Editor’s note: Aarey Forest is a rich urban forest which is within the eco sensitive zone of Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP). It is classified as mixed moist deciduous type forest. It acts as a buffer between SGNP and the city, being one of the few green spaces left in Mumbai. — Wikipedia
Publishing (to Find Each Other)
Video 2: Solidarity with Aarey
published on D-Normal/V-Essay
4’36” | 16:9 | 2020 | Michael Leung
Location : Aarey forest, Mumbai
An on-site documentation
KEYWORDS 關鍵字: Multispecies 多物類, Solidarity 手足團結
“Maybe, but only maybe, and only with intense commitment and collaborative work and play with other terrains, flourishing for rich multispecies assemblages that include people will be possible. I am calling all this the Chthulucene – past, present, and to come.”
– Donna Haraway
The video was shot in May 2018 and made alongside a critical map of Aarey forest in Mumbai, at the time and still experiencing deforestation by a new metro line and metro carriage depot. Similar to other grand infrastructure projects around the world, speed and convenience often prevails in court and public imagination over people’s rights to the land, the environment and biodiversity.
Following my 2018 visit I have kept in contact with the land protectors, staying updated and even collaborating with Warli artist Mahesh Bariya on a fictional story called “Planet Earth — Mumbai’s Leopards” (published 2018).
This video essay builds on a multi-species thinking and centres the 3,000+ trees and biodiversity of 300 tribal communities all facing eviction through violent deforestation in 2017. Inspired by Donna Haraway’s book “Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene”, the video captures the intense commitment and collaborative work and play of many actors — from tribals to the jackfruit tree. It shows members of the Save Aarey Facebook group who generously guided myself and other Hong Kong artists through the capillaries in the forest, as part of an artist exchange between Mumbai and Hong Kong. The film footage was idle on my hard drive after the 2018 visit. However, in March 2020, during pandemic restrictions in France whilst conducting my fieldwork, I decided to edit the footage into the video that you see now, albeit with music and no text. This iteration of the video includes an edited essay to accompany video. The original and longer essay was partly written for the Indian Anarchist Federation, as well as anyone who was not yet engaged with the situation at Aarey.
The video expresses solidarity with Little Miyashita Garden, Wang Chau, Aarey, and many more, and the courage to go beyond.