[ISEA2012] Curator Statement: CATHERINE HARRIS – TRANS-SPECIES HABITATS

Curator Statement

Intro

“The problem with the fragility illusion is that it encourages a misplaced purism, leaving no room for compromise or negotiation, and it leads to ‘fortress conservation’ – the idea that the only way to protect ‘fragile’ ecosystems is to exclude all people. In Uganda, when a national park was established to protect biodiversity, 5,000 families were forced out of the area. After a change in government, those families returned in anger. To make sure they were never forced out again, they slaughtered all the local wildlife”.
_Peter Kareiva

“I want to explore here how public spaces take shape through the habitual actions of bodies, such that the contours of space could be described as habitual. I turn to the concept of habits to theorize not so much how bodies acquire their shape, but how spaces acquire the shape of the bodies that inhabit them. We could think about the ‘habit’ in the ‘inhabit'”.
_Sara Ahmed

“Habitat” has acquired a greenish brown tinge, purely a locale for flora and fauna. The word pairs with “diminishing”, “endangered”, and “frail”, in news and in oft-unheeded liberal cries. Commonly, it signifies curvy lines and clusters. Habitat – the third-person singular present tense form of the Latin ‘habitare’ means ‘it inhabits’. Trans-species habitat proposes a habitat phenomenology – a theory of space no longer divided between us and them, urban and wilderness, nature and culture, human and other (species), rooted in whole experiences.

  • CATHERINE HARRIS, ISEA2012 Theme Leader & Assistant Professor of Art and Technology, the University of New Mexico, USA.

Full text (PDF)  p. 102-103