Fabrizio Terranova, Donna Haraway: Story telling for earthly survival, 2016, 81 min
How do we narrate stories about ourselves in such a way that they allow us to survive ourselves in our current form? This question has long been on the mind of philosopher Donna Haraway and it is also at the heart of a film by Italian director Fabrizio Terranova that made its way through film festivals and universities around the world only a few years ago. Similarly to Haraway’s thinking, his aim is not to target selected audiences that have are already knowledgeable about these issues in the first place. He tries to remain open and comprehensible in order to aid us in opening up our imagination, an imagination that is challenged by Donna Haraway – relentlessly, inspiringly, provocatively, and sometimes humorously (in the film, at least).
After five decades of working in the fields of biology, history of science, feminism, philosophy of media, and anthropological philosophy, Donna Haraway is without a doubt a celebrity of contemporary thought. Yet such a description seems entirely inappropriate in relation to this particular author. As the film demonstrates, Haraway is a playful person firmly rooted in her living space, a valley near Santa Cruz in California, one of the last bastions of radically leftist academic environments. From this location, she speaks both to the audiences of the film and to her readers. She thinks and speaks in motifs of hybridity, and so her work, in a time of exceedingly complex, differentiated, and specialised perspectives on the world, gives the impression of being an earthy and unifying glue. Haraway, in essence a thinker operating between (often estranged) disciplines, tirelessly refuses dualistic and hierarchical perspectives on life with capitalist motifs. She does so in a creative gesture in which she offers new symbols, images, and notions of networks of relationships that bring us – the living and non-living inhabitants of this planet – closer to each other, allowing us to recognise our ties and dependencies. From this creative gesture then follows the power of new symbols in contemporary culture and art that Haraway represents. Through these, we can find ourselves as individuals that are growing, in-growing, and out-growing in both our immediate surroundings and across greater distances, on earth and on Earth, rather than being those who occupy, conquer, and exceed the Earth (and the extraterrestrial). Donna Haraway tells such stories thanks to which we can survive the current version of ourselves and yet still remain ourselves.
Text: Andrea Průchová Hrůzová
Translation: Ian Mikyska
Andrea Průchová Hrůzová (she/her) is a cultural theorist, researcher, and lecturer.
The project was financially supported by the City of Prague, the State Cultural Fund, and the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic.