Karin Bolender (aka K-Haw Hart) is an artist-researcher who seeks “untold” stories within muddy multispecies meshes. As principal investigator of the Rural Alchemy Workshop (R.A.W.), she explores dirty words and entangled wisdoms of earthly bodies through performance, writing, video, and sound. In the company of she-asses Aliass and Passenger and a far-flung herd of collaborators, the R.A.W. cultivates interspecies forays like R.A.W. Assmilk Soap, the She-Haw Transhumance series, Gut Sounds Lullaby, and The Unnaming of Aliass. Karin has an MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts from Goddard College and a PhD in Environmental Humanities from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. She has lived with a multispecies family on the semi-rural fringes of a number of university towns in the US Southeast and West and presently makes a home (within the so-called “rural-urban divide”) in Philomath, a small lumber and rodeo town near a big state research university in Western Oregon.
For almost two decades now, my creative research has engaged multispecies performance, mainly with a family of beloved asses, as a means to seek more inclusive ways to frame tangled matters and storyings of all agents and energies in an environment. In both long-ass journeys and barnyard home-makings, various projects investigate tangled questions and ethical conundrums that flow through and across generations of bodies, m/other tongues, and care practices, to question how we might we perform wider cares and attentions to vital, unseen relations in ever-shifting ecologies. (My mother discouraged me from saying the word “ass” as a child—said it was “unladylike”: Go figure.) In the past five years since my daughter was born, troubles with a human-exceptionalist, military-industrialist “mother tongue” I have inherited (and must inevitably pass on?) have intensified, as devastations born of cleaving humans from other species and ecological meshes become more fearsome. Recent projects explore encounters through and across different bodies-in-places and (bio)technologies, in hopes of “seeding” (in the invisible, microbial sense) hides and tongues with wilder stories and paradigms of diverse interdependencies — from the lives we care for most closely to those we don’t even recognize. This research seeks ways we might creatively intervene in transmissions of m/other tongues—with all the toxic, tonic, and unknowable elements they pass on to new lives and inherited worlds to come.
(photo credit: K-Haw with Henry and Nicholass Moon in Orland, California. (Photo By Jacob Mitas).