On Ground and Movement: Being in Place in Climate Crisis
The stories we tell of climate crisis, rooted in dystopian speculative fiction and transmitted to the emerging genre of climate fiction (cli-fi), reveal our complex relationships to place. At the liminal borders where ground becomes movement, place becomes unfixed, and we see the extension of the underground. That which is hidden, by inclination or necessity, unfolds in undeterred motion, diffusing around obstacles only to converge once more. The figurative earthquake, which would fracture ground, itself travels in wave-like motion, shaking the stability of place with the sudden urgency of time. Deep time meets crisis time in the wake of climate catastrophe.
Place is lost or torn from us, and we are forced to seek refuge. Rootedness, the downward branching that connects and grounds, is severed by increasing threats and emergencies. Climate in pandemic time is disordered, with threat and disturbance in place. But the unsteady present and interweaves. The tentacular chthonic of Donna Haraway and the labyrinthine underland of Robert Macfarlane can help us fathom value and loss in deep places, while Ernst Bloch’s utopian horizon, appearing as a network of paths, illuminates our outward journeys as we navigate by and within constellations. Ground and movement intertwine in Leanne Betasamosake Simpson’s notion of resurgence. With climate fiction, we grapple with the narratives of crisis that engulf our information streams, excavating internal depths to elicit connection and action.
Morgan Young has an interdisciplinary background, mostly in music, anthropology, and philosophy. She is currently an MA student in the Department of Humanities at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC, under the supervision of Samir Gandesha and Jerry Zaslove. She is interested in the utopian dimension of the Frankfurt School and the romantic critique of capitalism. Her thesis is focused on developing a critical theory of fantasy as a part of a broader category of theory for radical speculative fiction.
Reading Assiniboine Forest: A forest-bathing walk with Ariel Gordo
This video was was shot in June 2020 in Winnipeg's Assiniboine Forest, 287 hectares of aspen/oak parkland in southwestern Winnipeg. Ariel walks, shares readings from her latest book, Treed: Walking in Canada's Urban Forests, demonstrates forest-bathing techniques, and points out flora and fauna. Given the theme of the conference, the walk focuses on the paths adjacent to the Eve Werier Waterfowl Pond, a man-made pond built in 1980.
Ariel Gordon is a writer living in Winnipeg in Treaty 1 territory and on the homeland of the Métis Nation. Her most recent book, a collection of essays called Treed: Walking in Canada's Urban Forest (Wolsak & Wynn, 2019), received an honourable mention for ALECC's 2020 Alanna Bondar Memorial Book Prize. Her long/found poem TreeTalk will be published by At Bay Press in fall 2020.