Beginning on the bright morning/evening of August 31 and ending in smoky darkness on September 10, the R.A.W. was honored to take part in an exchange across time zones/oceans through a series of workshops at Kultivator in Sweden. These workshops were part of Explorations of Now — a collaboration of Kultivator, the Institute for Future Studies, and Cullberg.
The premise of the R.A.W. Mirror Shots exchange for Explorations of Now is a play on Wild-West sharpshooter Annie Oakley’s famous mirror-shot trick, in which she would take aim at a target behind her back using a handheld mirror. Standing in the moment, in the ashes of the past and present looking forward and backward at the same time, this trick aims to seek paths toward making better futures for all earthly lives. Through recorded voices, handwritten messages, and some still and video images, the R.A.W. made reflections in the here-and-now of the workshops at Kultivator as they unfolded, each over several days.
As part of the marvelous Multispecies Storytelling exhibition and conference that took place in Vaxjo, Sweden, Kultivator and the R.A.W. collaborated in a project that invited aspiring multispecies storytellers to join us in a dusty, transoceanic co-elaboration of m<other tongue culturing amidst meshes of entangled companions, both seemingly familiar and wildly unknown. Beginning with a round-table gathering at Kultivator in Dyestad in the days before the conference, we came together in the barn for a multispecies meal and sharing of m<other tongue cultures with the farm’s resident horses, cows, human and canine visitors, and untold others in that lofty inclusive space. We then brought the assemblage of this gathering to Linneaus University in Vaxjo, where participants were invited to track and contribute to the growth of these particular m<other tongue cultures across various media–including embroidery along the lines of a beautiful tablecloth made by Kultivator.
This round-table collaboration explores different aesthetic and material ways of tracing untold (indeed, untellable) stories, as we cultivate unique attentive spaces for often-excluded and/or subvisible companions–not only big warm mammalian storytelling bodies but also the vital nameless spaces-between that brim with significant exchanges.
The R.A.W. is thrilled and grateful for this opportunity to collaborate with Kultivator and all who took part in this wondrous gathering in the barn. More on this to come!
– a collaboration between The Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology, Linnæus University and Växjö Konsthall. The project is generously supported by The Seed Box, Linköping University.
I am excited and honored to participate as both artist and a keynote presenter–alongside the venerable Vinciane Despret, Adam Dickinson, and Eben Kirksey–in an upcoming conference and exhibition called Multispecies Storytelling in Intermedial Practice in Vaxjo, Sweden in January 2019. For full details concerning this innovative conference, go here.
On July 19th, the R.A.W. was beyond thrilled to welcome world-renowned performance artists and ecosexual revolutionaries Beth Stephens & Annie Sprinkle for the Philomath, Oregon premiere of their magical new film about the pleasures and perils of living and loving on a watery planet . . . .
With a poetic blend of curiosity, humor, sensuality and concern, this film chronicles the pleasures and politics of H2O from an ecosexual perspective. Travel around with Annie, a former sex worker, Beth, a professor, and their dog Butch, in their E.A.R.T.H. Lab mobile unit, as they explore water in the Golden State. Ecosexuality shifts the metaphor “Earth as Mother” to “Earth as Lover” to create a more reciprocal and empathetic relationship with the natural world. Along the way, Annie and Beth interact with a diverse range of folks including performance artists, biologists, water treatment plant workers, scholars and others, climaxing in a shocking event that reaffirms the power of water, life and love. See the trailer here!
Beth Stephens & Annie Sprinkle have been partners and collaborators for sixteen fertile years. Annie was an internationally-known performance artist touring one-woman shows about her life in sex and as a feminist post porn pioneer. Beth was a feisty punk rocker dyke turned interdisciplinary artist and professor at UCSC, exploring themes of gender, queerness and feminism. In 2008, Beth and Annie married the Earth and came out as ecosexuals. Their “Ecosex Manifesto” launched a movement and they officially added the E to GLBTQI-E. Their award-winning documentary film about coal mining, Goodbye Gauley Mountain—An Ecosexual Love Story, is available on Netflix & iTunes (see trailer here). Currently they are working on a book about their work, “Assuming the Ecosexual Position,” for University of Minnesota Press. Their visual art, films and performances were presented at the world’s biggest best art event, Documenta 14, in 2016-2017. Their next film is about environmental art and artists. These girls have gone green and are dirty and proud.
On Thursday, July 19th, the Ecosexuals made their first-ever appearance in Philomath, Oregon. Intrepid art adventurers from local and regional places gathered for a screening of the new film at the historic Marys River Grange Hall, near the banks of Mary’s River amid forested Coast Range foothills and fertile farmlands. We had the intense pleasure of basking in the presence of the artists, along with videographer Jordan Freeman, who has spent many years documenting the unfolding controversies surrounding coal mining throughout Appalachia. His award-winning films, including Goodbye Gauley Mountain: An Ecosexual Love Story and Blood on the Mountain, have played at festivals around the world.
Massive thanks to Beth Stephens and Annie Sprinkle, and to Jordan Freeman, and to all of the lovely folks, old friends and new, who came out to Philomath to share this special evening with these singularly life- and love-affirming artists in the old Marys River Grange hall.
Patricia Piccinini. Big Mother, 2005. Courtesy of the artist.
In association with the Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology and The Multispecies Salon, R.A.W. is excited to contribute to the buzzing energies of a curatorial swarm bringing together the international curatorial project, M/Others and Future Humans.
This ongoing project will bring together works by international artists to explore radical perspectives on m/otherhood and care of others in an era of frayed hopes, environmental devastations, and ever-shifting biotechnologies. An open call in 2018 gathered a cadre of exhilarating proposals. Some of these works were featured in a M/others and Future Humans exhibition at the Anthropocene Campus in Melbourne, Australia in Fall 2018. More exhibitions, symposia, and unforeseen emergences are yet to come in 2020 and beyond.
On a bright late April morning in Philomath, Oregon, a crew of intrepid seekers of microbial encounters braved deep mud, steamy manure, and swirling barn-dust, then undertook a peculiar hunt for invisible “treasures” in the wet grass of the pasture, all as part of the Welcome to the Secretome workshop at the R.A.W. Ass Farm. In association with The Arts Center and OSU Dept. of Microbiology’s exhibition, Microbiomes: To See the Unseen, Domestic/Wild artists Emily Stone and Karin Bolender led explorers through a web of seamy adventures aimed to press against real and imagined boundaries of bodies-in-places and to welcome invisible but lively microbial presences. We conversed and shared a multispecies picnic of fermented foods and drink atop a hotly composting manure pile; we hung out in the barn with resident asses, Aliass and Passenger; and we made friendly gestures of various kinds toward embodied wisdoms of symbiotic kombucha mothers and barnyard ass-tongue microbiomes. Most of all, we all spent the morning welcoming and attending in new ways to the presences of microscopic “old friends” we more often avoid or simply ignore. Thank you to all who attended, and to Melody Owen, Christine Toth, Sharyn Clough, and Hanne Niederhausen for contributing photos.
What strange treasures will discover us in the barn dust, wet grass, and brewing mud? What secrets will we gather from encounters with the Great Muzzle Tongue?
Come find out, on April 29th from 10-12: