You're just cutting through Ropewalks square, avoiding the scooters and the smokers from the hair salon. You're on your way to check out the new exhibition at FACT, when something hits your face.
As it touches your skin, you see grids and grids of faces flash in front of you. The teenagers are growing up before your eyes, the adults looking confused, then laughing, then posing like animals. You're back on Ropewalks square. Your fingertips feel the grain of the paper as you refocus.
You realize it's a flyer about another FACT [[artwork]]. You walk through town, it feels like a LOT of people, it's nice to see young people and life, but it's a bit overwhelming.
You make your way to the pier head.
You look down to the waves crashing against the dock walls, you slowly fall into a trance... The waves sound like people talking...
[[Focus on the sounds of the waves for a minute|River Mersey]]
[[Get right on the ferry]] You get on the 487 at Sir Thomas street, it's still strange getting on a bus after all this time.
There's a couple of middle aged mystic scousers standing by the stairs, proud of defying the system by not wearing their masks... as if they've broken the matrix. You squeeze past them, holding your breath, and find a set near the back.
As you cross the tunnel underneath the Mersey, the wind through one of the open windows carries a lovely voice.
Do you [[listen in]]?
Do you [[zone out until you get to Neston|arrive in neston]]? It sounds like...a bumblebee!
Tired from flying, it takes a rest on your shoulder. As if the little insect was your best friend, it starts sharing its problems with you...
"I'm fumin' mate. I was flying along through the bluebells minding my own business (trying to score some pollen) when I heard laughter. I landed on a stone slab with some writing on it so I could see what the fuss was about, when I noticed the two humans were pointing at me! They were saying they didn’t know how I could fly because I’m so fat and my wings are so tiny. I was shocked and appalled at this behaviour, lockdowns have been hard on all our waistlines! I flew over and demanded to see their manager but they just walked off. How very rude."
You are surprised, but your body decides not to show any kind of reaction to the strange happening. After all, you have somewhere to get to, and you have enough stuff going on through your head - you'll process this encounter at a later date.
Oh look, it's your stop, quick [[ring the bell|arrive in neston]]. You hear Gerry sing as you ride the ferry across the Mersey.
You used to find it total cringe, but it's making your heart sing today. It's been a long year. You close your eyes and feel the sun warming up your skin.
You made it to the Wirral!
You notice a spider dangling from a web built in a corner by the ferry port door. [[Do you take a closer look at the spider]]? or look around for the nearest cab and ask the driver to [[take you to Neston|arrive in neston]].
The Voice lifts from the waves and you feel it loud and clear inside your body:
"Yeah, you probably recognise me from Insta, it’s me, the River Mersey. Humans always want a picture with me, maybe that's why I’m the Champion of the Natural Features Folk. We’re the people you humans take completely for granted, the rivers, hills, rocks, streams and beaches that make up Liverpool.
Can you imagine Liverpool without me?
Or without the hills up to Hope Street or Everton Brow?
We, Non Humans, are everywhere."
[[Can you think of any more natural features around here?]]
The Mersey keeps on talking:
"Look around, you will feel streams running below your feet, you'll see ponds, lakes, rocks and quarries, forests and out there the sea. Do you worry that humans aren’t treating the earth below your feet in the way that you should?"
[[Yes, I worry about the Liverpool landscape sometimes.|i worry]]
[[No, I don't even think about the Liverpool landscape.|best get a move on then]]
The Mersey keeps on talking:
(text-colour:cyan)+(background:navy)[Look around, you will feel streams running below your feet, you'll see ponds, lakes, rocks and quarries, forests and out there the sea. Do you worry that humans aren’t treating the earth below your feet in the way that you should?]
[[Yes, I worry about the Liverpool landscape sometimes.|i worry]]
[[No, I don't even think about the Liverpool landscape.|best get a move on then]]You walk into the Harp Inn pub, it's half full with mostly walkers rewarding themselves with a pint and some chips. There are some families with parents desperate to hand toddlers over to Grandparents and daytime drinkers making up for lost time.
You notice it's 4.45pm, you know you're late, but still, you walk up to the bar and ask [[Is Jack Tan here?]]You wonder if lockdown has finally gotten to you and you have completely lost it. RIVERS CAN'T SPEAK!
[[Get right on the ferry]] (text-colour:cyan)+(background:navy)[It's good to know you care... You should meet artist Jack Tan, friend of the Non Human Folks...]
The mention of the artist wakes you up from your dream like conversation with the river. You better catch that ferry if you want to make it in time!
[[Get right on the ferry]].
'No' The barmaid explained, while expertly pouring a pint.
'You've missed him, he said he was going to the Red Lion with that lot from FACT, you might [[catch him there]]'. You look around Neston. The place looks exactly as you remember it, like nothing has happened in the Paradise Peninsula.
As you approach the pub, the green grass of Park Fields appears in front of you. You can't explain what you're feeling, but the park is calling for you.
Go for [[a walk in Park Fields]]?
Go to the [[harp inn pub]]?
You went for a walk in the park and noticed some nonhumans - you must have had a sign stuck in your back that says 'free therapy for non-humans', because all of them jumped at you and started to unload their darkest troubles without any notice.
You open your eyes and you're back in that moment.
The stream flowing next to you aches - 'I am a stream in Sefton Park and two youths have just come along and thrown a shopping trolley into me. I look a bit like that painting (Monet water lilies with dumped trolley) that Banksy has just sold for £7.5 million but that is no consolation'.
A rock by the path exclaimed - 'A rather nice dalmatian was walking past, with its owner but off the lead, when it decided to poo on me! The owner completely ignored this and instead of picking the faeces up, as required by law, just carried on walking'.
Aware of the strange deja vu, you are presented with two options:
Do you decide to go to the [[Harp Inn Pub|harp inn pub]], meet everyone again and hear their conversations.
Do you decide to stick around, and pay some attention to the non-humans...
You slow your pace enjoying a bit of people watching, young men washing their cars, kids playing on front lawns, dogs walking with their owners past perfectly manicured hedges.
Each house is expensive enough to look a bit different to the ones next to it.
The heat from the sun is dying down now.
You walk up to the door of the Red Lion Pub.
There is a flower box in front of the window you're looking through, the [[Tulip has taken a battering]].
A group of people breaking into laughter as you enter. You wonder what is so funny and try to listen to their conversation.
'That is amazing!' exclaims a man sat in the middle of a small group. He's quite broad, in a jumper and a checked shirt, Burberry country style. They're all looking at him as he's trying to get more of a story out of the woman sitting opposite him. 'No, no, no, I can't,' rejects the woman, adamant.
A tall skinny knackered looking guy get's up.
'Your round Candy Candy,' The woman tells him, changing the subject.
'Ok Jack, what are you drinking?'
Did the tall guy say 'Jack'?
[[Hia, are you Jack Tan]]? you ask, getting the flyer out of your pocket. 'Yes, that is me,' he says, surprised, as you wave the flyer in front of his face. 'Oh, no way! Where did you get that?' the tall gentleman, Neil Winterburn who is FACT's Learning Technologist and a participatory media artist, says while excitedly pointing at the flyer.
