Sonic Sensibilities: /Mis/communication/s/

16 Aug 2019, 13:00-16:00
R1 Reactor hall, KTH, Stockholm (Drottning Kristinas väg 51)

In this mixed and postdisciplinary gathering, with listening sessions and talks by artists and researchers, we will visit the limits of communication(s) – when our technologies, ideas, languages and intentions fail us. We will among other things encounter phenomena that cannot be decoded, interspecies communication experiments, and speculations about how we can communicate with not only aliens but also inhabitants on planet Earth in a distant future.

In a society imbued with communication technologies and a positive belief in the possibilities of accurately formulating, transmitting, receiving and archiving, it might be sobering to consider situations where the communicative attempt takes us elsewhere. Where it derails our assumptions and intentions and where we admittedly are out of control. What can be gleaned from these limits and borderlands? What can be unlearned? What ethico-political considerations do they confront us with?

Participants
Cecilia Åsberg (founder and director of the Posthumanities Hub, KTH/Linköping Univ., SE), Marietta Radomska (co-director of the Posthumanities Hub, Linköping Univ., SE/Univ. of Helsinki, FI), Janna Holmstedt (artist, SE), mirko nikolić (artist, SE/FI), Jacek Smolicki, (artist, SE/PL).

Curated by Janna Holmstedt, the Posthumanities Hub, in collaboration with Jacek Smolicki, Fragmentarium Club, at the invitation of the Public Art Agency. The session will take place inside the large-scale art installation “The Interplanetary Species Society (ISS)” by Jonas Staal. ISS is part of the project “Choreograhies of the Social” curated by Edi Muka, the Public Art Agency Sweden (Statens Konstråd). More information and full program for all the events, 13-25 Aug: www.publicartagencysweden.com

Program, 16 Aug, 13:00-16:00 (in no specific order):

Cecilia Åsberg, Planetary Speculation: Cultivating More-Than-Human Arts

Ursula K Le Guin stated: “The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what comes next”. Today we have, dare I say, enough science facts and credible information to convince us that planetary changes like rampant mass species extinction rates, climate change, glacial melting and sea rise, plastic pollution and environmental health concerns are a very real part of the planetary challenges we now face. What we do not have enough of, perhaps, seem like a sense of belonging to the ecologies of this planet, or enough of an ecological sense of wonder and curiosity to close the emotional gap between values and action, and to sway our ways in more sustainable directions. This is why we need to cultivate the more than human arts of living on a damaged planet. Art and humanities have a particular role to play here, and so does the notion of planetarity. In my talk, while discussing a few unexpected vistas of environmental feminism, I will discuss what the role and function of planetary speculation might entail for more careful ways of knowing.

Cecilia Åsberg, PhD, is Guest Professor of STS, Gender and Environment at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm 2018-2020, and since 2015 Professor of Gender, Nature, Culture at Linköping University. She is Founding Director of the Posthumanities Hub, and of the Seed Box: An Environmental Humanities Collaboratory, and associate editor of the journal Environmental Humanities (Duke University Press). Recent publications: “Feminist Posthumanities in the Anthropocene: Forays into the Postnatural” in Journal of Posthuman Studies; Animal Places – Lively 15 Cartographies of Human-Animal Relations, (Routledge, eds with Jacob Bull and Tora Holmberg), and A Feminist Companion to the Posthumanities (Springer, ed with Rosi Braidotti).

mirko nikolić , lie and shine: eleven steps of

A listening session, a walk along a narrow boundary of extraction, presently in the process of negotiation in the semi-periphery of the European North. Gold, water, arsenic and physical asset currency embody vectors of interest or disinterest by various power formations. Most of the forces operate without prior or informed consent, decisions are being largely made in the absence of the bodies that will experience the material effects. Silent neighbours are not that silent. Communication waves shimmer with dispersals of toxicity and gatherings of resilience.

Through performance and critical writing, mirko nikolić seeks to prefigure more just collaborations among different species and heterogeneous bodies. In recent projects, mirko has been working on counter-extractivist ontopolitics, multispecies commoning, performativity of vegetal touch, and unlearning of anthropocentric and capitalist survival ideologies. mirko holds a PhD in Arts & Media Practice from the University of Westminster, London.

