Braiding Friction | biofriction

It is our great pleasure to announce details about the upcoming online event series ‘Braiding Friction’, conceived by the Biofriction network with Hangar.org, Cultivamos CulturaGalerija Kapelica / Kapelica Gallery and Bioart Society . As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and postponed activities, Biofriction has set up a series of Working Groups and online events. The aim is to answer to the need of an informed discussion on the science and politics of the pandemic and the possible role of artists and researchers, to unpack and understand the enormous complexity we are confronted with. The group hosted by the Bioart Society is called Non-Living Queerings and consists of philosopher Marietta Radomska, biologist Markus Schmidt, and artists and researchers Terike Haapoja, Margherita Pevere, and Mayra Citlalli Rojo Gómez. The launch event which will introduce all groups will take place on 2nd of June 18h (CET) with consecutive public events following. For more, see Biofricition website.

STAY TOGETHER APART – AND A CRISIS QUOTE OF THE DAY 

“As far as the posthuman debate is concerned, there are no grounds for plunging into melancholy metaphysical ruminations about the end of the world. We need energizing projects that express generative narratives and do not wallow in the rhetoric of crisis. Especially when the crisis in question is to a certain extent the lament of white European cultures feeling vulnerable after they have become aware of how anthropogenic global risks are likely to affect them. They need to develop some decolonial perspective.”  Rosi Braidotti (2019: 69) on the role of the humanities and its crisis in Posthuman Knowledge (Polity Press)

At the height of the COVID-19 crisis in the Swedish medical system, it might appear hard-hearted to urge us all to not wallow in the melancholia of crisis. However, the energizing projects Braidotti refers to, and we add, the societal collaborations presently exercised in the most surprising places, is exactly what is needed now in society at large. Take the environmental humanities, medical humanities, technohumanities, bioart, collaborative natural sciences and their convergences internationally: many of us have persistently called for radical socioeconomic change, and now we are faced with just that. At a large scale. It is just that it happened in a way that we are not in a position to easily absorb just yet. Theory can wait, slow as it is at its best.

Clearly the impact of COVID-19 is a significant challenge – especially in relation to the vastness of what we do not know, and the humbleness called for by that insight. Yet also, the impact of COVID-19 also takes us to the threshold of societal re-assessments, reimaginings and new beginnings. And we are swiftly learning new things about ourselves, about how we can “stay together apart (in the trouble)” with social distancing and solidarity. (If we can play with the conceptual work of Donna Haraway and Karen Barad).  Let us all continue with care, concern and curiosity with one-another.  In this there is hope. Call someone you have not talked to for a while, check in with your students, PhD students, or old supervisors, volunteer at the hospital, do shopping for the elderly or other vulnerable members of society, tend to your garden, and focus the force on the piles of books you have always wanted to read.

The world is changing, again, but it is not coming to an end.

Stay safe and well in there!!

Cecilia, Janna and Marietta for The Posthumanities Hub

The Physicist Dr. Ragnar Holm’s Foundation Postdoc position

KTH advertises for a Ragnar Holm postdoc position within a KTH research group.

Are you into STS, history of technology, or techno-humanities, electrics and contact-making (and contact unmakings, such as corrosion, fritting or friction) – and would want do work with us at The Posthumanities Hub of the Department of Philosophy and History? If so please contact Cecilia Åsberg urgently, cecilia.asberg[at]abe.kth.se to discuss this possibility.

NB deadline is extended to March 13, 2020.

Postdoc scholarship from Fysikern fil dr Ragnar Holms stiftelse i Kungliga Tekniska högskolan (The Physicist Dr. Ragnar Holm’s Foundation). Registration number VT-2020-0015

Application period March 2-13 2020

KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm has grown to become one of Europe’s leading technical and engineering universities, as well as a key centre of intellectual talent and innovation. We are Sweden’s largest technical research and learning institution and home to students, researchers and faculty from around the world. Our research and education covers a wide area including natural sciences and all branches of engineering, as well as architecture, industrial management, urban planning, history and philosophy.

