C7 Velez, v Fraahsen: Swan Upping

Marina and Frei are delighted to invite you to a Zoom meeting to experience and discuss their collaborative work Swan Upping.

Time: 31 July 2020 05:30 PM London  31 July 2020, 06:30 PM CET

Join Zoom Meeting here

Meeting ID: 837 6434 9509 Password: 014638

Drawing from ideas related to preservation and nurturing of ecosystems, this collaborative work explores other knowledges, imagination and pathos as a way of resisting political dominant systems of thinking and feeling in relation to other species and the natural world. 

Loosely inspired by Citizen Science, modern psychology and Medieval manuscripts and the present predicament of species extinction, our collaboration addresses the relevance of preserving ecosystems of knowledges which require imaginative rigour, adventurous spirit and entanglements of love. 

This visual and audio guide is intended to be an explorative pursuit of trust, ethics and philosophical ideas of intra-species living and dying well. 

The title is inspired by the British Royal custom of collecting data from, and caring for, the swan population on the River Thames. This practice is called swan upping and it has been adopted by the Principate of Lorenzburg.

As contemporary royals, it is our intention to stimulate and promote cross species kindness and good stewardship of inner and outer worlds. 

We hope this guide is useful and inspiring to you.

Audio Guide Methodologies and Instructions

Spanish philosopher and environmentalist Jorge Riechman puts forward the idea that humans classify animals into concentric spheres of affection. Placing themselves in the middle of the inner group, humans allow into this sphere only certain animals, which they call pets. In this sphere the animals are invested with human emotions and they are looked after and cared for. This represents, according to Riechman, the endo-group. The next concentric sphere is where other animals, such as livestock, are placed, and this is the exo-group. In this group the animals are sometimes looked after but emotional bonds are not forged as the animals are used for profit. There is a third sphere, the outer-exo-group, in which humans place animals who are far removed emotionally. These animals are called pests and wildlife. 

In this collaboration we wish to expand and enrich Riechman’s ideas of endo and exo groups by suggesting that there exists another sphere created by human’s emotional needs, wishes and desires: the mythical creatures group which we call the mytho-group. 

The audio guide can help you to create spaces for intra-species empowerment and webs of emotional entanglements to occur. 

How to use this audio guide:

Please download the MP3 file to your mobile phone or computer. You can go for a walk in a nearby woods, beach or garden, find a safe space to sit down and listen to the audio. Alternatively, you can sit down in a comfortable armchair for the listening imaginative exercise. 

In this audio guide to your inner safari we will ask you to picture yourself in an imaginary inner circle. 

We will gently encourage you to remember the animals with whom you had an emotional attachment in your lifetime.

We will also ask you to picture animals you have seen, touched or smelled and place them in outer imaginary circles. 

Lastly we will ask you to imagine animals you have never seen. These will be pictured outside the imaginary circles. See image below for guidance. 

‘It matters what beings recognise beings’ 

Donna Haraway

Ideally, once you have done the exercise following the audio guide you will feel radically integrated with the other critters of this world and beyond. Please see image below for illustration.

If the desired effects escaped you, please repeat the process until integration is complete. You can listen to the guide as many times as you need for the integration to be achieved. 

Making kin. Making kind.

The background music used in this audio guide was produced by Scott Buckley and it is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

Swan Upping Audio Guide

Please download the accompanying visual material and questionnaire:

If you prefer, you can download the MP3 file to a smartphone or other device: