Who is Haruko?
This accord was developed by Haruko Okano as part of the Thread Artist Residency (funded by the Musagetes Foundation), in collaboration with the GTDF collective.
Haruko is an established visual and community artist and QiGong practitioner in what is currently known as Canada. Her accord is the invitation of an elder for us all to “grow up”.
What is the Accord?
This accord can be used for pedagogical and/or artistic collaborative processes that aim to interrupt harmful habits of being related to systemic, historical and on-going violence, and to patterns of unsustainability.
This accord centers the land-metabolism that we are part of, rather than human perceived entitlements for purpose, self-realization or meaning – as it calls us to engage in a collaborative effort to take responsibility for composting individual and collective “shit” together.
This accord is counter-intuitive because it tries to interrupt narcissistic, hedonistic and infantilizing patterns that have been normalized and naturalized within modernity. These patterns incapacitate us to address the unprecedented challenges ahead of us.
This accord asks us to agree to make time and space in our beings for uncertainty, for discomfort, for pain, for the unknown and the unknowable.
As we develop and sharpen existing radars for identifying and dismantling the colonial habits of being still within us, we will also commit to learn together ways in which we can recalibrate our vital compasses so that we can sense the direction towards composting ‘the shit’, individually and globally, and to pick up the signals of the metabolism guiding us back towards the reality and sense of entanglement.
For this process to begin to be possible, we will have to commit to renounce things that we carry that will block the way and prevent us from doing the work, such as:
- Our attachment to unrestricted autonomy and choice
- Our demands for validation, and individual self expression, authority and self authorship
- Our entitlements to consume knowledge, experiences and relationships
- Our tendency to try to adapt the world to fit our desire for control, pleasure and convenience
- The usual pattern of using collective time/space for processing individual responses based on insecurities, fears, projections, trauma-compensations, and self-pity, especially if you benefit structurally from violent and unsustainable systems.
We have the capacity to create a different way of wellbeing in relationship to this planet, other non-humans and other humans. But in our current habit of being, there are major denials that keep invisible the violence that is necessary for modernity’s continuity and the continuity of our current privileged way of life: denial of our continued complicity in the harm and violence in the world; denial of the unsustainability of our continued consumption and exploitation of others both human and non human; the denial of our entanglement with a broader bio metabolic intelligence; and the denial of the magnitude and depth of the problems we need to face together (problems that won’t be fixed with simplistic “feel good” approaches and solutions).
Our pleasures, securities and comforts work as a trap preventing us from noticing how our lives are dependent on slavery, colonialism and ecological destruction. The expropriation, dispossession, destitution and genocide are considered collateral damage for the progress and development that underwrite the livelihoods of those in the Global North and the North of the Global South (i.e. global middle and upper middle classes). Even, as we benefit from what is afforded by this project, like “natural resources”, we are also considered “human resources” for extraction and consumption. As the unsustainability of the system intensifies, no one is immune from being subject to the multiple dimensions of its violence.
A commitment to the interruption of harmful habits of being is similar to a commitment to running a marathon (as opposed to a sprint). It will require discipline, endurance, stamina, patience and humility. For a different relationship with the land, with each other and within ourselves to be established, it will require a rearrangement of desires in the intellect, the body, and the psyche/unconscious. It will require a recalibration of our vital compasses (our hearts) and our radars (our guts) away from separability and towards the individual and collective shit that needs to be composted so that it becomes new soil.
Consider this process as a practice of attention, intention and attunement with the wider living metabolism we are part of; like a doula assisting with both death and birth at the same time, whose work emanates visceral responsibility (before “choice”), genuine humility (without humiliation), generosity (that is not charity), compassion (that is not transactional), patience and accountability (that are not virtue-signalling) and surrender (of our self-images and ways of life) without collapse.
In practice, this accord may help you to:
- Stay with the trouble/the “shit storm”
(build stamina, resilience and endurance for the difficulties ahead)
- Connect dots within the “house modernity built”
(keep the bigger picture in view)
- Dig deeper into psycho-affective processes
(develop critical radars and self-reflexivity)
- Relate wider – beyond identity, knowledge and understanding
(deepen the practice of ethical solidarity)
- Layer / de-flatten your reality
(articulate and navigate internal and external complexities and paradoxes)
- Calibrate your vital compass towards radical tenderness
(find direction and energy for the long haul)