You say you found the flyer while wandering through Liverpool.
'That doesn't surprise me, it's been one of those days. We were just saying it feels like anything could happen, you know? Come have a drink with us. This is the FACT team, we just met up for the first time in real life, so we're just getting used to each other'. Jack Tan explained to you kindly.'We were talking about a LOT of things!' he is really chuffed there is someone else to share his amusement with.
[[smile and nod, not sure what you're supposed to say|go on then]]
Say [[go on then!|go on then]]? 'We've been talking about the project you've got the flyer for, 'Learning
Nonhuman', so we've just spent the past 6 months getting a group of teenagers and over 60's to think like nonhumans. Then we got the whole of the FACT staff to play it and now they're using it to write their Environmental Policy'. The woman, Lucía Arias who is FACT's Learning Manager, asks: "What do you want to do?"
"Do you want to go for a walk to look at the birds on the saltmarsh and [[learning to negotiate the more-than-human in artistic practice]]?"
"Or we could stay for a pint and talk about [[how learning can be presented as art]]."
"Or we could go for a game of pool and talk about [[how institutions learn]]."
'We've been talking about the project you've got the flyer for, 'Learning
Nonhuman', so we've just spent the past 6 months getting a group of teenagers and over 60's to think like nonhumans. Then we got the whole of the FACT staff to play it and now they're using it to write their Environmental Policy'.
The woman, Lucía Arias who is FACT's Learning Manager, asks: "What do you want to do?"
Do you want to go for a walk to look at the birds on the saltmarsh and [[talk about Jack's art practice| jacks decolonial practice]]?
Or we could stay for a pint and talk about [[how learning can be presented as art]].
Or we could go for a game of pool and talk about [[how institutions learn]]. ''Neil:'' So, it feels like we've been through this journey for the past so many years of getting to the point where the institution has learned to understand how artwork made with participants can be shown in the gallery. But the scaffold we have needed to support that institutional learning is the artwork having a slick-end-product kind of 'finish'. So, it feels like this is the next step for this learning team and our institutional learning, is to work out how to present an artwork made through a learning process with a different kind of form and 'finish'".
''Lucía:'' I think FACT is in a very good moment. Lots of people have worked so much for this: articulating the work, creating a space for growth. In an organization of our size, if you have separate Artistic and Learning Programmes, learning tends to become this separate, parallel space. But if you make it part of the core programme, that gives us a curatorial space, we are not here to do these 'other things'. Sometimes people are surprised by it being part of the artistic programme because of the programme being so big, but it really works.
[[You lean in|Lucía on gallery education]]Lucía is eyeing up the pool table suspiciously, 'Why do they put these things in bars?' she asks.
"It's to help us awkward English people have something to talk about for the first few pints." Says Neil "Want a game?"
Neil's trying to remember to rack up, "It's something to do with making a 'c' shape out of the red balls"
"I think I remember, can I try?' Says Jack.
You realise you need the loo. As you head to the toilet, you look out of the window and see a tiny field mouse. Do you want to [[watch it some more]]?
Jack sets up the triangle and takes a shot, potting the white ball, he looks to you, shrugging and smiling, "Well it is 2021", he laughs.
'So, where were we? Oh yes, we started to talk about [[learning in the contemporary art museum]]? But we also said we were going to talk about [[organisational learning]] and how this project went off on [[its own adventure]]. What do you want to talk about?'
<img src="https://jacktan.files.wordpress.com/2021/04/left.jpg" width=800>
After looking left and right, the group decides to turn left and head inland. As we head off and walk along the pavement, you ask, "I was on the way to FACT to see your exhibition Jack because I was really curious to find out more about how you, as a human artist, can approach doing work about nonhumans." Jack's face breaks into a wide grin and he looks at you quizzically.
You look down into the salt marsh and see a hedgehog appearing from under a bush. It stops and looks at you, [[is that how hedgehogs talk]]?
''Jack:'' Ouch! That's going for the jugular! Are you sure you aren't a journalist? I'm just kidding. I love this question. It goes right to the heart of why artistic practice is interesting ... because it stays with the trouble. And how humans can traverse the impossible gap separating us and the more-than-human is a troubling and difficult work that never ends.
You [[turn to see where all that squarking is coming from]], distracted for a minute, then listen back to Jack.
For me as a particular artist in a particular place and time--with a particular lived history, and a particular training in law, ceramics and performance--I can only bring what limited tools I have to try and bridge this gap. 'Try' is the operative word here. I know at the outset that all my trying will fail because I am not a nonhuman subject, who is the ‘ultimate Other’ to me. But trying is all I can do and, in our current climate crisis and globalised economic condition. It is what I feel I have no choice but to do as an artist. But although it is an impossible task to try and get 'over there'. All I can do is to try and understand where I as a human end and where my fuzzy edges touch and intermingle with where the more-than-human begins.
<img src="https://union.files.wordpress.com/2021/06/tumblr_mw18ehcydn1spzrmao1_1280.jpg" width=600>
Jenny, an ex-learning staff member, who is walking next to you laughs and says, "Do you mean fuzzy cos you've not got your glasses on Jack or if you've had one too many?!"
Ask Jack what he means by the "[[ultimate Other]]".
Or ask Jack about "[[fuzzy edges]]".
Or find out about how [[the law|human and nonhuman laws]] figures in Jack's more-than-human work.
Or go back and talk to Lucia about [[institutions and their learning|learning to negotiate the more-than-human in artistic practice]].We all get another drink!
Neil looks like he has something to say, but isn't sure if he should. Lucía is leaning in too.
You see a moth walking along a windowsill, seems a bit early for moths to be out?
Do you [[ask neil what he wants to say]]
Do you [[make eye contact with Lucía|Lucía on gallery education]]?
Or do you just [[watch that moth]] for a bit longer, it's got beautiful markings on its wings.
//''You listen in to the conversation..''//
''Lucía:'' The usual approach to presenting art is gallery based, but at FACT we are now working together to present Learning projects from a different perspective… It's like disturbing a whole system.
''Jack:'' Ok, ok, ok, ok... So are you implying that for FACT Learning work is equivalent to Gallery Programming?
''Lucía:'' The Gallery is usually the centre of any arts organisations and that's where the exhibition programme lives. And we aim for artists and participants that work together to present the work in this space, which has the most visibility. And this is bound up in the //politics of visuality// in the art world which we want to challenge.
So the learning programme is part of the exhibitions programme and thus is presented as part of the exhibitions programme.
''Neil:'' Hang on... It it's not that we are presenting the learning projects in the gallery space, //we are exhibiting artworks made through learning processes in our galleries//.
''"Lucía:"'' But hold on, we also understand that the learning experience happens both during the collaborative part of the production and also during the presentation of the artwork in the gallery.
''Jack:'' This is so exciting, can you name some examples?
''"Neil:"'' So... For example... When instagram users tried the filters made by Keiken or visited their exhibition '<a href="https://www.fact.co.uk/artwork/augmented-empathy" target="_blank">Augmented Empathy</a>' at FACT, we see that interaction as the learning experience.
