Interspecies Communication - KW, Berlin

Spoken word given as a workshop with Ernest Ah, Rosa Aiello, Kathrin Bentele, Gerry Bibby, Rachal Bradley, Timothy Davies and Laurie Rojas, as the first part of Rachal Bradley’s program series The Erotics of Infrastructure taking place from 29 October – 8 November 19 at KW Institute for Contemporary Art.

The Erotics of Infrastructure is curated by Kathrin Bentele as part of the exhibition The Making of Husbands: Christina Ramberg in Dialogue.

Here is the transcription of my rap/poetry/words with some minor adjustments. (To be updated: images, sound)

Image courtesy: Rachal Bradley

The seminar is called “The erotics of infrastructure”
It’s the bodies, in traction, like a cyborg half-being
It’s the bodies, interacting, with every-day things
Body containing, body reforming, body hurting
Body compressing, body binding, body transforming

What does it mean to live with a body?
What does it mean to be a human being?
It’s not just human bodies that live with grand machines

Here is a dazzle of zebras
under the Mombasa-Nairobi Railway, crossing
Here is a fieldfare
in its nest by the traffic lights, resting
Here is a flock of ducks
on a city road somewhere in Germany, waiting
Reading the traffic light, waiting
waiting waiting waiting.. and crossing
Here is Nigel the missing parrot,
speaking Spanish instead of English
after four years of missing
Here is a pigeon carrying a SD card, transporting
Here is a dog that has been trained
to sniff and search for data storaging
Here is Gorilla Koko.
She learnt 1000 signs from Penny Patterson, gesturing
Here is a ballooning spider.
It flies hundreds of miles using electricity
Here is a flatworm that grows new heads,
Perceiving the electric field, and modifying
The physiology of its own living body.
One head, two heads, or many many

Many many stories
of non-human animals and manmade infrastructures
Many many stories
of non-human animals sharing the same planet Earth, living

It is not just human bodies that live with grand machines
It is not just grand machines that human bodies live within.

Here is a group of humans,
evacuating a giant anthill, digging
And here is a human in front of a termite mould, standing
And another human on the right
He poured in molten Aluminium  
He dug it up, brushed it down, casting
And here we are at the southern Kalahari region
Nests of sociable weaver birds
built around telephone poles
But Dillon Marsh said no
It is a manmade telegraph pole
In disguise of trees
And here is in New York
Where oysters were eaten up
Until the last one was gone
Toxic harbour lasted long
The New Yorkers on the right
planting oysters along the local marine
oysters, the eco engineers
Growing and restoring
For cleaner water and greater biodiversity
Here is a human going for a loo
Getting rid of digested food
A human body is a host
For trillions and trillions of microbes
Almost half of the body
Almost the second brain
calibrating our immune systems
protecting us from diseases
and even affecting our behaviours

Many many stories
of human beings versus non-human systems
Many many stories
of humans and non-human animals, coexisting

Sharing a synergic plan with nature is an active strategy
for the reduction of the nature’s remoteness from humanity.
How is it possible
for interspecies communication, 
or interspecies collaboration?

Of course I’ll face a problem,
an obvious problem that I can’t escape from
The problem of other minds
How can I know what you think
How can I feel what you feel
How can I collaborate with somebody
Who has different sensations
How do I define my success or frustration
If I cannot reach a traditional communication
cats, dogs, birds, mantis,
others, friends, mothers, sons, brothers, lovers
All living together

No answers, more questions
But I won’t stop asking
What if I was born a mayfly
After one day I will die
What if I was born a tartigrade
Living through extremes but never die
What if I was born a wild boar
Or What if, what if
What if, what if, what if, what if
To become who? How? What to do?

How about telepathy?
Feeling across a distance,
directing intentions, thoughts,
mental images, pure knowing
It’s an unforced communication
Being present doing nothing
Being aware and open reception

How about protocol making as performance?
Writing rules and reacting to the companions
“If there are two vultures flying together
And weaving in and out of one another,
Then I will lay down on the ground for one minute.”

How about pattern interferences as process?
Peter Liversidge has proposed
to walk others’ dogs
Different living patterns
Collapsing and integrating.

How about applying zoomorphism?
Lisa developed animal visions
Now a human sees in ease
The flower in the eyes of sheep
horses, rabbits, cats, and pigs

Or perhaps Transhumanism training
Practicing movements with multiple bodies
Together we become an octopus
Together we extend tentacles

Why interspecies communication, why?
Coz Human bodies are part of the nature
me, us, we, can’t you see
We are only a temporary aggregation of microbes
So perhaps we should
Remove human from the center of discussion

Why interspecies communication, why?
Say no to human-animal divide
The non-human animals
Exist for their own reasons,
not made for humans
any more than
“black people were made for white
Or women were created for men”
Who can determine what is natural for who?
It is a power relation

Why interspecies communication, why?
Non-human animals, full of imaginations
It’s written in Bruce Bagemihl’s book
The book about Biological Exuberance,
Animal homosexuality and natural diversity
Listed examples are plenty
How creative non-human animals can be
When they make love and form family
Just for fun, not for reproduction

So I tried a little bit of this
And I tried a little bit of that
I drew a living house,
It grows out of synthetic spider silk
It grows into the shape of a jellyfish
A house that senses your emotions
through exchange of pheromones
It livens up to your ecstasy
It withers down to your agony.
It can move, it can settle

And I would like to try a little bit of this
And a little bit of that
Perhaps to train an artificial bird language
By using free online datebases
Will Berlin Nightingales react
To a strange accent?

Or perhaps the tones travel
Piercing through the clouds
Over seas and mountains
Arriving at Kuskoy in Turkey
Where humans whistle
Like a bird chirping

What’s next is open, ongoing.

(Berlin, 29.10.2019)