I’m a doctoral student in the School of Geography at the University of Oxford. My research attends to three related sets of issues: (1) the geographies and genealogies of aesthetic experimentation, (2) the practices and logics of these experiments and (3) the ethico-political potential of these spaces. It is hoped a set of empirical research encounters (an assemblage of field-sites/ interventions/ collaborations) with various sites, spaces and practices will have inventive conceptual effects.

I’m inspired by a number of geographers and the philosophical lineages they draw upon. I’m thinking of, in particular, the work of Nigel Thrift, and his project of non-representational theory. This body of work ranges across a variety of spaces in which politics and the political unfold, questioning why only certain ways of knowing the world count. Theory as modest supplement to practice. The work of the philosophers Brian Massumi and Erin Manning have been very important to me, and I often return to Massumi’s book: Parables for the Virtual. Furthermore, the writings of Félix Guattari and Isabelle Stengers often figure large in my own thinking.

For me, the term resilience has the potential to be more productive than that of resistance. Although I can only just about remember the days when I enrolled on an optional course of ‘Plant Ecology’, a quick look at my faithful Dictionary of Physical Geography tells me that the term has often been associated with ecological stability. Here it is defined as the ability of a system to recover to its original state, following a disturbance. I think this is partly what it evokes for me. But I might re-word it. Resilience is the capacity to re-invent; to cultivate different ways of living in an ever-changing world. To paraphrase Beckett: we must go on, we can't go on, we'll go on.

Personal resilience is about … being able to turn a set-back into an opportunity. If, as according to Bruno Latour, the social is not a special domain or a particular thing, but associations then …

Social resilience is about … searching for traces of those associations that endure and trying to learn why.

Planetary resilience is … perhaps closer to the notion of resilience that can be found in the Dictionary: recovery from disturbance. Whilst there are perhaps various modes of resilience, I wonder if these might not map on to scalar imaginations. They may instead be of different intensities, shapes and forms.

Anything which makes me feel or think differently gives me hope for the future. This is not necessarily about shock and/or surprise, it could be a small story or an unorthdox description or turn of phrase. I think Luminous Green is an event infused with an ethos of hope.

I appreciated the atmosphere of the event, its textures and tones. I appreciated the encouragement of: further questions, of co-fabricating these questions, and of not necessarily needing (or having) answers. I was surprised by the number of interested and interesting participants, as well as the intimacy generated by such a gathering. I certainly think it’ll be hard to look at a jacuzzi in the same way again!

There was such a panoply of projects that it was impossible to keep track of them all. However, I remember one statement, or proposition, which I started to notice as a refrain for the gathering: pruning. I think this resonates with some of the words that have already cropped up so far: re-invention, re-imagining, re-assembling. One outcome of attending Luminous Green has been a set of writings that will contribute to and animate my current research. I hope too that it will not only be a product but have encouraged me to think more carefully about resilience, about gatherings and about different approaches to sharing.

A Luminous Green community might provide thinking-spaces for imaging, performing and folding different temporalities. It might be a platform for sharing techniques, for becoming more resilient and for speculation on futures. I would be willing to share my thoughts, readings, writings and a spare bed.

I wonder if rather than inviting another person to the next Luminous Green, we might instead – each of us – attempt to host a gathering of a similar ethos. This would be a distributed event, affording the chance for us to share the notions of resilience, of luminosity, of future re-enactments, with a wider range of audiences. There need not be a template; instead Luminous Green would multiply, mutate and perhaps exceed what we thought it could or should be.

Resilience is street-wise (I’m taking that to mean practical) because imagining the future is part of bringing that future about. And it’s cool because thinking resilience (not about resilience) is exciting and liberating. It’s a chance to re-invent yourself and others. And isn’t that what all teenagers want?

I think the biggest challenge would be agreeing upon what a singular Luminous Green future might be like (it could be very hard to formulate policy for a large number, let alone multiplicity, of futures). Other challenges relate to whom and what is luminous, along with which understanding of resilience is embraced.

S/he should be an anti-hero of sorts: not particularly heroic nor noble but quite ordinary. Their abilities might number (and this would not need to be exclusive or exhaustive): an insatiable interest in the world, an openness to different views and opinions, and an enjoyment of conversation. Preferably s/he would have an inventive and proliferating imagination, along with an ability to (attempt to) express these in a variety of forms. S/he should be able to learn from their mistakes, and yet not let the fear of failure hold them back. Whilst perhaps not characteristic of the superheroes we read about or see on the screen, that these attributes are rather mundane is inclusive.

  • luminous/interview_thomas.txt
  • Last modified: 2022-07-19 09:04
  • by maja