{ to recosmize }


“There is no space independent of subjects”
— Jakob von Uexküll, A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans

Jakob von Uexküll stated that we sit too comfortably in the illusion of the existence of a one and only space and time for all living beings, one world for all. Instead, he claims, the world for us is a constant repetition of multiple functional cycles between subject and object. For Augustin Berque, mesology is consequently the discipline for the study of a subject’s relationship to the specific interval of space and time it lives in; and mediance, “the structural moment of human existence”, is thus constituted by the process linking the inseparable halves of the individual physiological body and its ecological-technical-symbolic environment. For him, this knowledge is based on how the subject is perceived and interpreted by the predicate. How is the grass perceived by the cow? As food. How is the Earth perceived by humankind? For Karl Marx, “the human metabolism with nature” is a highly dynamic, interdependent relationship. Labor is, in this relationship, the interpretation, the trajection, namely the process through which the human mediates and regulates nature. Considered so, he deducts that industrialization, implying the use of chemical fertilizer in agriculture and the migration of population from countries to towns, has caused a rift between human beings and the soil. This is also evident on a more global level: whole colonies saw their land and resources robbed to support the capitalization of the colonizing countries.

Functional cycles are altered by the matrix of power, in Quijano’s words. But acknowledging consciousness to the campesinos and indigenous communities, and to “Mnemosine of thousand names” itself, we now see that if we want to overcome modernity, we need to subtract the modern individual from being an exploited, alienated, secular, algorithm driven consumer, so it can reclaim its humanity and create collectivities that consider land as life, not land as profit.

But what are the moments of disruption in the relationship between human and land? Is there a way to instill the kinship feeling tying human and nonhuman presences in the individualized modern subject? Have the myth and the ritual preserved their power? We see that researchers make great efforts in recovering ancestral knowledge from lost pasts. But then, how can we make use of these understandings in changing our ontology?

In her articles about the Camunian petroglyph site Naquane, Sandra Busatta re-constructs their mediance, binding the selection of the site with the presence of the Oglio river, soundscape, orientation, mines, the myth of the Aquane, the deer, and other factors to advance the hypothesis of an ancient Indo-European shamanism. In which way is this investigation relevant for the contemporary inhabitants of that land? I propose to begin reweaving our histories from the specificity of every milieu, selecting how we want to re-exist by building new communal metabolizations. Independent processes of recosmizing in a world where many worlds fit, as Zapatistas would say.

Alice Pontiggia