Project description

KTH invites applications for a postdoctoral scholarship in honor of the physicist Ragnar Holm (1879-1970), regarded as the scientific founder of electric contacts and their use, and author of the book “Electric Contacts: Theory and Applications”, Hugo Gerbers Förlag 1946.

Qualifications

A successful candidate should have a PhD-degree, be of any nationality, and is expected to join an existing research group at KTH in a relatively broad field, encompassing Engineering Physics and related subjects, or the History of Science and Technology. Preference is given to areas close to Ragnar Holm’s scientific activities or the history thereof, such as the theory of electric contacts, novel applications of electric phenomena in current constrictions as well as friction, wear, fritting, corrosion and tarnish phenomena on electric contacts and related devices, such electromechanical components including MEMS and NEMS, switching contacts, and micro- or nanoelectronic components. Preference is also given to tunneling effects including the more recent physics of single electronics, and carbon contacts including developments on fullerenes and graphene. Finally, preference is given to historical perspectives on relations between industrial and public research as well as engineering and scientific practices.

The duration of the stay is a minimum of one year and a maximum of two years, starting as soon as possible. Postdoctoral studies must be commenced within six months of the date of the decision. The fellowship amounts to 27 500 SEK per month (travel grants included). The scholarship is tax-free. The recipient will also receive the Ragnar Holm plaque in silver. The candidate must obtain an agreement with a senior contact person at KTH expressing that he/she is welcome as postdoc in the research group.

Candidates must have their PhD degree from outside KTH. The period of post-doctoral fellowship at KTH must be started within five years of graduation.

Application

You are the main responsible to ensure that your application is complete according to the ad. Your complete application must be received at KTH no later than 2020-03-13.

Application form https://live.barium.se/Link/ExternalForm/12daa7dc-1711-47b1-b468-7533b65535c3

The application must include the following documents:

  • Curriculum vitae (max 2 pages)
  • A list of the ten most relevant publications
  • A description of the research the candidate will take part in at KTH (max 2 pages)
  • Three letters of recommendations, including one from the contact person at KTH
  • The candidate should also give the full address, including telephone and e-mail, at which he/she can be reached.About the position

    Period: minimum of one year and a maximum of two years
    Extent: Full-time
    Amount of scholarship: 27 500 SEK per month (travel expenses included)
    Location: Stockholm
    Start date: According to the agreement

    Contact

    Professor Mats Göthelid (Applicants within Engineering Physics)
    Telefon: +46 8 790 41 54
    gothelid[at]kth.se

    Professor Nina Wormbs (Applicants within History of Science and Technology)
    Telefon: +46 8 790 85 83
    nina[at]kth.se

The Posthumanities Hub Seminar “Toxic/Trans/Bodies”, POSTPONED

Welcome to The Posthumanities Hub Seminar “Toxic/Trans/Bodies” with speakers Andria Nyberg Forshage (writer, poet and theorist based in Stockholm, SE) and dr Wibke Straube (Karlstad University, SE)!

When: 18th March, 10:15-12:00

Where: the seminar room at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm (Teknikringen 74 D, Stockholm).

Facebook event.

More info:

t4t4t4t4t: Fourfold Sex and Trans-Individuation at the End of the World

by Andria Nyberg Forshage

Abstract

At present, 20th-century notions of bodily immune systems modelled as repressive-productive sovereign border controls — and vice versa — are at once being superseded, obsolesced, reinforced and reinvigorated as perhaps never before. At the same time, 21st-century notions of desiring-productive, flexible, molecular immuno-security, already dated as hyper-modern, are being folded into and onto any imaginable kind of body, society, or network. In terms of data, flesh, sex, nation, sense-making, resource extraction, ecological disaster, and ongoing resistance, it is at once a situation of planetary global or civil war, armed peace, state of emergency, and stasis.  

Departing from a scenario of societal collapse following transgender bioterrorism on a hormonal and molecular scale as imagined in Torrey Peters’ sci-fi novella Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones (2016), this talk explores the drift of t4t desiring-machines in and through the bodies, farms, fields and factories of contemporary and imagined pharmacopornographic capitalism. Where t4t designates trans for trans desire, in the trans woman commune the logograph becomes self-replicating as desire and senseless noise, burnt and embedded through fleshy, tranimal metabolism. 

