for action! Having prepared agar mixtures yesterday, we started exploring who and what is around us: what is in our bodies (sneeze, sweat or ear wax) and our surroundings (pigeon fieces, dirt or spider web)? We know that we are in constant multispecies encounters, let’s see if our lab results can tell us more about this!

Visit to Ateneu do 14

What are the odds? Right next door to Cultivamos Cultura is an incredible artist studio complex located in a former shop – Ateneu do 14. The ground floor features a museum which displays intriguing objects left by the previous inhabitants of the complex; the walls are faux marble, skillfully hand-painted by the previous owners. A rich range of practices and art forms are represented – it was very generous of the artists to welcome us and invite us to roam and meet with them.

Postscript

What emerges and resonates from the interaction of fourteen bodies and psyches following the Summer Workshop at Cultivamos Cultura? I recall our movements (mostly graceful) through the ample 400-year-old farmhouse. It was a privilege to be welcomed into this family home with its embedded histories (not to mention grandmother’s amazing paintings).

Conversation consistently ebbed and flowed; for many of us, face-to-face interaction was a novelty after months of pandemic isolation and screen time. The resulting insights gathered from artists, curators and designers converging from a range of experiences and geographies (Portugal, Croatia, Austria, Slovakia, Finland, Ireland, the US, Brazil, Germany, Serbia, Columbia) are truly memorable.

As is fitting for a workshop on Elements of Care, food was a joy; from the morning walk to the nearby São Luís markets armed with the shopping list and VAT number to the extraordinary traditional Portuguese evening meals Marta skillfully prepared.

Two large courtyard tables served as our classroom and dinner theater. The enormous two-story barn was well-equipped with lab, stage, storage, and microscopes. Pigeon coos provided a background soundtrack to everything.

Marta led us on daily adventures in lab and field. We experimented with various agar mixes and cultures to grow an array of bacteria colonies and fungi. It’s an incredible process to nurture, consider and visually amplify, with agar and microscope, existing lifeforms around us.

A particular highlight was spawning sea urchins. After a gorgeous early morning trip to the sea, we returned with eight. Cupping them in our palms, we encouraged them to release their sperm and eggs while we danced seductively to Kira’s “Sea Urchin Sex” playlist. When that didn’t work, Marta adeptly injected them with potassium chloride, causing some to release white sperm and others to release orange eggs. Observing the fertilized eggs and cell division under the microscope was mesmerizing. Each of us took a turn overnight at sea urchin care, regularly replenishing fresh seawater. Later, Kira and Christina returned the sea urchins and the most resilient of their offspring to the sea.

Luis Graca’s zoom lectures resonate, both for the insights into and appreciation for the extraordinary creativity of the immune system and for his role on the national committee for health that has been charged with defining the vaccination plan in Portugal. It was inspiring to hear his genuine excitement about the field of immunology and about the stress and stimulation related to his decision-making role on the front lines of the COVID pandemic.

The visiting artists had a terrific impact on so many aspects of the experience: Christina Gruber (for her study of sturgeon and river soundings), Kira O’Reilly (her performative works and exquisite mud imprints) and Ada Gogova (incredible energy – intrigued to hear more about her work). I continue to consider and appreciate the readings, discussion and feedback provided by Regine Rapp and Christian de Lutz | Art Laboratory Berlin. I am deeply grateful for my workshop cohorts, who gave me so much to think about. I wonder about the future impacts on our work and life.

Thank you Cultivamos Cultura! I am in awe of Marta de Menezes’s leadership and organizational skills; of her commitment to care, family, friends, and community building, her artistic provocations, culinary prowess, generosity – and her fantastic laugh!

Thank you all!!!

First day!

After the busy airports and city our first day of Summer School began in Sao Luis with breakfast and a trip to the market. In this already a sense of care in the quiet, food and different kind of reciprocity with everyone.

We met Regine and Chris who’ll be leading the theoretical part of the discussion – starting of with thinking of words that describe “care” for us each, as well as tackling Donna Haraway’s text “Tentacular Thinking”. In the backdrop of discussing issues related to our responsibility in adjusting, curbing our way of thinking and connecting to the world, there is the matter of action/inaction. We related this to type of discourse – which in turn opens the question of who you’re speaking to and who’s able to listen.

