pulling together: /es/systeming:
stories transdisciplinary knowledges tell

A whispering from my left as I sit in the audience for a conference panel: “the word system feels so cold to me” in rumination. Sibilant /es/ triggers a sudden involuntary counter-sensation of warmth for /es/system, memories of Batesons, of peopling cybernetics among stories and experiences with plants and animals, at water’s edge. Dispersed/diffracted in time and being, people can feel as boundary objects, focusing and defocusing. I approach someone I have talked to many times before at this conference, with appreciations for her memories across a range of feminist interventions in science and technology, and she assures me with asperity that she has absolutely no idea who I am.

(But then, just how recognizable am I really? I admit that with type 2 diabetes my body in time and beings dilates: I spread out and in with pounds added and lost in “intensive managements,” as lipid-metabolism engages those complex systems among gut microflora coming and going, hormonal and digestive communications, food environments today and perhaps in my grandparents’ generation, epigenetic methylation at different lag-times, and more.)

How do transdisciplinary stories tell us about these and other makings, tellings, beings? How do we move with, among, and as such “design fictions”?

Here is another: (very) roughly 5000 years ago in (at least) two segmenting ecologies on our planet humans messed around with some cognitive companions, each coordinating multiple agencies characteristically. • In Mesopotamia tiny clay token sheep were enclosed in clay envelopes with markings indicating what was inside. • In the Andes strings were wrapped around sticks and attached to a main cord. In the first case the favored sensory technology for making was molding and inscribing clay. Worlds set into motion from this sort of making eventually sustain what some consider “true writing”: that is to say, writing that companions preferentially with language. In the second case makings involved spinning plant and animal fiber and feeling, tying, and untying knots. Worlds set into motion there eventually sustain a different sort of writing, one said to be “without words,” instead preferentially coordinating actions and practices directly as their very ecologies.

/es/systeming meditations move around amid coordinating artifacts for complex systems: among these are also new materialisms as boundary object projects together with and as its also processual affirmative re-writings.