Wounds run deep. Cutting through layers of skin, of earth, of generations of beings. These wounds spread out, sink differently into different tissues, graze only the lucky ones and raze the rest. What has been called the Anthropocene by scientists, theorists, and activists might be said to be the topography of these wounds. The word Anthropocene, like any utterance born first from pain, is unimportant: it says, ultimately, “I am hurt, I am hurting – what has been done? What can be done?”
Deep wounds like this take time, both to form and to heal. Knowing these wounds has meant searching for their origins in colonialism and capitalism, in the erasure of Indigenous knowledges and cosmologies, and in the regulation of race, gender, sexuality, and ability. We came together seeking to understand connections between our wounds (shared and unshared) and the alarming speed with which the Earth’s life support systems appear to be faltering.
In varying forms, we encountered the poetics of healing as one way into the problem of the Anthropocene: the healing of historical, continuing traumas, of planetary ecologies, of our relation to ourselves and our lifeworlds. We recognize each wound, each forming scar, as a partial view of the same entanglements – the long and short assemblages of matter through which we are always in community. Healing is and can be a wave that moves through them simultaneously. What can be done, we believe, are practices towards this healing – repeating, multiplying, mutating across geographies and temporalities.
But what does it mean to heal in this moment? Are these only so many metaphors? Perhaps, as the first COVID-19 vaccinations begin to weave through supply chains, there has never before been a time when the materiality of the need to heal was more apparent. Healing, we submit, is relational. To heal is to reform our relation to ourselves, to our environment, to other beings with whom we share this world. This is an exercise in looking to the horizon of renewed values, of healthier values. Not only recovering from our wounds but wanting and loving what comes after them.
With this healing energy at heart, we have begun a number of practices: writing letters, painting collective holobionts, storying our positions and relations, drawing our own embodied and enmeshed power and vulnerability. We have taken up several of the countless practices in this vein and we appreciate you stopping by to practice healing with us. On this site, we have assembled a number of guides, as well as invitations to join in ongoing collective projects. In addition, we offer up collections of our practices-in-action with reflections on our ongoing, partial healing processes.
Learn more about our course here.