FINGERYEYES: Impressions of Cup Corals



In When Species Meet (2008) Donna Haraway proposes that creatures’ identities and affinities emerge through their encounters, their relationships. Following Haraway's lead, I attend to how different species sense and apprehend one another, leaving impressions—concrescences of perceptual data, or texture. This essay reports on fieldwork alongside marine biologists and with a population of cup corals (B. elegans) housed at the Long Marine Laboratory, Santa Cruz, California. While I assisted researchers who were studying metabolic rates and reproductive strategies in coral communities, these cup corals simultaneously taught me that being and sensing are inextricably enfolded. We were variously situated—corals generating generations, me interpretations. We met through a material-semiotic apparatus I call “fingeryeyes.” As an act of sensuous manifesting, fingeryeyes offers a queer reading of how making sense and sensual meaning are produced through determinable and permeable species boundaries.