unknowing

What: holding open a space of unknowing within research

How: a physical, intellectual and imaginative time-space in which to wait on entities and ideas, consciously withholding normative perception. This underpins all aspects of research and is offered as experiential time-space for an audience participating in an imaginative heterotopia. This is explored through immersive environments and dwelling spaces.

Why: to provide conditions in which unfamiliar/ new/ contra-normal/ non-habitual/ ways of knowing might be recognised and valued. Conditions in which the multiple access modes available to humans might be experienced as continuous rather than oppositional. In which perceptive and sense-making modes of seeing, hearing, touching, thinking, tactile feeling, emotional feeling, imagination, dreams, inherited stories, energies felt in the body might all be given credence and allowed to work together in embodied and integrated knowledge building.

In response to this I un-know my self, and I find that I am not one discrete self owned human being, but a teeming collective of entities and energies.

Teeming: Definition from dictionary.com

Teeming: adjective – the older definition dating from 1525. 1. abounding or swarming with something. 2. prolific or fertile. Teeming: adjective – from 1685. 1. falling in torrents

Teem: verb (used without object) 1. to abound or swarm; be prolific or fertile (usually followed by with). 2. Obsolete. to be or become pregnant; bring forth young. Teem: verb (used with object) 3. Obsolete. to produce (offspring).

Origin: before 900; Middle English temen, Old English tēman, tīeman to produce (offspring), derivative of tēam

I consider myself to be teeming with life. The community that I am is active and multifarious. The organisms that cohabit upon and within me are a complex colony, living dying and reproducing even as I experience myself as a united being. I am a colony, a moving island of individuals, we have names for these individuals, cells, bacteria, parasites, however I experience them as being. The ‘I am’ that is writing is not is not the director of this colony but one, among many, of its many outcomes. Rather than the modernist free willed individual I thought I was, I find myself participant in these small shared lives; in truth I feel myself more as a flickering flame fed from the energy of this collaborative enterprise than as captain at the helm of the enterprise. I flicker and flare in response to the chemical reactions of metabolic process. The ‘I’ that I feel I am is dependent on what food and chemicals I put into my mouth and what activities I engage in, along with other less palpable things, like what chemical balance my community arrives at and the temperature and physical composition of the substrate I am immersed in. I shrink and swell, blossom and suffer torment in metabolic response to these affects.

Am I less Human in realising that the consciousness does not inhabit the utilitarian body in the way that one might avail oneself of a car for a trip to the store? Conversely, am I more human for realising that my consciousness does not inhabit this body but rather is a utility of the body.

In addition to this, do I have the right feel that I am more ‘myself’ in the cells that contain the DNA that I inherited from my parents? I not in fact less myself and more a part-copy of my ancestors and sisters in these cells? Am I not equally manifest in the teaming bacteria in my gut, the territory a constant battle between those who are for me and those who are against me? I swell and heave in response to this disquiet, the flame of consciousness that I consider to be me spits, falters and becomes foggy, I feel myself forgetful, sleepy. My modernist ambition betrayed by the community that is me.