Mesosanctuary is a participatory mural which explores ecological grief and regeneration. Exploring how the Greek μέσος, or “middle” can be a space situated in between grief and hope, the artist DR KITKAT launched an open call in 2022 inviting contributors to enter an intimate 5-step process of co-creation as meditation, where the personal and collective would meet.
Ecological grief can be understood as feelings of loss, anxiety and mourning in response to environmental destruction. These feelings may manifest as a "natural and legitimate response" to a loss of ecosystems, dwellings and livelihoods, or a general sense of species loneliness, a "deep, unnamed sadness" which emerges from the estrangement of humans and non-humans (Cunsolo & Ellis, 2018; Kimmerer 2016). In such a setting, what can ecological regeneration look like? How can we world new worlds which offer alternatives?
The Mesosanctuary mural, informed by DIWO (Do It With Others) practices and the Qiyi City Forest Garden in the city of Chengdu in China’s Sichuan province, explores the potentials and contradictions of transforming climate grief into regeneration. Media coverage of the City Forest Garden as an experimental site for new urban ecologies focuses on how only ten of its units are inhabited by humans, while plants, mosquitos and other species thrive. Those who live there, however, describe the joys of living alone in a tropical forest. “The air is good when you wake up in the morning,” a resident explains.
The 22 Mesosanctuary contributions from around the world represent a diversity of co-creations across mediums, from collage and painting to sculpture and poetry - much like the more-than-human residents of an urban forest garden in a solarpunk future. Dwelling together yet alone, they reveal how loss and celebration are innately intertwined on an earth defined by interdependence.
Mesosanctuary will be exhibited twice in México in December 2022 at 4S/ECOSITE in Cholula - accompanied by a body sculpture activity with Prof Ann Light - and at ARAFURA in Mexico City. It is supported by the CreaTures project, which explores creative practices for transformative futures, and has been launched in association with Art Tech Nature Culture, a global community of practice which connects creative experimenters across disciplines.