Chantelle Mitchell & Jaxon Waterhouse 



Ecological Gyre Theory


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Vortextual Thinking After the Ecologic Turn


Our research aims to continue the momentum that guided the ecological turn that has dominated the humanities for the 21st Century. Extending this, we propose instead the theory of the ecological gyre, the turn growing unfixed and gyroscopic as increased acceleration and flows destabilise contemporary frameworks of being. Ecological gyre theory - building from Aristotelian law, an hyldromorphism - refers to the twinned role of ‘gyre’; as noun, the vortex or whirlpool, but also as act; to whirl about or gyrate. The original Greek, guros, the ring - a symbol of completeness - speaks to the gyre’s ontological nature, as a state of being but also something to be in; the totalising nature of the ecological crisis becoming a force underpinning not only our research but our everyday actions.

In this sense, ecological gyre theory operates as both object of study and method of study, one reflective to our current critical context.  In presenting our theory we work across, around and into contemporary ecological and Anthropocene discourse to reframe possibilities of knowing and being within a vortextual frame. Located within wet/sea ontologies, the gyre is volumetric space, a vessel for reworlding and, in a Guattarian fashion, transversalising between epistemologies. As a methodology, ecological gyre theory endorses volumetric thought within a tidalectic view, as terrestrial fixity/dialectics is countered by whorling forces that both enable and produce destabilised possibilities of being. Further, we propose it as a way to make sense of and work within that which remains, eddies, flows and whorls amidst continued acceleration and destabilisation.