Connecting the fourfold of subjectivation as theorised by Gilles Deleuze in Foucault (1988) with the t4t fourfold complexes of infectious human-animal-societal undoings, as developed through a reading of Infect Your Friends and Loved Ones, how might t4t4t4t4t be understood as an operation-operator of what Gilbert Simondon has termed the transindividual?

Bio

Andria Nyberg Forshage is a writer, theorist and poet, part of the editorial team for the Paletten Art Journal and currently working with the Knowledge Hub at Public Art Agency Sweden. She has previously presented research at conferences including the First International Trans*Studies Conference at the University of Arizona and The First International Queer Death Studies Conference at Karlstad University. They have a room of their own in Stockholm and a Scorpio rising.

 

Chemicals, endocrine disruptors and unruly bodies in trans and queer art

by Wibke Straube

Abstract:

In 2018, the post of a vegan group on facebook went viral which argued, that trans and queer bodies are the “damaged” outcome of environmental pollution and endocrine disruption by POP. The post argued further that to lobby for trans and gay rights would mean to support a capitalist, exploitative system of ecological destruction. In response other vegans and this group in particular, dismissed this (cishetero)econormative position and argued this is merely one individual’s opinion. In my talk, I would like to firstly address this “singular” opinion and unpack the idea of the trans and intersex bodies as a result of endocrine disrupting chemical. I will to do this by considering the trans and intersex body as bodily entangled with environmental pollution and toxic contamination (Ah-King/Hayward 2014; DiChiro 2010; Pollock 2016). Secondly, and most centrally, I explore how endocrine disrupting toxins emerge in trans and queer art, intoxicate art practices and artistic bodies, and foster creative pollution that subverts the gender binary norms of EDC discourses and reclaims the toxic body as a monstrous, alien becoming through and within Otherness.

Bio:

Wibke Straube, PhD, is a Senior Lecturer at the Centre for Gender Studies, Karlstad University, SE. Their work focuses on intersectional analysis of trans, non-binary and queer embodiment, affective methodologies and the affinities of different socially marginalised bodies, their forms of survival and possibilities to create zones of liveability. They have published in Environmental Humanities and NORMA International Journal for Masculinity Studies, among others. E-mail: wibke.straube[at]kau.se

Exhibition and program of The Age of Entanglements

TheAge_of-exhibition

Welcome to the exhibition and program of The Age of Entanglements:

  • Open daily, Feb 3-9, Mon-Fri 10-18, Sat-Sun 11-16, Volvo Studio, Kungsträdgården
  • Wednesday 5/2  Panel Talk, Drinks & Mingle: Designing for a Symbiotic Revolution – Space Corals, Mother Cultures and Extremophiles: Presented by Franska Institutet Stockholm. Note! At Bio Capitol, Sankt Eriksgatan 82. Doors open at 17, cost 50 kr, rsvp: se https://www.capitolbio.se/filmerochbiljetter/1060/
  • Thursday 6/2 Guided Tour & Performance: Exploring Alternative Systems: An upside-down Ecology, Mutualism and Personhood for Mars:  Volvo Studio at 16:00 – 17:30 
  • 3-9/2 Design Performance: The End of the World, every day at Volvo Studio (for details, see nonagency Facebook)

Link to more info, see Stockholm Design Week 20 guide here.

See all Fb-events here.

The project is funded by Kulturbryggan.

Please feel free to spread this information and invite all your friends!

Seminar with Dr Otso Kortekangas on “Indigenous avant la lettre. The origins and livelihoods of the Sámi in European scholarly thought 1930–1950.”