<img src="https://cdn.fact.co.uk/images/_extraLargeNoCrop/Augmented-Empathy-2020-Keiken-Sakeema-Crook-Ryan-Vautier.-Photo-by-Drew-Forsyth.-Installation-view-at-FACT-11.jpg" width="800">
''Lucía:'' The art is a learning experience. Every art experience is a learning experience.
''Jack:'' Amazing, chapeau Lucía.
''Neil:'' But... Hold on... Jack is also presenting the learning (anyone's learning) as an art object... So... Give me a sec... When we are presenting Learning Non-Human on the FACT's website, it's an artwork that is made out from an assemblage of documentation of the learning process, is that right?
''Lucía:'' To me it's that Learning Non-Human brought together the engagement with the participants with the artwork. Jack then put all that at the heart of how the arts organisation understands itself... Jack, you weren't just presenting learning as art in a formal way, you were being an artist experimenting with Learning to change the whole institution.
''Neil:'' It was like we, together, came up with the idea of FACT's staff playing the game to inform the environmental policy. That's kind of the point where we felt like we were really collaborating. You couldn't trace the idea back to the person who had it, we all came up with that together.
''Lucía:'' Is there also a point to be added here about how this project, or how Jack, has connected and made sense out of all these things... How Jack has connected all the dots because he is now going on to be the first artist-in-residence on our Board of Trustees, where he will be working on governance using artistic approaches?
Jack is about to ask a question, but you know that this is one of the few chances to speak your mind and ask a question to steer the conversation to your own interests.
Do you want to hear Lucia talk about the [[politics of visuality]] in galleries and museums?
Do you want to hear more about [[how this learning project is changing FACT as an institution]]? ''Jack:'' In our project, it's not just the participants that are learning … could the project become about FACT learning too as an institution and a bureaucracy?
During the Beta testing of the game, we decided to play it as a management tool to help FACT develop its thinking around its environmental policy and responsibilities. I think the staff who played the tournament enjoyed it, especially pretending to be an ant who lived in FACT or the water in FACT's pipes. But the most interesting thing for me was having a meeting after the game ended with your Head of Operations and who was very open to taking some of the gameplay forward as part of the museum's environmental policy.
An annoying fruit fly is hovering over your drink. You try to swat it away, but it dodges your slow human hands and follows a curve up towards your right ear. It's buzzing suddenly gets [[louder and higher pitch]].
''Jack:'' We discussed which issues raised by players could be taken forward as policy. But more radically, the possibility of appointing non-human champions throughout FACT who could be called upon at any time to attend meetings as non-human representatives. So what started as a learning project and artwork, now becomes part of the institution's performance and how FACT begins to understand itself and learn.
''Neil:'' This multilevel way that you're both talking about the learning in this project feels very <a href="https://youtu.be/Eo5oQ9Psmg8?t=94" target="_blank">'complex systems'</a> to me. I can really picture this learning that you're identifying as a slice of FACT as an institution, cutting through all these different levels, from us as a team, to the participants, to senior managers to policy.
''Jack: ''Yea, it's about how you create body memory in an institution. How an organisation embeds 'lifelong learning' is through its structure and policy. If the three of you leave for example, and none of your knowledge is in the DNA of the organisation, it all disappears. The whole organisation has to be a learning, listening organisation and has body memory. I think that's the museum of the future.
How do you design a museum as an organism that is constantly in conversation with its communities and its environment and remembers it? One of the key ways is to make boundaries between gallery and education, artwork and policy, contracts and creativity, board and staff, etc., more porous and to put this approach into policy and to practice that policy.
Find out more about [[organisational learning]].<img src="https://jacktan.files.wordpress.com/2021/04/right.jpg" width=800>
''Neil:'' I want to know about your art and law practice where law can be played with and performed in this project.
''Jack:'' I was interested in anthropological and archeological perspectives on law since I was in law school 30 years ago. Pre-modern systems of law seemed to make space for knowledge that came from performance, ritual, seasons and ontologies, or understandings of who we are in the world, that were not derived only from Judeo Christian cosmologies. Even things that we would consider irrational today and therefore not legally valid, like feelings or aesthetics, had a place in various other non-Anglo-European legal systems.
So it was only natural for me to imagine that the more-than-human world had its own 'laws' and a 'legal system'. Of course, the whole concept of law or a legal system is a human invention. It arises because humans need to put things in words such as statutes and case precedents to order their world for some reason! Non-human systems such as the weather or goose migration don't need words to maintain themselves. In fact, a lot of human systems don't need written laws either. But if we assumed that this wordless non-human system was as valid as our coded laws, I wondered what would happen if their and our laws came into conflict. How could we take these conflicts of laws as serious legal or policy problems? And what could we do to resolve these legal problems practically?
We get to a carpark, as you're looking out across the marsh, you see a tree amidst all kinds of plants. The late evening light is really bringing it out, it's leaves are of such vivid gold [[it's really talking to you]].
''Jack:'' It sounds ridiculous, but this kind of thinking already has precedent in the New Zealand and Indian legal systems. In 2017, New Zealand's Whanganui River became a legal person. Parliament passed legislation that recognised the Maori belief that the river was a living being and declared that it would have "all the rights, powers, duties, and liabilities'' of a legal person, i.e., an individual like you and me, or the rights and duties of a corporate person like a company. A similar right was awarded to the River Ganges in India by the highest court of the state of Uttarakhand ... although this was later overturned by the Indian Supreme Court. This game that we created, where we tried to notice and imagine possible non-human laws, was an attempt at making visible a possible non-human legal system that exists alongside and among us.
As you carry on walking, something catches [[Jack's eye|ultimate Other]]
As the party continues strolling, Jack points out a building next to them. ''Jack:'' Look where we are now, over to the left.
''Jenny:'' Ooh! I want an ice-cream. Can you wait? Who wants a cone?
''Lucía:'' Chocolate for me.
''Jack:'' Rum and Raisin please.
''Neil:'' I will come with you Jen.
''You ask'': So what do you mean by 'Other' and why 'ultimate'.
''Jack'': There are lots of people who have written and developed the idea of the Other. But I am thinking of it in a postcolonial sense where a group of people are 'othered'. They are created into a stereotype that is different and other to the dominant group. And the dominant group does this in order to create and define itself as dominant or normal or everlasting. So we create the notion that 'we' are civilized by creating the notion that other groups are not. We become 'advanced' or 'first world' in our own eyes but define others as 'backward' or 'third world'. We are enabled to see ourselves as vulnerable and peace-loving because others are cast as terrorists and violence-loving. We know we are White because they are Black. We are human because everything else is non-human.
By 'Ultimate Other', I just mean that maybe there are gradations of othering and that the non-human is possibly the most othered right now of all entities, to the point that they are 'subaltern'. This is an idea within postcolonial theory developed initially by Gayatri Spivak, it means that a group is 'extremely othered'. We could say to the point that they are not even recognised as a viable group or have any voice. They are invisible as a political entity.
But how do we give voice to the non-human other or subaltern?
Actually, this is the wrong question. We should be asking how we give ear to ourselves in order to hear the non-human.
Ask about the [[subaltern non-human]].
