Re-earthing: Making Courageous Cultivars

Reading Group
19.09.2019 – 19:30 +8GMT
The Substation 45 Armenian Street Singapore 179936
LOCATION

Singapore

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Event

Session 4: Learning to see: rhizomes, assemblages and generative routes
Moving on from the work of undoing language and terminology, we take select words, sayings and phrases and consider the imagery they conjure of the environment and our(/my, your) role in it, across different (culture, city/outskirts, North/South) contexts. How does ecological change and transition connect with social change and transition? What is the role of an activ(ist) agent in this process–one that may be human or non-human? How do intersecting agentic capacities meet, fuse, conflict, and deconflict to produce hybrid assemblages? How do the grounding environments that these agents are in–work/social environments, soil media environments–affect these exchanges and interactions?

In Session 3 and 4, we orient towards new frames of reference for our (potential) continued work together:

What other words / phrases can we modify in our communications with others, about nature, the environment, in Singapore, in Southeast Asia, as a part of the planet?
How do we visualise connections between very small, hyperlocal scales?
How do we amplify the effects that small-scale agroecological initiatives we know about can make, on other people and the world?
How do we create vectors that transmit materials, knowledges and experiences between places and nodes in an assemblage?

The organizer (s)

Tanah and Bras Basah Open School

tanah(Soil/ Earth in Malay) is a duo consisting of Michelle Lai and Huiying Ng that explores
symbiotic relationships and forms of everyday participation through nature and food-themed
interventions, research and dialogue.

The Bras Basah School of Theory and Philosophy is a collective aiming to discuss,
converse and share in an atmosphere of peer-learning. Attuned to recent trends in critical
theory and continental philosophy, and engaged in fields beyond, it experiments with modes
of humanistic inquiry, discussion and critique. Some of the current initiatives include small
reading groups, and intimate sessions involving theory and philosophy and a particular
cultural medium, eg. films, photography and sound.

Huiying Ngis an independent scholar with a research practice of knowledge gathering and transmission. She writes and develops action research methodologies relevant to agroecological futures, and works with groups in Singapore including the Foodscape Collective, TANAH, and soft/WALL/studs. Currently setting up a new space for collectivity! She has presented a mixture of individual and collective work on commons and food in the Netherlands, Canada, Indonesia, and the Substation and NTU Centre for Contemporary Art in Singapore. She writes on hynng.substack.comand puts up her work at cargocollective.com/huiyingng.

Relation to TRANS-

Moving beyond today’s packaged, synthetic and atomistic space of living is a challenge we face, as a collective today. And yet, we are all so different. The ecological transition pushes us beyond all transitions that discomfit us, beyond our conflicting and shared understandings of equality, beauty, of sexuality, gender, love, romance, and being-with. Death by heatwave is not sexy. And thus the need for loving relation is greater than ever. It is within the movement of youth and young-beings, seeking connection in the alienated world we are inheriting, that we seek the emotional stamina for transition, comfort with transience, and transpersonal growth.

Question:

Craftmen and public policy-makers have seldom opportunities to meet and work together. From the workshop's observations, what tactics and approaches would you recommend for other contexts in order to to breach the gap between them to support the becoming of resilient futures? And, on the contrary, are there pitfalls that should be avoided?

Reply/Reflection/Production:

Policy administration tends to work in linear terms; craftspeople work in generative terms. The production of their futures runs along completely asynchronous lines. Workshops that highlight this disjuncture can help to pinpoint and alter this. Bringing the two groups together around a central statement, and have observer groups (also made up of a combination of these groups) consider their work processes - as objects of curiosity not of actual implementation can provide a way of workshopping the approach each group brings to their specific craft (because policy is also craft). Other ways: - listener circles: Identity a topic common to both the policy-makers and the craftspeople. Start with an outer ring of "listeners" sitting in silent but active listening, as an inner ring of "discussants or dialogers" talk about the topic. After this, without commentary, for the two rings to switch - while keeping to the same common topic. Finally, to have a facilitated discussion about the experience. Policy has much to learn from the generative working of craft-making, and craftspeople often need the policy-makers to understand particular conditions that bureaucratic administration stifles.

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