Janna Holmstedt, The Order of the Dolphin

What do we hear when we think we listen? In 1961, a prominent flock of researchers were invited to a semi-secret conference arranged by NASA’s Space Science Board to discuss a subject not yet considered scientifically legitimate: What are the conditions required for establishing contact with other worlds? Could engaging in communication with dolphins prepare us for an encounter with non-human intelligence? At this time, attempts to reach out to intelligent life on other planets happened to coincided with attempts to get inside the minds and bodies of bottlenose dolphins.
In this listening session, I’ll move between the human, the synthetic and the beastly while revisiting some of the interspecies communication experiments that were carried out in the 1950s and 60s, partly funded by NASA, where dolphins were supposed to learn to speak English with their blowholes. At the centre of my session are tape recordings from language lessons with dolphins, and a woman, whom during 75 days tried to live under equal conditions with the dolphin Peter in a flooded house.

Janna Holmstedt is an artist and researcher based in Stockholm. She works across various media, ranging between installation, sonic fiction, text, drawing, mapping and performance, with a particular interest in listening, storying and situated practices. Her projects work transversally in order to weave a web of parasitic relations in an attempt to story more-than-human relations and less anthropocentric we-formations. She explores entangled issues such as multispecies relations, interspecies communication, and the intra-action of bodies, environs and technology. She holds a PhD in Fine Arts in Visual Arts from Lund University, is affiliated researcher with the Posthumanities Hub, and currently research engineer at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment at KTH. More: www.jannaholmstedt.com

Marietta Radomska, From Terminal Ecologies to the Non/Living Earth: Storying an Archive

In her work on queer ecocriticism, literary scholar Sarah Ensor offers the concept of ‘terminality’ understood as a state, a practice, an intimate belonging, and a horizon; in other words, a ‘lifelong’ and shared condition, characterised by the potential for relations, non-linear temporality, and an ongoing responsibility for and accountability towards the harmed, the ill, the perishing, and the dead (environments, ecosystems, organisms, and other entities). Staying with the trouble of terminality is but one example of a biophilosophical approach that does not start from a given image of life, but instead, from a multiplicity of relations, forces, and materialities (that which transforms and traverses life) encompassing the potentials for both growth/development and decomposition/decay. Against the backdrop of the current ecological crisis, this short intervention asks what it means to story(tell) an archive of ‘terminal ecologies’, what modes of (non)communication it might entail, and how it matters in an ethico-political sense.

Marietta Radomska, PhD, is a Postdoc at the Department of Thematic Studies, Linköping University, SE, and at the Department of Cultures, University of Helsinki, FI. She is the co-director of The Posthumanities Hub; founder of The Eco- and Bioart Research Network, co-founder of International Network for ECOcritical and DECOlonial Studies and a founding member of Queer Death Studies Network. Her current research focuses on ecologies of death in the context of contemporary art. She is the author of the monograph Uncontainable Life: A Biophilosophy of Bioart (2016), and has published in Australian Feminist Studies, Somatechnics, and Angelaki, among others. More: www.mariettaradomska.com

Jacek Smolicki, Per Aspera Ad Astra

Per Aspera Ad Astra (from Latin ‘through hardship to the stars’) was a morse-coded sentence launched alongside other sound recordings onboard Voyager space probe sent into space in 1977. Just like many other signals sent by humans to reach extraterrestrial beings, the Voyager message has so far remained unanswered. Per Aspera Ad Astra is an ongoing artistic and media archaeological exploration of our persistent desire to connect with the non-human, and, more specifically, the extraterrestrial. The project takes the form of a performative soundscape composition built successively of archival material and sounds characterizing technologies used historically to establish contact with aliens. The archival recordings include glitches from digitized interviews with UFO witnesses from the Sweden’s Archive for the Unexplained, snippets from the famous Voyager message, radio signals from the outer space, and reenactments of historical messages sent into space. All these are combined with gradually intercepted remediations of Stanislaw Lem’s deliberations on the inherently flawed idea of establishing contact with other-than-human residents of the deep space.

