ON NOTICING OUR ENTANGLEMENTS
"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.
Our monsters and ghosts help us notice landscapes of entanglement, bodies with other bodies, time with other times. They aid us in our call for a particular approach to noticing—one that draws inspiration from scientific observation alongside ethnography and critical theory. Ant expert Deborah Gordon embodies the forms of curiosity we hope to cultivate. Rather than be lulled by liberal economic theories, with their focus on individual determination of group outcomes, Gordon begins with questions about 'collective behavior'—already in the realm of the monstrous."
— Heather Swanson, Anna Tsing, Nils Bubandt, Elaine Gan,
"Introduction: Bodies into Bodies," Arts of Living on a Damager Planet