Finally – experiments with milk, wine, blood, lavender, veggie broth and protein powder! To wait and see…

A Critical and Joyful Fuss

DAY 1 – JULY 5, 2021

This week we’re exploring “Elements of Care” together at Cultivamos Cultura. The project of 10-15 people just “being” together after 1.5 years of Covid lockdowns has already been an exercise in understanding and practicing elements of care. I spent a lot of energy today just thinking about where my body was in relation to others, where I could be helpful, where I was in the way, and when to speak and not speak. This week is an exercise in how to make conditions for others to feel safe, welcome, inspired. Each of us is on both sides of the care: receiving and giving. After a year of learning to care in new ways: by not leaving your home, by not greeting others with touch, by not helping a fallen stranger pick themselves up on the street, it’s confusing to relearn living with others — but an interesting opportunity to understand that we can always re-imagine care. This idea that we can (and should!) reframe, re-imagine and relearn was a recurring theme in the readings that our lovely telepresent theoretical teachers Regine Rapp & Christian de Lutz selected.

Soupy medium to simulate our mouthy/food conditions

One of these readings was Donna Haraway’s Tentacular Thinking: Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Chthulucene, which I always find equally inspiring and unbearable. Today we discussed this reading, and as usual I’m convinced that many sentences in this text are un-understandable. But at the same time, it’s not a word salad, tossed, jumbled and meaningless, it’s more like a word potion, intoxicating and otherworldly—leaving its mark as it works its way through our system. Haraway’s newly concocted terms, metaphors and visions stick with us and we speak them with each other like a new language. “I want to make a critical and joyful fuss” she writes, and I get it, so do I.

Our Virtually Reality Classroom

This week we’re beginning to make a critical and joyful fuss about care because, like Haraway’s essay, care is a bit more difficult than maybe I’d like it to be. Today it came up that care requires a lot of decision making. And in the afternoon, as we poured plates made of different mediums, we were already making choices about who we would care for and who we wouldn’t—those microbes who can survive on blood, protein shake or lavender agar will survive, while the others will be choked out.

Microbe buffet: preparing diverse mediums for our petri dishes

It made me think that it would be a lot easier to not work with life and completely avoid all this decision making, but as Haraway reminds us we cannot disconnect: “Nothing is connected to everything; everything is connected to something”. We’re connected and therefore we must decision-make (aka “stay with the trouble”). I think that’s what I’m here to do this week: to experiment with the “decision making of care” and to get better at it. “It matters which thoughts think thoughts,” Haraway writes. This week I’m working on choosing which thoughts to think with.

Dishes of: milk, protein shake, blood, lavender, soup, sugar

To care, to replicate and to nurture

Lab day 1, Cultivamos cultura Barn and Garden, Cactus Flower, Bacteria in a test tube

Working with living organisms means knowing how to keep them alive

Las day 1, Cultivamos Cultura Lab, Kitchen and Garden

Replicate the conditions where I find the organisms, take them out of their habitat, and create the closest one possible to work with them. Do humans do this with al creatures? Is this like building my own bacteria zoo? Do bacteria know that this environment is not natural?

Lab day 1, Cultivamos Cultura Barn and Kitchen
Lab day 1, Cultivamos Cultura Barn, Replicating environments

Taking other‘s environments to replicate the ones we need to make the organisms feel nurtured. This sounds familiar….

Tentacular thinking – lecture around Donna Haraway

I felt the legs of the star fish today for the first time in my life and felt their tenderness and understood their movement. I dońt know if they are called legs, because I have not yet studied star fish and I have never wondered how its tentacles/legs/feelers are called. For sure they are not called legs. What was Gaia thinking? What part of her make her evolve in these spongy wet fast moving tentacles that really dońt understand how to attach themselves to my weird palid boney hairless hand? What was the starfish telling me in its tentacular humid language?

Studio visit – Catorce

What is it that makes some animals kings, daughters, travelers and others intrudors? Roadkill? Food?

