November 20, 2013


In the beginning, I adored. What I adored was human[imal]. (Cixous and Jenson, 1991, p. 1)

Tap, tap, tap; light. He was born.

Tap, tap, tap; dark. He was gone.

Gone only because he was a he. His voice, his colour, his irrepressible urge to address the morning sun. There were three he’s this weekend. Three brothers. Having made the mistake of hearing the names others called them made not the knife sharper but the cut deeper. Knowing what is to be next is sometimes not the advantage we hope it to be.

Twenty seven years of disconnection from my hum[animal]. Leaning over him, I realise my own ecological boredom. I meet you not with shame; my ecology, but only guilt in hoping to resurrect the forests in which we once roamed. I celebrate you and your return to soil, as I know one day I shall return and meet you there.

For I have wandered so far from that which is myself, my wild imprudence.

Summer houses, old timber apple boxes and pre washed denim. Give me the seasons and strike the trees with twelve colours of wind as they wash away their leaves.


Although the modern home is ideologically constructed as independent and disconnected from natural processes, its function is heavily dependent upon its material connections to these very processes which are mediated through a series of networks and social power relations. (Kaika, 2004, p. 275)

I shout this truth of modern human[imal]s. We (a reluctant membership) have constructed a sly independence and disconnected ourselves from natural processes. We have removed ourselves from the ecosystems that have governed evolution, excitement and ecology. Our function however remains heavily dependent upon material connections  to these very processes which are removed by a sweeping, brushing Victorian ideal of the modern city.

An unexpected consequence of our drive to the pristine in city design, where it has been achieved, is a strange creeping level of boredom, numbness, and a pathology of disconnectedness. (Monbiot, 2013, p. 77)


I stare down the feral frontiers. The stewardship, no, celebration of productive ecosystems in urban environments. The urban shepherd. The beginnings of a trans-species urban theory that would welcome human and hum[animals] onto the same plane. I worked for a year to bring chickens into my backyard. A childhood memory of “blacky and ginger” an unclear number of generations of two laying hens my of my childhood. Fresh eggs in the morning, eyes on the garden, a step towards nourishment, internal and external.

Everyone is nourished and augmented by the other. (Cixous and Jenson, 1991, p. 42)

One can emerge from death. I believe, only with an irrepressible burst of laughter. (Cixous and Jenson, 1991, p. 41)

We shared laughter and nourishment. A christmas feeling, but more. They first meal in my twenty seven years of never going hungry that I had a natural relationship with.

I fed, raised, housed, held, cut, cleaned and ate. Nourished and augmented. Changed. I do not revel in my omnivorous feeling, nor in the knowledge of gender marking an early exit for a hum[animal] I worked so hard to know. However it took one foot from the pavement and placed it more comfortably into the forest.

If you die, live. (Cixous and Jenson, 1991, p. 8)



: : what you can’t have, what you can’t touch, smell, caress, you should at least try to see (Cixous and Jenson, 1991, p. 4)

: : If you die, live. (Cixous and Jenson, 1991, p. 8)

: : So I’ll take all your books. But the cathedrals I’ll leave behind. (Cixous and Jenson, 1991, p. 12)

: : fall asleep a mouse and wake up an eagle! (Cixous and Jenson, 1991, p. 11)

: : Let yourself go! Let go of everything! Lose everything! Take to the air. Take to the open sea. Take to letters. Listen: nothing is found. Nothing is lost. Everything remains to be sought. Go, fly, swim, bound, descend, cross, love the unknown, love the uncertain, love what has not yet been seen, love no one, whom you are, whom you will ever be, leave yourself, shrug off the old lies, dare what you don’t dare, it is there that you will take pleasure, never make your here anywhere but there, and rejoice in the terror, follow it where you’re afraid to go, go ahead, take the plunge, you’re on the right trail! Listen: you owe nothing to the past, you owe nothing to the law. Gain your freedom: get rid of everything, vomit up everything, do you hear me? All of it! Give up your goods. Done? Don’t keep anything; whatever you value, give it up. Are you with me? Seach yourself, seek out the shattered, the multiple I, that you will be still further on, and emerge from one self, shed the old body, shake off the Law. Let if fall with all its weight, and you, take off, don’t turn back: it is not worth it, there’s nothing behind you, everything is yet to come. (Cixous and Jenson, 1991, p. 40)

: : Live! Risk: those who risk nothing gain nothing, risk and you no longer risk anything. (Cixous and Jenson, 1991, p. 41)

: : everyone is nourished and augmented by the other. (Cixous and Jenson, 1991, p. 42)


Atkins, P. (2012). Animal cities. Farnham Surrey: Ashgate.

Braun, B. (2006) Toward a new earth and a new humanity: nature, ontology, politics, p.191-222 in Castree, N. and Gregory, D. (Eds) David Harvey: a critical reader. Oxford: Blackwell

Castree, N. and Gregory, D. (2006). David Harvey. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub..

Cixous, H. and Jenson, D. (1991). Coming to writing and other essays. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Jones, O. (2009) Nature-Culture in R. Kitchen and N. Thrift (eds.), International Encyclopaedia of Geography, London. Elsevier, Vol 7: 309-323.

Kaika, M. (2004). Interrogating the geographies of the familiar: domesticating nature and constructing the autonomy of home. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 28

Monbiot, G. (2013). Feral. London: Allen Lane.


– I enjoyed this.


2 Responses to “[imal][imal]”

  1. nicoleguo Says:

    “what you can’t have, what you can’t touch, smell, caress, you should at least try to see.” What if I am blind and can’t see anything? Just exist. Being an existence of human[imal] is enough. I still remember how much I was moved by your article when you finished reading it. Too beautiful.


  2. Matilda Schuman Says:

    Just some minutes after the seminar I still feel moved by your text. First of all because it was so beautifully written. How you constructed the text, the words you have chosen and of course the content. Everything sums up to something that touched me, what touched me the most I don’t know.

    Ok, time to be constructive: I also think a lot about our connection to nature and I am a bit worried about that sustainability today is mostly considered a technical issue; something that can be “solved” with technical solutions and improvement.

    I think this is mainly wrong. Technical solutions could be one thing among others, but not what will save us. I think we need to reconsider a lot of the near past and presents “thruths” and combine it with knowledge we now have. We can’t just install a FEX-ventilation system and live on as we are used to.

    But how are we going to make this change?

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