Embodied Listening Practices and Ruderal Ecologies


  • Lindsey french University of Regina
  • Alex Young Carnegie Mellon University


We propose embodied multisensory listening as a methodology of engaging with, and listening to, the complex multispecies relations of ruderal ecologies via our collaborative project in which we followed the path of the Line 3 petroleum oil sands pipeline from Edmonton, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin in August 2022, enacting close engagement with the ruderal plant species that grow atop the overturned earth of this intercontinental site of colonial extractive infrastructure. Ruderal ecologies refer to the more-than-human constellations of life that form in human modified environments that are not purely conditional to any form of human action: even as certain human groups affect change to the earth both geologically and climatically through networked systems of extraction and exchange that span the Earth through colonialism and capitalism. Working from Nigerian feminist theorist Oyeronke Oyewumi proposal of the term “world-sense,” xwélmexw artist, curator and writer Dylan Robinson’s calls for multi-sensory listening, and Hsuan Hsu’s work on of olfactory art to confront us materially with the realities of environmental risk, we consider, can a methodology of embodied listening allow us to confront the living legacies of the ongoing colonial project of extractivism and imagine shared ruderal futures from a position of listening?