The second Dust & Shadow reader, a publication in the form of a commonplace book (also available in pdf format).

The Dust & Shadow reader #2 explores attunement as a proposition for engaging with the world, Earth-bound environments and their inhabitants, in a continuously changing field of relationships.

Attunement suggests a willingness to be touched by external circumstances, to be lured, affected and changed by them. Attuning to another being or situation invokes a particular sensitivity — receptive and curious, careful and attentive. A deliberately hesitant engagement with other entities on their own terms, from quivering butterfly wings to earth-shattering volcanoes. A kind of “ecological intimacy”.

Engaging with worlds by attuning to their patterns, dissonances and resonances may seem unnecessarily slow or ambiguous when faced with the complex urgency of our times. True, attunement may not provide a “way out” of contemporary troubles, but perhaps finding a way out is impossible. Instead, attunement offers a “way in” to deeper and closer connections with life, in all of its nuances and intricacies.

Attuning awakens our innate capacity for engaged noticing and responding in kind. Through practices of attunement we may rediscover an ability for subtle responsiveness that lies waiting in a world dominated by opinions, judgements and binary certainties. An entry point into meaningful relationships beyond established modes of communication. Bodies changing posture in response to a punch or an embrace. Languages mimicking their native landscapes. Tuning instruments, machines or brainwaves. The small acts of care between a humans and insects, humans and stones, rain and desert. Attunement accepts human interdependence with the planet as a given. It reminds us that a mutualistic or symbiotic state of being in the world is not only possible but already present.

The motley collection of textual and visual excerpts in this reader offers glimpses of attunement from different perspectives, including ecological, technological, animist, transhumanist, artistic, scientific and philosophical points of view. The various perspectives present in the reader suggest a range of different ways of attuning to the wider (and wider-than-human) world. Some are intimate accounts of personal experiences, others present a more theoretical inclination. Some offer imaginative prompts, others concrete exercises. The reader hints at attunement as a way to mitigate the effects of environmental and cultural turbulence. It also invites us to experiment with attunement to reinvigorate our relationships with an uncertain present and unknowable futures.

Sources of quotes and citations can be found on the bibliography page.


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“I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams…”

Antoine De Saint-Exupery


Dust & Shadow Reader #2

CC-BY-SA March 02019
Design FoAM (Earth) http://fo.am
Editors Maja Kuzmanovic, Nik Gaffney, Ron Broglio, Adam Nocek
Supported by ASU, Global Institute of Sustainability