M(oth)erialism Re/producing Re/production

My Body


Hannah Wiker Wikström

Shit show. The bacterial cocktail I gave you, I inherited it from my mother. Vaginal fluids, blood and faeces stirred through mucous membranes of mouth, eyes, intestines and bowels. Hanging in your neck, cold spring, covered in mottled greyish fat, the transaction was a fact. Bifilidus, bacteroides, escherichia, klebsiella. It might not be the gift you wanted, but it’s a family recipe.

Partway through my labor, one kilo of knowing passed on. It’s the kind of knowing that is sensed, like a warm breakage next to the spine; the kind of knowing that is sensed from a direct gaze or a gaze in the other direction. The kind of knowing a swollen uterus creates. The chemical knowing. The knowing of sensing invisible hormones. The knowing of the structures of wooden fibres. The cellular knowing, not known in the knowing of the now, traversing the timespan.

Not only is there a history of the brain; the brain in itself is history. According to Catherine Malabou, humans create their own brain, but they do not know it yet. Our brain is plastic, but there is still a common perception recreating the idea of a “rigid and genetically determined brain”. Our brain is a labor (our labor), a history (our history) and a singular fate (our fate).[1]

As much as soil cannot be said to be a dead material, but rather a mesh of living and dead agents and processes; so a human body is never a closed separated entity, but an entangled organism given life by non-human actants. Bodies, landscape, time and matter constantly pass through each other, blurring the boundaries, blurring the vision.

How to measure an unruly world? How do our tools and imagination determine what can be perceived? How to build back a relation to ourselves as transfer points, and in this way also bring agency back to the body? Beyond neoliberal future progress- or sustainability narratives to save the past.[2] What is the transversal emotional labor that has to be done? What relations, practices and tools occur from this point of departure?

When I asked them how they feel about it, they said yes we are all very proud and everyone who lives around here feels the same. I have seen it but somehow I have not seen it. Still it strikes me: the long continuous wires; the heavy feeling; the mordor-esque threat of sudden water; headache in my left brain hemisphere. Where did the light go? When I retell it to my father he says: I think you posed the question wrong. So much has been invested and almost nothing was gained. What is left for us if we cannot even be proud?

Digging into industrial social heritage and the rise of “green energy”, what kind of epistemologies open up? What does it mean to engage with soil structure and transcorporeal collaborations in an area built away from forming any such relations? How to navigate these questions in the ongoing act of reproducing common perception and sensation formation? What does collectivity and so called horizontal organizing mean in this context? How can we approach the transversal responsibilities and affective work in local (and at the same time global) self- organized spaces and relationships?


[1] Catherine Malabou, What Should We Do With Our Brain? (New York: Fordham University Press, 2008), 33-38.
[2] Astrida Neimanis and Rachel Loewen Walker. “Weathering: Climate Change and the ‘Thick Time’ of Transcorporeality.” Hypatia 29, no. 3 (2014): 558-575.