GOING VISITING the confluences of the river and the city
Part of the PLACCC Festival program 'Sensing the City', curated by Eva Bubla
Budapest, September 2022
The workshop took place in and explored the Népziget island in the Dona river. A former industrial site now overgrown by forest and partially taken over by one of the two main wastewater treatment facilities of Budapest. My research brought me on to researching the various interrelations and confluences between the river and the human bodies of the city.
My research brought me on to exploring the various interrelations and confluences between the river-body and the human bodies and stories of the city: The drain from the Luxurious and historic Gellert thermal baths, which is used as the 'spa' of the homeless. A wastewater treatment facility that cleans the wastewater of the city's sewage system before returning the fluids to the river. The sides of the river where stone, amongst other things old tombstones, are imported to secure the banks. And a small island in the middle of the river, that has formed around the pillar of one of the bridges and is only accessible when water levels are low.
The method Going Visiting has been developed through my work in and with many different geographical places and types of land, drawing inspiration from new materialist and eco-feminist writers and thinkers including Donna J. Haraway, Karen Barad and Astrida Neimanis. The method is a framework for exploring and co-creating with a given area through physical encounters between the human body and the more-than-human bodies, phenomena and dynamics of this particular place. Through this work, new understandings emerge, immersive and performative situations and potentials arise, text is produced and shared aesthetic sensory mappings begin.
To conduct the workshop is often valuable as part of my research as each participant brings with them their unique way of meeting, sensing and collaborating with a particular place. It makes sense to do the workshop with people, who already have an interest in the place in different ways or people, who are curious to explore other ways of creating in and with different types of land and their inherent dynamics.
The only prerequisites for participating are curiosity, the physical ability to move around in a sometimes challenging landscape and the willingness to step outside what you think you know to meet and engage with the place openly and respectfully.
“Visiting is not an easy practice; it demands the ability to find others actively interesting, even, or especially others most people already claim to know all too completely, to ask questions that one's interlocutors truly find interesting, to cultivate the wild virtue of curiosity, to attune one's ability to sense and respond - and to do all this politely! .... [This] sort of politeness does the energetic work of holding open the possibility that surprises are in store, that something interesting is about to happen, but only if one cultivates the virtue of letting those, one visits intra-actively shape what occurs. They are not who/what we expected to visit, and we are not who/what we anticipated either. Visiting is a subject- and object-making dance, and the choreographer is a trickster.”
(Donna J. Haraway, Staying with the Trouble - Making Kin in the Chthulucene)