10/08/12 (multispecies event) (2012)
  • Joanne Bristol | Banff National Park, Canada

  • 10/08/12 (multispecies event), (2012)
  • 10/08/12 (multispecies event) (2012)
  • Joanne Bristol | Banff National Park, Canada
  • ‘The possibilities of language are not only human and not only language’.
    Stephen David Ross, ‘The Writing of the Birds, in My Language’, in Animal Philosophy: Ethics and Identity, ed. Matthew Calarco and Peter Atterton (London: Continuum, 2004), p. 190

    10/08/12 (multispecies event) was produced through a practice of daily walks during The Retreat/dOCUMENTA (13) residency held in Banff, Canada in 2012. Through the walks, my intention was to observe and document traces of intersections between human and other-than-human worlds. Curious about animal agencies for shaping built environments, I used writing, drawing and photography to study the often unforeseen sensory, material and inscriptive forces by which urban habitats are produced.

    The temporal and material dynamics of 10/08/12 (multispecies event) included asymmetrical calls-and-responses between multiple networks: rodents enact diurnal excavations, grasses persistently root, saplings thrust sunward, and steel structures bear down with sleepless rust and modernist gravity. By considering the inscriptive traces of multispecies entanglements, my work aims to unsettle anthropocentric perspectives in the production of built environments. The work’s postcard form addresses the representational politics surrounding a popular Canadian tourist site located within a First Nations land-base and historical meeting place. 


    Joanne Bristol’s artistic practice, research and teaching engage with a range of analog and digital materials and methods to deepen art’s capacity to articulate relationships between nature, culture, the body, and language. She has presented performances, installations, text-based works and single-channel videos internationally, and has taught at a number of Canadian universities. 

    Using a performative writing practice, her recent research considers perspectives on the ways in which discourses of species are entangled with those of space. Situating this practice in relation to feminist architectural theory and critical animal studies, her work expands upon writing’s potential to animate a more-than-textual biopolitics. This research informed a SSHRC-funded doctoral thesis, completed at the Bartlett School of Architecture in 2016 (PhD by Architectural Design). 

    Her writing has recently been published in Public 50: The Retreat, eds. Sarah Blacker, Imre Szeman, and Heather Zwicker, (50) (2014), Poetic Biopolitics: Political and Ethical Practices in the Arts, eds. Peg Rawes, Timothy Mathews and Stephen Loo, (London: I. B. Tauris, 2015), and BlackFlash 36 (2) (2019). Through a desire to contribute to environmental well-being and decolonizing imperatives in the arts and humanities, she is currently addressing questions of species belonging within the Treaty 4 territory of the Canadian Prairies.


    My practice draws upon Jane Rendell’s concept of site-writing to address human relations with other-than-human worlds. Site-writing’s emphasis on situatedness and embodiment offers a multifaceted framework through which to observe and note how different species occupy, use and produce space. Site-writing’s reflexivity allows me to speculate on the potentials, limits and performativities of writing, including inscriptions produced by other-than-human agents, as well as my own performative writing experiments.

    Species, Spaces, Site-writing, Performative writing


    Billy-Ray Belcourt, ‘Animal Bodies, Colonial Subjects: (Re)Locating Animality in Decolonial Thought’, Societies 5, (1) (2015): 1—11.

    Donna J. Haraway, When Species Meet (Minneapolis, Minn.: University of Minnesota Press, 2008).

    Jane Rendell, Site-Writing: The Architecture of Art Criticism,( London: I. B. Tauris, 2010).

