Lines that do not speak : Multispecies hospitality and bug-writing
Pyyhtinen, Olli (2022-09)
09 / 2022
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The article, situated at the crossroads of hospitality studies, human–animal studies and writing studies, offers a more-than-human perspective on hospitality by exploring the book The Language of Bugs (2018) by Chinese book designer and artist Zhu Yingchun and its crafting process. In existing scholarship, hospitality has been mainly considered in anthropocentric terms. The article suggests that the multispecies relations that unfolded between the artist, his garden and bugs not only unsettle and disrupt this anthropocentric bias but also complicate the predominant dyadic understanding of hospitality: their hospitable entanglement needs to be analysed as a triadic configuration, where there are no fixed positions, but each member may in its turn be placed in the position of the host/guest/third. Ultimately, the paradox of the hospitality offered by the artist to the bugs is that he was only possible to welcome their visitation by endangering the life or wellbeing of his other guests, the plants. The article also highlights the non-phonemic, material and performative ‘asemic’ aspects of writing by considering writing in terms of traces and lines and argues that bug-writing has great theoretical potential for liberating the notion of writing from its anthropo-, phono and logocentric subordination.
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