The dilemma for refusal has never felt quite so urgent. To refuse is something, as AM Kanngieser reminds us in To undo nature; on refusal as return, usually understood as an act of being-against. Drawing in large part upon their extensive fieldwork on the Pacific Island of Nauru, and situating themselves – and thereby us – in the context of the ongoing pandemic, AM Kanngieser takes apart any tidy conceptions of refusal we may have. “We are told to be certain”, Kanngieser writes. “We are taught in discourses and languages that name and possess, universalise and reduce to quantifiable parts. In doing so, we do not learn to be with what is beyond us.” Kanngieser reminds us of refusal before dialectic, when refusal also meant to give back, to restore, to return. Kanngieser’s text may disorient us, and in the resulting uneasiness, they invite us to be-with, to sit-with, our own undoings.
Kanngieser A 2021 To undo nature: On refusal as return Transmediale Almanac 28 January