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The evolution of a thought about courage

kin’d & kin’d

Our project is an exploration of the idea of courage in the Anthropocene. Our interest in this developed from our earlier study of the work of Jorie Graham, an American eco-poet, whose most recent collection addresses an apocalyptic near-future (2040), and for whom courage has superseded notions of hope. ‘What do you think your strength is for—’ the speaker asks in the poem ‘Day’. Donna Haraway has used the term ‘heart’ or ‘hearting’ instead of hope – the word courage comes from the Latin cor, for heart. As kin’d & kin’d, we are always concerned to work outward towards the non-human. This is not easy with such a human concept as courage. However, we have adopted a methodology which includes interaction with the natural world and a focus on materiality, to which end we are making an artwork, the details of which we do not wish to reveal as the presentation of the final piece will involve other members of NSOTA, some of whom have contributed their ideas about courage.

Our research has been varied and indirect – including for example reading Monica Gagliano’s Thus Spoke the Plant, Kathleen Dean Moore’s Great Tide Rising: towards clarity and moral courage in a time of planetary change, Merleau-Ponty’s late essay on visibility and invisibility and some work by Karen Barad. We have also attended a conference on courage, this year’s theme at the Royal Society of Arts (RSA), and are inspired by the evident courage of the artists, academics and activists who have contributed to NSOTA’s programme this year.


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