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Dripstone is the research blog for queer visual artist, researcher, writer and curator Venus Jasper.

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The World Stage

These above images are found on Instagram. I am posting them, as a reminder, as a sign of life; as inspiration for a project. A stage for impact, or an impact crater as a stage?


Worldbuilding: Setting the Stage

Worlds and empires fall as they have since ancient telling and as of old survivors go on to create new ones. New life. New paths. New stories. We should not without a thought or act give up the lives of the many at peril. Oh no, we must fight for a more just world and hold our communities and networks tight together. In my own Quarantaine, I spend my days focussing on what I believe we must bring into what follows. Seedpods for a next story.

In my Temple Studio, I am working on designs for an outdoor performance stage/site that will host a series of performances and workshops from June 2020 to October 2021; all related to nature, senses, embodiment, togetherness, story-telling and connection to that what westerners call 'Nature'. My idea at the moment is to make the stage a living organism in itself. Handing over the final designs to the unknown: collaborators such as life, coincidence and locality. if the project will happen as planned, I don't know. A lot is uncertain since Covid.

Parallel to the designs of the living stage, I am taking part in a Visionary Sci-Fi Writing Workshop for Other Futures; an Amsterdam based multidisciplinary festival that presents speculative visions of the future. A super interesting course, which has become a vehicle of processing the impact of Covid-19 on the world. So there I am, writing Sci-Fi while pandemic scenarios akin to Hollywood movies play out on the World Stage.

"I have been contemplating the theory that science-fiction and all other fiction updates and uploads information to the invisible field that influences the potentiality of (human) development. Rupert Sheldrake, a scientist who popularized the Morphogenetic Field Theory, states that individual species are connected by an invisible information bridge, one which updates (or downgrades) members as it is shaped. The notion that we can influence, if not create reality, is a precept that can be traced in many indigenous cosmologies and forms a solid baseline in various forms of revival Paganism, Witchcraft, Alchemic and New Age Philosophy," thus spoke my application letter for the writing course. It reminds me of a research novelette I wrote in 2013, about creating reality through ritual; through focussed consciousness enacted. I studied the techniques of Psychomagic from Jodorowsky and intersected this with the queer lens and experience of late genius Genesis Breyer P-orridge. (1)

It has always been clear to me that beliefs, stories, Scifi and other fiction influence reality. Visionary artists who sculpt film or story, tap into the collective unconsciousness and shape/download/call into being the visions of the 'future' - entire worlds awaiting to be rekindled by the breath of man. They interact with this field of potentiality; the collective unconsciousness or collective possibility that we can call 'imagination.' It's truly vast. Unfortunately, the story braiders and entertainment crafters aren’t often inclined to develop narratives of peaceful co-existence. Moreover, violence and war seem to be what sells. As if the stories we produce influence what we collectively believe to be possible. It seems that what we put our attention towards exceedingly manifests. The stories we are told, read and create write themselves like lines of ink into our imagination and our bloodstream, forming a consensus (or communally created) reality; 'an amalgamation of approximate recordings from flawed biomachines,' as Genesis P-Orridge puts it.(2) Some even argue that the perception of nature itself co-creates the reality building with us, suggesting that earth and humans and other species all have a say in the story; in The Dream of the Earth, that is.(3)


When I stayed at Healing Biotope Tamera in 2016, we practiced the belief (or understanding) that a benevolent and holistic future will only come into existence if we continually update and upload images, feelings and details of this peaceful future into a matrix field of probability. As an artist and writer, I’ve been eager to explore in what way narratives of peace and collaboration can become enthralling and as ‘addictive’ as dramatic and violent ones. Even at the Sci-Fi writing workshop, we are asked to set up scenarios of polarity, with ingredients of struggle, location details such as language, ecologies, etc. This is called Worldbuilding. Stories, according to the writing course, are compelling when they narrate about empowerment against all odds, so we set characters up in journeys of overthrowing systems of power and oppression – with casualties here and there.

In the Hero's journey, there seems to be a need for '"long, hard objects for sticking, bashing, and killing," says Ursula le Guin in the compelling Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction (1986). Apparently a story isn't interesting when it takes place within a world of peace, where no intense violence or shock occurs or has to take the main stage. Where the focus isn't on the Herculean Hero but on the domestic and natural world that enables him to do any deed in the first place. Why are we so eager for struggle? Is it because we relate to it? Or is it because we have been told that those kinds of stories are meaningful, and that life is simply like that: full of suffering and polarities? Triumph and tragedy, yet not the matrix of everyday, where there is "time enough to gather plenty of wild oats and sow them too, and sing," says le Guin. Where we zoom in on the work of the many, delicate hands and powers that hold it all together.

