The International Network for ECOcritical and DECOlonial Research in collaboration with The Posthumanities Hub and with a generous support by Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts, and Design present:
The Second International Symposium
Eco/Decolonial Arts: Re-imagining Futures
28th August 2018, 10:15 – 18:00
Venue: Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts, and Design, Stockholm
As the current ecological crises and different forms of oppression, discrimination and injustice around the globe demonstrate, the questions of the environment and the people, as well as of social and environmental justice, are not isolated from one another. These concerns and connections come to the fore in both implicit and explicit ways in the work of artists, activists and academics working with the issues of decolonisation, on the one hand, and ecology, on the other.
The network was officially launched at the workshop ‘Eco/Decolonial Arts: Open-ended Poetic/Philosophical Forays’, which took place on 28-29 June 2017 in Linköping. The two-day event was focused on the developing of transversal dialogues between various ways of engagement with both decolonial and ecocritical/ecological perspectives. The slash [‘/’] in the name of the workshop (‘Eco/Decolonial’) refers to feminist scholar Karen Barad’s (2014) concept of ‘cutting together apart’ that points to the necessary entanglement of nature and culture; the environment and the human; epistemic, symbolic and physical violence towards nonhumans and humans alike; and finally, to the call for environmental and social justice.
The rich conversations that arose during the last-year workshop and still fuel the network’s activities have also inspired us to organise the second edition of ‘Eco/Decolonial Arts’ – yet, this time in a form of a one-day symposium. Thus, the upcoming event, scheduled on 28th August 2018 and taking place at Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts, and Design in Stockholm, will focus not only on the urgency of posing questions that combine concerns with the environment and decolonial critique in their broadest understanding, but also on the arts’ unique potential for a diverse, multifaceted, creative and critical query of what such transdisciplinary engagements might mean for reimaging a different future in a ‘more-than-human’ world.
10:00 – 10:30 – Introduction
10:30 – 11:05 – Katja Aglert, Turning over the grounds of sgulS and.
11:05 – 11:40 – Vera Weetzel, White tears and tear art. Reflections on whiteness and complicity in bio/eco art
11:40 – 12:15 – Marietta Radomska, Non/living Archives: Deterritorialising Death
12:15 – 13:30 – Lunch break (self-paid basis)
13:30 – 14:05 – Madina Tlostanova, On the way to a pluriverse? A Feetless Bird in a Vanished Forest-garden
14:05 – 15:15 – Camila Marambio and Nina Lykke, Vulnerable Story Telling. Queering cancer beyond the life/death hierarchy
15:15 – 15:45 – Coffee break (self-paid basis)
15:45 – 16:20 – Cecilia Åsberg, Why the environmental humanities needs art, worldly situatedness and integrative feminist theory-practices
16:20 – 16:55 – Anne Gough, Walking to Al Quds
16:55 – 17:30 – Dalida Maria Benfield, Where We Are Now: A Dispatch From “Indigenous Knowledges and Sustainable Pasts/Futures”
17:30 – 18:00 – Final discussion: the future of the network (‘where do we go from here?’)
Deterritorialising the Future: A symposium on heritage in, of and after the Anthropocene
14th September 2018, 9:30 – 17:30
Senate House London
What does it mean to conserve, collect, curate or interpret ‘the past’ in the shadow of the Anthropocene? How might we reimagine issues of care, vulnerability, diversity and inheritance in this new geological/conceptual framework? Drawing on current investigative work in the environmental humanities, comparative literature, media studies, archaeology, museology, and cultural geography, this transdisciplinary symposium seeks to ‘deterritorialise’ the future by exploring new modes of doing and thinking heritage in more-than-human worlds.
More specifically, every other day we’ve given you a little insight into what our speakers are going to talk about. Or, in other words, every other day you’ve been able to learn a bit more about each presenter and their paper!:)
Marietta Radomska is a Postdoc at Linköping University, SE; 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 project 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).
Non/Living Archives of Lichenology: Between Stories of Living and Dying in a More-than-human World
The ‘Postmodern Synthesis’ of evolutionary biology (Koonin 2009) challenges the paradigmatic ideas of evolutionary decent, reproductive transmission of genes, and the notion of the individual (be it an organism, a population, or a species). As biologist Scott F.Gilbert argues, instead of individuals, we should talk about ‘holobionts’: composite organisms becoming through multiple cooperative processes.
This paper, being itself a piece of speculative storytelling, aims to explore what thinking with and through the figuration of the lichen – a primary example of a holobiont – can do to the cultural imaginaries and our understandings of the ontologies (and ecologies) of living and dying in a more-than-human world.