Welcome to KTH Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment Higher Seminar with Dr Otso Kortekangas on ”Indigenous avant la lettre. The origins and livelihoods of the Sámi in European scholarly thought 1930–1960”

Time: Mon 2020-02-10 13.15 – 14.45

Lecturer: Otso Kortekangas, KTH, Div. History of Science, Technology and Environment and Stockholm University

Location: Teknikringen 74D, 5th floor, Seminar room

Short excerpt of the abstract:

My project studies the pre-history of the concept indigenous. It shows in
what ways Nordic and European scholars produced the Sámi as precisely indigenous before the term itself was widely in use. When this UN-backed concept gained ground during and following the anti- and postcolonial political processes of the 1960’s, the Nordic Sámi minority could tap in to the global indigenous identity movement.2 This was possible since both the scholarly and, with a certain delay, the popular understanding had gravitated to a direction where the Sámi were considered the original inhabitants of the northern areas of Fennoscandia. Ever since the indigenous label was introduced in the Nordic countries, it has become the first and foremost label and lens through which the Sámi population is studied.

The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Prof. Patricia MacCormack, 30th January 2020, 13:15-15:00, KTH

Manifesto

Welcome to the first Posthumanities Hub event in 2020 – the seminar with Prof. Patricia MacCormack (Anglia Ruskin University, UK) on A Joyful Apocalypse: Activism for the End of the Anthropocene.

When: 30th January, 13:15 – 15:00

Where: the seminar room at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm (Teknikringen 74 D, Stockholm).

Facebook event

OBS! Please REGISTER FOR THIS EVENT by sending an email to: the.posthumanities.hub[at]gmail.com

Abstract:

To end the anthropocene  is a call to activism at a time where ways of living seem impossible to proscribe and the world’s many urban and natural environments and organisms are increasingly transforming, some becoming more vulnerable while others increase their exertion of power over global systems of information and control. During these ages it can be difficult to imagine new and multiple ways of existing where hopelessness and imagination exist simultaneously. Beyond the Posthuman, but firmly within this world, my concept of the Ahuman acknowledges we aren’t nonhuman, but devalues the term human and its thus far devastating consequences for the world in order to suggest vitalistic, perhaps even optimistic, ways to negotiate some of the difficulties in thinking and acting in a world where meaning and reality are tentative but material actuality and lives (of all varieties) are in need of novel modes of intervention and interaction for the liberation and creative freedom of all organisms and the ecology of the Earth as a whole. Collapsing activism, artistic practice and affirmative ethics, while introducing some radical contemporary ideas such as human extinction and vegan abolition this paper navigates the ways in which we must compose the human differently, specifically beyond nihilism and post – and trans-humanism and outside human privilege. This is in order to actively think and live with connectivity (actual not virtual), viscerally, with passion and grace, toward a new world. The irony of the apocalypse is that the world continues nonetheless.  How can we live more ethically? How can the end of the human (even the posthuman) mean the end of human privilege as that which assists in opening the world to all life and to the human apocalypse being the birth of the world through deep ecology?

Bio:

Patricia MacCormack is Professor of Continental Philosophy at Anglia Ruskin University. She is the author of Cinesexuality (2008), Posthuman Ethics (2012) and The Ahuman Manifesto (2020), the editor of The Animal Catalyst: Toward Ahuman Theory (2014) and the co-editor of Deleuze and the Schizoanalysis of Cinema (2008), Deleuze and the Animal (2017) and Ecosophical Aesthetics (2018). She publishes extensively in the posthuman, queer theory, animal studies, horror film, and Continental Philosophy.

The event is organised in collaboration with the Konstfack Research Week 2020 – see the detailed programme here.

 

State of the Art Network: video report and follow-up

You might recall our involvement in the State of the Art Network meeting and seminar, organised last October by The Independent AIR in collaboration with Bioart Society, The Posthumanities Hub and Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology?

Finally, the video recordings from a 3-day long event are posted online and if you didn’t have a chance to participate in that unique event, you can have a bit of taste by checking them out here.

Also, the working group of the network is intensely working on the follow-up project and events, so please, stay tuned!

Why we need feminist posthumanities for a more-than-human world

Check out the latest blog entry on feminist posthumanities and critical-creative practices of The Posthumanities Hub written by Cecilia Åsberg and Marietta Radomska, and published on the Transformative Humanities blog at Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment at KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm!