So my question is: how to make peaceful co-existence compelling? how to write characters that are spiritual, sexual, political and compassionate, living in a world where everyone spends time unraveling the subtle delicate intimate universes within and around them? To make peace the breaking news? Can we do that? Anyone interested?


image: Over Grow The System

Field Building: Sowing Seeds of Change

A recent newsletter from Tamera states: "We're learning how powerful and efficient something incredibly tiny can be when it resonates with a latent field. This tiny thing -in this case- is a virus. The latent field is fear – an immense, collective fear of the future. We're seeing determined, rigorous action across all continents. Humanity is on pause. Who or what could cause this? Who has so much power? The virus shows us how fragile and vulnerable our globalized systems are and that humanity is capable of fundamentally changing its collective behavior, literally from one day to the next. It shows humanity that we're much more intimately connected than we thought. When a substance in our airways, which is only transmitted through direct contact, spreads around the world within a few weeks, we can say: We are indeed one breath. And that is good news. Because, what is possible through fear must also be possible through trust, from mouth to mouth, something quite different than a virus could spread."


A re-speaking and un-speaking. An unweaving of weavings. A recreation of life as it has held us and as we hold it. What do we want to create?

Dieter Duhm, founder of Tamera says that we must "resonate with another collective field within us, one that is much deeper than fear – the collective field of trust. For, despite all the suffering, all the horrors of the past and all the threats, life is still oriented towards joy, curiosity and survival. There is a core within us that knows this. This core is called trust. This will be the foundation of a new culture." Tamera furthermore argues for a
system change through 5 points, looking from the perspective of community, owning land, having autonomy and authority; an integrated revolution focussed on the 'next' while we are also still very currently IN the crisis. My friend Olave Basabose, on the other hand, argues in this feisty post, that we must rise to counter and dethrone the powers of multinationals that created the stage for the crisis. She argues that we must tax wealth and capital, nationalize banks, regulate financial speculations. Reshuffle from capital to labour, as the source of power. To rise in outward revolution.

I couldn't agree more, yet the activism in my own practice flows through the development of Trust Building Possibilities and via the creation of sites for sacred closeness, connection and experiences. One of such endeavors is the project Love Space – a temple of love (2017); a community space for shared and deepening intimacy, crafting space beyond fear and limitations. Naturally, the opportunity for such a space exists at all times, also beyond the 'presentation' of the project. The invisible architecture of a Temple of Love can exist in the privacy and closeness of everyone who wishes to call around them such a space whenever they wish to enter one – it is a matter of downloading the sacred into the moment, so to speak. Still, it has been on my mind to present a second edition of the project: but will that happen in 2020? With the current practice of Social Distancing in place, prohibiting meetings of the physical nature for the non-monogamous and singles, I am curious how to create a platforms for closeness. Pointless, perhaps, to think about intimacy and closeness when a global crisis is at hand, yet I believe in fostering spaces and opportunities for delicate and pleasurable human faculties.

adrienne maree brown, author of Pleasure Activism, argues that we must prioritize pleasure in our lives, wherein in pleasure we can tap 'into the potential goodness in each of us, to generate justice and liberation, growing a healing abundance where we have been socialized to believe only scarcity exists".(4) In her book, liberation around gender, kinky desires and sexual arousals leads to a de-colonization and re-ownership of our bodies and lives. "[...] pleasure activism is the work we do to reclaim our whole, happy, and satisfiable selves from the impacts, delusions and limitations of oppression and/or supremacy," she says. Unweaving and reweaving.

Personally, I have undergone profound changes in the understanding of my own sexuality, body, relating, passion and love over the last several years. At the time of the Love Space project I was part of 'holistic healing academy' which turned out to be cis-hetero oriented to a problematic degree. The group essentially promoted the belief that the world was made for cis-people. Admittedly, their processes helped me recover from trauma and it made me explore the 'male' aspects of my being to a profound degree, which I don't want undone. Yet their theories on trans- and homo-sexuality left me broken and re-traumatized in regards to sex and gender. The most painful was the fact that the theories where reinforced by certain readings of spiritual cosmologies; making the cis-hetero model seem like the most ancient truth that the world had ever known. Spirituality had been my companion for a long time, and suddenly it looked at me like I was the odd one out. I was hurt and angered. Since this moment I've been avidly exploring the presence of patriarchal dichotomies and polarities within spiritual/holistic systems and readings of the natural world (which, by the way is super queer!)