More specifically, every second day we give you a little insight into what our speakers are going to talk about. Or, in other words, every second day you’ll be able to learn a bit more about each presenter and their paper! Stay tuned! 🙂
Today we have a great pleasure to present our next speaker, Dr. Line Henriksen!
Line Henriksen is a lecturer in Gender Studies at the University of Copenhagen and holds a PhD in Gender Studies from the Unit of Gender Studies at Linköping University, Sweden. She 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.
From the Void – Speculative Storytelling and Encounters with Nothingness
The void is a recurring figure within the genre of speculative fiction. Whether in the shape of the emptiness of outer space or the depths of the sea, the void embodies nothingness as well as the limits of human understanding and imagination. This, the void’s associations with emptiness and the ‘beyond-human’, makes it a favoured antagonist within speculative fiction, but also a space of infinite possibilities – a blank page that is never quite as blank as one expects. In this paper, I explore contemporary speculative tales of nothingness as they relate to questions of storytelling and encounters with the (never fully) blank page.
Today it is our great pleasure to introduce you to our second speaker, Prof. Nina Lykke!
Nina Lykke, Professor Emerita, Gender Studies, Linköping University, Sweden. Co-founder of Network for Queer Death Studies, and Network for Ecocritical and Decolonial Research. Her current research focuses on queering of cancer, death, and mourning in queerfeminist materialist, decolonial and eco-critical perspectives, and on 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: On affective difference, compassionate companionship and lesbian widowhood. T.Juvonen and M.Kohlemainen (eds): Affective Inequalities in Intimate Relationships. Routledge, New York, London (2018).
Becoming with algae. Exploring Speculative Stories of Reimagining the Imperceptible.
Diatomite earth is fossilized remains of diatoms, single-celled aquatic algae. In the paper, I use diatoms as lens to ask, what diatomite earth may tell about a flat life/death ontology, and which possibilities for speculative story-telling it may open. My focus is a diatomite cliff formation on the Danish island of Fur – and my life partner’s ashes, spread in the waters beneath. I reflect on my co-becoming with my partner through a combination of poetic, autophenomenographic, and philosophic-cultural reflections on her becoming imperceptible in a Deleuzean sense, and her transforming into a body of ashes, now mixed with diatomite sand. The paper’s analysis is based on examples from these writings.
The symposium takes place on 5th April 2018, 13:15 – 16:30 at Linköping University (room: Faros; Tema building; Campus Valla).
More specifically, every second day (counting from today) we’ll give you a little insight into what our speakers are going to talk about. Or, in other words, every second day you’ll be able to learn a bit more about each presenter and their paper! Stay tuned!
And of course, we start the presentation series with our very special guest, artist Katja Aglert!
Katja Aglert is an independent artist and researcher who’s practice is transdisciplinary in nature, and includes both individual and collaborative projects. She exhibited widely in Sweden and internationally including solo exhibitions at Polarmuseet, Tromsø, Norway (2017/2018); Biologiska Museet, Stockholm (2016); FLORA ars+natura, Bogota, Colombia (2015/2016) Museum for Contemporary Art, Santiago, Chile (2015/2016); Marabouparken, Stockholm (2014). As artist she teaches regularly at institutions such as Stockholm University, and Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts, and Design. For more info: katjaaglert.com
< > ‘Dial: C-A-R-E-T-O-D-A-N-C-E (the first encounter)’ > <
This presentation unfolds some of the research related to the artistic project ’Dial: C-A-R-E-T-O-D-A-N-C-E (the first encounter)’. It discusses how speculative forms of storytelling developed through artistic experiments in practice, can become means for new materialisations and worldings beyond the binary views. The project explores possibilities of inter-species communication with alien aquatic beings through sound frequencies in marine environments. Exchange between diverse beings has a rich spectrum and is, amongst other things, related to the preference of speed. In other words, we cannot greet a crab on the same frequency as a clam. Furthermore, will someone reply, and how?
Becoming with Alien Encounters and Speculative Storytelling
5th April 2018
13:15 – 16:30
Room: Faros, Tema building (Campus Valla)
Speculative fiction – as an ‘umbrella term’ – refers to a wide range of narrative fiction that employs ‘fantastic’, supernatural or non-mimetic elements. In the times of the climate change and environmental crises accompanied by futuristic ‘technology-will-save-us’ scenarios on the one hand, and visions of ‘doom and gloom’, on the other, speculative fiction has gained a momentum as an alternative way to reimagine the future in the ‘Anthropocene’.