Jacek Smolickiis a cross-media artist, designer, researcher and “walker” exploring intersections of aesthetics, technology, memory and everyday life. In his design and art practice, besides engaging with existing archives and heritage, Smolicki develops new techniques for recording, experiencing, and para-archiving human and other-than-human environments. In his research, informed by art practice, philosophy of technology, and media archaeology, Smolicki explores how transformations of communication, recording, and computing technologies have been affecting aesthetic, material, performative, and ethical aspects of archiving and memory practices (both personal and public), but also everyday life practices at large. In 2017, he completed his PhD from the School of Arts and Communication at Malmö University where he was a member of the Living Archives, a research project funded by the Swedish Research Council. In 2016 Smolicki founded Fragmentarium Club, an independent initiative uniting enthusiasts of listening, soundwalking, field recording, and soundscape archiving. More: www.smolicki.com and www.fragmentarium.club



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

The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Adam Wickberg (KTH) on 5th June, 10:15 – 12:00

Welcome to The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Adam Wickberg on Coloniality, Media and the Anthropocene in Early Americas.

The seminar takes place in the seminar room at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH (Teknikringen 74 D, Stockholm).

When: 5th June, 10:15 – 12:00

FB event

Abstract:

This talk will address historiography and layers of time based on a decolonial understanding of modernity and its relation to the Anthropocene. The point of departure for my critical discussion of history is the geological evidence for an Anthropocene golden spike proposed by Lewis & Maslin (2015) known as the ”Orbis hypothesis”, as well as the discourse on futurity built into current policy on climate change. The aim is to develop a critical temporality for the Anthropocene, drawing on work by historians on the contemporary crisis of time (Assmann 2013, Hartog 2016) as well as insights from environmental and media history. I argue that the emergence of global political expansionism and extractionist politics with the Spanish Empire in the latter part of the 16th century marked the beginning of an era which is still affecting policy and politics, particularly in relation to climate change. Particularly, I argue that the systematic use of media and information technology for extractionist purposes is integral to what has been understood as modernity (Latour 2017, Haraway 2017, Moore 2015, Mignolo 2015, Sloterdijk 2015). At the same time, the established way of addressing climate change sustains coloniality and projects the cost of carbon intense living a century into the future, as most models end with 2100. The insights of what might then be termed Anthropocene historiography challenges traditional linear conceptions of time by highlighting how the present eco crisis is an effect of past political actions, just as current inability to properly address these issues will come into effect and cause damage in the future.

Bio: 

Adam Wickberg is a Postdoctoral fellow in media history at the Environmental Humanities Lab and a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for History of Science in Berlin (MPWIG I). His current research concerns the Early Modern media history of the Anthropocene, where he traces the global changes of long distance governing of nature brought about by early Spanish colonialism. The project studies the human-nature relationship of Iberian colonial history using the critical aspects of media and anthropogenic altering of natural habitats as a material and discursive practice. The bureaucratic use of paper – documents, files, maps, surveys, orders – as a form of governance of nature over great distances is a focal point of the study and are conceptualized as environing media. Recent publications include Pellucid Paper: Poetry and Bureaucratic Media (Open Humanities Press 2018) and “Plus Ultra: Francisco Hernández and the Mapping of American Natureculture” in Necsus: European Journal of Media Studies (2018:2).

Workshop: Becoming with Alien Encounters and Speculative Storytelling

Welcome to the workshop “Becoming with Alien Encounters and Speculative Storytelling in a More-than-human World” that takes place on 4th June at 13:15 – 16:00, in the big seminar room at Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH (Teknikringen 74 D, Stockholm).

No registration is required.

Workshop: Becoming with Alien Encounters and Speculative Storytelling

Speculative storytelling refers to a wide range of narrative fiction, poetic and artistic articulations that employ ’fantastic’, supernatural, spiritual or other non-mimetic elements. In the times of the climate change and environmental crisis, accompanied by futuristic ’technology-will-save-us’ scenarios, on the one hand, and visions of  ‘doom and gloom’, on the other, speculative storytelling has gained momentum as a way to reimagine futures beyond the human-centred narratives of the Anthropocene. This, importantly, includes a reimagining and experimentally re-establishing of new posthuman relationalities, corpo-affectively grounded in a situated caring ethics, as well as a decentring and deconstruction of the sovereign human subject and its claim to an exceptional position of enunciation. In this poetic/artistic-philosophical workshop, we will reflect on theoretical and practical tools to be interpellated to approach the radically different, without gesturing towards anthropomorphisation or domestication. Alongside of the theorising, we will also, through poetic-artistic articulations, explore the processes of decentring the human subject position and preparing for ’alien encounters’ – what in the ethics of Gilles Deleuze is framed as ’making yourself worthy of the event’. We will draw examples from alien encounters with lichen, algae, pollen, and underwater creatures, among others. As part of the workshop, we will invite the audience to try out their own approaches to such encounters through short writing prompts.