    Other projects
  • Signal/Noise: Ambient Text in the Urban Landscape (ongoing project)
  • Site Stories: explorations of urban spaces through drawing and animation (25–29 April 2022)
  • Rainbow Palace, Bergen, Norway (March 2022)
  •  Acanthus, (March 2022)
  • Unter der Hohen Brücke. 
digging in a ditch, writing for a place 
  • ‘Reading-writing alongside HALL08,’ HALL08 (2021)
  • Nothingness Beyond Blossom (2021)
  • Angelo Ciccaglione, ‘The back of the dust-machine, where the visitors pour the dust in,’ Rotterdam (2021)
    The Deposition of Dust (July 2021)
  • Skye Edge (April 2021)
  • Corvid-19 (15 March 2021)
  • 1_5
    Glòries_(Eixample). A dispositive for very slow aesthetic observation, (January 2021 –)
  • As Lightning to the Children Eased (January 2021)
  • Station F (October 2020)
  • It’s Just a Matter of Time (2020)
  • 1
    Inscription: the Journal of Material Text – Theory, Practice, History,
    issue # 1: ‘beginnings,’ (2020)
  • Homekeeping-image_sml
    Homekeeping (2020)
  • City Embers (2020)
  • Between Our Words I will Trace Your Presence (February 2020)
  • What Remains (2019)
  • Situated Writing as Theory and Method (2019)
  • Parts Apart Read Together (2019)
  • Fields of Awareness, (2019, 3min 18 secs)
  • A Non-Aligned Narrative in and Around KSEVT, (2019)
  • 21 Orientations: An Atlas of Geographic Promiscuity (2019)
  • The Windowless Hotel Room (2018)
  • Spaces of Grief (2018)
  • Soft Landing (2018)
  • Shared Remains (April 2018)
  • Poetic Water Boundaries: towards a possible borderless sea, (2018)
  • Metropolitan Salem, Liuerpul (9 June – 18 August 2018)
  • Things Come Apart (21 – 24 March 2018)
  • Learn to Read Differently (2018)
  • Il Balcone. A site-writing performance (2018)
  • History begins with the vanity of kings (2018)
  • Dear Mr. Jung: Inhabiting Carl Jung’s ‘The Red Book’ (May 2018)
  • A Lunar Perspective, (2018-2020)
  • Heaton Hall: A Palimpsest (2017)
  • Location (+) (2017)
  • There’s Sand in My Infinity Pool (2017)
  • Talking Quilts (April 2017)
  • fifteen ways to cross the desert (2017)
  • Between Landscape and Confinement: Situating the Writings of Mary Wollstonecraft (2017)
  • Agency at the threshold, (2017)
  • A Ficto-Historical Theory of the London Underground (2017)
  • The Glorious Tomb to the Memory of Nothing (2016)
  • The Arrival’s Reader; A Visual Literary Criticism on The Arrival by Shaun Tan (2016)
  • Reading as Art (27 August-19 November 2016)
  • Re: development (London: Silent Grid, 2016)
  • Kjemikerens død [The Death of the Chemist] (23 – 26 May 2016)
  • Kingsland High Street (2016)
  • Foray in a Modern Reserve: An Impounding Portrait of Landuse (2016 – 2018)
  • Fall of the Derwent (2016)
  • Away from Home – Home from Away (April 2016)
  • Penguin Pool (2015)
  • Geography Lessons: Liberian Landmarks 1953-2013 (2015)
  • Women’s Anarchist Nuisance Café (2014)
  • The Writing on the Wall (after Rembrandt) (2014)
  • The Italic I (2014)
  • Designing Architecture as a Performing-Ground (2014)
  • Urban Literacy (2013/2014/2016)
  • The Disappearance: Manfredo Tafuri’s The Sphere and the Labyrinth (April 2013)
  • Folded Ground: Escape from Cape Town (2013)
  • Phantom Railings (2012 – 2017)
  • In The Emptiness Between Them (2012)
  • 10/08/12 (multispecies event) (2012)
  • An Arcades Project (2011)
  • Tideline (2010-2012)
  • The Museum of Breath (2010)
  • Slab (2010)
  • One wound. Two wounds. The body as site for writing (2010)
  • The Fluid Pavement and Other Stories on Growing Old (2006)
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