35. Elemental Dissolutions: Creating and Playing with Methods

Shweta Krishnan; Dana Burton;

What remains when sky, sea, and sand dissolve into each other? Atmospheric vapor. Hurricanes crashing into landmasses. Permafrost. Fish playing in reefs. Rain descending on a bustling city. Riptides carving out coasts. Drones downloading the temperature of the day. Monsoonal winds deciding the path of mercantile ships. Microbes swelling in dew drops. Meteorological maps tracing weather patterns. Steam escaping from grates. Metallic drips from a broken pipe. Oceans humming with tectonic shifts. Mud catching in shoe treads. Mosquitoes swarming in the humid swamp 'land'. Air drying dishes. Moss exhaling. The smoke of wet wood burning. Are land, water, and wind separate at all? Sea, sky, and sand have been collaborators through time. By viewing them as distinct forces, colonial-capitalist formations have read the stories they tell and the assemblages they produce in ways that perpetuate imperialist ecologies. Drawing inspiration from folklore, science fiction and art, we ask what happens when metaphors, both obscured and emergent, are allowed to materialize through methods of decolonization. We invite performances, experimental projects, and interactive pieces that lean into experimenting and playing with these multi-elemental intertwinings. We encourage pieces that honor these dissolutions by emphasizing process--the entanglement of method and theory--in and through what they are demonstrating. We welcome pieces beyond the paper, that make or do expansively, such as soundscapes, digital mappings, live art demonstrations, or participatory activities with any level of experience. How we care and relate--sensorially, affectively, materially--is a chance to curiously immerse ourselves in the possible otherwises of living in engaged ecologies.

Contact: shwetakrishnan@gwu.edu, diburton@gwu.edu

Keywords: Method and Practice, Decolonial and Postcolonial STS, Environmental/Multispecies Studies

Published: 04/07/2023