The film ‘The guest, the host & the ghost’ and surrounding installation by Lorena Solís Bravo is an exploration of the relationship between the entanglements of the human, and the microorganisms with whom we share our bodies – tapping into the imagination that is nested within different forms of symbiotic life such as togetherness, interdependence, cosubjectivity, and intimacy.
Lorena approached the making of the film through a somatic practice in the form of a workshop developed in collaboration with Fernanda Libman. Alongside the performers, they work through imagination as a form to deconstruct and reconfigure themselves, in order to tune in with the organisms that live within and around us. Lorena & Fernanda facilitated different moving scores where each score is a particular exercise in a certain kind of imaginative bodily concentration. This left a lot of room for improvisation, but also gave the artist control over the images they wanted to create. The process of the workshops was filmed and edited, creating images that were gradually layered alongside a poem written by Lorena, that channels the thoughts of their research.
The starting point of this research is based on the evolutionary theory of endosymbiosis – conceived of by Lynn Margulis – who argued that different types of bacteria, through symbiogenesis (meaning: becoming by living together), formed more complicated forms of organisms eventually resulting in animals, fungi, and plants. In fact, the body consists of 90% of other-than-human genomes, such as fungi, microorganisms, viruses, and bacteria. This is a genealogy that is often overlooked when exploring our ‘family trees’:only focusing on our maternal and paternal links, excluding other ways of perceiving ancestry and family, and downplaying networks of care and respect that build on relationships with other species and things. The human-nature divide has been weaponised in order to justify extractive and destructive actions on earth. Lorena’s aim with this work is to suggest an alternative narrative and bring the objected ‘I’ back to nature, in order to re-examine the boundaries that have been placed between the natural and the unnatural – and to acknowledge that being entangled is to find oneself embedded in a shifting constellation of living things. “The guest, the host & the ghost” is a way to understand the body as a hybrid transcorporeal assemblage; whilst questioning what it means for humanness that everything can be connected, and that no distinctions are made.
At the core of Laurel, there are three central yearnings: the ability to navigate care, to learn, and the possibility to connect with others. We see Laurel as both a physical and online community that offers real involvement through open collaborative projects – one that explores conversations on the meaning, reasoning and processes behind our collective core beliefs. Laurel is a device – a capsule which carries and shares information (resources), which serve as the compost from where Laurel casts its shape: an ecosystem of ongoing relational praxises.
Since Laurel finds itself in a transitory stage; a state of nomadism, we are currently occupied with appearing in other cultural spaces that are willing to host questions of (non)belonging, and to explore the capability of communities to exist in a broader spectrum. As Laurel, we conceive our actions as a practice on spatiality; a motion to allow our values to navigate the prevailing systems of production, as to generate temporary reflections on possible community-based becoming(s).