Revolutionary Love


Unloved work in a world I can live in

It’s the year 3023. I’m on the move, hiking across the land.
I came across one of these places people in the past called dumps, or landfills.
Grass and shrubs are growing on and between mounds of piled-up matter.
I can feel the mosses, lichen and fungi making their way through the piles;
I see the work that is taking place here, but there is still a lot to go through.
This is the labour that is often left unloved.

I walk across the clearing,
thinking that it almost looks like an abandoned field which could have been cultivated at some point.
But the shapes are odd for this land.
The plants that grow here are different to those in old clearings, there are less of them too.
Not everything can take root and make home in a soil that is not soil.

I knew of these places, but they never made sense to me.
Here death and decay don’t turn back to and for the living,
(well they might eventually),
but rather they just pile up, remain, and spread their toxicity.

I pass another mound.

Nothing really neither disappears nor stays forever.
There’s pieces of old technology here, heaps of plastic, glass bottles, things that disrupt the cyclicity.
But there is life in all of this.
Everything here is still made up of the same matter everything in life is made of, it’s just disgustingly distorted.
This will also disappear, or rather move on, like everything in living.
But for now, this is how this place is. A ghost of past pains,
an archive of odd arrangements.

I move on, get through the opening back to the woods, and while I walk among the trees I thank the critters and plants that do the work of breaking, of turning back to life.

  1. Saana Hokkanen is a researcher based in Helsinki. Her research focuses on agricultural politics, multispecies relationality and world-making amidst capitalist violence. The text “Unloved work in a world that I can live in” is a piece of science-fiction ethnography, a passers-by description of a place and an ecology that do not exist in the current now. The piece was originally written at a Ursula Le Guin -writing workshop at a Degrowth Conference in Zagreb, Croatia, in August 2023.