The times are urgent; let us slow down. Bayo Akomolafe calls a virtual community to gather round the prospects of a deeper revolution, a different politics of shared cultivation, as a response to the troubling challenges of our time.
By Adebayo Akomolafe
Mar 3, 2016
WE ARE IN THIS TOGETHER.
"What is it to write and think and act in a time of exterminations and extinctions, and what is the work of recuperation?” - Donna Haraway
In a time when the old promises about technology are failing; when economies are collapsing and collective trust in public institutions is plummeting;
when Mondays are threatening reminders of our banal years;
and, when politics feels like a canine’s feverish race to catch its tail, we are slowly coming to the realization that we are not the centre of the universe. Animated by despair and yearning, driven to the edges, we are noticing our inescapable entanglement with critters and rhizomes and bacteria and amphibian croaking. We are indebted to a mangled knottiness of multiple streams of becoming. A web of life.
Everything we thought we knew for sure is hollowing out. We now stand at the tip of a precipice – at the edges of an imperative to forge new partnerships with the nonhuman world. At the tip of the tongue. And stuttering inquiries are raised: What does it mean to be here – in these borderlands of re/covery? What does it mean to write in these times of trouble? ‘Who’ writes? What haunts our hubris? What wants to be noticed? How can we be response-able to the crisis of these days? What is at stake? How do we turn to each other and get on with each other – the abject ‘other’ silenced by modern power? How do we come to see that ‘we’ – not just ‘humans’, but nonhumans as well – are in this together?
JOIN OUR VIRTUAL PILGRIMAGE OF WRITING
‘We will Dance with Mountains’ is a writing course – but unlike other writing courses, the idea is not to make you a better writer, to help you harness your literary talents, or teach you techniques of creative writing (though that may be a side-effect of your participation!). I do not think of writing as a gift or the ‘writer’ as an essence. Our radical take-off point is to see writing as an ally, not an outcome – as an agent, not a resource. Writing ‘shows up’ here as a partner in the exploration of our limitations, as a companion specie in the mutual performance of co-inquiry, and as a ritual of appreciating the cacophony of agencies that is worlding of the world. All of this happens with a keen awareness of a world where dying and exterminations, where killing and nurturing and birthing are present.
Our expedition is an invitation to forbidden borderland sanctuaries of re/covery (where ‘recovery’ is not a movement away from illness, but the recognition that ‘we’ are an ‘illness’ that is always in movement) and to com-posting heaps of collective touching. There is a ‘need’ for us to be sad, to be angry, to be joyful, to feel a sense of loss, and to get on together in a world where renewal is never total.
‘Using’ writing as a ritual of immersion, the course summons virtual communities around the practice of listening with our bodies, encountering monsters, risking being passive (in times when urgent action is demanded), sharing responsibility with the world, falling apart and not-knowing. The invitation is to come to the edge of ourselves, to contest nature, to approach writing as activism, and revisit it as an art form we have not met yet.
As in a previous edition, the course is highly emergent and molten, with a dancing structure that touches you as much as it is touched by you – a model of our confusing times. Your voice calls out what it wants to see. The space is always in the making.
Four months. Nine sessions. Virtual tribes. Trickster provocateurs and guest facilitators. Infectious writing. Electronic libations. Awkward exercises. Writing prompts. Compassionate fellowshipping. Quilting. Intrigued?
I call on you if you sense the need to embark on a decolonizing journey; if you feel the desire to slow down instead of speed things up; if you feel that some of the answers and solutions our politics has prescribed to the existential challenges of our times fall critically short of truly engaging them; if you want to grapple with a regenerative practice of rebuilding alliances with a world that is larger than language, vaster than coherence, and more vibrant than we could imagine. I invite you to the safety of trouble.
YOU ARE INVITED TO BECOME A CYBORG WITH US:
- Whether or not you identify as a writer, and want to subvert/deepen/mature your alliances with language
- If you feel the conventionality of writing (especially its identification as an instrument of human expression) does not nearly tap into what it could be in these times of tectonic shifts and fluid grounds.
- If you want to see how ‘your’ writing is what the world is ‘doing’, and not less important because you are not published or ‘noticed’.
- If you’d like to commit to a goal, and want to do that in company of other seekers.
- If you’d like to see how inescapably entangled your writing is with a more mature response to crisis.
- If "…you sense, either in unexpected nano-flashes of insight that the most circuitous journey is actually the more direct path to your destination, if you are willing to arrive at a different place than you imagined, that going together is the way to go far, that standing still is also a conversation with the truth; or if you sense that listening is a whole-body event, that writing may be an accession to the boundaries of language but that communication requires a total breech of the rules, a jailbreak from the ground of ego.” (In the words of Gary Horvitz - participant in the 2015 edition)
- And, if… (in the words of Irene Purcell - participant in the 2015 edition and guest facilitator for the 2016 edition)
- you’ve tried other writing courses but they somehow haven’t ‘done it’ for you.
- you are not looking for a personal identity (as a writer) but are willing to be in service to what is emerging.
- you are open-minded and flexible.
- you are happy to go with the flow and accept whatever comes up, even if it differs from what you were expecting.
- you are looking for both large group interaction and small group intimacy in which to discuss and share.
- you are happy to incorporate elements of personal examination and development and to entertain a plethora of weird ideas.
To know what to expect, and how you can become a part of this, please visit: http://course.bayoakomolafe.net/ for more details.