Speakers/workshop facilitators:

Katja Aglert, independent artist and researcher, SE

Line Henriksen, University of Copenhagen and IT University of Copenhagen, DK

Nina Lykke, University of Linköping, SE

Camila Marambio, Melbourne University, AUS

Tara Mehrabi, Karlstad University, SE

Marietta Radomska, Linköping University, SE and University of Helsinki, FI

PHOTO - M. RADOMSKA
Photo: Marietta Radomska

Bios:

Katja Aglert is a Stockholm based independent artist and researcher whose practice – situated in feminist, more-than-human imaginaries – is transdisciplinary in nature, and includes both individual and collaborative projects. Currently she examines artistically through hybrid forms of storytelling how we through the experiences of multi-beings-encounters can investigate what it can mean to materialise perspectives beyond the human-centred narratives. She exhibited widely, including venues such as Marabouparken and Biologiska Museet, Stockholm (SE); Solyanka State Gallery, Moscow (RU); Polarmuseet, Tromsø (NO); Fotografisk center, Copenhagen (DK); FLORA ars+natura, Bogota (COL); Museum for Contemporary Art, Santiago (CHL). She is an executive board member of The Seed Box, an international environmental humanities collaboratory headquartered at Linköping University. She teaches regularly at Umeå Art Academy, and Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts, and Design. katjaaglert.com

Line Henriksen, PhD is a lecturer in Gender Studies at the University of Copenhagen and IT University Copenhagen, DK. She holds a PhD in Gender Studies from the Unit of Gender Studies at Linköping University, Sweden. Henriksen has published on the subjects of monster theory, hauntology and digital media in journals such as Women & Performance and Somatechnics, and her fiction has appeared in Andromeda Spaceways and Tales to Terrify, among others. She is a founding member of the Monster Network.

Nina Lykke, PhD, Professor Emerita, Gender Studies, Linköping University, Sweden. Co-founder of Queer Death Studies Network, and The International Network for ECOcritical and DECOlonial Research. Current research: queering of cancer, death, and mourning in queerfeminist materialist, decolonial and eco-critical perspectives; autophenomenographic and poetic writing. Recent publications:  Queer Widowhood. Lambda Nordica. 2015:4; Academic Feminisms: Between Disidentification, Messy Everyday Utopianism, and Cruel Optimism. Feminist Encounters.  2017:1(1); When death cuts apart, in: Juvonen & Kohlemainen: Affective Inequalities in Intimate Relationships. Routledge, New York 2018; Rethinking socialist and Marxist legacies in feminist imaginaries of protest from postsocialist perspectives. Social Identities. Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture.  2018:24 (2). Website: https://ninalykke.net

Camila Marambio is curator of Ensayos, and her work with the program has been represented in exhibitions and performances at the Kadist Art Foundation, Paris; the Institute for Art and Olfaction, Los Angeles; BHQFU, New York; Puerto de Ideas, Valparaíso; Festival Cielos del Infinito, Puerto Williams, CL; Kurant, Tromsø, NO; and Psi #22, Melbourne, AU. Currently a PhD Candidate in Curatorial Practice at MADA in Melbourne, Australia, Marambio received an M.A. in Modern Art: Critical Studies at Columbia University and a Master of Experiments in Art and Politics at Science Po in Paris; attended the Curatorial Programme at de Appel Arts Center in Amsterdam; and was Head Curator at Matucana 100 (Santiago, CL) and Assistant Curator at Exit Art (New York, NY).