Marietta Radomska

Cecilia Åsberg and I wrote this blog entry on the need for feminist posthumanities in a more-than-human world and  critical-creative transdisciplinary practices of The Posthumanities Hub research platform. The piece is published on the Transformative Humanities blog at Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment at KTH Royal Institute of Technology.  Check it out!

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The First International Queer Death Studies Conference: CfP deadline 30 June!

The First International Queer Death Studies Conference:
“Death Matters, Queer(ing) Mourning, Attuning to Transitionings”

4-5 NOVEMBER 2019,
KARLSTAD UNIVERSITY,
SWEDEN

Radomska - short lichen
Photo: Marietta Radomska

ORGANISERS:
Queer Death Studies Network
Centre for Gender Studies, Karlstad University
Tema Genus, Linköping University

[for CfP – see below. Deadline for abstracts: 30 June]

Official conference website: https://www.kau.se/en/centre-gender-studies/date/first-international-queer-death-studies-conference-death-matters

In the context of the current environmental crises, the degradation of natural resources transforms certain habitats into unliveable spaces, while social and economic inequalities and geopolitical, social and symbolic violence expose differential vulnerabilities of communities and individuals. Both global and local mechanisms of necropolitics (Mbembe 2003) exert their power over the lives and deaths of populations, making some deaths more grievable than others (Butler 2004). Simultaneously, unsustainable living conditions and environments contribute to increased mortality rates and the extinction of species.

While natural sciences emphasise the interdependence of human and the environment, Western cultural imaginaries keep drawing a dividing line between humans and nonhuman others, particularly visible in the context of death. The division is combined with a dual approach to death – human death in particular – namely, Western cultural frameworks tend to present human death either as a step towards a disembodied afterlife (Christian tradition), or as something to be eradicated in favour of survival (secular biomedical perspective).

Arguably, the questions of death have been present in Western philosophy since antiquity. While these perspectives explore both ontological and axiological aspects of death, they are primarily concerned with the death of human individuals, seen from the perspective of the sovereign subject. Furthermore, questions around death, human remnants and the cultural and medical aspects of dying have been studied from anthropological, sociological, historical, and psychological perspectives, next to the biomedical ones. Since its establishment as a research field in the 1970s, Death Studies has drawn attention to the questions of death, dying and mourning as complex and multifaceted phenomena that require interdisciplinary approaches.

Yet, the engagements with death, dying and mourning constitutive of conventional Death Studies’ research, have left many questions open insofar as they have often been governed by the normative notions of: the subject; continuing bonds; family relations and communities; rituals; and experiences of mourning, and bereavement. Individuals who do not fulfil the conditions of the normative idea of the human (usually imagined to be white, middle-class, heterosexual, cis-gendered, able-bodied) tend to be ignored in dominant stories on death, loss, grief and mourning. Moreover, the current environmental crisis seems to produce a growing consciousness about living in ecological and social proximities to death, which also gives rise to demands for more diverse, nuanced and inclusive stories of death, dying and mourning.

The emerging field of Queer Death Studies (QDS), which the conference creates an arena for, aims to fill these gaps in traditional Death Studies, by attending to issues of: diverse cultural, socio-political, historical, and economic conditions; entangled relations between human and the environment in the context of the Anthropocene; differential experiences of marginalised communities and individuals excluded from the hegemonic discourses on death, loss, grief and mourning, associated for example with the heteronormative model of family bonds; and, contemporary forms of necropolitics: mechanisms of power that force certain bodies into liminal spaces between life and death.

Against this background, QDS emerges as a transdisciplinary field of research that critically and (self) reflexively investigates and challenges conventional normativities, assumptions, expectations, and regimes of truths that are brought to life and made evident by death, dying and mourning. By bringing together conceptual and analytical tools grounded in feminist materialisms and feminist theorising broadly speaking (e.g. Braidotti 2006; MacCormack 2012), queer theory (e.g. Haritaworn, Kuntsman & Posocco 2014) and decolonial critique (e.g. Fanon 1965; Mignolo 2011), QDS strives to advance methodologies and understandings that critically and creatively attend to the problem of death, dying, and mourning in the current environmental, cultural, and socio-political contexts.

