We Will Dance With Mountains - Let Us Make Sanctuary

October 2020-January 2021

I N V I T A T I O N S   &   E X E R C I S E S   F R O M   T H E   C O U R S E   T E A M

Session I | 18 October

From the next class, in my attempts to “begin” constellating the insights and ideas that constitute my notion of “making-sanctuary”, I will teach about diffraction patterns, becoming lost, and building wilder coalitions that might decenter the human – and how these might open us up to keener materialities. In the meantime, do the following:

1. Write what is emerging for you after the first live session (whether you were there or watched the recording): Questions? Insights? Ideas?

2. In your emerging text, notice what is present as you write: tables, pens, a cup of coffee perhaps, a purring cat, etc. Account for them in your text – not simply as backgrounded objects but active co-creators of the thick now you all are doing together. 

3. Meet with your kinship group and experiment with reading these insights into each other. Notice the places of breaks and
discontinuities in your shared readings, the places of divergence – and the sites of resonance. Don’t try to reduce them to each other – just note them and account for them.

4. Take your text in your private reading: what emerges from it that wasn’t there prior to the kinship diffraction process?

If you don’t understand this process, it’s okay. I would like you to try something even if you haven’t figured it out completely. I would like you to linger at the “edges of incompetence” long enough for you to be met by surprise. Try it.

See you at the shocking side of failure.

Session II | 1 November

I want to offer an exercise in listening. Kindly make sure you have a guide and a support system if you elect to undertake this practice.

When we navigate the world, we typically depend on sight as the predominant means of obtaining information about the world. This is of course different for those who do not use the eyes but use other senses to meet the world. Without prejudice to those who might be hard of hearing or have some form of hearing loss, I want to invite a listening exercise. For a few hours a day – for as many days as you can manage it – conspire with those in close proximity to you to have yourself blindfolded in a location of your choosing. During the time of being blindfolded, listen. Listen to the world around you. Listen to how things rub off on one another, to textures, sounds, colours. Yes, listen to colours. How does angry sound? Use listening to re-enter the world often lost behind the dominance of sight-as-data-as-truth. At the end of your exercise of becoming-animal, write down what you have listened to or are listening to. During your kinship group meeting, share what emerged for you and co-create a similar exercise for decoupling our sensorial apparatuses.

Session III | 15 November

An Exercise in Listening with your Environment (an invitation made in the pre-session email in preparation for live session):

Gather around materials for a Making Together exercise we will have during the session. Bring together the most implausible artefacts – duct tape, cotton wool from a broken toy, a feather, pieces of cloth, a spider’s web, half-eaten pizzas, electrical wires, whatever, you get the point. To do this gathering, you will have to listen to the world around you. Ask the world – as if it were alive – to guide your hand, to awaken your senses to what is needed. When you are saturated, come with your oddkin companions to the session.

Writing prompt following the Making Together exercise (aka. A Pedagogy of the Alien):

Can you explore all the ways you are not you? Explore the ways you are outside yourself; the moments when you haven’t behaved like yourself.

Share this writing with your kinship group when you next meet.

Invitation from Bayo following the third live session:

Gather alien bodies to yourself and dedicate some time to reading through the follow-up note. Meet with your kinship group and share your reflections on this reading with each other. Then attempt to respond to/with the questions below. Feel free to index your own questions alongside these proposed ones below.

  • What are the gifts and shadows of identity politics, and how does a particular reading of the structural limitations of identity politics call for "fugitive exile"?
  • What do we do with our many failures to achieve the justice the systems we inhabit have promised us? Why do we feel so stuck?
  • Who is the racist, and in what way is the appellation of the “racist” already a performance of dissociative anthropocentrism?
  • How is trauma a more-than-human ecological principle?
  • What new opportunities, openings and obstacles to social justice are presented to us by the reading from transraciality?
  • Are there other places of power that we can turn to? What might that look like?
  • What can we learn from the failures of modern African states in the post-independence era, and what might an Afro-Atlantic conversation with diasporic communities teach us about emancipation within oppressive regimes?
  • As a person from a minority group, have you ever had the experience of being censored for not using the right phrase, term, or word in relation to other target groups?
  • What lies beyond justice?
  • What does it mean to slow down in times of urgency?
  • What do the concepts of postactivism, transraciality, becoming-black, and making sanctuary offer to our movements for a better world? What new problems and shadows do they create?
  • To be fully designated is to lose touch of our migrancy in an epistemology of stable identities and sealed off becomings. What does this statement bring up for you?