Tara Mehrabi, PhD, is a Lecturer at the Centre for Gender Studies, Karlstad University (Sweden). She is a feminist technoscience studies scholar who is interested in the intersection of gender studies, medical humanities and environmental humanities. She is a founding member of Queer Death Studies Network and a member of The Posthumanities Hub. Meharbi is the author of the monograph Making Death Matter: A Feminist Technoscience Study of Alzheimer’s Sciences in the Laboratory (2016). She has published in anthologies such as Animal Places. Lively Cartographies of Human Animal Relations, (eds.) by J. Bull, T. Holmberg & C. Åsberg, Routledge (2018), Gendering Drugs: feminist studies of pharmaceuticals, (ed.) by E. Johnson, Palgrave (2017) and journal Gender, Women & Research (2018).  Website: https://taramehrabi.wordpress.com/.

Marietta Radomska, PhD, is a Postdoc at the Department of Thematic Studies (Gender Studies), Linköping University, SE, and at the Department of Cultures (Art History), University of Helsinki, FI. She is the co-director of The Posthumanities Hub; founder of The Eco- and Bioart Research Network, co-founder of International Network for ECOcritical and DECOlonial Studies and a founding member of Queer Death Studies Network. Her current research focuses on ecologies of death in the context of contemporary art. She is the author of the monograph Uncontainable Life: A Biophilosophy of Bioart (2016), and has published in Australian Feminist Studies, Somatechnics, and Angelaki, among others. Website: https://mariettaradomska.com/

Meeting with Hester Blum: 16th May

Welcome to the meeting with Hester Bloom about her book The News at the Ends of the Earth: The Print Culture of Polar Exploration (Duke University Press, 2019) she has just published and about her new project on ice and temporality (Seed Box project).

When: 16th May, 13:30 – 15:00

Where: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, EHL Labroom, Teknikringen 74D, Stockholm

Hester Blum is Associate Professor of English at Penn State University in the US. Her scholarship and teaching focus on oceanic and polar studies, nineteenth-century U.S. literature and culture, Herman Melville, and the environmental humanities. Her most recent book is The News at the Ends of the Earth: The Print Culture of Polar Exploration (Duke University Press, 2019). In it she examines polar expeditionary newspapers and other forms of knowledge that circulate geophysical and climatic extremity, both in the age of polar exploration and in our current moment of climate change and polar resource extraction. In summer 2019 she will participate in the Northwest Passage Project, an Arctic expedition tracking climate change. She is at work on two new book projects: Ice Ages, about the temporalities of ice in an epoch of anthropogenic climate change; and Castaways, a meditation on female Robinson Crusoes.​

QUEERING THE HAIN – DECOLONIALIZING MOURNING: Creative and reflexive writing workshop with Camila Marambio and Nina Lykke

Creative and reflexive writing workshop with

Camila Marambio, Monash University, Australia

Nina Lykke, Linköping University

QUEERING THE HAIN – DECOLONIALIZING MOURNING

An invitation to gather and ask the unthinkable

May 23, 2019, 10-15

Venue:   Linköping University: Campus Norrköping.

Building: Kopparhammaren, Norra Grytgatan, Entrance 10A, Floor 2, room KO22.

Registration:  Please register with name, address/affiliation and e-mail, at the latest May 20, to nina.lykke@liu.se  (max 20 participants)

Cementerio grupo

WORKSHOP FORMAT:

Through creative writing, listening exercises, and sharing of reflections, the workshop will question the Hain and other similar ceremonies, as they are understood through the anthropological material that represents them.

The workshop will take as a point of departure an introduction to the Hain, as it appears in the anthropological/ethnological literature, then move through stories told by descendants of those performing the last Hain in the early 20th century, and to the implied layers of “lostness” and the task of translation and decolonializing.

WHAT IS THE HAIN?

As described by Austrian ethnologist and Christian priest Martin Gusinde (1886-1969), the Kloketen-Hain is an initiation ceremony of the Selk’nam people of Tierra del Fuego.  It is recorded as having been performed for the last time in 1923. Gusinde’s research was later revised by the anthropologist Anne Chapman (1922-2010) and her Selk’nam research participant Lola Kiepja (died 1966). Since the ceremony is no longer performed, it seems to have been “lost” as a lived spiritual experience. Anthropologists and ethnologists, most coming from colonial Western contexts, who have described ceremonies such as the Hain, often limit their description to the specific event (located in space and time) and from their situatedness in the outlooks of White Western Modernity.

SOME KEY QUESTIONS:

* If and, if yes, how, is it possible to “read/write/perform in-between the lines” of the descriptions, framed from the point of view of a specifically located white Western, colonial gaze?

