As anthropologists, Judith and Larisa have often shared their research on how worlds of health and illness, historical pleasures and sorrows, unfold in particular places and times, weaving unique stories. We are both interested in how the manifest world—this world that the Chinese call “the 10,000 things”—of vegetables, comic books, glaciers, musical instruments, pots of honey, factories and libraries, squirrels, tea bushes, flocks of birds, hurricanes, whales, clouds, and cell phones, comes out where it can be perceived, and variously loved or feared by people. Our usual topics are quite different – traditional Chinese medicine, Sufism and bee-keeping in Bosnia – but both of us think a lot about the nature of becoming, or cosmogony. So a fan-fold notebook and Christie’s mark-making project inspired us, when we were together at the Translating Vitalities workshop in 2018, to make a two sided cosmogony. Larisa’s side incorporated references to her much studied pocket Koran, and Judy’s cited a paragraph on metamorphosis translated from Zhuangzi. Judy’s side was collaged from bits of a Chinese medical comic book, Larisa’s side was calligraphed in ink, drawn with charcoal and stained, and populated with bees and honey in words and images. Azra Jasarevic filmed the result and edited our favorite becoming-music to the image.
Please click the image below, which will take you to Azra’s film of the notebook.