ENTANGLED

ENHANCING SALMON KINSHIP NETWORKS

KAREN TOMKINS
MLA


Entangled explores ways of disrupting often unquestioned Human superiority by designing for interspecies co-authorship that fosters respect for and connection to our non-human kin through the relational networks of Pacific Salmon. In the North Pacific, we share our watersheds with 5 main species of Salmon. With over 80,000 kilometers of coastline, the unique land and seascapes of this coast have evolved in large part thanks to the abundance of Salmon over millennia.

They inhabit an extensive transect across the coast from deep ocean to mountain headwaters. With their sheer tenacity and numbers, Salmon are powerful agents for change in these land and seascapes. Their impacts are many, but Entangled focuses on the decay of their carcasses in streams and forests along the coast. The decay of a Salmon carcass may seem small, but the impacts becomes monumental when repeated millions of times a year for millennia. Over deep time, extensive kinship networks have evolved that rely on the seasonal decay of Salmon’s flesh.

This seasonal decay pulse has been disrupted by anthropogenic impacts. Entangled imagines Humans as vectors who carry Salmon carcasses (currently deemed as waste) and offer them to the land and seascapes of the Pacific coast.

Supervisor: 
Kees Lokman




Once offered by a Human vector, the process has just begun. Collaborative kin such as Otter, Eagle, Coyote and Raccoon drag Salmon’s body from trail side, deeper into the forests and streams where insects and microbes consume it and in turn, feed more Kin. Like the Salmon themselves, the small action of one single Human vector may seem minute, but when thousands of Humans disperse across the landscape with thousands of carcasses, over many years, the impacts are immense.

Relational design can help facilitate and encourage a radical ethic of care for the landscapes and seascapes that we and our non-human kin call home. In a time when dominant anthropogenic influences are primarily destructive and consumptive, Entangled offers one way for people to start to embody a different story. One in which our actions enhance and strengthen the tangled ancient connections beyond our own species and the tiny speck of time that we’ve existed here on Earth.