The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Dr. Marietta Radomska at KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm (22nd January)

Welcome to The Posthumanities Hub seminar with Dr. Marietta Radomska on Deterritorialising Death: Queer(ing) Methodology and Contemporary Art, which takes place on 22 January (Tuesday) at 10:15 – 12:00 in the seminar room at Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment KTH, Teknikringen 74 D, Stockholm.

Deterritorialising Death: Queer(ing) Methodology and Contemporary Art

Abstract:

This paper stems from a project that asks what happens when contemporary art – in a dialogue with feminist materialist philosophies – is mobilised in order to challenge conventional (i.e. anchored in the Western tradition of the autonomous (exclusively) human subject) understandings of death, and assess multiple vulnerabilities and power differentials that form part of the materialisations of ecologies of death in the context of the Anthropocene.

In other words, the project examines how contemporary art read through the lens of feminist materialist philosophies (e.g. Colebrook, MacCormack, Grosz) may – and do – queer, that is, unsettle, subvert and exceed binaries, given norms, normativities, and conventions that frame and govern the bodies and processes constitutive of death, extinction and annihilation, especially in the given environmental context.

In order to do so, we need an adequate set of tools. In this paper, I argue for a tripartite methodology that queers the traditional human-exceptionalist concept of death: (1) feminist biophilosophy as an examination that does not search for an ‘essence’ of life, but instead focuses on the processes that take life beyond itself; (2) ‘the non/living’ (Radomska 2016) as a way to conceptualise death/life entanglement; and (3) queer vitalism as a ground for aesthetics (Colebrook 2014). By discussing each of these components and employing them in the analysis of select artworks, I hope to open up a space for discussion on this queer(ing) methodology’s potential for mobilising a novel feminist-materialist understanding of both ontology and ethics of death.

Bio:

Marietta Radomska, PhD, is a Postdoc at the Department of Thematic Studies (Gender Studies), Linköping University, SE, and a Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher 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. Radomska is a feminist philosopher and transdisciplinary gender studies and posthumanities scholar. 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), and has published in Australian Feminist Studies, Somatechnics, and Angelaki, among others.

Prof. Christine Daigle’s talk at KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm (22 October 2018)

The Posthumanities Hub has a great pleasure to welcome to KTH Royal Institute of Technology our special guest, Prof. Christine Daigle from Brock University, Canada!

On 22nd October at 10:15 – 11:30 Prof. Daigle gives a talk ‘Our Posthuman Vulnerability: a material feminist inquiry’. 

The event takes place in the seminar room at Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH Royal Insitute of Technology in Stockholm (address: Teknikringen 74 D, 5th floor).

It is open to the public and free of charge.

Abstract:

My proposal for understanding the posthuman as ‘transjective’ entails embracing our being as radically entangled and interconnected, a being that emerges from a manifold of affects, tensions, and relations and is constructed by them albeit always in flux, being done and undone by this web of relations and including its own relation to it. Our material entanglement with other humans, non-humans, living or non-living beings, renders us vulnerable. Material feminism offers particularly potent insights into our entanglement and its many consequences, such as vulnerability. I argue that we need to embrace our beings as vulnerable as this is generative of a new type of ethical responsibility, one that may lead to the enhanced flourishing of life in all its instances. Beyond accepting and embracing our entanglement, we must actively work toward affirming it and conceive of our vulnerability in affirmative and generative terms.

Bio:

Christine Daigle is Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Posthumanism Research Institute and of the Posthumanism Research Network, and Chancellor’s Chair for Research Excellence at Brock University (St. Catharines, Canada). She has worked and published extensively on Nietzsche, Beauvoir, and Sartre and is now researching intensely posthuman theory, material feminism, and affect theory.

 

Mini-symposium ‘Becoming with Alien Encounters and Speculative Storytelling’: Part 2

Nina Lykke Cliffs of Fur built of algae (2017)Image: Nina Lykke, Cliffs of Fur built of algae (2017)

As the Mini-Symposium Becoming with Alien Encounters and Speculative Storytelling approaches, we continue the presentation of our speakers (see also: Part 1).

Today it is our great pleasure to introduce you to our second speaker, Prof. Nina Lykke!

 

Bio

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).

Paper abstract

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).

Mini-symposium “Becoming with Alien Encounters and Speculative Storytelling”

The Posthumanities Hub in collaboration with Tema Genus Higher Seminar Series  and The Eco- and Bioart Research Network have a pleasure to present:

Mini-symposium

Becoming with Alien Encounters and Speculative Storytelling

5th April 2018

13:15 – 16:30

Linköping University

Room: Faros, Tema building (Campus Valla)

20170311_161249 (2)

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.

 

Speakers:

Katja Aglert (independent artist, Stockholm, SE)

Nina Lykke (professor em., Linköping University, SE)

Line Henriksen (lecturer, University of Copenhagen, DK)

Marietta Radomska (postdoc, Linköping University, SE)

 

See also: ALIEN ENCOUNTERS programme

Feminist posthumanities is for everybody!

Human nature is not the oxymoron we imagined it to be. In this new planetary age of the Anthropocene, defined by human-induced climatic, biological, and even geological transformations, we humans are fully in nature. And nature is fully in us. This was, of course, always the case, but it is more conspicuously so now than ever before: people are entangled in co-constitutive relationships with nature and the environment, with other animals and organisms, with medicine and technology, with science and epistemic politics. We live and die, play, thrive, and suffer by each other. For example, think of “mad cow” disease, where humans feeding cows with by-products from slaughtered sheep infected with the prionic disorder “scrapie” in turn generates prion disorders in cows that get transmitted to human beef consumers through a series of transcorporeal (Alaimo 2010) gestures across species. We can think, too, of pollen allergies and their increased prevalence as an index of our environed embodiment. Or how hormone-like substances seep from plastics into microorganisms, fish bodies, human infants in increasingly aggressive polymere ecologies. While culture and nature never were in fact separated but for academic divisions of labour, we live in a time when the so called “human mastery”, alterations, and especially the “slow violence (Nixon 2011) of these naturcultural relationships of embodied environments and environed embodiments appear to us more clearly. For such power-imbued yet generative relationships, we need a more-than-human humanities. We also need expertise on human differences; those between men and women; between men and men, or women and women; transgender, and internal to our, after all, not-so-fully rational human (and microbial) Selfhood. More-than-human and human differences (gender, class, race, nationality, age, sexual orientation, specie- or land relationality, etc) interplay in intricate ways, socially. Our work at the Posthumanities Hub, take such differences very seriously as we make our case for diverse feminist forms of the posthumanities (Wolfe 2003). Our starting points are diverse too; a love for science, art and philosophy,  postnatural feminisms, technological empowerment, humanities disciplines like history, literature, philosophy, languages, the cyborg ontology and situated epistemology of Donna Haraway (1991), anti-racist justice movements and anti-colonial environmentalism, veganism, plant theory, and multispecies justice. All of these are critical and creative endevours that provide mind-sets and society’s psyche with new concepts to guide thought and practice.  At The Posthumanities Hub, we embrace a feminist posthumanities that stands able to frame naturecultures unfolding and recalibrate humanities analytics for an Anthropocene of many differences. We aim for alliances and research worthy of our complex times, a humanities for our  “postnatural” condition of human and nonhuman co-constitution of the planetary.