with/out modernity cards

This deck of cards offers questions and invitations related to affective and relational work “within” and “gesturing out of” (with/out) modernity.

The cards were created for the congress2019 subvention “with/out modernity” from 2 to 6 June 2019 at UBC.

Download the instructions for the cards and card reading suggestions here.

Order a deck here. Please check the full content of the deck below.

Sketches 11 (3)

Card Reading Suggestions

Self-reflexivity A: Shuffle the cards, take one card and reflect on what it says in relation to how you are feeling, thinking and/or relating at the moment. What is the card inviting you to do? How can the card be read in multiple ways?

Self-reflexivity B: Check where you are now in terms of your state of being (e.g. hopes, fears, aspirations, anxieties, etc.), take three cards representing past (where you are coming from), present (where you are at) and future (where you are going). What do the cards show in relation to your journey? How could the same cards be read differently?

Political/existential questions A: Check where you are now in terms of your state of being (e.g. hopes, fears, aspirations, anxieties, etc.), formulate a question. Take five cards representing past (where you are coming from), present (where you are at), future (where you are going), below (what is hidden) and above (what you are being shown). How do the cards contribute to your re-interpretation of the context where your question emerged from? Has your question changed as a result?

Political/existential questions B: Separate the six different suits. Formulate a question individually or as a group. Take one card from each suit/pile and place the cards around the question. Are there any resonances between the different suits in relation to your question? How can the cards be read differently? How do the cards contribute to your re-interpretation of the context where your question emerged from? Has your question changed as a result?

Relationships A: Shuffle the cards. In pairs or individually, take one card representing the first person in the relationship, one card representing the second person and one card representing the dynamic of the relationship. What are the cards showing about this relationship? How can these insights help each person grow and the relationship to deepen? If there is a conflict, what needs to happen next for the relationship to move to a more generative space?

Relationships B: Shuffle the cards. In individually, in pairs or as a group take one card for each person involved plus three cards representing: the past foundation of the relationship, the present state of the relationship and the looming future of the relationship. What insights have you gained about how to move differently together? If there is a conflict, what needs to happen next for the relationship to move to a more generative space?

Deepening self-knowledge: Shuffle the cards. Individually or in groups, take 7 cards representing: the current situation, current challenges, strengths, weaknesses, what to focus on now, what to focus on in the future, opportunities. What the cards show you about your medicine and the contributions you can make to the world?

You are responsible for finding your medicine (which is not usually what we want or enjoy doing, but what others find extremely useful for the balance and wellbeing of the whole collective metabolism). The next step is to “cook” it: learn as much as you can about it (what it is for, how it can be toxic, how much is enough). You are also responsible for learning how to offer it with humility and how to integrate it with other medicines. Therefore, you will need to experiment A LOT and learn to learn quickly from your failures.

Card Questions

There are 55 cards organized around 6 suits of 9 cards each + a joker:

  • 9 long-haul questions cards
  • 9 hard(ish) questions cards
  • 9 with/out modernity cards
  • 9 invitation cards
  • 9 responsibility cards
  • 9 fragility cards

Long haul questions
How can we open and hold space for metabolic intelligence?

  1. How can we hospice a dying way of knowing/being and assist with the birth of something new, still fragile, undefined and potentially (but not necessarily) wiser?
  2. How can we tap the possibilities that are viable but unintelligible within the dominant paradigm (what most people consider impossible)?
  3. How can we engage and be taught by different systems of knowledge and being, while remaining (a)cutely aware of their gifts, limitations, and contradictions, as well as our own mis-interpretations and potential for appropriation?
  4. How can we face and start to heal our collective pain without guilt, shame and drama? What could enable us to compost our individual and collective/historical “shit”?
  5. Who are we beyond our perceived identities and self-images? How can we learn to form relationships that are not dependent on convictions, knowledge, identity or understanding?
  6. What could help us not turn our backs to the violence that keeps the current systems in place and that underwrites our livelihoods?
  7. How can we respect the pace and readiness of people’s learning while being accountable to those negatively affected by this learning and its pace?
  8. What can activate a sense of care and responsibility towards everything that overrides indifference, self-interest and categories of thought?
  9. What could help us decolonize our hopes and dreams? How can we honor our yearning for wholeness and connection without feeding our desires for certainty, order, continuity, validation, and control?