Or ask about '[[giving ear]]'.
Or find out about why Jack thinks we have [[fuzzy edges]].''You ask:'' So why do you think you have fuzzy edges then?
As soon as your question leaves your mouth, a whisper appears in your surroundings, you try to ignore it, focusing on Jack's words.
'' Jack:'' Oh well there are two things about fuzzy edges that inform this project. First, on a molecular level everything has fuzzy edges. When we see the razor sharp edge of a knife, we might think it has a clean edge. But under an electron microscope it is bumpy and craggy. It gets even fuzzier at quantum levels where molecules and electrons are in constant motion and constantly vibrating. I'm no physicist but that's how I understand that all objects in the world are in a kind of flux and their edges are therefore fuzzy and not fixed in our Newtonian or Cartesian perspective. But while we are talking about quantum physics, <a href="https://union.files.wordpress.com/2021/06/f390c41a6e3e63e95ca014d96faaa352.pdf" target="_blank">Karen Barad's work</a> has helped me understand that none of us are external observers or orchestrators of events and systems, even if we give ourselves these roles such as researcher, artist, director, producer, curator. Our presence and our observation of the project, system or apparatus has already changed because we are all entangled together and co-create each other. So in this sense, the human and the non-human are not separate categories with clean edges. We are entangled through fuzzy borders, often jumping clear across them, and in fact, we make each other.
''Jenny:'' So, we are part of a process in which all of us are actors then?
''Jack:'' Yes, but the 'actors' aren't just those people in costumes on the stage. The audience, the lighting technicians, the producers and runners, and stage hands are all 'actors' too in this system we are looking at. Even the stage itself, the curtains, the seats and props are all 'actors' too.
Ask Jack what he means by the "[[ultimate Other]]".
Or find out about how [[the law|human and nonhuman laws]] figures in Jack's more-than-human work.
The whisper intensifies, everyone notices it and start looking for [[its source]]
The words 'Help us celebrate?' resonate deep within you. The pub mentioned in the flyer is in the Wirral... You check the time and realize that the artist and fellow humans must be about to order their first round of beverages. If you rush you may make it on time!
[[Do you go catch the Ferry?]]
[[Hop on the bus through the tunnel?]]
<a href="http://www.jacktan.net" target="_blank">Jack Tan</a> is an artist that works with art and law and he's a bit obsessed with how humans and nonhumans (other living beings that aren't human) get on. Jack spent most of the 2020 pandemic working over Zoom with the learning team at FACT in Liverpool and a group of teenagers and women designing a <a href="https://www.fact.co.uk/how-to-play-non-humans-of-liverpool" target="_blank">game</a>. In the game they invented, you roleplay as a nonhuman- say a cat, or a tulip, or a river and you get points for trying to convince humans to change things for your benefit. You think to yourself '[[What did he do with the group?|what did the group do]] Jack spent 3 months in the middle of the pandemic running Zoom <a href="https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PLPpIB-NU_b713gC4mQOCBsSHZ_e7ULp0p" target="_blank">workshops</a> with the participants. In these workshops they learned to <a href="https://youtu.be/QTFeLbo5SRY" target="_blank">talk and write</a> as if they were cats, ants, trees or other kinds of nonhumans. They took this <a href="https://youtu.be/A0Ra4CGvlp8" target="_blank">roleplaying practice</a> and turned it into a <a href="https://www.fact.co.uk/how-to-play-non-humans-of-liverpool" target="_blank">game</a> 'Nonhumans of Liverpool'. In the game you choose to join a folk: Plants, Insects, Birds, Mammals, or Natural Features and get points for writing nonhuman <a href="https://youtu.be/-YtJVPl8tiY" target="_blank">incident reports</a> and adding it to a map. You imagine a problem a nonhuman might face, write about it from their point of view and try to convince humans to do something about it. The more compelling your report is, the more points you get for your folk.
Jack worked with the group of 3 teenagers and 3 women to explore how to turn their creative writing practice into a game. He introduced them to <a href="https://youtu.be/hyBAMpqUGUo" target="_blank">experts</a> and politicians to help them learn how to think and perform as nonhumans. They worked with a developer and a <a href="https://www.fact.co.uk/the-design-of-non-humans-of-liverpool" target="_blank">designer</a> to create the game and then tested it with their friends and family. This all built up to an <a href="https://youtu.be/yqESXAKM3Qk" target="_blank">All Folk Assembly</a> - an event in which a player from each folk presents their best marker to a panel of judges, who award points and declare the winning folk. Jack brought the idea of the game and the basic mechanic. The participants worked with him and a developer Conway McDermot to explore the creative writing practice in the first place and then how to make the game creative, fun and <a href="https://youtu.be/0hiP8kA9eiI" target="_blank">playable</a> .
You think [[hang on what just happened?|artwork]] then you wonder, [[what did he do with the people that worked at FACT?|what happened at fact]]
Do you want to hear the participants tell you how to play the game?
<a href="https://youtu.be/fedjRWC4PnU" target="_blank">Here's how to start playing Nonhumans of Liverpool</a>
<a href="https://youtu.be/STI6bY5y1uY" target="_blank">Here's advice on using research and imagination to write as a nonhuman</a>
<a href="https://youtu.be/-YtJVPl8tiY" target="_blank">Here's how to write the perfect marker for Nonhumans of Liverpool</a>
<a href="https://youtu.be/EeXUnZ45-8M" target="_blank">This is about the Jury & the Town Hall (All Folk Assembly)</a>
<a href="https://youtu.be/8hsQVxE11cQ" target="_blank">Here's how to convince the jury that you're the winner</a> Jack asked the people working at FACT to play the game. He invited the whole staff team to pick a folk and play the game by adding reports of nonhuman incidents in and around FACT and then attend an All Folk Assembly! The players presented nonhuman complaints about life in and around FACT and offered suggestions for how FACT could improve their lives. They presented to a panel of judges taken from FACT's senior management;, who were writing a new environmental policy at the time, and to people from the <a href="https://liverpoolropewalks.co.uk"
target="_blank">Ropewalks</a> committee. You can read a transcript of the FACT staff All Folk Assembly <a href="https://docs.google.com/document/d/1T7dywSec6cnWN23AghgJnMBbH8ybYz8hPVh4V02EOW8/edit?usp=sharing" target="_blank">here</a>
[[Wait what?|artwork]] You still can't believe what's just happened.
You walk out to Ropewalks Square and give yourself time to take a few breaths - steam, hairspray and smoke from the hairdressers taking a break on the corner.
That flyer was asking if you want to join them for a celebration, well, being as you just accessed a load of other peoples' memories you [[may as well go and meet them|can you help]]. You may find some answers.
''Jack:'' In this project, the participants’ learning outcomes were paramount for me because it was a learning team that was commissioning this work. So I might have approached it differently had the curatorial programming team invited me to make an artwork. I had assumed that delivering a learning outcome was the priority. That took precedence over the art-making for me actually. Maybe I made wrong assumptions?! I just thought that these people who were giving their free time to this were here to learn and so creating a learning experience was more important than creating a gallery-ready artwork.
