Silkworm lesson #4. Slow down (cocoon)

To (rest in a) cocoon is to slow down.

After a few weeks of constant devouring, silkworms arrest the munching on mulberry leaves and metabolize the green food into silk. Caterpillars have a digestive system that processes food into sericin and fibroin- in passing through their silk glands and combining as a spit, the sericin (glue) consolidates the fibroin. The air makes it ‘sticky.’ Producing silk is a collaborative process, air + leaves + caterpillars’ digestive processes. The weaving of a cocoon also emerges from the site-specific collaboration with the structure that holds the process. Caterpillars spit for 48 hours, constantly circling their heads in figures eight and anchoring the silk in the shape of a carcass: the cocoon.

Cocooning, resting in place, is to take a break from eating and spinning. To slow down enough so the process of enzymatic morphing can take place. Morphing is to release enzymes that dissolve muscle and organ cells, leaving behind only the most vital life-supporting cells. Cocooning is also a with-in process. Slowing down enough, so the energy remains at the cellular level. To cocoon- is to take a break and arrest what is not needed. To stay in the core: Nursing. Cocooning is a kind of dreaming, a practice of being in-between forms. A queer larval take on living.

Today, we will try cocooning as a collective resting, lying together. We will make space for each other, holding each other’s bodies. A performative practice of collective resting will be our carcass; a cocoon to slow down and practice dreaming together. As a queer technology, Cocooning slows us down to impossible rhythms, allowing us to exist in the soft mess of here-and-now. Without making sense, just sensing, together.

What becomes available when we slow down enough?

Which stories, sensory memories, future spells, and technologies for hope-making emerge while nursing our slow connections? Which kind of relational fields emerge from cocooning together?

After the cocoon practice, we will gather images, words and sounds to craft a collective poetry to start bringing some text into our shared lessons. Slowly building towards a totem card for messy transitions

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