Hard(ish) questions
How do we not lose sight of what we don’t want to see? What is what you are doing really doing? What colonial affective investments could be directing your thoughts and actions? In what ways do you account for the unconscious in your practice?

  1. What fears, perceptions, projections, desires and expectations could be informing (consciously and unconsciously) what you are doing/thinking? How may these things be affecting your relationships in negative ways?
  2. What cultural ignorances do you continue to embody and what social tensions are you failing to recognize?
  3. What problems do your solutions reproduce or generate?
  4. How can being overwhelmed and disillusioned be productive?
  5. What do you expect, what are you afraid of, what prompts defensiveness? Who is this about?
  6. What truths are you not ready, willing, or able to speak or to hear? What fantasies/delusions are you attached to?
  7. Where are you stuck? What is keeping you there? How can you distinguish between distractions and the work that needs to be done?
  8. What do you need to give up or let go of in order to go deeper? What is preventing you from being present and listening deeply without fear and without projections?
  9. Who defines what is right, in whose name, for whose benefit and how come? How can ‘right’ be understood differently?

with/out cards
What do we need to let go in order to open possibilities that are viable, but unimaginable within modernity?

  1. How can we face the end of the world with/out despair?
  2. How can we unfold existence with/out separability?
  3. How can we manifest ethics with/out normativity?
  4. How can we imagine education with/out the European enlightenment?
  5. How can we mobilize politics with/out the modern nation state?
  6. How can we materialize welfare with/out capitalism… or socialism?
  7. How can we engage the imagination with/out the intellect?
  8. How can we face humanity with/out the human versus inhuman dichotomy?
  9. How can we offer critique with/out self-righteousness, redemptive narratives or virtuous protagonism?

invitation cards
How can we learn to decenter, to disarm and to discern?

  1. random invitation to decenter and disarm
  2. random invitation to declutter your existence
  3. random invitation to shed your arrogance and poop your vanity
  4. random invitation to see yourself as cute and pathetic
  5. random invitation to center the land and enable it to dream through you
  6. random invitation to develop stamina to deal with “shit”
  7. random invitation to trust what is guiding the process without shedding responsibility
  8. random invitation to face complicity in harm with integrity and without defensiveness
  9. random invitation to embrace the whole of humanity (the good, the bad, the ugly and the broken) within yourself

responsibility cards
How can we activate a sense of responsibility “before will”?

  1. this is a call to relational responsibility
  2. this is a call to trans-local responsibility
  3. this is a call to pluri-vocal responsibility
  4. this is a call to intergenerational responsibility
  5. this is a call to self-reflexive responsibility
  6. this is a call to improvisational responsibility
  7. this is a call to attunement responsibility
  8. this is a call to metabolic responsibility
  9. this is a call to composting responsibility

Fragility cards
How can we stop insecurities and projections from limiting possibilities? What underlying attachments may be directing your thinking, actions and relationships? How do we learn to surrender perceived entitlements and underlying desires that become a barrier to our ability to have difficult conversations and go into difficult spaces together? [These are desires that move people away from the discomfort of staying with the troubles and difficulties of death/rebirth / this suit aims to develop negative capability defined as the capacity of “being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason‟]

  1. In what ways could you be operating from desires for certainty, coherence and/or control?
  2. In what ways could you be operating from a desire for affirmation or validation?
  3. In what ways could you be operating from a desire for simple/simplistic solutions?
  4. In what ways could you be operating from an urgency for “moving forward”?
  5. In what ways could you be operating from a desire for purity and innocence?
  6. In what ways could you be operating from a desire for placating conflict (deflection)?
  7. In what ways could you be operating from an assumption of self-transparency (that you can see yourself objectively)?
  8. In what ways could you be operating from deep seated insecurities?
  9. In what ways could you be operating from the body memory of traumatic experiences?

Joker – boxhead

How can we be taught by/at the limits of modernity within us? The joker invites you to:

  1. Identify the pattern of reasoning, shed the villains, heroes and deserving victims story
  2. Learn through paradoxes and contradictions
  3. Invite the divine, erotic, aesthetic, hilarious, ludic, other-than-human, to re-draw with/through you



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