* What kind of “readings/writings/performings-in-between-the-lines” can and can’t “we” (differently located workshop participants) perform

* Which tools and performative re/worlding practices can and can’t “we” collectively develop?

* What can “we” learn as well as unlearn from such processes of collective “reading/writing/performing in-between-the-lines”?

* Which kinds of ethical reflections does the process of generating new approaches to the Hain require and produce?

BACKGROUND

The workshop builds on Camila Marambio’s longtime fieldwork in Tierra del Fuego, as part of the nomadic research programme Ensayos and her  PhD research in Curatorial Practice at Monash University, Melbourne, and on both authors’ joint work to organize ‘Queering the Hain-workshops’ (Melbourne, Australia, 2018, and Santiago, Chile, 2019), recently in collaboration with Hema’ny Molina Vargas, President of the Selk’nam organization Covadonga Ona (Corporación Selk’nam Chile, Comunidad indigena Covadonga Ona).

BIO-NOTES

Camila Marambio,  is curator of Ensayos (https://ensayostierradelfuego.net/), and her work with the program has been represented in exhibitions and performances at the Kadist Art Foundation, Paris; the Institute for Art and Olfaction, Los Angeles; BHQFU, New York; Puerto de Ideas, Valparaíso; Festival Cielos del Infinito, Puerto Williams, CL; Kurant, Tromsø, NO; and Psi #22, Melbourne, AU. Currently a PhD Candidate in Curatorial Practice at MADA in Melbourne, Australia, Marambio received an M.A. in Modern Art: Critical Studies at Columbia University and a Master of Experiments in Art and Politics at Science Po in Paris; attended the Curatorial Programme at de Appel Arts Center in Amsterdam; and was Head Curator at Matucana 100 (Santiago, CL) and Assistant Curator at Exit Art (New York, NY).

Nina Lykke, Professor Emerita, Gender Studies, Linköping University, Sweden. Co-founder of Queer Death Studies Network, and Network for Ecocritical-Decolonial Research. Current research: queering of  cancer, death, and  mourning in queerfeminist materialist, decolonial and eco-critical perspectives; autophenomenographic and poetic writing. Recent publications:  When death cuts apart, in: Juvonen & Kohlemainen: Affective Inequalities in Intimate Relationships. Routledge, New York  2018; Rethinking socialist and Marxist legacies in feminist imaginaries of protest from postsocialist perspectives. Social Identities. Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture.  2018:24 (2). Making Live and Letting Die: Cancerous Bodies between Anthropocene Necropolitics and Chthulucene Kinship. Environmental Humanities. 2019: 11 (1): 108-136. Personal website: https://ninalykke.net

ORGANIZERS: The workshop is co-organized by Tema Genus and REMESO, Linköping University. Contact: Professor Nina Lykke (nina.lykke@liu.se), Tema Genus, and PhD student Asher Goldstein (asher.goldstein@liu.se), REMESO.

 

The launch of DISTANCIA: A more than human web series set in Tierra del Fuego, Chile

Welcome to the Screening of

DISTANCIA

A more than human web series set in Tierra del Fuego, Chile

 Imagined and visualized by

Camila Marambio and Carolina Saquel

With participation of Sebastián Arce, Ariel Bustamante, Javiera Carmona, Julio Gastón Contreras, César Díaz, Valentina Espinoza, Alberto Harambour, Matías Illanes,  Ivette Martinez, Michael Taussig and Cecilia Vicuña.

May 22, 2019, at 15-17h

DIS

THE SCREENING WILL BE FOLLOWED BY A DISCUSSION WITH

DISTANCIA’s CO-DIRECTOR CAMILA MARAMBIO.

 

Distancia is a story of environmental proportions, a series of tales that have demanded to be told from beyond the strait of Magellan. Speaking histories of unlawful appropriations, exterminations, and exploitations, each episode sketches the shape of a place known as Tierra Del Fuego. Documenting the drive for justice and kinship between a few unlikely characters Distancia chronicles a wind so relentless it shapes the mind. Distancia reports on remote civilian entanglement with volatile geopolitical agendas. Distancia murmurs a road under construction, and in doing so opens a poethical portal.

DISTANCIA

Venue:  CNEMA, Norrköping (room: Statisten)

Kungsgatan 54, 602 33 Norrköping

Admission: FREE.

