"There is no such thing as dry land. Wetness is everywhere to some degree. It is in the seas, clouds, rains, dew, air, soils, minerals, plants, animals. The sea is very wet; the desert less so. So, when we experience ‘water’ on the other side of a line that allegedly separates it from ‘land’, we know it to be by design, design that articulates a surface for habitation. This surface has served as a ground for experience, understanding and knowledge."
Anuradha Mathur & Dilip da Cuna

Anuradha Mathur & Dilip da Cuna, Ocean of Wetness (is a transdisciplinary platform, a critical design practice, and a pedagogical initiative that asks if we have been so consumed by the vocabulary of land and water that (a) we miss or fail to understand peoples who devise other ways to inhabit ubiquitous wetness; (b) we deny the possibilities of a new imagination capable of solving today’s problems without perpetuating the ground that created them) mathurdacunha.com/ocean-of-wetness, accessed 28 January 2023

"We could also tell the story this way: water connects bodies across times and spaces, through various complex movements and cycles to other bodies and beings in diverse exchanges, gifts, thefts, and forsaking. We could think of this work of water as flow, or more specifically, as a logic of connection or communication."
Astrida Neimanis

Neimanis, Astrida. Hydrofeminism: Or, On Becoming a Body of Water spacestudios.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/hydrofeminism_or_on_becoming_a_body_of_water.pdf, accessed 07 January 2024

Evolutionary we arose from the sea, so we folded the water within. Everything touched by water is connected - bodies of flora, fauna, tech, meteorology, geology and so on. Thus bodies of water can be energy, life, habitat and spirit...

Our bodies are a fundamental part of the natural world, neither separated from it nor privileged to it. Biologically this might be easily approved, but ever since technology has been detected as a tool for humankind, we set ourselves apart. Water surrounds us in entities like the ocean and the rain, that nourishes everything we feed on and even within ourselves. Since all living beings consist of at least some watery parts, either animal or plant, all lives are bodies of water. Thus we have a fundamental common with even the smallest plankton. Environmentalism starts with the acknowledgment that the human consists of the same material as the material world.

Alaimo, Stacy, Bodily Natures. Science, Environment and the Material Self, Bloomington: Indiana University Press (2010)

"The problematic nature of this relation is becoming increasingly clear in contemporary water crises and the suspect ways in which we are managing this planet’s water resources. While these crises have led to international calls for recognizing water as a human right, an onto- logic of amniotics requires us to rethink this ecopolitics; I suggest that the promotion of a hydrocommons might be better suited for negotiating the interbeing of bodies of water on this planet."
Astrida Neimanis

Neimanis, Astrida, Bodies of Water, Bloomsbury Academic (2019), p. 163

Environmental consciousness means being aware of the diversity of perceptions. There is no certain order, the human scaled perception is just one of a billion. We will always have an anthropocentric scaled perception of things. But it is an essential step to see, that humans will never be self-sufficient.

Morton, Timothy, Hybride Ökologien, diaphanes (2020), p.112

Score: Drink three-quarters of a liter of water within 5 minutes. Then wait for 30 minutes. Observe during this time how your body feels. Can you feel the amount of water in your stomach? Do you feel it moving? What else do you feel? What thoughts do you have? When the 30 minutes are up, go to the toilet. Notice your urine - how it smells, looks, and any other perceptions. Observe how your body feels now and what thoughts you have.

Score by Stephanie, HSLU Lucerne 6/12/23

Today, philosophy and science grow more strongly together in their common belief of the holobiont, a term to describe all subjects of planet earth as an intra-dependent whole, instead of individual units. It becomes important to acknowledge objects and substances not as isolated entities, but to recognise their lasting intra-actions and effects within human and non-human lives and ecologies, in private as in planetary scale.

Lynn Margulis, de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holobiont, accessed 9 August 2021

This politically oriented onto-epistemology can be described as transcorporeality: Seeing humans and humanity less as isolated entities but more as oceanic eddies (Astrida Neimanis) to overcome borders and segregations to expand our understanding of what needs to be taken care of.

