A final feeling-thought turns to Jane Bennett’s focus on ‘vibrant matter’, which looks beyond anthropocentric and subject-based approaches to the world to consider ‘the capacity of things … not only to impede or block the will and designs of humans but also to act as quasi agents or forces with trajectories, propensities, or tendencies of their own’ (2010, viii). Bennett’s ‘Thing-Power’ or ‘the curious ability of inanimate things to animate, to act, to produce effects dramatic and subtle’ (2010, 6), as referenced above, is perhaps particularly forceful and present in things that are decaying, losing their fixity, wholeness and utility. It can also be present, as Bennett herself points out, referencing Thoreau, in wild places where nonhuman agencies are dominant, asserting their ‘self-will’ and energy beyond the human context – when we see things as ‘vivid entities not entirely reducible to the contexts in which (human) subjects set them’ (Bennett 2010, 4-5).
How this more than human/beyond human ‘thing-power’ might develop and intersect with the anthropocentric movements and perspectives of the research is of interest. It also productively intersects with the reflections above, in that it speaks to the people, things and forces that consistently overlap within the project and from which the ‘structure of feeling’ of this locality emerges. Perhaps in this next stage, I might find some way for these elements to bubble in rich constellations, jangling usefully how both practices happen. For now, I’ll continue to think and feel through some more of the possibilities, raising my gaze from the litter on the pavement to the people around me and in turn to the tree branches, breaking apart the sky above.