Booking 011-15 63 00

Distancia is produced as part of the nomadic research programme ENSAYOS, curated by Camila Marambio, see https://ensayostierradelfuego.net/

The event is co-organized by Tema Genus and REMESO, Linköping University.

Contact: Professor Nina Lykke nina.lykke@liu.se), Tema Genus

and PhD student Asher Goldstein (asher.goldstein@liu.se), REMESO.

The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Dr. Lauren LaFauci

Welcome to the Posthumanities Hub seminar with Dr. Lauren LaFauci (Linköping University, SE) on “Histories and Perceptions of Climate in Early American Literature and Culture”.

The event takes place on 8th April 2019 at 13:15 – 15:00 in the big seminar room at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Teknikringen 74D, level 5, SE-114 28 Stockholm).

Histories and Perceptions of Climate in Early American Literature and Culture

Abstract:

This society [British America before the Revolution] . . . does not afford that variety of tinges and gradations which may be observed in Europe, we have colours peculiar to ourselves. For instance, it is natural to conceive that those who live near the sea must be very different from those who live in the woods; the intermediate space will afford a separate and distinct class.
Men are like plants; the goodness and flavor of the fruit proceeds from the peculiar soil and exposition in which they grow. We are nothing but what we derive from the air we breathe, the climate we inhabit, the government we obey, the system of religion we profess, and the nature of our employment.
. . .Whoever traverses the continent must easily observe those strong differences, which will grow more evident in time. The inhabitants of Canada, Massachusetts, the middle provinces, the southern ones, will be as different as their climates; their only points of unity will be those of religion and language.
—J. Hector St. John de Crèvecoeur, Letter III, Letters from an American Farmer (1782)

In this passage from Crèvecoeur’s famous essay, “What is an American,” he offers a defining imagination of Americans growing alongside and in harmony with their environments. Importantly, he considers the social, political, cultural, and ecological as all part of the “environment” shaping the individual, and ultimately, the collective in the nation that was then taking shape. While Crèvecoeur himself fled the “New World” upon outbreak of Revolution to return to the Old, his collection of Letters from an American Farmer defined for many Europeans and Americans alike a way of understanding the citizen as an ever-evolving constellation of multivalent forces acting upon the body.

How did early Americans imagine, perceive, and interpret their climate? How did these formulations change over time, between first European contact and the turn of the 20th century? This talk will provide an overview of some of the ideas and assumptions about weather and climate common to early Americans. The place-based ontology Crèvecoeur theorizes here was not in itself a new way of understanding human development, but his formulation opened up the space for an enormous variety of regional and local human peculiarities as varied as the climates (and weathers) associated with them. The resultant environmental determinism became, in the United States at least, the dominant way of theorizing embodiment—including physical and mental disease and health—until the advent of germ theory at the turn of the 20th century.

A second, broader concern of this talk is to discuss the role of historicist environmental humanities work in an age of climate change. Much environmental humanities research is, understandably, presentist: we face a daily barrage of environmental crises, local and global, as well as the longer-term, slower violences of climate change at large. Amidst these imminent crises, the presentist focus is not only understandable; it may also be desirable. But where does such a focus leave those of us who spend our days teaching and researching in pre-Anthropocenic periods? What is the relevance and significance of environmental humanities research before the Anthropocene? What does such work have to contribute to environmental humanities at large? This second focus of my talk will, I hope, generate discussion about the theoretical concepts, empirical materials, and/or historiographical interventions that are significant to EH research today.

Bio:

Lauren LaFauci is assistant professor of environmental humanities in the Unit of Gender Studies, Department of Thematic Studies at Linköping University in Sweden, where she also directs the “Multispecies Stories” research area of the Seed Box Environmental Humanities Collaboratory and serves as an international liaison for ASLE, the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment. She is part of the interdisciplinary team behind the citizen humanities website, Herbaria 3.0 (www.herbaria3.org), which collects stories about the intertwined relationships between plants and people. Her research and teaching are wide-ranging, focusing on histories of racial formation, medicine, and the body; US literature, history, and culture from to 1900; Scandinavian cultural studies; and multispecies story-telling. Lauren’s talk with the PH Hub will form the basis of a short article in preparation for a Cambridge UP volume on Climate in American Literature.

