Last month the book The KelpCongress (in English) / Tangboka (in Norwegian), edited by Hilde Mehti, Neal Cahoon and Annette Wolfsberger, was published by NNKS Press (Nordnorsk kunstnersenter). The volume contains contributions by the participants of the Kelp Congress, an event forming part of Lofoten International Art Festival, which took place in September 2019. Among many brilliant chapters by artists and researchers you may also find an essay by Cecilia Åsberg, Janna Holmstedt and myself, entitled ‘Methodologies of Kelp: On Feminist Posthumanities, Transversal Knowledge Production and Multispecies Ethics in an Age of Entanglement’.
STREAMS is an international conference for the Environmental Humanities (EH) that gathers researchers from a wide range of academic disciplines as well as artists, activists and practitioners. It takes place on 3-5 August 2021 in Stockholm.
Yet, as you may know from our previous post, already this year you could join a virtual event (ahead of the next year’s conference on location): Streaming STREAMS, which was held last week (5-7 Aug).
To whet your appetite for the many affordances of feminist posthumanities and multispecies futures and the more-than-human arts – collected under of the streams of this conference in 2021 – this trailer will take you on a journey via Art Lab Gnesta. Here you will get to know some of the people and projects of The Posthumanities Hub. You get to meet artists, archaeologist, feminist philosophers and environmental humanities people like Signe Johannessen, Christina Fredengren, Janna Holmstedt, Marietta Radomska and Cecilia Åsberg.
Prepare to submerge, and visit exposures that catalyse and cultivate a range of stories on thinking, eating and socializing for multispecies futures together with The Posthumanities Hub, and …
Prof. Cecilia Åsberg, founder and director of The Posthumanities Hub is one of the keynote speakers in this conference that explores futures as matters of intense politics, imaginings and debates from feminist and intersectional perspectives.
The range of livable futures is being shaped dramatically, and possibly permanently, by several ongoing developments. Climate change and other environmental crises are undoing the material conditions of human and more-than-human life. The rise of right-wing populist politics and attacks on feminism and gender and sexual minorities are challenging the terms in which equality, difference and justice are debated. The logics of capitalism and the neoliberalization of institutions from universities and education to health care, development and work life are shaping how some futures appear as sensible or inevitable, and others as unattainable and not worth of political struggle.
The conference theme, “reclaiming futures”, suggests that how futures are envisioned, enacted and contested, in the present and in the past, has significant implications for equality and social justice and the very possibilities of a livable and just world. The conference asks what kinds of feminist and intersectional engagements with possible futures have emerged, are emerging, or may be imagined. We hope to investigate collectively the implications of the ongoing social, political and environmental changes for the future of gender studies and feminist politics.
The conference is organized and hosted by Gender Studies at Tampere University together with the Association for Gender Studies in Finland (SUNS).
In the pilot project “Popularizing environmental humanities: Film and media resources for young adults pondering the stakes for the future”* (Formas communication grant), the challenge of “popularizing” was approached through integrative learning and co-storytelling in the classroom. Instead of creating media resources for the students to digest, they were asked to critically engage with environmental issues through creative storytelling and film making. In this Roundtable session, the project will be introduced and some key questions concerning teaching and communicating EH addressed. Another approach to teaching and communicating has been practiced by Marco Armiero in his open-air classes during Fridays for Future climate strikes, and through this Roundtable we wish to share and compare experiences from these two approaches.
Participants: Marco Armiero, Janna Holmstedts, Jesse Petersen, Lotten Wiklund and Cecilia Åsberg. Chair: Roberta Biasillo.
*”Popularizing environmental humanities”, a collaboration between Professor Cecilia Åsberg (pi), the Posthumanities Hub, KTH, and Lotten Wiklund (co-pi), science journalist at Kajman Media, was implemented mainly during spring 2019 together with researchers affiliated with the Posthumanities Hub, and a group of third grade students attending Samhällsvetenskapsprogrammet at Bromma gymnasium in Stockholm. Janna Holmstedt, PhD, acted as facilitator for the workshops. Participating researchers were Christina Fredengren, Jesse Petersen, Vera Weetzel, Janna Holmstedt and Cecila Åsberg.
