Though Adrian Ivakhiv recently pronounced “Ontology is in; epistemology is out,” at this week’s Rock Art Worldings conference in Sweden All is in. The organizers frame three areas of attention: Rock art chronologies, Rock art materialities, and Rock Art Ontologies. Chronologies and materialities continue to ask how we know what we know; epistemology alive and well.
The question of ontologies and rock art compels: What is the is-ness of rock art, its nature, its being-in-the world? The conference says ontologies embrace such realms as “ … the relational intra-actions between humans and other-than-humans, such as gods, spirits, the dead, animals, inhabitants of other cosmic levels, meteorological phenomena, plants, and occasionally even artefacts.” An urgent provocation to keep open in the study of rock art.
Worlding itself as word and idea gained momentum in the 1990s and now accelerates through multiple areas of inquiry. Distracting, disturbing, and disrupting placid ponds of reflected knowing. Crucially, what the aspiring “Worlding” means or does in “The Real World” of crushing change and staggering crisis remains to be known. What is, is; what becomes, will be.
In any event, I believe looking with rock art as articulations of being constitute a worlding ontology. Below, RockArtOregon: One Worlding