''Neil:'' I found that this project had a really interesting role reversal in some ways. What you are saying there Jack rang really true with me because all along, I felt your sense of responsibility, that if this is a learning project that it's going to have real learning and it's gonna be really tailored for this group of people. There's such an honesty in what you were bringing, especially with your teacher training, you've got this understanding of how to plan a session properly.
It's really unusual for us to have an artist who's the one pushing for that emphasis on the participants’ learning. We're normally the ones trying to tease out a bit more of a structure! Also we're quite unusual as a learning team. There's probably lots of learning teams that are more process focused than we are. We have a real art production focus. We've been doing this kind of work for years, so we've seen all those amazing process based socially engaged art projects in which the participants are the audience, and the creative dialogue is the artwork, but lately we've got really interested the different kind of learning and artistic spaces that open up for participants when we're all working to make art for an audience of other people.
'Jack:'''' ''OMG!'' Maybe if I had known that I would have let myself off the pedagogy hook! ''
''Lucía:'' The one thing that I find fascinating from a pedagogy perspective, is that a lot of people think that community participatory and social engagement work equals learning. You can create a learning experience that is not participatory and you can create a learning experience and represents a learning journey that has nothing to do with participants! For example, we could have commissioned you to create a learning experience and tell you "hey Jack, you won't be working with participants, you are the one that is going to design the learning experience". But for this project we brought the participants into that design part of the journey. They brought their own learning, and they learnt some things from the project while working collaboratively with you.
Do you want to hear more about how the project went off on [[its own adventure]]?
Or do you want to hear about [[FACT's commitment to giving art made through learning projects an equal platform to art made in artists studios]]?
''Jack'': Often, some of the best parts of an artwork are what happens after or outside the work. When we played Non-humans of Liverpool the second time as an environmental policy making game with FACT staff, it was the meeting with your Head of Operations afterwards that potentially had the most far-reaching impact. Do you remember how he talked how some issues raised in-game were things that the museum could take forward, e.g., when the museum’s Water complained about how old and leaky its housing was, or when the Tree who lived outside wasn’t happy about the loss of its friends who had only been planted for a short art installation? But the thing that impressed me most was when your Head of Operations suggested that it would be beneficial to continue including the voice of the non-humans in normal staff meetings especially to bring a (staff member speaking as) a Bee or a Pigeon or an Ant when discussing environmental matters.
''Neil:'' That was amazing!
''Jack:'' It is really nice to have organisational policy that has been derived from staff and learning participants, not top-down.
''Lucía:'' The radical approach of the project is the thinking as non-human. For example, Anna, one of the over 60s just jumped in and thought like a tulip, and berated us humans for creating chronically ill tulips because we think that the sickness that shows up as coloured stripes in tulip petals look beautiful. How do you bring that same learning approach to the institution?
''Jack:'' For me this is when an organisation starts learning: when it puts things into policy and performance. This was when the game creation project became a wider project called Learning Nonhuman which presents an institution’s ongoing learning about its more-than-human and environmental responsibilities. This includes the outreach or schools projects it commissions, what it learns from its curatorial and history of art practice, and how it learns to become accountable to its non-human stakeholders operationally and in its governance.
''Neil:'' This multilevel way that you're talking about the learning in this project feels very complex. I can really picture a slice of FACT as an institution that's kind of just cutting through these different levels, from us as a team, to the participants, to senior managers to policy.
''Lucía:'' I think a lot of us have also forgotten how to learn how children do: “I'm doing this thing and I don't know how to do it so I will just find how to do it myself”.
''Jack:'' Waiting for the training, right? Asking who's going to teach us the industry approved standards? I think organizations tend to be very risk averse, therefore they don’t want to learn with open curiosity. It is too scary. We might get sued. And they might! But maybe it is also possible to do a risk analysis for learning in order to enable organisational learning?
''Lucía:'' This all aligns very well with Ranciere's understanding of learning in relation to emancipation, no? When he says: "Emancipation first means the endorsement of the presupposition: I am able, we are able to think and act without masters."
What is the process the organisation needs to go through to create the conditions for that premise to be true?
Read about Ranciere’s idea of <a href="https://www.babylonia.gr/2017/06/11/jacques-ranciere-democracy-equality-emancipation-changing-world/" target="_blank">emancipation</a>
Or you could carry on listening to what Lucia, Neil and Jack are saying about [[how FACT as an organisation is learning with artists|organisations that learn approach]].
''Lucía:'' There was a moment in which the project went onwards with its own adventure without the participants which I find so interesting, but so difficult to articulate. The project only has one part that is participatory, for me it's not an issue, that's for the artist to decide. But for so many people if they don't see the participants, if they don't see their faces doing something documented then it's not a learning project. I don't know if there's a way to reflect on the representation of the art and learning process at the same time and what are the expectations of people when they think about this type of project?
''Jack:'' There is that point in any learning project with an expected exhibition outcome where there isn’t enough time left to finish the learning (if that can ever be finished!), where we have to take stock of what we have learnt and prepared and get ready to make something out of it. It is a kind of mise en place, to use a cooking term.
<img src="https://i0.wp.com/chefbraakman.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/mise-en-place.jpg" width="800">
For our project, I realised that learning about the non-humans couldn’t be confined to a time-limited project because learning and refining our relationship to non-humans and to the environment has to be central if we are at all interested in understanding the climate crisis. Rather than present participants’ learning, I wanted the presentation to highlight the institution’s learning of environmental and nonhuman issues itself as the artwork.
Do you want to hear a discussion about [[organisational learning]]?
Or do you want to discuss [[how learning can be presented as art]] in a gallery or museum?
''Jack:'' Do you mean, if enough people for example played or ran this game, more and more people would learn about non-humans? They would be emancipated from our very human-centric way of being in the world. And if more and more people did that in Liverpool maybe Liverpool could change?
''Lucía:'' Completely, the key moment during which you had to think of the world in a different way. It's like if you learn how to dance, you never understood your body that way before, so that stays with you.
''Neil:'' We're talking a lot about the learning in quite an abstract way, like being a <a href="https://youtu.be/Nx3Uu1hfl6Q" target="_blank">slime mold</a> that's moving through the organization in its own way. But it's learning how to do a very specific practice that we developed with the participants, to write and perform as a nonhuman.
''Jack:'' I think so. Learning is a form of practice. There's no way you can learn unless you do it. Like learning how to ride a bicycle.
''Neil:'' So when we're presenting the learning from this project, it is important that we present the practice. It's such a really interesting way of looking at what happens when people participate in learning activities with an art gallery. In this project, it is very much more an exchange where the participants have developed a practice with you. Then we've shared it with the rest of the staff. The whole of FACT has learned from this practice we developed with the participants and the participants can see the effect that has had. FACT has learned from them.
''Jack: '' And not just my or the participants’ practice of learning being presented here. But the institution’s practice.
''Lucía:'' I think it's very interesting. We are always complaining about how for us a 4 month residency with an artist is short. Jack, you have been with us on this journey since October 2019, some 18 months now and will go on to be our inaugural artist-in-residence for a further year. All this time has allowed for a deeper understanding of what FACT is, it is multi-level and multi-layered all around the different nice and less nice sides of an organisation.
