She-Haw Transhumance

The core of She-Haw Transhumance involves two women-artist-writer-longeared beast-of-burden lovers, namely me (K-Haw) and author Lydia Peelle (L-Haw), walking routes of particular geography, distance, and duration alongside two American Spotted she-Asses (Aliass and Passenger) and in the midst of infinite untold others. While we walk, we refrain from speaking (in human tongues, at least), in order to explore a mode of multispecies listening deep into the specific places we pass through.

listening on greenhouse

She-Haw Transhumance is a long-term collaboration rooted in broader landscapes of rural-urban-divided thinking and artistic practices. She-Haw walks grew out of my own larger durational practice of walking journeys with Aliass (spotted ass from Tennessee and bestest companion), beginning with a seven-week walk Aliass and I undertook across the American South from Mississippi to Virginia in 2002. We first assembled as She-Haw Transhumance for a walk through Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley (aka the Valley of Dooms) in May 2006.

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Artistically speaking (or rather not-speaking), She-Haw Transhumances perform and explore complex quandaries of multispecies belonging and human artistic representation—most specifically the galls and thralls found in rural-suburban-industrial geographic contact zones where we meet the mysterious surfaces and depths of long-eared embodied equine wisdoms and ecologies and different ways of living within them. Both within and beyond She-Haw, different strategies for reckoning with untold stories of other species and ecologies are in play. L-Haw (aka Lydia Peelle) writes fiction, including a celebrated 2009 story collection, Reasons For and Advantages of Breathing, and the 2017 novel, The Midnight Cool, which makes lacunae within a historical narrative for the unsung thousands of Tennessee mules who were shipped to the bloody mud of battlefields in WWI France. Walking journeys with Aliass as durational performance branch from other creative traditions, particularly contemporary feminist and ecological performance art practices.

aliass pine tree

Across tissues, texts, and geographies of neural, ontological, material-semiotic, and even microbial ways of becoming-with-places, She-Haw Transhumances gather up meshes of memory and presence, in respectful attention to what unfolds in the supposed “silences” of others, where unreckoned histories and other kinds of untold stories swarm in specific places we amble through.