As feminist scholar Donna Haraway writes, the ‘speculative’ element of story-telling leads to ‘opening up what is yet-to-come in protean entangled times’ pasts, presents, and futures.’ (2011).
Taking this as our starting point, we see speculative narratives that combine reality and fiction, and philosophy, science and art, as a prolific site for the emergence of different ontological, epistemological and ethico-political possibilities. Through the stories of experimental encounters with alien species, in/organic entities, non/living assemblages and the void, we explore ethico-onto-epistemologies of becoming in a more-than-human world.
Here we share with you news and updates on new jobs, visiting scholars at the Posthumanities Hub, various events, seminars, and workshops that are organized by the Hub or its mothership, Tema Genus (the Gender Studies at the interdisciplinary department of TEMA, at Linköping University, Sweden).
Our warmest congratulations on their great success to the amazing Marietta Radomska and Lisa Linden, both of TEMA LIU, who received VR grants! Marietta will be working on her project entitled ”Dödens ekologier: miljön, kroppen och etik i samtida konst” and Lisa on “Empowerment och stigmatisering: Patientorganisationer, gynekologisk cancer och identiteter i omvandling.”
Congratulations to “hubbers” Desirée Ljuncrantz (Tema G, Liu) and Marianna Szczygielska (Central European University, visiting PhD student at Tema G in 2015/16) who successfully defended their PhD theses!
A special issue of Angelaki on “Tranimacies: intimate relations between animals and trans*studies” edited by our fantastic colleagues Marianna Szczygielska, Eliza Steinbock, and Anthony Wagner is now out! With contributors from our hubbers, Marietta Radomska and Vera Weetzel, and our Tema Genus Professor Madina Tlostanova, among others, this issue is pushing the boundaries of thinking beyond the human/animal binary.
Congratulations to Christine Daigle from Brock University and to her team for receiving a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) partnership development grant to support Posthumanism Research Network. We’re happy and proud to be Posthumanities Research Network partner and collaborator and we’re thrilled about these new opportunities to work together.
Have a look at this, it’s from our friends in international posthuman studies: The 9th Beyond Humanism Conference https://vimeo.com/228020059
We recommend you look up Royal Holloway Centre for the GeoHumanities‘ website for more information on interdisciplinary relations between geography and arts and humanities scholarship and practice; blog, forum, call for papers, and more!
Call for papers
We are pleased to announce that a call for abstracts intended for a special issue of an environmental humanities journal on a theme of “Plantarium. Human-Vegetal Ecologies” is now open. For this special issue, edited by Olga Cielemecka and Marianna Szczygielska, we invite contributions that look into human-botanical ecologies, relationalities, and histories. We seek both traditionally academic submissions, as well as visual materials, provocations, review essays, activist reports and commentary pieces, and other varying genres. Please submit abstracts (500 words) to plantarium2017[at]gmail.com as word documents (.doc or .docx) until September 29, 2017. Call available here.
Upcoming Conferences, Workshops, and Other Events
Curated talks around Automata, a thought-provoking performance on stage at Orionteatern in Stockholm are now available online here. A a recording of a discussion “Free-spirited cyborgs and controlled bodies” is also available online. Chaired by Carl Åkerlund this panel discussion between Samira Ariadad, Helena Granström, Waldemar Ingdahl and the founder and director of Posthumanities Hub, Cecilia Åsberg, took place on May 6th in Orion Theatre following a staging of Automata.
A Seed Box funded workshop “Plantarium: Re-Imagining Green Futurities” organised by Olga Cielemecka and Marianna Szczygielska took place in June, 1st-2nd, at Linkoping University. It brought together activists, artists, practicioners, independent researchers, and academics to rethink the generative potentialities of the botanical. More about the event. Many thanks to our invited keynote speakers Cate Sandilands and Michael Marder, Mirko Nikolic for a plant yoga session and Christina Sadlbauerand Regula Heggli for vegetal speed dating, and all participants for making it such a special event! Now we’re planning to work on a CfP for a special issue, intended for one of the top environmental humanities journals, on the theme of hum-vegetal ecologies. Stay tuned!
Professor Cecilia Åsberg, director and founder of the Posthumanities Hub, gave a keynote lecture at the 8th Annual Conference on the New Materialisms “Environmental Humanities and New Materialisms: The Ethics of Decolonizing Nature and Culture.” The conference took place at Maison de l’UNESCO in Paris on June 7-9, 2017. Professor Åsberg gave a lecture entitled “A Thousand Tiny Anthropocenes” on ecological humanities, mapping out their challenges and potentials as feminist posthumanities.
For archives of our news and events earlier in 2017, click here.