The Coastal Reading Group traveled to Devon, England in June to explore the role of grief for the loss of the non-human in this specific historic and cultural moment. Bibi and I came to Devon a week in advance to sleep on the land and understand local relationships to sheep, deforestation, meadow plants, medicinal herbs and unexpectedly, the Brexit.
Massive environmental shifts are usually described to us in terms of data or through curated images, such as a polar bear on a piece of ice. Through this event, held at the Language, Landscape and the Sublime symposium at Schumacher College, we wondered at how to even begin holding an affective space for species we might not even know. We also wondered if this kind of work has any halting effect at all on capitalist progress. It is interesting to consider this question in light of how grief changes a griever’s sense of temporality. Grief slows everything down and highlights what is most important. Capitalism is a blur of speed.
Processes were tried, conversations and questions were employed. In a relational, all night vigil conducted around an outdoor fire we talked and listened and worked our hands around materials sourced from animals and plants nearby. At dawn we buried a co-created object from locally sourced materials that was made amidst our memories and silences.
– Begin fire
– Christos, Bibi, Margaretha speak / read / weave
– Participants share stories/memories and speak with seed beads, plants materials and wool
– Active listening by the fire, small groups/ napping
– More weaving of materials and stories, words and silences
– Bury seed beads, plant materials and wool in meadow near event site