''Neil:'' Usually, no one gets to play that role of the artist and educator for the institution. The norm is that our role is to work with participants and facilitate their learning. At no point do we get to facilitate the institution’s learning. Not normally anyway, this project has been different.
Do you ask them to tell you [[how learning can be presented as art]] or [[make your excuses and leave]]? You read it, discovering an invitation to meet with an artist to celebrate the launch of a project he's been working on through lockdown: <a href="https://www.fact.co.uk/learning-non-human" target="_blank">'Learning Nonhuman'</a>.
The project is about your pet subject!
Animals and the way they see the world!
When your skin touched the leaflet, your fuzzy ends merged with it momentaneously, transferring memories of Zoom sessions you've never seen before, directly into your brain.
The memories involve a man called Jack Tan, laughing and sometimes looking a bit distracted as he's talking with the people on Zoom. You walk through the building of FACT as you reflect on memories that are not yours.
You remember what Jack shared, what the teenagers and women did on the project and what he created with the people that work at FACT.
You're tempted to read on, it's asking [['Can you help us celebrate?'|can you help]] but before you do you might want to check in with yourself.
What were these memories of this project? [[What did Jack do|What did Jack do]]? [[What did the teenagers and women do?|what did the group do]] and [[What happened at FACT|what happened at fact]]
<img src="https://raw.githack.com/factlearning/nonhumansofliverpooltextadventures /master/learningnonhumanchat/images/nonhumanflyer.png" alt="Flyer invite to meet Jack Tan at the pub to celebrate the launch of nonhumans of Learning Nonhuman">
''Jack: ''The thing I find really interesting about this learning team and FACT, is this commitment you have to giving equal platform to gallery artworks from artist studios and the outcomes of learning projects. I think FACT might be the only place I'm aware of that does that.
''Neil:'' Well it's not quite that. Normally we say that we give equal platform to artworks produced through learning projects, as we do those made in artists studios. We don't normally present the learning process itself as the thing to share with audiences.
''Jack:'' Ok, I know, you're going around in [[circles|learning in the contemporary art museum]] a bit there Neil, what I mean is it's really amazing that the work made with participants is celebrated and given equal importance by the institution.
''Neil:'' This commitment we have to bring the artworks made through learning into the centre of the artistic program is a really important statement in itself. Like Lucía says, that’s a political statement.
''Lucía:'' Also let’s not forget, it took a curator like Helen Starr to insist that an artwork produced as part of a learning project is shown right in the middle of gallery one, and the work of a few generations of FACT’s workers, most of them women by the way, to set the programme up so that was possible.
''Neil: ''That’s true, I feel really lucky to have come into a learning team that had been set up to work in this way, as part of the artistic programme. I’m going to borrow another one of Helen Starr’s metaphors referring to Learning Programmes in Art organisations, she says: there are two halves of a problematic coin: The role of “high quality arts” is to support the art institution as a space of privileged seclusion - The Ivory Tower. The role of “community arts” is to allow a bit of bleed from The Ivory Tower while maintaining the separation from the real world, lived experiences of the common people - The Moat”
FACT as a whole, not only the Learning team, bring the learning art commissions to the centre of the programme. This challenges our approach to the relationship between art and learning, and the spaces we need to create for the participants in the projects. We're always asking ourselves how do you balance giving equal care to the participants, their learning experience and the audience experience of the artwork?
''Lucía: ''Also, how do we advocate for the interest of the artist and the participants, within the institution? We repeat the same assertions that generations of people in our shoes have made about what it takes to create high quality arts based learning experiences, the time, quality and effort needed to make it happen, the care needed to represent the artwork in the same curatorial space as others in the program, without flattening the layers. It takes a lot of conversations with colleagues and going back to how organisations learn: we learn how to bring curatorial thinking to learning activities and our colleagues become more sensitive to the nuance that participants and artists bring to learning projects.
Do you ask them to tell you [[how learning can be presented as art]] or [[make your excuses and leave]]?
''Lucía:'' We want to present what artists and participants make as art. So since it is art, it needs to be where the art world understands where the art belongs, which is the artistic or gallery programme. It's political. It is about representation. We need to access the big spaces, and as Helen Starr said, 'This is the cathedral.' And we want the work made with participants to be shown in the centre of the freaking cathedral. That's where this work belongs.
I think that in order to do that, we obsessively think about outcomes being slick, because if not, it's not going to be shown in the gallery. We think it's not gonna pass the level of the curatorial blah blah blah. But with this project and a few others, I realized that you can show a learning process in an artistic way that is not standard documentation.
I find it so interesting because that is a bit like bringing a little bit of irony into the whole serious status of the art. If I do a project with a school and I document it in a video, we would be told that as beautiful as it might be, it's going to be categorised as the documentation part of an exhibition.
But if we bring Jack Tan to do a project and you say "no no, we're going to bring the process of these people going through this learning experience into a piece of work", they will say "yeah, in the centre of the gallery now."
I think that is so interesting because for some time I got it wrong. I was thinking that the process was not important and the outcome was important and it's not about that: it's politics. It's who decides that journey or that process or that outcome is art and it's as simple as that.
''Jack: ''I love the idea of taking up space in the centre of the cathedral and making a claim that learning deserves to be there. I mean, qualitatively within my practice, I see no difference between the creativity, labour and ingenuity that I would put in when I make a sculpture with what I had to do when I created session plans for our participants. And the moments when participants (or we!) realised that something special was happening between us and the work, this is no different from what happens when I create performances or installations for an audience.
[[Neil's got something to say about this|He's still talking]]. ''Neil: ''Lucía, your political understanding of knowledge, art and representation makes me think that what we're talking about is institutional learning. We are talking about what the institution understands to be art.
We've been through a journey of many years of getting to the point where the institution has learned to understand artwork made with participants can be shown in the same gallery, but the scaffold we've needed to support that framing has been that artworks made through learning processes needed a particular kind of 'finish'. Maybe finish isn't the right word? You know, a slick end product kind of finish? So it feels like this could be the next step for this learning team and our institutional learning, to work out how to present an artwork made through a learning process with a different kind of form and finish.
''Lucía'' [[looks up]].
''Lucía:'' Okay I get your point yeah and I understand. I do agree it's a finish and it's a format no? So if we take all the process from Learning Nonhuman and we turn it into one film that Jack produces with Carlos or with Carl, that is the usual finish.
But instead what we have done by presenting the Learning Non-human website, is another way of showing the same finish. It's just that we deconstructed the learning work and are presenting it in pieces. So the finish for me here is as 'slick' as if we had made an art film.
Neil's nodding like a labrador.
''Neil:'' Just as finished.
[[Lucía is nodding]]
''Lucía: ''Yeah exactly, which is what we've done here. We have identified the art moments, the learning moments, the journey and you deconstructed this and rebuilt it, and that's art! And I think that's political in itself.
But if we want to talk about institutional learning... If the Exhibitions team leaves tomorrow, this is learning that exists in the institution because it is in the curatorial programme, and no one will take that away. From the very first person that developed the Engagement Programme at FACT long ago to us here with our Learning programme, the institution had to learn again and again that participatory projects belong in the Artistic Programme.
