Solidarity with Aarey
Michael Leung
4'36" | 16:9 | 2020 | HD
Original Language : English 英文
Location : Aarey forest, Mumbai
Maybe, but only maybe, and only with intense commitment and collaborative work and play with other terrains, flourishing for rich multispecies assemblages that include people will be possible. I am calling all this the Chthulucene – past, present, and to come.” – Donna Haraway

The video was shot in May 2018 and made alongside a critical map of Aarey forest in Mumbai, at the time and still experiencing deforestation by a new metro line and metro carriage depot. Similar to other grand infrastructure projects around the world, speed and convenience often prevail in court and public imagination over people’s rights to the land, the environment and biodiversity.
Following my 2018 visit, I have kept contact with the land protectors, staying updated, and even collaborating with Warli artist Mahesh Bariya on a fictional story called “Planet Earth — Mumbai's Leopards” (published 2018).
This video essay builds on multi-species thinking and centres the 3,000+ trees and biodiversity of 300 members of a tribal community, all facing eviction through violent deforestation in 2017. Inspired by Donna Haraway’s book Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, the video captures the intense commitment and collaborative work and play of many actors — from tribals to the jackfruit tree. It shows members of the Save Aarey Facebook group who generously guided myself and other Hong Kong artists through the capillaries in the forest, as part of an artist exchange between Mumbai and Hong Kong.
The film footage was idle on my hard drive after the 2018 visit. However, in March 2020, during pandemic restrictions in France whilst conducting my fieldwork, I decided to edit the footage into the video that you see now, albeit with music and no text. This iteration of the video includes an edited essay to accompany video. The original and longer essay was partly written for the Indian Anarchist Federation, as well as anyone who was not yet engaged with the situation at Aarey.
The video expresses solidarity with Little Miyashita Garden, Wang Chau, Aarey, and many more, and the courage to go beyond.


Michael Leung

Original licenses


Michael Leung is an artist/designer, researcher and visiting lecturer. He was born in London and moved to Hong Kong eleven years ago to complete a Masters in Design at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. His projects range from collective agriculture projects such as The HK FARMers' Almanac 2014-2015 to Pangkerchief, a collection of objects produced by Pang Jai fabric market in Sham Shui Po.
Michael is a visiting lecturer at Hong Kong Baptist University where he teaches social practice for the MA program. He is currently in the third year of his PhD at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong. His research focuses on Insurrectionary Agricultural Milieux, rhizomatic forms of agriculture that exist in local response to global conditions of biopolitics and neoliberalism. Locally, Michael is researching the colonial residue and (non-)Indigenous entanglements in the New Territories through his solidarity with Wang Chau villagers, who are currently being evicted by the Hong Kong government.
In 2014 Michael started writing fiction, self-publishing and reading them in public space. He contributes monthly to Fong Fo (馮火), an artist zine printed on the 21st of each month in Guangzhou. He is currently working on his thesis novel.

Keywords 關鍵字

multispecies, solidarity