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Of Animacy Reading Group: Undercurrents
Institute of Contemporary Arts
May 2022
An annual summertime bloom of cyanobacteria flourishes in the Baltic Sea. Image by Norman Kuring, NASA.

I hereby invoke fluid wisdom to guide us through the toxic muck
I will apprentice myself to creeks & tributaries, groundwater & glaciers
Listen for the salty pulse within, the blood that recognizes marine ancestry
In its chemical composition & intuitive pull
I will learn through immersion, flotation & transformation
As water expands & contracts, I will fit myself to its ever-changing dimensions
Molecular & spectacular, water will return what we give it, be that arrogance & poison, reverence & light, ambivalence & respect
Let our societies be revived as watersheds
– Rita Wong

Of Animacy reconvenes for a festive gathering at the end of the year to discuss and enjoy a selection of poems from Rita Wong’s book Undercurrent.

In this poetry collection, Wong makes tangible our intricate and inextricable connection to land and bodies of water, and to all other beings with whom we share them. She writes of relentless colonial violence, the endless outpour of toxic waste and the porousness of all bodies immersed in ‘stale air’, ‘urban hurry’ and ‘electromagnetic fields’. Yet she also addresses our earthly and aqueous companions with love and wonder, honouring the legacy of resistance movements past and present, and compelling us to join the fight for a better future.

Under discussion:

Rita Wong, Undercurrent (Nightwood Editions, 2015)

For access to the text and further information on the reading group, please email

Reading the selected text in advance is recommended but not necessary. Printed copies will be available at the gathering and excerpts of the text will be read together to support open discussion.

Of Animacy meets every month at the ICA and is always open to all.

Rita Wong’s Undercurrent was kindly brought to Of Animacy’s attention by Astrida Neimanis.
Led by curator Nella Aarne, Of Animacy thinks through feminist engagements with human and non-human agents in the material world, spanning philosophy and science. The texts and discussions meander through a multiplicity of concepts and ways of thinking, developing into a vibrant web of ideas – the shape and character of which will organically unfold over time. Of Animacy fosters learning through open discussion in a democratic space, with an aim to recognise vital alliances for our daily life and political thought.
07:00 pm
Tue, 17 Dec 2019
Free, booking required.

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