Art-Life Rituals for Radical Tenderness Series #1 First published on @artseverywhere, 2021.

Curated by Dani d'Emilia and Vanessa Andreotti.

Photograph by Manuel Vason.

Radical Tenderness is a political practice of healing that invites us to attune ourselves to the living metabolism of the planet, which has an intelligence way beyond what humans can fathom. We systemically deny our entanglement with the Earth—the land, the water, its many beings and spirits, cycles and trauma—and separate ourselves from its bio-intelligence. The limits of human understanding of this cannot be overcome through business-as-usual approaches that are readily offered in modern society, but by opening ourselves to what we refer to as “reattunement to metabolic entanglement.” It’s not a unidirectional or singular connection to the planet, but one of continual digestion, movement, and co-sensing. It’s not only about swimming with the whales, but also composting the shit that is part of metabolic cycles. This has been made even more vivid by the unsustainability of modernity that Covid-19 further exposed. 


Through the pedagogical-affective invitation of Radical Tenderness, the Gesturing Towards Decolonial Futures collective has been nurturing an affective space for confronting the complexity of the problems we are implicated in. This approach invites us to move away from the prescriptive politics that are usually encouraged and rewarded within modernity/coloniality. These politics of intellectual certainty, human exceptionalism, false securities, and consumptive entitlement deepen our separation from the planet’s metabolism. Radical Tenderness, as a healing practice, asks us to disinvest from such politics and to try to listen to what is beyond what we can understand or even imagine.


Experimenting with this healing practice to reattune to metabolic entanglement, the collective has been creating a poetic landscape of its intimate and collective (un)learnings, yearnings, and challenges, which have been collected in the text, Co-sensing with Radical Tenderness. This series invites artists to experiment with Radical Tenderness as a sensed-experience in their daily lives by creating performative rituals based on an encounter between the text and their own embodied poetics. Each artist chooses between 3-6 phrases in the text to create two ritual actions. The first is experienced locally by the artist and presented here in a format and duration of their choice. The second is created by the artist as an invitation to be experienced by others.


by Dani D'Emilia and Vanessa Andreotti

Selected pages of the text / 3 phrases

The Challenge of Co-sensing

How could I be able to become integrated to such a vast metabolism, to a temporality so much wider than the duration of my human body? How could I disentangle so many expectations of belonging? Which strategies should I use in order to unlearn the logics of separation I was taught again and again since I was a child? How could I open my body so as to allow it to be/to become the extension of the body of the Earth? 

Waterline is a project consisting of two actions: one that I performed myself, and one that I developed as a set of instructions for others to perform anywhere in the world. It is a poetic response to the invitation to co-sense, with some affirmations from the text Co-Sensing with Radical Tenderness. However, it is important that the intimate, affective dimension supporting this project is also made visible: being someone who currently lives, and who has always lived on islands, having the sea constantly within sight brings me some kind of comfort and familiarity—its fluidity, its colours, its ever-changing behaviour, the unique shine of its translucent surface.

Both actions take an encounter with the Sea as their starting point. In Yoruba tradition, in the Ifá poems, Olokun is the name of the divinity responsible for the seas and oceans, considered to be the first great spirit to inhabit the Earth with its vastness, beauty, and mystery. They are often represented as being half human and half fish; at times feminine, at times masculine, sometimes androgynous. Moving beyond any of their shapes, Olokun could be translated as a force encompassing the entire cosmology of the underwater depths. In that sense, Waterline emerges as a gesture that seeks to approach and to make contact with the unlimited memory archive of the salty waters. An attempt to give account of everything the waves bring us at the seashore; a proposal in which physical, conceptual, and ritualistic atmospheres cross each other. 

There are also the highs and lows of the tides in connection with the moon phases. This movement of flux and reflux was one of the first phenomena that allowed humans to create a correlation between celestial and terrestrial events, and therefore to be able to make predictions about the climate and to compose systems of time division.


by Rubiane Maia


Ritual-Action by Rubiane Maia / Duration: 8 hours.
Folkestone, UK, June 2021.

THREE ISLANDS DIAGRAM [diagram of my attempts to belong]


Ritual-Action. The Warren, Folkestone, UK.

Basic premise:

Waiting for the sea to say yes.
Accepting that it is impossible to hold the sea-body in my arms.
Escaping the thoughts and voices who keep insisting on the idea that us [humans] are the only source of intelligence on the Earth.
Making space for every doubt and uncertainty, trusting the feeling that there is no such a thing as a perfect formula for integration.

When the sea plays with us, it simply and gently dismantles everything our smallness has built.

Every beginning holds a secret within it. Or many.
Something remains hidden in order to preserve its own mysterious existence. In that sense, the desire of becoming fully integrated with the mystery brings about a certain kind of expectation, through a process mediated by both desire, yearnings and chance. One needs to refuse the feeling of frustration: after all, such an event will never depend solely on our conscious decision.

You make a movement, you wait for a sign. 
You make an invitation,  you wait for an answer.
One needs to be attentive enough in order to notice the hole, the crack, the scission, when something suddenly opens up in a lucky strike.
None of this can be forcefully arranged, but it can and it should be dreamed up.

When the sea plays with us, it simply and gently dismantles everything our smallness has built.

360˚ VIDEO [Action-Ritual, Folkestone, UK]



The movement of the tides: the gravitational power of the Moon and the Sun act as if it were pulling the Earth towards itself. This doesn’t happen only with the water, but it is at the sea level that the effects of gravitation reveal themselves in such a visible, direct way. On the full Moon these processes are amplified, there are far higher and lower tides. During this period, our bodies vibrate intensely as emotions are heightened.


Waterlines: a superposition of transitory lines. Margins, borders, footprints, traces, prisms separating the whole into spectrums of light of different colours.


Island people: people who learn from the beginning that they must untie knots in order to survive. Those who greet the sea whenever they can, admiring the stillness of the waters, while respecting the storms. Those who wash their bodies with salt, put plant twigs behind the ears, yearn for blessings.