kin is an artist book published by Silent Face Projects that explores the human perspective, what it would mean to be able to move outside of this perspective, and the paradoxes that are contained in this proposed point of view and gesture. The title opens with the final paragraph from Darwin’s On the Origin of Species along with a reworking of the same text by the artist that takes on a less humanist angle: an angle that that embraces co-emergence and, in the words of Donna Haraway, making kin with our surroundings rather than the “war of nature” and the hierarchical view of our world that is so easily adopted. However, through authoring this “update” to On the Origin of Species, the text falls short, as it is ultimately crafted looking through the human lens, in effect revealing the impossibility of this proposed angle. In the end the book and images look to explore a flavor of failure of these inquiries while still addressing the importance and value of these ideas for proposing alternative forms of thinking within the social, ecological, and political spheres.
Thus From the war of nature, from famine and death,
the most exalted object we are capable of conceiving,
namely the production of the higher animals, directly follows.
There is grandeur in this view of life,
with its several powers,
having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one;
and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on
according to the fixed law of gravity,
from so simple a beginning,
endless forms moot beautiful and most wonderful
and are being,
Thus, from this shared matter, from exchange and cohabitation,
there is no proposition of most exalted object or subject,
for the perspective of matter in its many combinations leads.
There is grandeur in this view of emergence,
with its infinite powers,
having been breathed into all forms;
and that, whilst space has gone churning on without repeat,
abiding by no predictable pattern,
from so complex a spectrum,
endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful
and are becoming,