still3_edited.jpg

Coelacanthus

We are asked by quantum physics to reform our concept of reality and conceive a universe in which the distinction between mental and physical phenomena is blurred as both are natural, the result of interactions of the physical world. Somewhere the self is nothing but an illusion, and we - like everything else - are entirely constituted by the net of reciprocal interactions and physical information at the most elementary level. Reality is a mirror game between all things, and even matter itself has no properties if not in relation to something.

If we truly are one of the cosmos’ attempts to understand itself -as hypothesised by J. Lovelock - I believe this would be best exemplified by the notion of a universe that only exists through its reacting to and within itself. In this continuum flux of space and time, a chain of inter- and intra-actions, relationships that become a tangible manifestation of G. Deleuze and F. Guattari's concept of latency, informed by the work of A. Neimanis, C. Rovelli and K. Barad. 

 

Neimanis defines water as a gestational milieu: water gave us life, and we carry it with us - we are all bodies of water, she writes - holding potential for diffractive relationality with all of our surroundings because of it.

T. Roughgarden suggests evolution can also be a past anticipated, a future remembered - which is especially true in the setting of a spacetime continuum. We were generated by the primordial abyss, some never left and others surfaced, evolution has led us away or right back. Bodies of water, in water. Submerged in a mystery that takes us back to our origins, and yet unsettles us with its otherness. 

 

The name Coelacanthus refers to the seventh story in Calvino’s Le Cosmicomiche, in which the titular Aquatic Uncle is incapable of conceiving a future different from his present convictions and experiences. The work is an inquiry on the concept of boundary as a human-made construct, of the intercellular fluids that are both us and everything else around us. We are the result of their interactions, and the confines of this and other kinds of otherness are truly an illusion we have built for ourselves. Like the coelacanth uncle of the tale, we are unable to imagine a knowledge that is not shaped by our own prejudice of the universe. 

We inhabit a cosmos which knows no boundaries, my atoms and yours, the flowers on his parents’ table, the cat who lives in my garden, the icebergs scraping the oceanic floor, the photons of light travelling in space, they are all tied together in an intricate net of interactions which spreads throughout and outside our observable horizons. This is a descent in the primordial abyss, tracing back to a time without cultural structure that could restrain our investigation of reality.

 

“Our being in water, we could say, is a specific, embodied, situated knowledge.” D. Harraway 

We need a search for knowledge that is not shaped by humans, we need to resist the comforting tendency to confute those versions that demand from us a change in perspective. We need to fight the anthropocentric view that places us outside of the nature we presume to observe.