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Panel 18: Pacific worlding and the ʻephemerally concrete’


Patricia Fifita, Lelemia Irvine, Lea Lani Kinikini Kauvaka

Session presentation

Pacific worlds and environments are constituted through the creative dynamic forces between parent energies pō (world of dark– that which remains unseen, immeasurable) and ʻao (world of light–that which is empirically verified). Pō and ao are worlding forces moderated by humans through dense worlding or ʻknowledge practices’ that are fleeting, ephemeral and consequently derided as impermanent, hence empirically unverifiable. Yet these ephemeral practices mark out the thresholds of what this panel calls the ʻephemerally concrete’. ʻEphemerally concrete’ Oceanic knowledge practices are persistent and consistently emerge throughout many technological and cultural disruptions recreating a consistent pale to Pacific worlds, casting a common ontological net across Oceania’s environments. These dense Oceanic practices include indigenous creative expressions, rituals and productive life processes such as birthing, death, agriculture, healing, material culture, tatau and other indigenous practices and technologies connecting people to environments. This panel seeks a (re)evaluation of ʻao-pō/ science-irrationality referencing multiple indigenous practices that explore intersections of pō, ʻao and other epistemologies and philosophies which highlight how human and non-human entities or forces moderate environments (ʻworlding’) via various creative forms.

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