"Inorganic Becomings: Situating the Anthropocene in Puchuncaví"

Tironi, Manuel, Myra J. Hird, Cristián Simonetti, Peter Forman, and Nathaniel Freiburger | from Multimedia Library Collection:

Tironi, Manuel, Myra J. Hird, Cristián Simonetti, Peter Forman, and Nathaniel Freiburger. “Piecing Together the Extinct Great Auk: Techniques and Charms of Contiguity.” Environmental Humanities 10, no. 1 (2018): 187-212. https://doi.org/10.1215/22011919-4385525.

In this choral essay we, an assorted group of academics interested in inorganic life and matter, explore a mode of thinking and feeling with our objects of inquiry—chemicals, waste, cement, gas, and the “project” as a particular form of circulation and enactment of materials and things. To experiment with alternative modes of knowing, we went to Puchuncaví, the largest, oldest, and most polluting industrial compound in Chile, to encounter the inorganic through and with its inorganicness and to attend to the situated, historicized, and political composition of both our materials and our experiences. Thinking of this as a collective provocation, we do not rehearse a conventional argument. Its parts are connected but only partially. There is no dramatic arc but rather an attempt at composing an atmosphere through which our thought and feelings are invoked. We have made visible the authorship behind each of the stories recounted here to celebrate the multivocality of our collaboration and to rehearse a nonabstracted mode of attention to Puchuncaví and the inorganic forces and entities we encountered there. We connect our irritations and speculations with the Anthropocene precisely as a way of summoning the multiple violences, many of them of planetary reach, that have to be denounced when situating our knowledge practices in Puchuncaví. Thinking about the ethico-political challenges of research in territories that have been, and are being, transformed under the weighty history of contamination and that are lived in and lived with by generations of beings (human and otherwise), we call in our concluding remarks for an enhanced pedagogy of care born of our inherited pasts and of engagement, interest, and becoming as response-ability. (Text from authors’ abstract)

© Manuel Tironi, Myra J. Hird, Cristián Simonetti, Peter Forman, and Nathaniel Freiburger 2018. Environmental Humanities is available online only and is published under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).