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/

8th Biennial Conference of the European Association for the Study of Literature, Culture and Environment (EASLCE): “The Garden – Ecological Paradigms of Space, History, and Community”

The Garden Conference poster

Join the 8th Biennial Conference of the European Association for the Study of Literature, Culture and Environment (EASLCE): “The Garden – Ecological Paradigms of Space, History, and Community” at the University of Würzburg (Germany) from September 26 -29, 2018.

For more info click HERE.

Early bird registration until 31st Augst!

 

CALL FOR APPLICATIONS: EASCLE Webinar on ‘Toxic Embodiment’ by Prof. Cecilia Åsberg and Dr. Marietta Radomska

Photo: Cecilia Åsberg

Join us for the EASCLE Webinar on ‘Toxic Embodiment’ – for more info click HERE.

Webinar: ‘Toxic Embodiment’

By Prof. Cecilia Åsberg and Dr. Marietta Radomska

Sat, Aug 25th, 10:30-12:00 CEST.

REGISTER 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.

 

Inspirational questions:

  1.  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?
  2. 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?
  3. 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?
  4. What new approaches, methodologies, and methods does the work on toxic embodiment offer?

Primary literature:

Ah-King, Malin and Eva Hayward. 2013. ‘Toxic Sexes: Perverting Pollution and Queering Hormone Disruption’. O-zone: A journal of object-oriented studies 1: 1-12. Available at: https://www.academia.edu/6368781/Toxic_sexes_Perverting_pollution_and_queering_hormone_disruption

Alaimo, Stacy. 2016. ‘Conclusion’ in Exposed. Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press. Available at: https://dearchivecollaboration.files.wordpress.com/2016/02/alaimo-from-exposed.pdf

Chen, Mel Y. 2011. ‘Toxic Animacies. Inanimate Affections’. GLQ 17(2-3): 265-286. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1215/10642684-1163400

Davis, Heather. 2015. ‘Toxic Progeny: The Plastisphere and Other Queer Futures.’ philoSOPHIA 5 (2): 231-250. Available at: http://heathermdavis.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Philosophia_Davis.pdf

Additional readings:

Zahara, Alexander R.D. and Myra Hird. 2015. ‘Raven, Dog, Human: Inhuman Colonialism and Unsettling Cosmologies’. Environmental Humanities 7: 169-190. Available at: http://environmentalhumanities.org/arch/vol7/7.9.pdf

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.

Mini-symposium ‘Becoming with Alien Encounters and Speculative Storytelling’: Part 1

C-A-R-E-T-O-D-A-N-C-E0_Aglert

Image: Still from ‘Dial: C-A-R-E-T-O-D-A-N-C-E  (the first encounter) II’, by Katja Aglert (2017). 

 

Dear all,

As there is only nine days left till the Symposium “Becoming with Alien Encounters and Speculative Storytelling”, co-organised by The Posthumanities Hub and TEMA GENUS Higher Seminar Series at Linköping University, we’ve decided to provide you with a bit of sneak peek into what you’ll be able to fully enjoy on 5th April 2018 at Tema Genus!

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!

Bio

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

 

Paper abstract

< > ‘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?