Two years after leaving the holistic group, I allowed myself to stop believing their gender theories. It was hard, because I had to find out what was false and real for me. At the declaration of breaking with the group, a profound liberation occurred; the annexation of my scattered parts of power and bliss. I had fought for a place beyond the binary; a world I only knew about through the voices and rebels and fighters who have managed, despite history, to bring awareness of the delicate and nuanced spectrum of gender. And I resonated in this freedom.

Delicate Saplings - Queer Nature!

Identifying as a non-binary person, I find that life is de-conditioned in many more ways. It is more subtle, more poetic, more hot. It appears to me, as if the language around gender in our culture has enforced a particular reading of reality. Language holds power over us. It determines what is and what can be thought, even. Language is in our interactions, communication, dialogues and descriptions. It grants and/or bars access to deep intimacy and Self understanding. By the mere act of taking out ONE single polarity, such as gender, everything was re-written before my very eyes.

In the world of stories and writing, every aspect of the world has to be revised in order to communicate and hold the reality of the characters while they are rewoven as gender-sovereigns; trekking beyond the realm of dysphoria into euphoria, on their blessed hikes into the future. In real life, the use of gender-encompassing and/or gender-free language promotes a thinking that unravels rather than determines. It creates a creative reading of life which is less assumptive, leading into new domains of closeness, understanding and expression. We can approach one another as if they are new, unknown, exciting and precious - talking about change! To assume or guess who someone is sabotages the other person's right and power of self-determination and expression. So, in meeting one another and asking about their pronouns, you essentially begin to get to know the vast mystery before you while simultaneously entering the disclosure of your own: building who we are together, in dialogue - in mutual weaving and unweaving. We do this not to further enlarge our differences, but "to dissolve, drop by drop, into larger pools of specificity."(5) To dilute ourselves into infinite particularity; making us all richer yet the same - all being unique.


In a way I understand transphobia. It is a fear of power. A fear of a truth larger than the current consensus. In effect, all re-renderings of how we look at ourselves and each other ultimately becomes an opportunity to look beyond the 'Great Western World' and un-see the difference between nature and man; between inside and out; between this or that; between past and future. It is an opportunity to be more aligned with the diverseness and queerness of nature itself; a wholeness of sacred reverence into which the human belonging is unquestioned. Queer Nature! Queer People!*


While the discourse around Gender is sometimes understood as Academic and/or Millennial Identity rummaging, the binary itself is actually a product of the same colonial and imperial superpowers that have slaughtered the natural world over the last couple centuries. "It was some three hundred years ago, when the intellectuals of the European Enlightenment constructed a mythology of technology influenced by a confluence of humanism, colonialism, and racism. Guided by technology that feasted on the felling of forests and extraction of resources(6)."

This mythology ignored local wisdom and indigenous innovations, deeming it primitive, therewith oppressing many of 'the other' who would not live at such false distance from their infinitely diverse and subtle environments and perhaps from themselves(7). But before I further entrap myself in projections of people I am not born amongst, I can say in this regard alone that the unraveling of Gender in my life beckons a more subtle world of interrelating, respect and splendor of diversity onto our planet - and every Permaculturist or Ecologist would argue for the evident necessity of diversity on Earth. In terms of relatedness and belonging to nature, I've felt since my earliest of days that I was bethieved of symbiosis by the sheer power of the Western mentality, industries and systems of value. I would stand in a meadow near my hometown, talking to the trees, wondering if others out there shared this gift. Inevitably this would lead me to travel across the world on several occasions, finding answers, finding keys.

Shooting Roots: Honoring Ancestors



Besides the many keys woven into this text about unweaving collective stories and cultural narratives, another large myths I'd like to reweave is the (white-supremist) one that keeps describing certain traditions and people as being from 'the past' while in fact their wisdom and aliveness is more relevant than ever. I've been spending the days with in my studio with this peculiar book: Lo—TEK. Design by Radical Indigenism, assembled by Julia Watson. Holding the volume, I cry tears of recognition, beauty and reverence. The marvels portrayed in this incredible publication focussed on Indigenous Technologies are precious. In the introduction pages, the book calls for a dismantling of what we can see as progress while promoting the marginalized and 'oppressed' as holding keys to the forwarding of our world.

