These Relations Are Forever

How do we live with our chemically altered bodies? What are the words, actions and protocols that might adequately honour chemical relations?

These Relations Are Forever’ is a collaboration between four women researchers, Caterina Cacciatori, Sandra Coecke, Irene Guerrero, Saskia Vermeylen and myself facilitated through the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC). It explores the interconnectedness of their four research practices, following the thematic thread of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDC’s) that flow from agriculture, via legal and policy channels, into bodies, and finally into water. Together we have developed four rituals that make space to acknowledge our entanglement with chemicals, to celebrate the healing and restorative capacities of bodies and ecosystems and to give space to and thanks for these processes. 

Each of the researchers personally performs the ceremony representing their research. In these rituals, methods from dominant scientific practice are woven with spoken text, movement and actions of care, becoming new tools for knowledge production. The rituals are presented in the form of a 4 – channel video installation, where each researcher has a screen within which their ritual unfolds. The four screens face each other forming a square across which the women communicate, stepping up to symbolically take part in each of the four rituals as they unfold, showing support across time and space.

In these films the researchers are holders of knowledge and protectors of life; their scientific practices are reframed as relations of care and ritual becomes a vehicle to make connections across bodies, scales, cycles and scientific disciplines, offering a way of staying with our troubles (Haraway, 2016) whilst envisioning alternative ways of being in the world.

There are four very different research practices present in this project.  Rather than diving into one highly specific area of scientific investigation this project looks at the larger cycles and connections between these research practices. Bringing together agricultural policy, toxicology, water quality research, environmental law and art around a common theme of chemical pollution, the artwork shows how human and more-than-human bodies are connected through chemicals and water, making linkages across these practices to tell a wider story.

This project is the culmination of an 18 month science / art research and collaboration process.

Artwork commissioned for the exhibition ‘NaturArchy’ at iMAL, Art Centre for Digital Cultures and Technology, Brussels

24 May-24 Sept 2024

Curated by Caterina Benincasa, Claudia Schnugg, Ingeborg Reichle

This project was commissioned by the EU Joint Research Centre SCIART for Naturarchy


These Relations Are Forever, 2024, film stills, 4 channel video