In order to search for broad inspirations for alternative articulations and stories which queer, that is, unpack and question the normativities (Chen 2012; Sandilands & Erickson 2012) that often frame contemporary discourses on death, dying and mourning, The First International Queer Death Studies Conference Death Matters, Queer(ing) Mourning, Attuning to Transitionings mobilises a transdisciplinary engagement involving not only academics, but also activists, artists and other practitioners. In the context of the conference, to queer issues of death, dying and mourning means to unhinge certainties, “undo normative entanglements and fashion alternative imaginaries” beyond the exclusive concern with gender and sexuality, often associated with the term “queer” (Giffney & Hird 2008, 6). In particular, the conference calls for papers within the following three overall themes: (1) death matters and materialities, (2) queering mourning, and (3) attuning to transitionings run through both days and all keynote lectures.

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS:

Stine Willum Adrian (Aalborg University, DK) – “Stitching Stories of Broken Hearts: Rethinking technologies of Death and Dying at the Beginning of Life”

Patricia MacCormack (Anglia Ruskin University, UK) – “Embracing Death, Opening the World”

Kira O’Reilly (independent artist, Helsinki, FI),
“An un’seaming mourning
(second iteration)
a year later”

C. Riley Snorton (University of Chicago, USA) – “Mud: Queer Death and Teeming Forms of Wildlife”

CALL FOR PAPERS:

The First International Queer Death Studies Conference: “Death Matters, Queer(ing) Mourning, Attuning to Transitionings” aims to create an arena for critical discussion of death, dying and mourning that goes beyond the dual approach to death – human death in particular – that is common within Western cultural frameworks of Christian tradition or secular biomedical perspectives. As such, the conference invites scholars who work with death, dying, mourning and afterlife in relation to: diverse cultural, socio-political, historical, and economic conditions; entangled relations between human and the environment in the context of the Anthropocene; differential experiences of marginalised communities and individuals excluded from the hegemonic discourses on death, loss, grief and mourning, associated for example with the heteronormative model of family bonds; and, contemporary forms of necropolitics: mechanisms of power that force certain bodies into liminal spaces between life and death (for instance, refugees whose lives in detention camps turn into the state of “social death” (Mirzoeff 2019)). Interventions that focus on practices that resist hegemonic norms, as well as queer and decolonialise mourning and remembering are also welcome.

In order to search for broad inspirations for alternative articulations and stories which queer, that is, unpack and question the normativities (Chen 2012; Sandilands & Erickson 2012) that often frame contemporary discourses on death, dying, mourning and afterlife, the conference is based on a transdisciplinary engagement involving not only academics, but also activists, artists and other practitioners. In the context of the conference, to queer issues of death, dying, mourning and afterlife means to unhinge certainties, “undo normative entanglements and fashion alternative imaginaries” beyond the exclusive concern with gender and sexuality, often associated with the term “queer” (Giffney & Hird 2008, 6). In particular, the conference will call for papers within the following three overall themes: (1) death matters and materialities, (2) queering mourning, and (3) attuning to transitionings run through both days and all the keynote lectures.

The conference invites individual papers (length: 20 min) that engage with – but are not necessarily limited to – the following themes:

– Queer methodologies of researching death, dying, mourning and afterlife
– Queering and decolonialising practices of mourning, bereavement and remembrance
– Materiality of death and corpses
– Queering philosophies of death
– Death/life ecologies
– Necropolitics and borders
– Queer and trans necropolitics
– Un/grievable lives and deaths
– Death and biotechnology/biomedicine
– Queering cancer and other life-threatening diseases
– Suicide
-Technologies of life/death
– Queer widowhood
– Decolonialising death
– Illness narratives and death
– Ethico-politics and practices of killability
– Nonhuman death and dying
– Extinction and annihilation
– Death and acts of resistance
– ‘Slow death’
– Queering temporalities of death
– Queer spiritualities
– Death, ghosts and hauntology

Please, send a 300-word long abstract, accompanied by a 100-long bio to: qdsconference[at]gmail.com .

Deadline for abstracts: 30 June 2019