Perceiving things as fluid instead of solid, as transition instead of state, everything becomes vibrant and everything becomes matter. Water is circulating, everything is. Ecology itself is nothing localised, it’s fluid and migrating, circulating, transforming like water. The glass of water we drink has come from the tab, filtered water, originated from some spring or rainfall. And it will go back there, after we digest, we drained it into a system, streaming towards the closest ocean.

Circulation is not only a question of place, but also of time.

Alaimo, Stacy, Bodily Natures. Science, Environment and the Material Self, Bloomington: Indiana University Press (2010)

"To drink a glass of water is to ingest the ghost of bodies that haunt that water."
Astrida Neimanis

Neimanis, Astrida. Hydrofeminism: Or, On Becoming a Body of Water spacestudios.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/hydrofeminism_or_on_becoming_a_body_of_water.pdf, accessed 07 January 2024

Water circles and so does biological seep into cultural means. Investigating when do they become gift, when theft, are critical perceptions needed, to differentiate natural from unnatural streams, which are both human impacts on nature.

Already in the 18th century, James Hutton compared the global cycling of water with the blood circulation of an animal. Today, our bodily flows find comparisons in the way of thinking, writing and being. The watery body is not only a metaphor, but is a vibrant fact and (in)fluence - here, women’s fluidity such as the menstrual cycle is an obvious spectacle to witness.

Drexciya, for example, tells the myth of African slaves that have drowned on their routes towards the American continent and now live on the seabed as aquatic species. And while this Afrofuturist water race is fictional [...], Drexciya has helped inspire a new movement that is very real indeed: namely, proposals to create an ocean memorial to the victims of slavery.

Whilst this fictional narrative deals with the trauma of slavery, the International Seabed Authority (ISA) has not yet marked the slave trading routes on their maps, on which reams of slaves have left their lives.

In the alternative narrative the seabed presents a place of peace and the ocean becomes a protective womb for the unrequited deaths.

Neimanis constructs her concept of hydrofeminism upon poetic writings by Lucy Irigaray and Hélène Cixious. Écriture féminine (feminine writing) is both, feminist philosophy and literary theory. It is close to poststructuralism, the French feminist deconstructionism and psychoanalysis. It differentiates itself from male dominated thinking and speaking and suggests alternative practices. Nowadays it can be interpreted as “way of searching”. It is political, transgressive and gender-exceeding. It is supposed to be a form of poetry of the body, inseparable from the spirit. Irigaray and Cixous link writing with motherhood (“white ink” = mother milk) which contradicts their strong opinion against conservative gender roles. Intentions are to find feminine alternatives in writing and speaking to develop a positive sexual identity of women and with it, an intersubjective relationship between men and women.

Helen Scales, Drexciya: how Afrofuturism is inspiring calls for an ocean memorial to slavery, theguardian.com (accessed 9 August 2021)

Score: Think about your most dramatic situation that you connect with water. Personal or a story that touched you. Write it down. Take 15 Minutes to look for a feminist writer you can connect to this story. Take a quote.Merge the two quotes, free floating. Give the text to another person. Read it loud.

Score by Phila, HSLU Lucerne 6/12/23

Bodies of water seem more differentiated by how not by what. Viscosity draws attention to sites of resistance and opposition rather than only a notion of open possibilities that might suggest one indiscriminate flow. Still, everybody requires membranes to keep from being swept out to sea altogether, because there is always a risk of flooding.

In acknowledgment of this corporeal connected aqueous community, the distinction between humans and non-humans start to blur. Hydrofeminism suggests a new ontological understanding of body and community.

The aqueous understanding

Neimanis, Astrida. Hydrofeminism: Or, On Becoming a Body of Water, in Undutiful Daughters: Mobilizing Future Concepts, Bodies and Subjectivities in Feminist Thought and Practice, eds. Henriette Gunkel, Chrysanthi Nigianni and Fanny Söderbäck. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012, p.107

of interbeing is not to become another appropriation of non-human existences.

