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Postqualitative summer school

For a week in June  2019 I attend University of Oulu, Finland for a postqualitative summer school. We think about posthuman environments - environments of becoming with human and nonhuman others. 

Set an intention

What do I hope to learn?

How will I open myself to the riskiness of that learning?

  • Consider my posthuman environment(s) in which I live and work

  • Situate and contextualise the environments in which I and other humans / nonhumans live together

  • What human and nonhuman becomings are taking place in these environments?

  • How might I respond to the lively becomings that exist in the world?

  • What questions do these lively becomings ask of me?

I walk through this park on my journey to and from yoga. I encounter this mix of pigeons, crows, starlings, seagulls. Often there are dead ones lying amongst the living. A carcass of a cat (fox?) once lay in the grass. Bags of feed, rice, bread crumbs, naan bread are spilled out across this space throughout the day. Signs hang off the fences reading 'Do not feed the birds, it attracts the rats' - some city council, others homemade and laminated, ink running down where the plastic has parted. The birds rest on two rooftops on the opposite side of the road. White streaks run down the tiles. They coo to each other. I duck as they swoop down and around. Prior to flying to Oulu, these intra-actions, the assemblage, the multispecies encounters taking place here made me think of theories of Haraway and Rautio and Barad.

Ladders from roof to ground, around windows, long,

straight up and down. For fire? For snow? 

Empty streets.

People cycle on pavements, old ladies cycle, old men

cycle, kids, families. A man on rollerblades and ski poles, 

Sunshine warm


Carrots by water, people sunbathing, seagulls, swallows,

stra, starlings, kids jumping into water. Paddleboarders.

Someone singing Hotel California through amplifier. 

Couple drinking beer mouth the words. Man with

Downs Syndrome stands next to singer and mimes the


Walk through silver birch, poplar, pine, elder. Poplar

shakes in wind.

Smoke over the water pumps out of power station.

Billowing white into blue skies. I am drawn towards it.

I walk down pathways through park grassland. along rider

water edge. Boats moared. Family talking, discussing

directions to take? I can't understand but recognise 

body language, pointed fingers, paused bodies, two facing

one way, two the other. Birds cheep in trees. Talking. I

don't understand the language but hear a back and forth.

Paths are quieter, I leave city centre, towards the 

billowing smoke. I stop to take video. My phone is slow,

t is thinking, it is full. It can't load. It frustrates me. I

hassle it. Urge it to move faster. Hurry up. I shake it.

I hold arms up and out, steadying myself for one

minute, attempting not to shake, not to move my

muscles, holding my breath, not breathing heavily, I

point the phone towards the billowing smoke. There is

heavy, loud, constant noise, machines, I don't know 

where, closer than smoke tower, behind green trees.

A couple light a Barbeque, smoke billows up, joins the

larger whiter smoke in the air. The smell hits me

the closer I get. It's strong, chemical, weird. It feels

at odds with the birds I hear cheeping, the trees

shimmering in the wind. The smell is intense, I think

of what I'm inhaling. Fumes of what? The noise is

also loud. I see a gap in a line of trees, down a 

forest path. Behind a fence, stacks of timber. The 

noise makes sense suddenly. A timber sawmill, the

machine cutting tree trunks. The saw going down

slicing through wood. Screeching noise. Metal. This

is not the smell. The smell is chemical. This area is

residential. Tower blocks with external ladders. Front

gardens. Swings. Benches. Picnic spots. A skatepark.

The smell. The noise. My camera. It's full. It alerts me to

manage me settings. It can't take any more. I can't

barely either. My body wants to walk the other way.

I pinch my nose. I stop. Open my photos. Scroll through.

Find ones I don't want. Select. Another. I don't remember.

Select. A video my friend sent me. Select. I had 

preciously saved these. Select. Select all. Delete.

I want space. I want space to save these new

videos of billowing smoke, shivering trees, metal on 

wood grinding, birds cheeping, luscious, green blue skies.

I can't capture the smell. I get up to the gates. Security.

Rows of pylons, tall, barriers, fences. I pinch my nose.

I blow out through my mouth. I take an image. No video

here. I feel the presence of cameras. Watching me. 

Why am I stopping? Why am I filming. Frowns, Questions.

An elderly couple edge their way past me, pushing their 

weight into metal-framed strollers. On a sunday afternoon

walk in the sun, I think. How do they manage the smell?

Cyclists ride past me. Can they smell it too? It's

Sunday, does this noise go on all week? All year?

I walk away from the fenced off site. I am not

ready to but also want to leave, my body feels chemical.

I walk up nearby quiet streest, wooden houses, red,

yellow, blue, ladders onto roofs. Quiet, sunny. Smelly.

