Svenja Schennach

Durch-triebe-n (both stumbling and transforming)

«What if all organisms, including humans, are tangled up with each other?

The seductive simplifications of industrial production threaten to render us blind to monstrosity in all its forms by covering over both lively and destructive connections. They bury once-vibrant rivers under urban-concrete and obscure increasing inequalities beneath discourses of freedom and personal responsibility. Somehow, in the midst of ruins, we must maintain enough curiosity to notice the strange and wonderful as well as the terrible and terrifying. Natural history and ethnographic attentiveness—themselves products of modern projects—offer starting points for such curiosity, along with vernacular and indigenous knowledge practices. Such curiosity also means working against singular notions of modernity. How can we repurpose the tools of modernity against the terrors of progress to make visible the other worlds it has ignored and damaged? Living in a time of planetary catastrophe thus begins with a practice at once humble and difficult: noticing the worlds around us.

Monsters are bodies tumbled into bodies; the art of telling monstrosity requires stories tumbled into stories. Forests tumble into fables tumble into politics. Material worlds and the stories we tell about them are bound up with each other. Old body plans are always mixed into contemporary ways of life. If we do not let progress ‘ladders’ possess us, we are forced to recognize the monstrous in transformation. Monsters are used to mix up bodies, challenging the rhetorical reign of the autonomous individual, ghosts are used to show the layered temporalities of living and dying that shape our landscapes, tripping up the forward march of progress. Ghosts, like monsters, are creatures of ambivalent entanglement.»

Textcollage mit Auszügen von:

Anna Tsing, Heather Swanson, Elaine Gan, Nils Bubandt (Hrsg./eds.), «Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene», University of Minnesota Press, 2017.

Performance Walk, 20’, Installation, Mixed Media, Zeichnung, Bleistift auf Papier

Fotos: Christian Knörr / Svenja Schennach (Installationsansichten) / Christoph Bühler (Performance)

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