Hydrofeminism is not supposed to expand existing biases, but to overrule them. It incorporates the understanding of intra-active material agencies and thus requests shapes of scientific acquisitions, which are interwoven with economical, social and political powers at all times. As material media, water as body is individualised and so is not to be understood as homogenised.

Haraway, Donna J., Staying with the Trouble, Duke University Press (2016)

"We are all bodies of water in the constitution and the geographical sense."
Astrida Neimanis

Neimanis, Astrida. Bodies of Water, Human Rights
and the Hydrocommons spacestudios.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Bodies-of-water-copy.pdf, accessed 07 January 2024

Bodies of water are fluid, constantly in motion and exchange. Water in bodies is communicator between bodies and facilitates bodies into being. Gilles Deleuze delivered the image of the virtual world, in which every realisation of objects is a nexus of virtualities, which essentially incompletely intra-act. The idea of nexus becomes important in hydro- feminist theories, when bodies of water are imagined as closed bodies. But every body consists of something like a membrane, holding it together, without interfering with the constant flow and intra-action with each other - a nexus like a liminal space. Where there are liminal spaces in forms of delta, where river and ocean merge, there are liminal spaces, gap junctions, where biological cells connect. Fluvial corpor(e)alities are capable to diminish biases such as ego & omni consciousness and diversity & commonality. The simple reference to our entanglements within this world seems enough to overcome such assumptions, that political matter is solely human matter.

In any case, bodies of water recorporalise in response to each other. The borders between outside and inside become blurry, a chain of unpredictable actions is immediately set in motion, which indicates that all bodies acting and re-acting are members of a political system with the ability to transform it.

Still these anti-egocentric theories often count as speculative and especially too abstract. By coring the perception of our surroundings around water, it would not only provide an illustrative notion, but inspire our spiritual and thus sensual understanding, which science and philosophy have been lacking during the last decades.

Abstraction of nature and humanity is one way to gain a new perspective and greater understanding, however abstraction does not mean debasement! But the arts can draw awareness on seemingly remote problems that need to be acknowledged not as something that happens in other places, but as something that happens everywhere. Facing climate changes and the speed of evolution, toning in for modification through sensory stimulations becomes methodical: mutation in visual and audible perception, breathing, communicating, (interspecies) communication…

The sea, in that case, already bears the image of a whole and the land becomes the extension of the sea. As we look at the oceans as self-contained entity, we must acknowledge, that we* are part of it.

We need to treat thoughts as if they were substantial units. But how do we limit our awareness without getting lost in the endlessness of co-existing universes? Here again, the concept of the body of water comes in handy, with its fluvial membrane, holding it together, but not completely closing off to its surrounding. The membrane as nexus, can be adjusted depending on individual needs, but it will always be open for exchange. We should not, we are not even able to, close off towards outer problems and situations. Understanding oneself as the community helps, to see frustration as a shared state of mind and not something that someone is left alone with. This also teaches us to shift our attention to things, that are actually desirable and wholesome.

When it will be referred to “We” in the following, I will indicate the denotation of all bodies of water (non-human as well)
with “We*”

Score: Think about the last time you felt like you were in the right place. What did you feel in that moment? Which senses gave you that cozy feeling? Take yourself back to that moment. Stay in it for the time that feels right for you. When you are back, think about how you can create such moments for yourself and possibly for other people.

Score by Iris, HSLU Lucerne 6/12/23

Teaching what a desirable future may look like, and not teaching oppositions or subjective pasts can be a start of adjusting constitutions.

Bring wetness into language! Because language does not display reality solely, but forms it through categorising and differentiating, making it subjective.