A young couple, sunglasses, black dress, mobile phones, 

Birds cheeping. Blossom on  elder trees, Swallows.

Creating own ecology of partial connections

Own way of understanding space

What did I notice?

Kept coming back to plants and cats

Living and dying with plants and cats

Multispecies ethics of vulnerability

Invitation to think

Postqualitative research on the continuum 

Not rejection of qualitative but an invitation

A critique to open up, not to dismantle

Five figured worlds (St Pierre and Lather)

Conceptualisations of science radically shifts across different paradigms all happening at once

Need to know history and the conditions of possibility in order to do something differently

I walk around wood on wood between wood. Sound. Underneath wood. Living Dying. tree creaking wood door moving mimicking. It smells of wood. Sauna smell. Lighter yellow wood fades to darker grey. A platform. steps. Installation? Narrow corridor round corners. I had crunched across pine cones to step onto the platform. Sandy ground. I remember South West France, camping holidays. Green shrubs. Wind blows them. The hum of extractor fans throb in my ears.  Behind the structure. Close but far. Trees in side wooden structures. A door creaks open and closed in the wind. I look up and the tree sways to the creak as if it itself is creaking. A motorbike. People walk past - the otherside of the trees. Unlocking bikes chains clang. Snip shut, metal. Keys jangle. Metal on metal. It's warm on my legs. My jeans warm up. The wind blows my hair and it reflects a shadow no this page. Rusty chain rusty bike sounds speed up as momentum builds. A car drives past. Green brown long tall golden trunks. In the distance, birch leaves, shimmer glisten shake. Tall thin pine, the door creaks. A motorbike. Through the gap I see orange and concrete suddenly jump out at me, jarring my eyes, bright and out of place. Motorbike squeels, little moped noise, I smell petrol. Vibrations. Little bodies, little voices. Echo up the structure, down the other side to me.

Unravelling ideas

What constitutes data?

Relations in our ecology


Maps with water. Secluded beaches, over bridges. Lines traced on phone screens dots onto blobs of green, two fingers move across cracked glass blobs of green and yellow get bigger, closer, fingers track lines to where green meets blue, lines, edges, payers, cracks, water, earth, sand, tarmac, gravel, dust, tyre, rubber. Bike and body trace blue dot on cracked screen. Real paths made through sound of rubber on tarmac, rusty chain, breath in and out, nose snivel, crunch gravel under tyre. Hand holds phone, touches cracked screen, eyes trace blue dot along grey line, following blue line around green edge. Wind blows hair into eyes, nose sniffs as another line, threatens to escape out of body down face. Body sniffs back line of fluid. Withholding its line making capabilities. Rubber tyres trace invisible line, no print life, gravel disturbed at points. Stones forced to new resting places by tyre. Violent, loud, unpredictable. Lines move around other bodies tracing other lines. Slower lines, lines accompanied by other lines made of two feet or four paws. The pace of lines shift, speed up, slow down, pause, stop, check line on cracked screen. Is blue dot still on blue line? Or is blue dot off making other grey lines, abandoning blue line, diffracting, shifting. 

15:35 Back on platform

Walking up familiar. Confidence

Approach from other side, up ramp, door creaking

Saying hello.

I walk up the stairs, to reacquaint myself

Smell. Inhale deeply. Saunas.

I move faster today. I know the space, around

the corner I don't move with caution anymore

I know the space It knows me

I take my seated spot. I question if I should

sit somewhere else but I don't. Rigour.

a rhomboid shadow. Angular. Shapes.

Light and dark. Blue yellow. Green.

The wind blows stronger than yesterday.

The forest floor shrubs move more, sway more

have to fight to stand up.

It's busier here today. Parents (?) smart-clothed dresses, suits. Adults. Smiling. Enter the platform, heads up high, look to sky, to trees, to wood. Speak. I don't understand words by recognise familiar tilting song, phrases lift up at the end. Whirling. Humming of noise, as if it never stopped. Same extraction of air, turning of fans. Creaking of doors. A blonde woman. Stands. Framed by the angles. Still upright, smiling, directly. Body. A photograph? A man joins, gold purse draped over shoulder. Shawl over other, drapes his arm over girls shoulder. Both bodies stand upright. Still. Smile. Directed. Pause. Relax. Move. A photo? The blonde holds a folder in hand, tassle dropping out. Stands upright again. Alone this time. Legs together. Another blonde joins. In black. Gold and black purse across body. Stands upright. Still. Both smile. A giggle. Paused. One leg kicked out at an angle. The first blonde shifts weight of body. Pause. And relaxed.

The three bodies come back into view as they walk away. Gold purses glimmer in the sunlight.

The door creaks. 

