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Gardens Between Above and Below: Cosmotechnics of Generative Surfaces in Abules-Speaking Nyamikum

Coupaye, Ludovic; (2021) Gardens Between Above and Below: Cosmotechnics of Generative Surfaces in Abules-Speaking Nyamikum. Anthropological Forum , 31 (4) pp. 414-432. 10.1080/00664677.2021.2006602. Green open access

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Abstract

Based on the case of Nyamikum village’s Abulës-Speakers (‘Abelam’) in Papua New Guinea, this paper weaves two parallel discussions: the first shifts our approach of gardens from being horizontal surfaces, covered in assemblages of plants, towards a vertical one, in which gardens are dynamic interfaces upon which recursive processes of generativity and depletion appear in temporal sequences of movement between a space above and another below, acting as a container of capacities. The second discussion focusses on how humans engage with garden plants, enact technics (defined here as a specific configuration of practices/techniques, objects and relations) which facilitate the becoming of plants, in a way that actualises a ‘friendly’ or ‘moral’ order elicitation according to principles of enablement instead of extraction. Finally, the paper makes the hypothesis that the transposition of visual forms created by technics to other places, such as the ceremonial house, makes them as efficacious in manifesting and enabling vital processes of generativity. This leads to the conclusion that technics play indeed a central role in the unifying the moral and the cosmic order, because they always contain a part of material self-evidence which does not rest on conventions or beliefs. As a result, it confirms that local notions of efficacious actions are the bases upon which wider vernacular conceptions (of sociality, of generativity or of morality) and logics can be built.

Type: Article
Title: Gardens Between Above and Below: Cosmotechnics of Generative Surfaces in Abules-Speaking Nyamikum
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1080/00664677.2021.2006602
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1080/00664677.2021.2006602
Language: English
Additional information: © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.
Keywords: Abelam; gardens; technics; cosmotechnics; forms
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Anthropology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10189575
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