My love our knowledge

Abstract: ‘My love our knowledge’ is a sound installation that is an anthem to vulnerability, to the politics of care, and to making and preserving loyal communities. It shows the need for turning away from academic teaching as we know it and instead acknowledging knowledge that is in the body, in the family and in nature. This project hopes to contribute to making us all teachers who are full of enthusiasm, passion and loving queerness.

Keywords: Contaminated knowledge, queer poetry, partnership, nature

‘My love our knowledge’ is a project that I created during my stay at the Kem School in Warsaw, where we focused on the idea of alternative teaching, learning and knowledge. I’m a writer, so I started doing what I usually do—writing. And as I began, I wondered why when I think about knowledge do I think about the people I lost, the anger and shame I experienced, the violence that was pushed on me?

I finally understood something—the binary is everywhere. That’s something we cannot blame ourselves for. It is just a medium that we use to make peace with or understand the world.

But it is not enough. It doesn’t show the whole picture because there are so many worlds within this one. And as I healed, I saw that the binary is not making me happy—if anything, it’s making me more conflicted. To illustrate that point, I’m going to use a silly example because I appreciate knowledge that is underestimated. The binary is not only within genders, language and ideals—it extends to the kingdom of plants as well, the plants that we categorised.

Fruits and vegetables, the tomato debate begins—which one is it? The word ‘vegetable’ is another way to flatten the world because when we use that word, what happens to the bulbs, leaves, roots, stalks and flowers? And where is the place for the tomato? And if there are such controversies with simple tomatoes, where is the place for non-binary bodies?

Fear changes the body. Intergenerational trauma can pass down memories; the body cannot fully expand when it’s expected to shrink due to systemic violence. We leave our homes, caves full of mementos from the outside world, a place we think of as truly safe, even though most cases of violence happen in our homes.

At Poland’s pro-choice protests, when I was pepper sprayed twice one night, I was expected to close my red eyes and move away, to shrink from painful tears coming down my throat. But I believe in expanding, growing and learning, truly queer ways of decolonising the body. I also believe in the power of a good song. So, I collected my own experiences and failures and created this small project. 

Right now, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there are people dying on the border of my country—the border that someone chose to guard and to paint with blood. When did a border become a wall instead of a bridge? There are people dying beyond the border of my country, kids and adults with hands tied up, shot in the back of the head. War is no time for writing; the embodied knowledge disappears when thrown into the mass graves. A writer on the battlefield is just a person.

Julka Walkowiak

Julka Walkowiak is a bio- and hydro-feminist artist, who focuses on finding environment-based forms of resistance. Her practice includes guerrilla gardening, queer poetry and song-making.