Open call: Dust & Shadow Reader #2. On Attunement

Posted Nov. 7, 2018 by Maja Kuzmanović and Nik Gaffney

The Dust & Shadow Readers are self-published commonplace booklets exploring dusty deserts, shadowy civilisations and the relationships between their myriad inhabitants. The readers are curated collections of writings, images, drawings, quotes and bibliographic wanderings related to our investigations as part of the Dust & Shadow project. As both printed and electronic publications, they are shared through the FoAM network and the ASU (Arizona State University). The first issue was published in the spring of 2018, you can find the online version here: dust & shadow reader#1

The second issue of the Dust & Shadow Reader explores the topic of "attunement". We understand attunement as a particular sensitivity (with beings or situations) characterised by a careful, receptive, open awareness. It assumes a willingness to be touched by external circumstances; to be lured, affected and changed by them. Although it is an innate (somatic) ability for many people, it can be developed, enhanced and refined through practice. The practice of attunement can foster experiential, situated learning across different scales. A deliberately hesitant engagement with other entities on their own terms, from quivering butterfly wings to earth-shattering volcanoes. Attuning relies on the human capacity to notice and participate in the (asymmetrically) reciprocal effects that occur in direct, immersive experiences in the world. A kind of "ecological intimacy".

In a state of attunement the world can be experienced teeming with life, where humans are not separate from nature. It's a mutualistic or symbiotic state of being, that accepts human interdependence with the planet as a given. Attunement practices are common in animist cultures, and can be found in many indigenous societies. There are resonances with current philosophical tendencies, including speculative realism or the long winding trails of panpsychism. Yet attunement is a concept that is often difficult to grasp in words, especially words that make sense outside of philosophical, ritual, performative or meditative discourses.

This reader is an attempt to explore attunement from a range of different perspectives. We invite contributions, suggestions and pointers to promising directions from humans (and other non-corvids) from all walks of life. Theoreticians, practitioners, skeptics and enthusiasts, who can help us understand if and how attuning to the wider-than-human world can help adapt to the increasingly uncertain present of the Anthropocene.

If you are interested in contributing to the Dust & Shadow reader on attunement, please send your propositions, questions or suggestions to us by the end of January 2019. Contributions can include short texts (max 500 words), drawings, monochrome photographs, quotes or relevant references. The editorial team will make their selection and collate the reader for publication in early spring of 2019.