We are here! Cecilia Åsberg, Marietta Radomska and Janna Holmstedt are taking part in three different research strands in various locations in Lofoten, 16-20 Sep, called Coast, Line (navigated by Futurefarmers), Kelp Diagram Collective (navigated by Sabine Popp) and Kelp Curing (navigated by Sarah Blissett). These will be followed by a three-day public symposium in Svolvaer, 17-22 Sep, that seeks to explore the artistic and cultural dimensions related to kelp and other macroalgae. Cecilia will deliver a keynote 20 Sep, 18:00-19:00, and Marietta will moderate a Q&A with Astrida Neimanis, 21 sep 10:00-11:00. Insights and processes from the Coast, Line, Kelp Curing and Kelp Diagramme Collective research workshops will be shared on the 20th in the evening.
The LIAF cuators together with Annette Wolfsberger, initiated the Kelp Congress with input from several artist-run organisations and research centres based in the Nordic countries and Northwest Russia: the Posthumanities Hub, ArtLab Gnesta, Fridaymilk, Laboratory for Aesthetics and Ecology, Mustarinda, Skaftfell – Center for Visual Art, and The Department of Seaweed. Read more about the program and exhibition on LIAF website.
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
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
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.
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
Editors: Edyta Just, Maria Udén, Vera Weetzel, Cecilia Åsberg
What is Gender Studies to you? How can Gender Studies contribute to society, academia and the state of our world at large? What is your view to the interdisciplinarity of Gender Studies? How has Gender Studies changed your career, your life, your world? How could Gender Studies change the world, or, perhaps better be changed with it?
Your situated knowledges count!
With this edited volume we would like to bring forward the importance of Gender Studies as an academic discipline in general and Gender Studies research training (PhD training) in particular using as an example the InterGender Consortium and Research School in Interdisciplinary Gender Studies. In this sense we would like this volume to be of an academic and political significance especially in the light of the current attacks on Gender Studies. The import of Gender Studies research training and as such of Gender Studies can be demonstrated on two, nonetheless intersecting, levels. The first level
corresponds with the significance of research in the field and its transformative power in and, crucially, outside the academia. The second relates to the value of networking/community building for professional and personal development. The idea is that chapters in this volume are written by current and recently graduated PhD candidates and advanced MA students that have participated in InterGender
activities. We also plan to include in the volume interviews with senior Gender Studies professors and their reflections regarding this field of study and its integration and developments.
Therefore, we would like to invite current PhD candidates, recently graduated PhD candidates (up to 6 years after obtaining a degree) and advanced MA students, who have participated in the InterGender activities: courses and cohort meetings, to send us their ideas for contributions.
For this volume we welcome contributions in different formats: academic papers, poetry, short literary stories that address, discuss, reflect on and also problematize and complexify:
the significance and transformative power and potential of theories and methodologies developed within the field of Gender Studies for academia and society (you, as a prospective author, are especially invited to refer to/mention a particular InterGender activity: a course and/or cohort meeting and write from the perspective of your own research interests!).
the value of networking and community building during Gender Studies research training (you, as a prospective author, are in particular invited to refer to, or, mention a given InterGender activity such as a course and/or cohort meeting that made an impact on your life!)
Interested? Of course! This is your chance to tell the stories of your Gender
Studies training, networking and how it affected you, and thereby tell
something about the state of Gender Studies today!
Please send us your idea for contribution!
What do I need to do?
What we need is an abstract of 500 words excluding references – please indicate the format of the contribution (i.e., paper, poetry, literary story).
Extended Deadline: 5 May 2019.
