{ diffraction }


Enter the void. We belong to bodies eating the sun. Melting, thaws, mining my inner Mercury. Grasping the light, blinded by the rays, you become the sun in every eye. Mechthild, nursing God into her veins; Mechthild, blood and milk, blood and milk. Her milkshake brings all the light in the yard. Bloody milkshake, she will have to charge. Time is light, and so are we, light beings made up of thee.

While the mystic Beguine, Mechthild von Magdeburg, inhabited the 1300 century – sucking the milk of God into her own body; eating the flesh, drinking the porous bones; using God in ways the angels could only dream of – the stream of internal light and embodied trust she felt is something I can only imagine, but at the same time deeply relate to. Whilst for her, with a European medieval holistic mindset, every matter belonged to one materia, atom to atom, I have a harder time imagining myself as an inhabited force; as layers of time; building a relation to my cells; accepting myself as dust and particles; to be living from the sun. To reimagine myself as a “weather-body”, a transcorporeal being actively incorporated in the worldly, forces me to go further into partly blinded speculation in search of figures, relations, spaces and actions able to host this implosion of time, space and matter.[1]

I ask myself what it means in my everyday life, as a human being, as a parent, as an artist, as a mediator and actant in group processes or education; in all these roles my contribution to producing and reproducing a common perception. This practice of reformulation in many directions simultaneously becomes, for me, an act of speculation where I have to treat issues as both fiction and reality at the same time; where I have to carefully acknowledge my need to practice a relation of trusting my own body, as well as being careful about internalized behaviors. I need to, partly blinded, elaborate on strategies, sensations and negotiations which might take me beyond my own imagination. I have to treat my imagination as a limited structure as well as an active agent in search of glitches.

The diffraction of time, elaborated by Karen Barad and proposed as a tool in the form of diffractive methodology, analysis and reading, is a term at the core of quantum field theory.[2] Barad’s use of the term diffraction stresses the need to trouble scales, temporalities, conceptual separations and western-created binaries between micro and macro, nature and culture, human and more-than-human. Barad’s thesis indicates that it is no longer the “thing” – “the weather pattern”, “the molecule,” or “the human” – that serves as the basic unit of analysis, but the phenomena: the happenings of multiple relations as they co-create “differential patterns of mattering”.[3]

To recognize this “connectivity of phenomena at different scales” pushes us beyond practices of pointing out similarities (or differences) and describing them in their separate entities.[4] Rather, it invites us to go deeper into the intersections and the phenomena produced and how we are differently situated and affected by them. In this way, a transcorporeal spacetimematter imagination can slowly shape and amplify the realization that: “an ethic of fixing, making-up-for, and even sustaining cannot recognize that all actions are forever contracted in lines-of-flight whose effects will continue to be made and unmade in many futures to come”.[5]


[1] Astrida Neimanis and Rachel Loewen Walker. “Weather writing: Climate Change and the ‘Thick Time’ of Transcorporeality.” Hypatia 29, no. 3 (2014): 560.
[2] Karen Barad. “Troubling time/s and ecologies of nothingness: re-turning, re-membering, and facing the incalculable.” new formations: a journal of culture/theory/politics 92 (2018): 56-86.
[3] Neimanis and Walker, 565.
[4] [5] Neimanis and Walker, 572.


Hannah Wiker Wikström