In my current practice-led research, I am developing a method of visiting objects and exploring everyday use as an encounter. I borrow the term ‘visiting’ from Donna Haraway’s description of Vinciane Despret’s approach in her ethological work, in which she listens to and imaginatively ‘visits’ the perspective of animals and people to incorporate them into the formulation of scientific enquiries in a way that allows her to think-with them. My research is interested in what ontological and epistemological possibilities can emerge when this is applied to our relations with everyday objects, reading this attunement through the lens of the Heideggerian encounter. This dubitative approach begins to unpick the implied hierarchies of use – in which one thing/body is purposed to serve another – to suggest collaborative potentials, sensually stepping sideways from what Ahmed terms “instrumental rationality”, while questioning the grounding of use-value in the fulfilment of human need. Not solely an intellectual exercise, this frames art as a daily practice, capable of quietly unfolding and practising our way into more receptive and attuned ways of relating: with object and self, through to plant, animal and human.
Visiting the cup
Visiting the discarded rake