Author:Rachel Harkness (University of Edinburgh)
Paper short abstract:
The routes of water through an eco-building, its dwellers and their environment-world are followed in order to show that it can indeed be fruitful to think on life and living in terms of engagements, entwinements, flows and movements of organisms and other entities.
Paper long abstract:
This paper proposes a consideration - playful at times, serious at others - of the routes of certain elements and materials through a style of eco-building that I had the opportunity to help construct, to live in and to study anthropologically. In particular, the course of water through a building is examined: picked up at raincloud, and followed to cistern to filter to pump to tap to drain to filter to plants to fruit, and on. The way in which its movement here cannot be disentangled from the course of water in the wider environment-world or, in fact, from the course it takes through and the role it plays in the human body, is noted. So too is the way in which the water, in its changing forms and composition, is embroiled in and an important part of the life processes of non-human organisms as well as in elements of the home and home-life that at first-glance may not seem to have much to do with water. I conclude by rounding upon the idea that 'whirls of organisms' provides a particularly fitting prism through which to view this subject of environmental architecture and ecological ways of living, for these are grounds rich in evidence that it can indeed be fruitful to think on life and living in terms of engagements, entwinements, flows and movements of organisms and other entities.
Whirls of organisms: forms and movements of life