living an ecofeminist life

BY: Andrea Shinyoung Kim

[Sound FX: water/whirlpool sound]

The pressure increases with the ocean’s depth.

[Sound FX: bubbles]

[Sound FX: gas valve releasing]

Fluids are substance with no fixed shape,

shifting to external pressure.

and reproducing in multiply infinite forms.

Some fluids come together in a liquid embrace:

Welcome to the world of cervical mucus, uterine tissue, blood clots,

bleeding, like milky emulsions on a plant’s flesh,

or crystalline sap oozing out a tree,

the sticky honeydew of insects.

Fluids are life itself.

[breathing in]

[Sound FX: wind]

[Sound FX: whirlpool]

The heart of the maelstrom is where two opposing forces meet.

Rapidly moving in circles, around and around,

 its eye dragging straight into the Earth.

The whirlpool sucks you in.

the mouth of the Kraken.

swallowing ships with its tenticular monstrosity.

[sound effects]

You capture a fish.

[Sound FX: fish pierced and reeled onto the boat, then chopped]

What is the anatomy of a mermaid (Pérez)?[1]

Not a human, but a woman from the waist up

and a fish, from waist below.

a trap, a trick

A mermaid is a dangerous creature,

luring sailors with her enchanting songs.

Is a mermaid a fish or a whirlpool?

[Sound FX: cervix whirlpool]

She’s a witch.

[sound of electronic monitor beeping]

The cervix expands and contracts to the rhythm of life.

Are we immersed underwater or the microbes that make it?

softening, hardening, bruising

giving birth

In 2017 Sarah Ahmed asks “how do you live a feminist life?”

The question of how to live a feminist life,” she writes, “is alive as a question as well as being a life question” (Ahmed, 2017). Where theory is given life.

Ecofeminists spell out “historical, material, and ideological connections between the subjugation of women and the domination of nature. They speak to feminist, decolonial, and enviornmental ethics,” (Terreblanche, 2019), “to when the ecological reproduction of life is threatened: toxic waste, racial violence, exploitation of care workers, biodiversity loss, deforestation…” Internationally women do 65 percent of all work for 10 percent of wages, and that’s not even considering reproductive labor. 

How do you live an ecofeminist life?

Start from within your body

learn the powers of your body

and deepen its connection

and you’ll see what’s reflected back

[birds chirping]

In the mountainous hills west Barcelona, lives a postcapitalist eco-industrial colony. Welcome to Calafou, which stands along the river of an abandoned textile factory built in the 19th century, with remnants of industrial civilization contaminating the riverbeds, haunted by the ghosts of feudal patriarchal logic that controlled the lives of workers and their families.

Today, an old hydroelectric power plant on the river generates electric fields that affect their daily lives. The environment is in pain, but the residents of Calafou are at work.

Calafou is not a utopia or place for vacation. It’s a poetic space, a political space, a makerspace for imaginary worlds; The ecofeminists of Calafou seek healing.

They manipulate plants, bacteria, and fungi for the purification of water, for medicine and compost. Fluids were the primary objective, from analyzing river water to analyzing body fluids. Cervical cell samples, to be exact, with a DIY microscope built from webcams and a self-examination using a 3D printed speculum

How do you live an ecofeminist life?

The body, the body is never forgotten.

The body of water that is the Earth.

queer, trans, migrant women, and sex workers are body-hackers, updating ancestral knowledge with the independent use of technology. The postcapitalist eco-industrial colony is prepared for anything, they fight back for their bodies, Seizing the means for reproduction, autonomous control over labor.

How do you live an ecofeminist life?

Easy, witchcraft

“Spell-poems take us into a realm where words can influence the universe” (Mayer, 2018).

and connect you to Tituba, Sarah Good, and Sarah Osborne

We call on you elemental Earth

To give us

Fermentation and fertility In the style of button friction

Depart in peace elemental earth

Our blessings take with you

We call on you elemental Air

To give us

Breath & oxygenation in the style of a storm surge

Depart in peace elemental Air

Our blessings take with you

We call on you elemental fire

To give us

Solar radiation that intensifies evaporation In the style of S2

Depart in peace elemental fire

Our blessings take with you (Mayer, 2018)[2]

“Magic plays with the hidden resources in the world,” within the words, between the worlds, magnified by the collective will to manifest the future (Mayer, p.10)

Witchcraft, a technology, a subversion, a craft, the foremost original hack that ever was.

Stories bring us powerful metaphors to think about life.

Stories of Nature’s wrath, of mountainous colonies, anarcho-trans-hack-feminists, of cyborg-witches. How can we live an ecofeminist life?

Works Cited

Ahmed, S. (2019). Living a feminist life. Zubaan.

Cadon, B. (2017, May 17). At Hack the Earth, the decadence lab from the eco-colony of Calafou. Makery.  https://www.makery.info/en/2017/05/17/hack-the-earth-un-laboratoire-collectif-ecologique-et-decadentiste/.

Kothari, A., Salleh, A., Escobar, A., Demaria, F., Acosta, A., & Terreblanche, C. (2019). Ecofeminism. In Pluriverse: a post-development dictionary (pp. 163–166). essay, Tulika Books and Authorsupfront.

Shin, S., & Tamás Rebecca. (2018). Spells: 21st-century occult poetry. Ignota Books.


[1] Reference to Anatomy of a Mermaid: Subverting the performative image of the pregnant woman [link] by Adriana Páramo Pérez in which a woman describes herself as becoming a fish after going through obstetric violence while giving bitth. She was given an episiotomy (incision of vagina during birth) without her knowledge, going through years of physical therapy.

[2] Spells- 21st Century Occult Poetry (So Mayer)

[From Holding Spell of Hym Ward in Iterations by spideralex]

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