So for me it's political: you wouldn't be an educator in an art gallery unless you have a political interest. I'd be like, “See you! I’m gone.”, because I don't care unless you make it political. So yeah, I find it really interesting the way the project unfolds as a learning project and as an artistic project and challenges how we understand both.
I'm very happy with presenting the different learning moments as the artwork. These videos that Carlos is editing now, I've just watched the last one with the tulip, and that too is a 'learning moment' that is art.
''Neil: ''oh yes that's my favorite we've had yeah.
''Lucía: '' We published an case study called //Why can’t we do this IRL?//: FACT’s Learning Team Duty of Care, do you want to <a href="https://docs.google.com
target="_blank" >read it</a>?
Do you want to watch the video of the Tulip speaking? <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EeXUnZ45-8M" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Do you want to [[make your excuses and leave]]Well this has been nice, but you feel like it's time to go, what do you say?
[[I've just realised I've got a thing|get up and go]]
[[I've got to get back home to feed the chameleon|get up and go]]
[[Really nice meeting you all, but you're really boring. I'm going to go now|get up and go]] You check your phone, say bye and head off back home.
As you leave you notice a mouse, it's looking right at you!
You stand there looking right back at it, no one else seems to have noticed it.
You wonder what that mouse was doing there, you're still thinking about it on your way home.
''You say:'' So is a subaltern person something like the working class or prisoners or refugees?
''Jack:'' It could be but not quite. Working class people, prisoners and most refugee groups have rights and are recognised as formal or informal groups within our political system. They are able to organise, articulate their needs and communicate these to the State. Not that these representations would be acted on or taken seriously. But at the very least they will be heard because these groups are recognised as political entities. And I use the word 'heard' advisedly because this can be a very low bar, like acknowledging a letter or petition and then filing it away forever. Of course, there may be working class people, prisoners or refugees who are indeed subalterns, like trafficked workers or prisoners and refugees with complex intersectional identities.
The main thing is that the subaltern is not only unrecognised, they are not recognisable as a political group. We don't even see them and would think that it was kind of ridiculous to ascribe rights to them. In this sense, I consider that the more-than-human world is a kind of subaltern. Forests, animals, the wind or fungi do not have legal or political rights in their own right. They exist either as the property or assets of humans, or as the subject of our Romantic or futuristic notions of wildness or 'nature'.
More-than-human subalterns have no real political voice and the question I find interesting is how to find a way to hear this voice?
Ask how we can [[hear better|giving ear]] ''You ask:'' What do you mean by giving ourselves ears to hear better?
''Jack:'' I feel that 'giving voice' is sometimes problematic because it assumes that the subaltern does not already have a voice and is not already speaking. All entities are always speaking in my view. Maybe not in words and definitely not in English. But they 'speak' through their continuing presence in the world as they are, and in how they occupy and interact with the world (and therefore they impact the world), and in how they continue becoming over time.
So it isn't that they aren't speaking. The issue is that we aren't listening and that we haven't developed the right language, mindset or political concepts through which we can hear them.
Ann Smock in a conversation with Jean-Luc Nancy writes:
"The other who approaches speaks and asks you to make it so that he can speak: Blanchot says you hear him asking you to find the words with which he’ll make you hear him. ..." (Nancy, J.-L. (1993). The Birth to Presence. Stanford University Press. p.311)
The onus is on us to find the words that will enable us to hear the non-human. But of course, non-humans don't use words so how do you hear them? I would suggest that hearing doesn't only happen through the ears. Hearing is an attitude of sensing and we can 'hear' with our bodies, intellects, through relating and engaging over time. Anna Tsing, an anthropologist and mushroom researcher, would call this developing an 'arts of noticing'. She says:
"For natural scientists, the challenge is paying attention to the histories of living things, including humans. Sometimes the call for lawlike generalizations stops scientists’ attention to the particularities of historical change, which make a lot of difference in studying humandisturbed landscapes. For anthropologists, the challenge is noticing that there are other organisms that are key parts of our lives—and they don’t always behave like resources.
What anthropologists always do in fieldwork is noticing—and learning from what we notice. We notice human relations with each other, we notice spirits, we notice all kinds of things. We should start noticing the plants and animals around us too"
(Tsing, A. L. (2015). The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins. New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p.28)
Being able to hear the non-human voice is also an impossible task because we will never be able to fully understand the non-human. But I think if we do our best to practice an arts of noticing as Tsing suggests, to get better at this and to keep "our ears ...in excellent condition" as John Cage says (Cage, 1968) ... we will have done our best.
Ask what Jack means by the [[subaltern non-human]]
Find out about what Jack's idea that humans have [[fuzzy edges]] You're walking in the park and noticed some nonhumans - you must have had a sign stuck in your back that says 'free therapy for non-humans', because all of them jumped at you and started to unload their darkest troubles without any notice.
You open your eyes and you're back in that moment.
The stream flowing below your feet aches - "My sister is a stream in Sefton Park and two youths have just come along and thrown a shopping trolley into her. She looks a bit like that painting (Monet water lilies with dumped trolley) that Banksy has just sold for £7.5 million but that is no consolation".
A rock by the path exclaimed - "A rather nice dalmatian was walking past, with its owner but off the lead, when it decided to poo on me! The owner completely ignored this and instead of picking the faeces up, as required by law, just carried on walking".
Aware of the strange deja vu, you are presented with two options:
Do you decide to go to the [[Harp Inn Pub|harp inn pub]], meet everyone again and hear their conversations.
Do you decide to stick around, and pay some attention to the non-humans... [[Perhaps forever]]...And so you walked into the park, non-humans gathering around you.
The more you heard, the more you understood.
The more you understood, the more you were part of the park.
You laid down on the grass.
And became one with it.
Hearing their voices.
THE END They all listen as the Hill's voice raises.
'I’ve been here for years. On a hill with great views across the Mersey to Wales and beyond. I love living here watching the humans walk their dogs, teachIng their kids how to play football, or enjoying long walks with their loved ones. I’ve seen them grow up, go to school, play hide and seek in my trees. I’ve seen them with their sweethearts, fall in love, get engaged, get married , get divorced and have children . They come and go, some are regular visitors, everyday the same route is very dependable. Others go through the seasons.
You get to know them and their habits. I love most of my visitors. I don’t understand some of their behaviors. In the last 15 yrs or so people have started leaving more things behind. Flowers, lanterns, balloons, cards, ribbons, teddy bears, things like that. I don’t like those short of things. The plastics don’t decay and after a few rains, it becomes an unsightly mess and creates clutter. I became upset, you hear about pollution and degradation of the natural spaces and you get worried about the future.
The trees across the road told me that humans use this stuff to remember their people who have died. They know because they see lots of humans come into their grounds in boxes. They told me that humans bury the people who have died and have rituals to remember those who have died. Leaving things behind at the location.