The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Dr. Line Henriksen (University of Copenhagen)

Welcome to The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Dr. Line Henriksen (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) on “Weird Ecologies – Stories from the Void and the Web”!

The seminar takes place on 12 March 2019 at 10:15 – 12:00 in the room HYPATIA at the Department of History and Philosophy (a corridor opposite to the usual seminar location at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment), KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Teknikringen 74D, level 5, SE-114 28 Stockholm).

 

Weird Ecologies – stories from the void and the web

Line Henriksen

Abstract

In the podcast series Welcome to Night Vale, the host of the show – Cecil Palmer – warns his listeners about the night sky: behind the stars there is nothing at all, he says, and who knows what might be staring back at us from this nothingness? Who knows what will arrive from out of the void? “Fear the night sky!” he concludes, for it is unfathomable. Disregarding Cecil’s impossible but otherwise excellent advice to avoid the night sky at all cost, this seminar explores portrayals of the void in contemporary digital storytelling, focusing especially on the speculative sub-genre of ‘the weird’. In digital weird fiction, the nothingness of the void seems to hint at the limits of human thought and imagination, which makes it a favoured antagonist – but perhaps there is also a promise to the void, as it reminds us that the world is always much more complex than we can possibly know, and the ecologies we form part of much weirder than we can ever imagine? In other words, perhaps what is arriving from out of the void of the night sky is not something to fear, but a promise that the impossible (something arriving from out of nothing) is possible, including – maybe – a more just world?

Bio:

Line Henriksen is a lecturer in Gender Studies at the University of Copenhagen. She holds a BA in Comparative Literature and an MA in Modern Culture and Cultural Communication, both from the University of Copenhagen, as well as a PhD in Gender Studies from The Unit of Gender Studies at Linköping University. She is the author of the monograph In the Company of Ghosts – Hauntology, Ethics, Digital Monsters (2016), and she has published on the subjects of monster theory, hauntology, creepypasta, speculative fiction and digital storytelling. She is the author of award nominated speculative fiction and a founding member of The Monster Network as well as Queer Death Studies Network.

The Posthumanities Hub seminar with Prof. Thomas Hallock (29 March)

Welcome to The Posthumanities Hub seminar with Prof. Thomas Hallock (University of South Florida, USA) on Signing Nature, Memorializing Plantations: Public Memory on the Bartram Trail.

The seminar takes place on 29 March 2019 at 10:15 – 12:00 at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Teknikringen 74D, level 5, SE-114 28 Stockholm).

Abstract:

This essay uses the example of the eighteenth-century naturalist William Bartram, who explored the U.S. South in the 1760s and 1770s, and whose book Travels remains a classic in American environmental and travel writing. Often used as the voice, conscience or even “mascot” of a local place in the American South, Bartram raises questions about what we mean when we read an author on site. Do we use the literature to build geographical understanding? Or is there a geography of literature, with its own (half-imagined) coordinates? Or, if both, what keeps general as well as scholarly writers shuttling between the two? This paper situates the questions within recent scholarship in GeoHumanities and Space Studies, fields that have yet to clarify their own genealogies and agendas. A work in progress, this paper will use the figure of William Bartram to sort out a critical road map for reading geographically.

 

Bio:
Thomas Hallock is Professor of English and the Frank E. Duckwall Professor of Florida Studies at the Univ. of South Florida (USA). He coedited the papers of naturalist William Bartram, and is currently working on a book about space and place in early American literature.

Tom will be in Sweden as part of a larger symposium held at Uppsala University from 27-28 March entitled, “Enlightenment, Nation-Building, and the Practices of Natural History: The Bartrams and Linné.” In addition to several interesting talks, at that symposium there will also be time to discuss the possible formation of a network of Sweden-based scholars working on early American matters. Please let me know if you’d like more information on that symposium and I can forward it along as well.

Facebook event

Tom’s  presentation “Signing Nature, Memorializing Plantations: Public Memory on the Bartram Trail” will be of interest to anyone working in environmental history, literary history, and spatial approaches to either.

If you would like access to the paper Tom will be discussing in the seminar, please email Lauren LaFauci at lauren.e.lafauci [at] liu [dot] se. The talk is open to all, even if you don’t have time to read the paper beforehand!