Introduction

What, if not relationality, characterizes today’s planetary condition? One only needs to think of the ongoing and globally interconnecting COVID-19 pandemic, the ever-deepening ecological catastrophes or the also ever-increasing systemic inequalities, can one not see how relational ‘our’ situation is? And is it then not astonishing how often the different systems in which cures or handling of the entangled situations are envisioned (scientific, medical, socio-political or ethical), continue to work from the presupposition that what happens somewhere – a geopolitical region, a body-psyche or a specific life-form – would stay in just one place and could be approached as an in-divi-dual-ized entity? Instead of acknowledging (and accounting for) how manifold and differentiated entanglements, reverberations and consequences disseminate everywhere, and in always in/determinate ways? 

The Relation(al) Matters Archive aims to collect insights and divergent practices dealing with this mind-boggling situation. The archive is part of a project in which two claims are seeping into each other/interwoven in the attempt to gauge what is going on: a) ‘relational matters’, expressing an insistence on the intra-active and messily entangled condition of current times, and b) ‘relation matters’ as ethico-political wager to become more literate and more carefully attuned to what entanglement as condition implies – what does such a claim ask from us enlivening it? 

Via/Through conversational encounters with scholars and practitioners, this archive wants to provide its viewers with insights, tools and provocations regarding ‘our’ current situation. It starts from a relational point of view. Yet, this does not rule out critiques of precisely such relation(al) matters. On the contrary, to take a relational point of view as starting point does not propose relationality as solution. Rather, the encounters aim to inquire what relationality means in specific contexts and on different scales, and how a relational approach could offer a more adequate picture of what is happening. 

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