Reading on Empathy with guest reader Mari Keski-Korsu
Holding Space with Yarrow, Mari Keski-Korsu,
photo by Elina Teitti, 2019-2020
Reading on Empathy
with a guest reader
This reading group is part of SEA Foundations’ longer term research art and sustainability fold #01 on Empathy
Hydrofeminism: Or, On Becoming a Body of Water
‘We live in watery commons’ is written in the essay Hydrofeminism: Or, on Becoming a Body of Water written by Astrida Neimanis (p. 105, 2012). Our bodies connect to companion species through fluid exchange. The water we ingest and flush down the pipes, rainclouds or reservoirs become part of the circulation of an aqueous community. We are all made of water that sustains or contaminates us and the same water becomes a transmitter as well as the archive of meanings. To become a body of water means to acknowledge our corporeality that bridges what seemed to be distant between the human and the natural world. When our bodies leak into each other with no clear border between nature and culture, past and future, or human and more-than-human, hydro-logics suggest thinking of our interbeing and ethics of unknowability.
SEA Foundation would like to invite you to take part in the reading session that wraps around and beyond the theme of empathy along with the hydrofeminist thought. With #sea_youhere 2.0 artist Mari Keski-Korsu and her recommended text by Astrida Neimanis we would like to read and discuss what it means/does not mean to be empathetic in the world entangled through watery bodies.
Working at the intersection of feminism and environmental studies, Astrida Neimanis is the leading figure of ‘hydrofeminist’ thought. Neimanis brought a new perspective into feminist and environmental studies and radical ideas on embodiment, weathering or ecological ethics. She/They explore ideas on weathering, the non-human and ‘wet matter’ and have had a profound impact on how we can think about water. Hydrofeminism emphasises a radical collectivity – if we are all bodies of water then we are connected to the watery planet through a fluid continuum. Astrida Neimanis is currently a Lecturer in the Department of Gender and Cultural Studies at the University of Sydney and a Key Researcher with the Sydney Environment Institute. She/They are the author of publications Bodies of Water: Posthuman Feminist Phenomenology (2017) and a co-editor of Thinking with Water (2013) or Weathering: Climate Change and the “Thick Time” of Transcorporeality (2014).
Post-disciplinary artist Mari Keski-Korsu explores how ecological and socio-economical changes manifest in everyday life. The work is based on collaborations with different kinds of communities, individuals and species. Her current practice is focused on inter-species communication and creating emphatic environments to enable empathy towards whole ecosystems. Keski-Korsu is a doctoral candidate to study towards Doctor of Arts degree in the re-search field of Contemporary Art in Aalto University’s School of Arts, Design and Architecture where she researches ecosystem related, emphatic rituals.
The example of taking hydro-logic into her artistic practice is a performative intervention named Holding Space With Yarrow. The Performance engages with an old traditional medicinal plant that is commonly found in the fields and urban areas. Through foot baths, hydro-bodies and meditation, she is asking what this healing plant, which is nowadays merely considered a weed, means to us? Mari Keski-Korsu was joining the virtual vitrine #sea_youhere 2.0 and she will accompany the reading with a talk about her practice.
We would like to encourage you to sign in as the spaces are limited. The text will be sent to registered readers prior to the event (but it is not necessary to read it in advance as we will read the text together). The session is in English and will be recorded for our study purposes.
sign in by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line ‘Reading on Empathy #01’
The text we will read: Neimanis, A. (2012), Hydrofeminism: Or, On Becoming a Body of Water, in ‘Undutiful daughters: Mobilizing future concepts, bodies and subjectivities in feminist thought and practice’.
The programme of reading sessions:
More suggestions for reading? Check out the Empathy recommended booklist