Let´s shift perspective – another´s point of view/emotion/thought/way

The ants go up and down the thread. They only see thread. It´s pink. But they only see thread. One that was put there and knotted by a human hand (and colored with pink).

The self and the non-self: Losing yourself through immortality and rejection – Talk by Marta

„Defining the question is not defining the project“ – The first step is empathy, then comes the complexity.

Finding a common baseline – thinking and talking about women and fish – talk by Christina and Kira

The sturgeon is a living fossil. An interdisciplinary being that migrates from the sea to the river for reproductive purposes. This fish is being threatened by human behavior, around the water, the sea, the river, the fish, an endangered species by our poor knowledge about its care and importance. The female sturgeon matures for reproduction when it is around 12 years old, and many times, before she can lay her first eggs, a human cuts its stomach open for caviar. We know almost nothing about this fish. How can we get to know its environment to learn how to care for it? How do we replicate it so it is perceived as home and activates the fishes homing behavior? How do we nurture it? Can we do this by not being extractivists but by observation and study?

Christinas way of analizing the sturgeon is (among others) to listen. Listen to the water and its flow. Learning how to use the river, a knowledge long lost.

Imagining/analizing/feeling Similarities between fish and women

Every animal with a bone structure has otoliths, calcium-carbonate stones inside their ears. It´s possible to know the age of the animal by taking out and studying these stones. Ear geology. Antropocentrism in the ear-geology.

We also share a side line, the lateral fascia.

Marta wished to have gills when asked about superpowers. I wished to have a fish-tale. What is the difference between a woman and a fish.

Fish-Ada – tools for becoming a fish/woman

Anthropocene
Some words – Language (lengua-tongue)
Finding, taking, transporting, exciting, placing, multiplying, observing, nurturing, caring for sea urchins and human-urchin babies
Fish women and water bodies
About eggs and female wombs
I love you because you are delicious, I don’t because you are sticky

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BIOFRICTION — HANGAR, BARCELONA

The Wetlab — wet, humid, fluid, flow, slimy, sticky, dirty, sloggy, dripping
Taxonomy

Identify, classify, categorize, name. The human need to understand, give a name, label, compare to and look for ways in which an organism can be useful. How can I hack taxonomy? Where, in this hacked taxonomy can I find the fish/woman?

No need to classify any Fish/woman
Samples for Queer Atlas
DIY HYBRID ARTS AND WATER

Radical ecologies – Art Lab Berlin
Artscience River project – DIY Hack the Panke
WATER ECOLOGIES
De-construction in times of climate change
Fara Peluso – symbiosis human/algae through accesories that enables respiration for both human and plant
WHAT LIVES IN THE RIVER IN A MICRO-LEVEL? CO-EXISTENCE OF MICROPLASTICS AND ORGANISMS
Replicating the environment of microbes in the river (or in the contaminated river, in the stinky river, in the bad water, how to replicate it, are there organisms whose lives depend on the contamination of the water?)

Excursion to Besós River — pollution analysis

IMVEC — the institute for grassroots monitoring of contaminated areas

Non-humans living amongst human contamination

* Day One *

It was a full full full full full day. Morning highlights were intros by Marta, Luis, Regine and Christian – and receipt of our cork writing swag.

Before lunch, we explored downtown San Luis in preparation for our morning shopping routines, followed by a lovely salad lunch (by Ada).

In the afternoon, Agar Queen Marta led us on a journey to prepare our red algae agar plastic plates. Several different solutions were created by adding milk, blood, protein powder, sugar, green red wine, vegetable broth or lavender to the agar and water.

Our agar prep session was paused for a theoretical discussion with Regine and Christian; while we truly wish they could be with us in person, the Zoom session worked surprisingly well as we discussed Donna Harraway’s Tentacular Thinking and our key words related to the article and to elements of care.

We poured and labeled our agar and experimented with the microscopes. The possibilities…

A lively evening dinner ensued – the chorizo, bean dish and stew were fantastic! And the accompanying drinks (including Lico de Mel with honey) are a great adventure. Currently, the discussion is related to the relative scales of weird. Marta drives off into the night. Good night.