Digital Solitude: What is your understanding of solidarity and how does it translate into your practice?
CoCD: »The Castle of Crossed Destinies« perhaps offers a metaphor for our approach to solidarity. It describes a group of strangers meeting in a forest inn during the darkest part of winter. When the strangers realize that they have lost their capacity to speak, they use a deck of tarot cards to tell their life stories to each other. Tarot becomes a vehicle and platform for a common space of exchange.
Our collaboration took a similar format, in that we focused on three different tools for sharing our stories with each other and building a collective methodology. This was not a collaboration founded on existing work, institutional positions, or disciplinary backgrounds. It was rather about meeting each other in physical and sonic spaces through the interventions of raw cacao rituals, amateur radio experiments, and tarot card readings. What emerged was an intimacy and a mode of understanding each other unique to this collaboration. For us, this is a form of solidarity.
Digital Solitude: For the Web Residency, you chose to bring the practices of tarot reading, DIY pirate radio, and raw cacao rituals into a common dialogue by developing a card game. How do you imagine that this game will activate those different »frequencies« and the crossing, imagining, and exchanging of a set of thoughts? Can you unpack your interest in tarot/card games?
CoCD: Tarot cards, radio antennas, and raw cacao beans are all »props« that we use to ask questions about our environments, our memories, and our relations to community and scale. These props operate in different modalities. While a raw cacao ritual attunes us to our biochemical and embodied feeling-states, a radio antenna gives us access to frequencies that have traversed cities, oceans, and continents. Tarot offers a set of archetypes through which to pose questions about identity and ways of being. Yet, within each of these props there is significant complexity. Raw cacao derives its power from many different chemicals that produce different embodied states; a radio antenna receives a range of frequencies simultaneously; a tarot deck has many figures, from the Major to Minor Arcana. We are also aware of historical entanglements of these props with imperialism, military technology development and classist representations.
In the game, we wanted to draw from this complexity and friction to cross-pollinate and intersect the chemicals of raw cacao, the frequencies of radio, and the archetypes of tarot. This allows us to hone in on the variations and nuances within each of our practices while speculating on how they might inform each other and sharpen the questions we ask of ourselves and our work as feminists.
»What emerged was an intimacy and a mode of understanding each other unique to this collaboration. For us, this is a form of solidarity.«
Digital Solitude: In the long run you aim to create three card decks based on the Major Arcana. During the Web Residency, you begin with creating one figure from each deck. Can you tell us more about those three figures?
CoCD: Indeed we want to develop three card decks or »houses« based on the chemicals of raw cacao, the frequencies of radio, and the archetypes of tarot, respectively. To present the game, we developed three prototype cards with the figures of the molecule anandamide, Le Diable and the 7 Mhz radio frequency and accompanying monologues which introduce the cards to the players.