Residing in What Is Coming Undone

By Edith Brunette &
François Lemieux
Introduction to the publication Going to, Making Do, Passing Just the Same

“Whether we are, indeed, witnessing and participating in the speedy destruction of our living environments can hardly be denied anymore, except perhaps by those lobbyists and naysayers for whom the world—as profit—lies elsewhere. To counter the threat of this catastrophe depleting our political imaginary, we can take hold of it to reinvent how we live and open the way to transformation. But the question remains: where—by what—does one begin grasping a deliquescent world?
        In response to such a far-reaching question, we wish to propose a shift in scale, directing attention to what’s below our feet and between our fingers, one step and one handful of earth at a time. Turning to this, the earliest of gestures, allows us to further sharpen the question: how do we inhabit a world made inhospitable? Neither globalist nor individualist, inhabiting brings planetary disaster’s incommensurable politics back to the level of uses—to what is nearest to us yet always in correspondence. The issue here is not to outlive the world’s devastation in an everyone-for-themselves sort of way that leads to even less presence, but rather to experience it. To inhabit is to grasp where we live with our entire bodies, short of any territorial or identitarian claim of possession. ‘Habitation,’ writes Dalie Giroux, ‘is the poietic, lived and imagined extension of what we make and what makes our living. It is the imprint of our imagination, the way we constitute ourselves.’ No being exists independently of the place it is connected to, a place that we understand here as relational and shifting, and which ‘releases the spatial from the realm of the dead.’”