Please send your idea for contribution to Edyta Just, edyta.just[at]liu.se
We, the editors, look very much forward to your contributions.
Welcome to the Edited Volume of the InterGender research school!
Recognizing that Wikipedia is the first point of entry for curious people everywhere, we are launching a new project to increase the representation of key environmental figures on the Wikipedia platform. We are especially interested in women, people of color, and social justice activists, as well as in terms, concepts, or key historical events in the realms of environmental justice and feminist environmental practices.
Who are the people, concepts, or events you have found missing from Wikipedia? Who is there, but needs a more up-to-date or more nuanced entry?
Please feel free to consult either the Swedish or English-language sites, and specify below from which Wikipedia your person, concept, or event is missing. For example, perhaps the English site has a person the Swedish site does not, or vice versa. We aim to update pages for both audiences.
Over the next few months, we’ll be focusing on adding and revising entries within the broad areas of environmental justice and feminist environmental studies, and we’ll keep you posted about our results.
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?’)
Existential concerns around environmental health today involve a much wider set of issues (and a wider set of bodies) as we intra-act with antibiotics, nanoparticles, and untested chemical cocktails through the food we eat, the make-up we wear, the new sofas we sit on, or the environments we dwell in. We are more acutely aware today of how we are in nature, and nature – polluted as it may be – in us. With the recognition of the ecological crisis and its gravity, we have – according to some scientific experts – entered a new geological period: the Anthropocene, in which it is the human who constitutes the biggest threat to the survival of the earth and its human as well as more-than-human inhabitants.
Through the proliferation of plastics and chemical pollution more generally, petrochemicals constitute in effect forms of social, material, and biological writing of toxic embodiment. This makes toxic embodiment an urgent concern for environmental humanities and for environmental literacies at large.
Advancements in genetic engineering, the chemicalization of food production, and the rapid growth of the pharmaceutical industry have made human, animal, and plant embodiments simultaneously enhanced and debilitated. They become ‘toxic bodies’, ‘pharmaceutical subjects’, and they leave a toxic footprint in the world.
By approaching the theme of ‘toxic embodiment’ from a broad and transdisciplinary perspective (eco-cultural studies; body and gender studies; medicine and life sciences; posthumanities; science, technology, and society; and, especially, the environmental humanities), this webinar will explore the risks and the opportunities that these changes may bring.
More specifically, the session will engage with the topic of toxic embodiment as our always-already environed technobodies, and how they/we are shaped by health norms and toxic realities that put into question the notions of health and disease, vulnerability and well-being, as well as life/death, and the dis/ability of the ‘natural’ human body. Here, the ‘human’ emerges as a set of toxic embodiments – ones that are radically tethered to, or shaped by, their milieus, including their more-than-human companions (synthetic molecules, microbes, fungi, plants, and animals), and the ways they/we all come together.
How do questions of toxicity and its impact on both human and nonhuman bodies influence environmental discourses? How do they influence the articulation of environmental problems? What kind of imaginaries do they mobilise and what futures do they seek to envision?
What conceptualisations of the body emerge from the present narratives on toxicity? What are the understandings of the subject that are (re)produced through these narratives?
Environmental discourses that engage with the issues of toxicity often put emphasis on the ideas of the natural and the anthropogenic, the normal and the abnormal, as well as health and illness. How are these notions understood in the context of the webinar readings? Are they reworked or abandoned? What does the enquiry of toxic embodiment do to their conventional understandings?
What new approaches, methodologies, and methods does the work on toxic embodiment offer?
Giovanna DiChiro (2010) ‘Polluted Politics? Confronting Toxic Discourse, Sex Panic, and Eco-Normativity’ in Queer Ecologies, eds. C. Sandilands & B. Erickson. Bloomington: Indiana University Press: 199-230.
Haraway, Donna. 2016. ‘Awash in Urine: DES and Premarin in Multispecies Response-ability’ in Staying with the Trouble. Durham: Duke University Press: 104-116.