Score: Speak out the word "wet" aloud. Speak it slowly, then fast. Speak it again and keep hovering on the last letter, the "t". Extend the "t" of the word "wet" until you are ready to speak the word "turmoil". Repeat the procedure with the word "turmoil" until you are ready to speak a word starting with the letter "l". Repeat the procedure with words of your own and let the last letter of a word flow into the beginning of the next word, thus creating a song of wet and fluid language.

Score by Sonja, HSLU Lucerne 6/12/23

Furthermore, we should handle historic consciousness differently. Instead of a linear view on it, we could look at evolution more fluidly, like a permanently everting donut for example - anti-chrononormative.

Our bodies seem like a threshold of both, the past and the future.

Ann Cvetkovich suggests to see trauma as a fascia that can suture pasts and presents, as a collective experience that potentially gathers different kinds of we’s, instead of many individuals. Traumas, in her sense, can make certain kinds of publics possible, because they have the ability to parse the lineaments of more systematic or structural social and political relations. Is the Anthropocene one of such traumas?

Hydrofeminism can exercise our way of archiving thinking with a greater sustainability in view of the water as the immortal carrier of life data or planetary life. Astrida Neimanis speaks on the basis of Ann Cvetkovich’s understanding of trauma of an Archive of Feelings. Water is circulating and moving not only in space, but in time as well. Water remembers.

By including other water-binding forms as mediums of this archive, we* could blow up these systemic structures, which are so capable to endure over generations of human beings.

As Janine MacLeod calls it the Sea of Memory, water is infinite, it does not forget and it endures, enabling the sensuous life, bodies of water are the past, the present and the future at the same time. Can we use water as a queer archive and let ourselves be guided by it to break free from chronologically ordered and stacked schemata, without forgetting the past, but being more collective instead?

Score: When you feel sad, per example when you face your trauma, take a bath and try to let your tears flow into the water. Think about sharing your pain with the world through the water. Try to feel what it does to your body and mind afterwards.

Score by Natia, HSLU Lucerne 6/12/23

This is a contemporary movement, a material eco-criticism, feminism and vital materialism, to think of a world beyond the world divided into hierarchy of subjects and objects.

"The political goal of a vital materialism is not the perfect equality of actants, but a polity with more channels of communication between members."
–Jane Bennett

Extending awareness of what we so far considered passive and instrumental is a tenet for Hydrofeminism. If we dissolve the subject-object binary, we can improve ecological sensibility and thus experience relationships between persons and other materialities. The challenge remains to find ways of communication with non-linguistic participants of our systems, which request humans to enhance the sensitivity of our potential perceptions. Acknowledging that political action can originate from all bodies of water, not only human bodies, brings an important shift of political implication: Materiality is experienced as lively force and it could animate a more ecological sustainable community, in which the terms subjects and objects can be replaced with actants and assemblages. Ecosystems and political systems are approached in the same way, it has the hereto-generosity to solve shared problems.

Latour, Bruno, Down to Earth: Politics in the New Climatic Regime (2018)

"All bodies are wet collective bodies defined by how they link to other bodies, places, environments, technologies. Think of breathing, clogging, decomposing, discharging, flushing, lubricating, melting, menstruating, transfusing. Bodies exist as trans- and extra-territorial beings. They live in hybridity. This porous condition produces a planetary wet-togetherness, a commoning force that constitutes all bodies as collective hydro-subjects."
Cecilia Vicuña

This website is part of the artistic project wet together (since 2021) by Vanessa Bosch. It represents a hydrofeminist manifesto and is supposed to evolve through it’s digital representation as this web page. Every ideas, thoughts and assosiations are welcome, in it’s original text form or as quotes. For quotations, please note the source as following: XXXX, XXXX, 2019 Every being, able to write and/or read is invited to participate in this multitude. To provide a safe and truthful environment, all edit requests for modifications will be reviewed and thus take time accordingly, until publication. Thank you for your understanding, patience and participation.

project idea by Vanessa Bosch
design & development by Kim Kleinert
title font by Alexander Turovsky

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