My attention turns to the trees, encased in wood.

Wind blows 

paper of my journal

door made of wood

tree incased in wood

Motorbike revs engine loudly

Metal clanging on bike in park

I think about the industrial park

Papermill. Noises, smells, industry.

The humming of the industry of university. 

The screeching of metal on wood at sawmills.

The pile of logs from the family of trees I sit under.

Stacked, chopped, sliced, ready for pulp, timber, paper

The trees here encased in wood - framed, iconic, exemplar, statues

A wasp pops out from between the boards. Hovers. Moves on.

I crack my knuckles.

These fall in my lap and around me. I think of Pops' rulers at home on my wall

My heart is beating faster than normal

I have had coffee. I am shakey

An ant moves (runs? scuttles?) across the platform. 

I hear no birds

What do you think you are doing?

How are you documenting?

How are you responsibly attending to the relations?

'Experiences' problematic

embodied relations

disruption - full camera can't document

brings my friends, family, image

'time' of a moment - assembling into something

moment to write something down

response-able                      ability

capacity to respond

Deleuze - ethics comes after the event

                tomorrow might respond differently

Maria - sang to document

           taking machine noise for human voice

Listening, looking, focusing, shifting focus, joining the dots, smelling, thinking across, associations

thinking with linking different scales

filming one minute videos

                  Wobbling shaky arms trying to stay 


Pay attention to my embodied        was I?

Watching others move

        looking at parts of the picture, not the whole

Component parts

I am writing stream of thoughts

Words not sentences

           Phrases. Listing. Commenting. Drawing.

Filming one minute videos. Smelling


       Making time for all things

Moving frame and focus. Destabilizing


Response - ability


Articulating what happens when something happens, to the best of your ability

Data residues - don't have to understand it all at once 

How to politically move through research?

Antimethodology (Nordstrom)

Data assemblage (Nordstrom)

Strategic antimethodology

'methodological drag'

Make friends

Share writing

Ask for help

Create spaces we need to survive to have conversations we need to be having

Here to help each other

Strong feminist movement


Reach out

This is a collective

Do more work

Lets think together

Intended analysis

Thinking with theory

Theory as method

writing as method

reading as method

thinking as method

what are data?

Make enough room to play

It's not where I've been sitting. I sit across the platform, facing the space of previous me, past days. Again I've walked up and round the platform to start. Less strong sauna smell today. I make a footprint in the dust as I step next to my old seat. A marker of my being, having been where I was but no longer am. I am exposed on this side, I can see the building, bikes, bodies coming through doors. Glass pains hiding faces on the otherside looking at me. I hear what sounds like a cat bell, jangling repetitively, reminding me of Prince and Duke running for food. Prince and Duke on my leg tattooed. To my left an eye watches me. A circular white casing around a black eye, on a pole, stares at me. Directly. Sunglasses on a bike look like the eye as they cycle behind, around, same shape. Different intensity. The camera-eye-pole-glasses doesn't move. Focused on me. It's hot. I roll up plum coloured fabrics, pinching my skin around my bicep, tight, squeezing. Breeze on forearm. Eyes squinting. Gum chewing. Minty. Tummy rumbling. Empty. The same hum of fans, but today I separate out two different noises, one lower, one more air like. I think of Maria's singing the hum. I try. A plastic bag is shaken. Keys jangle. Metal. Metal clangs. Shakes. The trrrrrrrrrrr of bike wheels. Freespinning. Red trousers, grey top. The sunglasses come back the other way. On bike. Past camera, Mustard yellow top and white trousers. I'm hot. Squinting. Blinded. Paper bright. I film up. All I can see is my face on the screen squinting. My skin wrinkling in the sun. I flip the camera straight after the film and film me, I can't see the film version of me but only the screen version of me.I notice a stump where one tree has been cut down. The adds to the tree-wood-paper-trunk-sauna assemblage of living dying dead. The stump still with roots in the ground. Bark on the stump. Pine cones onto pine boards. I think about the effort of producing seeds for dispersal someone talking about not shitting in the toilet eg apple seed - wasted energy and production for the tree to produce if only to shit in the toilet. Shitting outside instead. Like these pine cones falling where seed can't disperse.

Why begin with the box?

Philosophy must constitute itself as the theory of what we are doing, not as a theory of what is. (Delueze,1993)

Relations with other that are not those of capture (Stengers, 2018)

What is our research doing? 

Staying with the trouble of present (Haraway)

'Women who make a fuss' Stengers and Despret

Shameless medelling


Amateur - love

We are opportunistic amateurs

out of a sense of love of the relations

out of our comfort zones

A work is supposed to bring problems and questions in which we find ourselves caught (Deleuze, 2006)

Making the work stutter