“This, then, is the central paradox: wilderness embodies a dualistic vision in which the human is entirely
outside the natural. If we allow ourselves to believe that nature, to be true, must also be wild, then our very presence in nature represents its fall. The place where we are is the place where nature is not. If this is so—if by definition wilderness leaves no place for human beings, save perhaps as contemplative sojourners enjoying their leisurely reverie in God's natural cathedral—then also by definition it can offer no solution to the environmental and other problems that confront us. To the extent that we celebrate wilderness as the measure
with which we judge civilization, we reproduce the dualism that sets humanity and nature at opposite poles. We thereby leave ourselves little hope of discovering what an ethical, sustainable, honorable human place in nature might actually look like.”

“Calling a place home inevitably means that we will use the nature we find in it, for there can be no escape
from manipulating and working and even killing some parts of nature to make our home. But if we
acknowledge the autonomy and otherness of the things and creatures around us--an autonomy our culture has
taught us to label with the word 'wild'—then we will at least think carefully about the uses to which we put
them, and even ask if we should use them at all.”

“If wildness can stop being (just) out there and start being (also) in here, if it can start being as humane as it is
natural, then perhaps we can get on with the unending task of struggling to live rightly in the world—not just
in the garden, not just in the wilderness, but in the home that encompasses them both.”

From: “The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature” by William Cronon.
Uncommon Ground: Toward Reinventing Nature, William Cronon, editor. 1995

“The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getti…

➨ From the scale of living bodies, to landmasses, and even on a planetary one – our world is saturated with processes and relations that are exhausting. This exhaustion is consequential; we glamorise producing but overlook the exhaustion and even fatigue that might follow it. The social and political pressure on maintaining a constant production comes at a price: perpetual work, overproduction, and as a result, consuming precarious bodies and other planetary resources.

➧ In addition to this perpetual exhaustion as a result of (over)productivity, exhaustion comes as a consequence of unjust sociopolitical and economic orders that prioritise it. It is for these reasons that ideas and practices of ‘comfort’ are crucial in imagining a different future world. We feel the need to investigate comfort in a way that goes beyond constructed and capitalist ideas; comfort is more than just the process of rejuvenation for the purpose of maintaining a certain level of productivity. Therefore, imagining other conceptions of comfort means imagining different sociopolitical orders and ways of performing in the world; it is a practice with political urgency.

➠ Both exhaustion and ‘comfort’ can be understood as states, performances, landscapes, and conditions that constantly shape our understandings of the world around us – they all influence the ways in which we inhabit, and make space in it.

➟ Within this world, ‘home’ is a locus of various dimensions of living practices. On the one hand home is a space of production of work, experiencing exhaustion and fatigue, and resting of the (tired) bodies. On the other hand home stands for ideas and forms of inhabiting the world. In short, home can be seen as a landscape where exhaustion and comfort are entangled together.

➞ The collective project Fictioning Comfort includes works that take an urgent socio-political stance by fictioning ideas and practices of ‘comfort’. This is done by way of spatial installation, body performance, historical research, science fiction, image making, resource redistribution, extending kinships, and humor.

➛ ➜ ➔ ➝ ➞ ➟ ➠ ➧ ➨ The offline part of Fictioning Comfort is on view at MAMA's Showroom until 13 September, 2020.

Fictioning Comfort
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