It’s getting dark early now, we're past the summer equinox and Autumn's on its way. Things are getting quieter in the woods. The other night around 4am a car parked in Speke road. Two men came into the woods with a big trolley case. They brought tools with them. I thought they would decorate a bench or something like that, I was a little irritated at that thought. I had never seen these two before, so I watched them. They passed the benches and went into the undergrowth. There they dug a deep hole in the ground. They opened the case and took out a body. They buried the body in the hole.
I thought that was the wrong place, they should be across the road in the Cemetery. They filled the hole covered the spot with newly fallen beech leaves. They left nothing behind. I found that odd as well, not marking the spot like others do. The wind was in the wrong direction so I couldn’t talk with the trees across the road. What should I do?'
Everyone agrees they've had enough fresh air for the day.
They leave the hills behind and disappear into the horizon.
As you lean in and bring the spider into focus, you feel yourself shrink a little. That web is huge. Just beautiful. You hear a voice, do you [[listen to the spider]] or [[get up and get on with your journey|Get right on the ferry]]?
The spider says "Just here at 13.00. Some huge human saw me and screamed at me then tried to stand on me for no reason."
Do you [[keep listening to the spider]], or [[get up and get on with your journey|Get right on the ferry]]?The spider continues, "Other humans as they all ran due to screams and nearly collided with each other, not a good move with social distancing. Well I had just got over seeing my beautiful web destroyed and a screaming human is quite hard on my nervous system. I mean, we can meet up and socialise without aggressive behaviour can't you? We feel bullied by you, leave my webs alone so they provide my meals! Can you teach people we are not evil axe waving monsters, and even if you think we're ugly we think we are beautiful."
You [[get up and get on with your journey|Get right on the ferry]].
As you focus in on the moth's wing pattern, you hear a voice.
"Well I only come out in the night and enjoy a lovely fly round. But some drunken humans decided that shining torches all over the place in the salt marsh at 10.00pm would be fun.
I didn’t know where to go next. Every time I saw a light I headed towards it then it went off and people were laughing. This is downright unfair."
Do you [[keep listening to the moth]] or [[rejoin the conversation|how learning can be presented as art]]? The moth, in a whisper - keeps on, "Well the row they had probably woke up a few animals as well. How inconsiderate and you're not supposed to be out in groups are you? I feel really confused. I can’t help being attracted to light and I was so tired in the end. Just because humans wanted a laugh they led me all over the place, I lost my way in the end. I just want us to all to live peacefully, if you don’t watch out we will send friends to get Greta and she will sort you all out!"
You [[rejoin the conversation|how learning can be presented as art]]
"My name is Hetty and I am a hedgehog - we live in the woods by the carpark, I say we but there is only me left now as all my friends and relatives are flat prickly messes on the road. I cannot bear to talk about it!!!! I try to cross the road to visit another clan of hedgehogs and what happens, I am blinded by bright lights and have to run with my little legs so fast!"
Do you [[keep listening to the hedgehog]] or [[ignore it| jacks decolonial
"I hear stories from Badgers and pheasants that roads are the most dangerous things out there - so many lives are lost each year. We are threatened in the U.K. - and so cute and we eat all the horrible slugs and snails and how are we repaid by long slabs of tarmac spread across the wilderness. We are going to start a campaign that tunnels should be built under each road for us to get from one side to another. Might not work for the pheasants as they are a bit stupid but us hedgehogs have proved we can use them well!"
What do you say to the hedgehog? [[Yes, I'm with you!| jacks decolonial practice]] or [[Sorry, I'm really busy, I'm trying to network here| jacks decolonial practice]]
It's merging into a voice.. "A mask had been discarded and it blew into the marsh which is polluting our water. I am worried that one of the birds will get tangled in it."
Do you [[listen on to the seagull]]? or [[pay a bit more attention to the
traffic|learning to negotiate the more-than-human in artistic practice]]
"It makes me feel sad, and worried. Less litter means a nicer environment for everyone. This is causing lots of pollution in the salt marsh. I worry about it affecting the ducklings when they are born in spring. We want more bins in the park, and education for humans not to litter. Also to encourage humans to use reusable masks."
The seagull keeps staring at you as its voice rings in your ears, it definitely knows how to get a point across.
What do you say? [[fair enough, I get your point, I'll have a word with this lot see what they think|learning to negotiate the more-than-human in artistic practice]] or [[I'm really sorry, I'd love to help, but I need to get across this road before I lose this lot|learning to negotiate the more-than-human in artistic practice]].
It's moving fast, looks a bit desperate. It's still got an energy to it though, though its grey coat is really hard to make out against the asphalt.
It stops and looks at you. "We are a family of field mice who have lived here in Parkgate for years - playing in the corn fields and running free when one day lots of people showed up and started building - diggers, fences and bricks! We thought ‘what on earth’ and we have heard tales of house mice thinking they can now move into these new houses and claim this space for their own."
Do you [[listen on to the mouse]] or [[go to the toilet so you can get back before you miss your turn at pool|how institutions learn]]? We are diminishing and no-one even cares- field mice are native residents of this land and we deserve to stay here! We need an eco-system built for us before they start building these big developments. Will established fields and hedgerows be protected?"
You think about what the mouse has said while you go to the loo, then you [[go back to the pool table|how institutions learn]].
It's voice has the same timeless beauty as its leaves. "Some drunk coming home from the pub got caught short & used me as a toilet."
Do you want to [[listen to the tree]] or [[get back to the art-law chat|human and nonhuman laws]]? "I have lots of tree neighbors and they all tell me that this has happened to them too. I felt wet and uncomfortable, I feel violated, I can't believe that this keeps happening to me. It's 2021, it's not on for people to be getting half naked as they walk through a park, i might make some people feel unsafe & as a tree ''I DON'T WANT TO SEE THAT!!''"
You slowly bring yourself back around, take another look at the tree, it's stopped talking now, then [[turn back to Jack|human and nonhuman laws]] wondering, did he hear that?.
"I was happy in this flower box, but got pulled and pushed by a rubbish carton that someone dumped here. This doesn't just affect me, it hurts the people who planted me and the other plants. I feel worthless, invisible and sad."
Do you care about this tulip [[yes|catch him there]], [[no|catch him there]]?
"There's this local business man spreading herbicides over the grounds we inhabit. Hoverflies are commonly seen flitting swiftly from flower to flower in warm weather, typically with the sort of mid-flight hovering skills that you humans normally associate with dragonflies, and we are very very important to wildlife. The herbicides kill insects and our young."
You're struggling to keep tuned in to the voice of this fly, it's so high pitch, do you [[keep trying]]
Look, All insects living in the area and plant life will be affected. The females of a number of kinds of hoverflies like us seek out plants which are being bothered by aphids to lay their eggs, and once our maggots hatch out a few days later they spend the next few days eating the aphids. If you keep killing our young, your plants will rot anyway.
Do you [[keep listening to the hoverfly]]
"Us hoverflies play a much larger role in pollinating many garden and commercially important plants than you humans realise. So if this issue is not solved you will lose money, do not use herbicides, go organic. It is much better for the world and its survival."
You're feeling hungry now. You wonder how much pesticides are used on the food they serve here, and [[tune back in to the conversation|Lucía on gallery education]].