"In an era of high-tech and climate extremes, we are drowning in information while starving for wisdom," the book states. "Enter Lo—TEK, a design movement building on indigenous philosophy and vernacular infrastructure to generate sustainable, resilient, nature-based technology. Spanning 18 countries from Peru to the Philippines, Tanzania to Iran, this book explores millennia-old human ingenuity on how to live in symbiosis with nature." And further on: "While 'modern' societies [were] trying to conquer Nature in the name of progress, these indigenous cultures were working with it."

English in language and visually stunning as it presents hidden and survived technologies, the book features interviews in the language native to the experts per location as well - which is touching, if not utmost important! Language diversity, after all, means ecological diversity, soil diversity, agricultural diversity, cultural diversity, perhaps even sexual diversity.

The book translates the wisdom of Indigenous Communities and Cultures into the vernacular of the western academic/scientific world while at the same time stressing and relinking the origins of the technologies; the people of various locations themselves. It starts by a lovely dethroning of Darwin in the foreword. Mostly, my enthusiasm for the collection has revealed to me that my interests in indigenous worlds aren't solely based on the spiritual - but rather on their vast interwoven wholeness of agricultural, environmental, societal, seasonal, cosmic, mythological, natural -and yes- spiritual understandings and interconnectedness. Lo—TEK demonstrates the vital importance of such wholeness -without omitting the spiritual- as it forwards ancient innovations in regards to the disconcerted climate. More deeper than before, it is clear to me that the wisdom of Indigenous People's is vital to human development and homeostasis.

Life and Beyond

Today, may we hold a moment in reverence for the people that have lived on the Earth for thousands of years, untouched by the wrath of the west - until they came. May we speak of love towards the mystery of life and hold respect for the magic and wisdom. Today, may we acknowledge our privileges and the lack of it for others. May we bless each of us as polarities in the (in)access towards hope and power increase, as inequality soars sickeningly, and as community is found amidst the quakes of culture. May those who can, share the unfolding of our free nature -given and fought for- into more and more subtle and specific self-ownership; our uniqueness radiating as the petals of the lotus, circumnavigating the heart like a cosmic wheel on a great and delicious journey of ceaseless playform around the same-and-oneness of our Inner Nature.

Our heavy decisions in regards to Covid-19 and the Climate over the months (and years) to come can perhaps rekindle in us the understanding of how innately precious we as humans are, woven into the story of life and death like delicate saplings; the story of an ancient sentient natural world of which we are such tender and powerful fruits: juicy and sacred. Knowing the vast richness of nuance yet sameness makes each death wasteful, yet life so powerfully abundant at the same time - it is a paradox that exceeds me; to be ravished by beauty amidst desolate destruction. Though it may seem vain to aspire delicateness in the face of crisis, I believe that the revival of delicate Indigenous Technologies, the delicateness of Self exploration and expression, and the delicateness of how we together create the world are all virtues (powers!) that we can bring into whatever comes next. The revolution needs these deep delicates.

Entrusted in our hands as such lay sprouts of pleasure, subtle poetries of love and the power of hope, justice and beauty. May we hold space for this and may we also hold space for those undergoing terror without hope or delicateness of any sort. Not all have access to hope and power, nor a future. May we wish peace, safety and providence for all in life and beyond.

No items found.

With love
J.

April, 2020

related:
The Greenhouse of Trust, a short essay on media theory.
Julia Watson on Time Sensitive, amazing podcast!_____

(1) On the cosmic journey of a body, Jasper Griepink (2013)
(2) Magick Squares, Future Beats, Genesis P-Orridge (????)
(3) The Dream of the Earth, Thomas Berry (1988)
(4) Pleasure Activism, adrienne maree brown (2019)
(5) On the cosmic journey of a body, Jasper Griepink (2013)* Queer being specific, unique, delicate, and belonging to the whole!
(6) Lo—TEK, by Julia Watson, pp. 17 (2019)
(7) Spell of the Sensuous, David Abram. (1996)

Books:
- Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity by Bruce Bagemihl
- Here is a link to Pleasure Activism by adrienne maree brown.
- Here is a link to Lo-TEK by Julia Watson.
- Here is a link to Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram.
- Here is a link to The Dream of the Earth by Thomas Berry.

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