becoming-Feral is a creative research publication which aims to investigate the complex relationships between human/other-animals and the shifting categories of wild/feral/domestic, set within landscapes constantly being altered by global transformations of climate and capitalism. We are interested in exploring reciprocal and responsive multispecies reactions to the act of becoming-Feral.
becoming-Feral will curate a prismatic and multifaceted perspective on our understandings of other-animals and their ‘wildness’ through the form of a bestiarum vocabulum (book of beasts). We invite creative contributions from anyone: zoologists; scholars; researchers; historians; scientists; poets; naturalists; artists; activists.
We are seeking static and multimedia contributions for both a print- and digital- edition.
Friday 15 January 2021 (by midnight BST)
Outcomes will be notified via email by Friday 12 February 2021 (for submissions before 16 January) or 1 March 2021 (for submissions after 16 January)
Intended Publication: Summer 2021
Submissions should be made using the online form found here:
Please contact the editors if you have any questions regarding the call-out, publication, or research-creation project, including any guidance or initial feedback on your submission concept.
We are seeking submissions in the form of a creative entry which is framed as an entry on a single species within the Animal Kingdom, as would be found in a Bestiary.
We support both textual/static contributions and multimedia or dynamic contributions for this issue.
Selected textual and static visual contributions will be curated into a print publication, while multimedia contributions (video, audio, digital artworks) will be presented as part of a developing web-based version of the publication.
Contributions should be limited to no more than 500 words. The text can be written in any form or genre, including poetry, prose, lyric-philosophy, performance documentation, creative essays, notation, and visual art.
We encourage diverse perspectives and voices from a variety of disciplines and cultural identities.
We are looking for provocations in the form of entries framed by an animal species (current, extinct, emergent, future, mythic or imaginary) that explore any topic of your choosing, including:
As we are generally seeking short and provocative entries under 500 words, we do ask that you submit contributions in full and do not submit proposals. Any expressions of interest or questions of suitability can be directed to the editors prior to the deadline.
Previously published/presented work is allowed given you have permission from the rights’ holders.
Contributions should be titled by the scientific classification of an animal species, e.g. Homo sapiens.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has made visible the many ways other-animal behaviour shifts alongside human activity, creating what Anna Tsing (2020) calls ‘feral’ ecologies, by altering and reorienting the biological, technological, political and socio-cultural conditions within which multispecies relations develop, adapt and evolve – from zoonotic diseases such as SARS-CoV-2 that ‘jump’ between species; to the illegal trade of wild species at ‘wet’ markets; to animal testing during vaccine development; to the increased emergence of wildlife in public spaces due to the withdrawal of human activity as a result of stay-at-home restrictions across the world. Attempts to contain and dominate the virus operate in tandem with already-extant increases in forced migration (of humans and other-animals), disasters of failing infrastructures, wildfires, floods, and record-setting locust swarms, due to human induced climate change and habitat destruction.
One might say that we are living through wild times, that more-than human life is reacting to the colonial and capitalist anthropocentric projects of domestication/production and/or extinction; what Donna Haraway (2008) terms ‘making killable’. Domestication is the dominant mode of being within the wild/feral/domestic triad in late capitalism, and thus a departure from this territory must entail the active process of becoming-feral.
Becoming is a recurrent act of deconstructing the boundaries between bodies, constructing malleable new borders in which both identities exist simultaneously; a continual performance of immanence and difference. Ferality is used to refer to wild, untamed or undomesticated species, particularly those that have escaped from cultivation or domestication moving beyond human control. Through the notion of becoming-Feral we decentre the concept of solid-state humanity and embrace human existence as an assemblage of ecological entanglements with other-animals. Becoming requires the development of feral subjectivities (Adsit-Morris 2017), feral epistemologies, and feral ontologies.
In order to move forward as participants in shared and multitudinal ecologies, how might humans embrace ferality and dedomestication in an attempt to garner more ethical and response-able subject positions? What knowledge(s) can be found in forging or (re)invigorating relationships with animal oddkin (Haraway 2016)—new and unpredictable kinships beyond genealogical relations—to challenge conceptions and embodiments of anthropocentric dominance? What new territories—feral ecologies or multispecies worldings—might become accessible and livable by becoming-Feral?
A Book of Beasts (or Bestiary) is a collection of descriptions of the characteristics and habits of animals, often illustrated and centring a Western moral lesson or allegory. The Bestiaries of the Medieval period are the most notable examples of these publications, which were often not single texts but accumulative and malleable collections of entries. These animal descriptions were not limited to observable empirical data, but most often acted as a means to collate and communicate animal lore and spiritual teachings including imaginary or mythic creatures alongside regional and exotic animals.
Text-based contributions should be between 250 – 500 words and can be accompanied by image(s).
Longform essays (2,500 – 4,000 words) may be considered dependent on the contributions submitted and the direction of the publication at that point. Upon submission you will be asked if you would like to be considered to adapt your short entry into a longform essay.
Entries which centre on visual imagery such as Visual Art-based contributions should be accompanied by up to 250 words of supporting contextual text.
We are seeking contributions in the form of video, audio, or other digital forms for the web-based version of the publication.
Multimedia contributions should be accompanied by supporting contextual text of up to 250 words.
If possible, please share web-based links to the media in the first instance.
We will also accept full entries (up to 500 words) which have accompanying or supporting multimedia content.
The publication utilises endnotes in the Chicago Style instead of in-text citations. We ask that you familiarise yourself with the style of the previous publication in keeping references to a minimum.
We are unable to provide remuneration for successful entries, though we will ship a complimentary copy of the print-publication to successful contributors at no cost. Contributors will also receive a discount on all purchases of the publication.
All entries will be reviewed by academics and professionals from the partner institutions. Final decisions will be made by the Editor in line with the partner feedback. Outcomes will be notified via email by Friday 12 February 2021 (for submissions before 16 January) or 1 March 2021 (for submissions after 16 January).
Submissions should be made using the online form found here:
You will be asked to provide the following information:
becoming-Feral is the second publication in the BECOMING Series, which investigates human/other relationships as a means of ecological attunement, provocation and world-making. The first publication was centred on the human/plant relationship, becoming-Botanical (2019).
You can find more information and access the digital publication here: objeta.org/portfolio/becoming-botanical/
becoming-Feral is a research-creation project led by Objet-a Creative Studio in association with The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, the University of Wisconsin-Madison; and the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Josh Armstrong, Objet-a Creative Studio & Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, GBR
Alexandra Lakind, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA
Chessa Adsit-Morris, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA
Rebekka Sæter, Independent Artist & Outdoor Educator, NOR
Laura Grotjan, Addie Hopes, Emery Jenson, Sabrina Manero
University of Wisconsin-Madison and affiliates at the Center for Culture, History, and Environment
becoming-Feral is supported by the Centre for Cultural, History and Environment (UW-Madison) through the CHE Research Group: Feral Worlds.