More-than-human humanities research group!

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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



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’: 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?

 

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

Prof. Rosi Braidotti’s 2018 Summer School at Utrecht University (The Netherlands)

The day-to-day draft programme for Prof. Rosi Braidotti’s 2018 summer school at Utrecht University (the Netherlands) is now available online!

 The 2018 summer school, titled “Posthuman Ethics, Pain and Endurance,” which will take place between the 20th-24th of August 2018 at Utrecht University, in Utrecht, the Netherlands, combines an introduction to the basic tenets of  Braidotti’s brand of critical posthuman theory with an overview on contemporary debates about the ethical implications of posthumanism and the so-called ‘posthuman turn’. See the day-to-day programme summer school UU

The intensive course “Posthuman Ethics, Pain and Endurance” offers an overview of the contemporary debates about the ethical implications of posthumanism and the so-called ‘posthuman turn’ as well as Rosi Braidotti’s brand of critical feminist posthuman theory. The focus of the course this year will be on the relationship between the posthuman and the neo-materialist, vital ethics of affirmation, with special emphasis on how they deal with the complex issues around the lived experiences of pain, resistance, suffering and dying. Deleuze famously describes ethics as the aspiration to live an anti-fascist life. What does this mean for posthuman subjects situated between the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Sixth Extinction? In the brutal context of the Anthropocene and climate change, of rising populism, growing poverty and inequality, how does posthuman ethics help us to deal affirmatively with these challenges?

These issues will be outlined, explored and assessed by addressing the following questions: How does a vision of the posthuman subject as a transversal an affirmative process of interaction between human, non-human and inhuman forces, help us cope with the complex and often painful challenges of the contemporary world? How does it affect the feminist quest for social justice, as well as environmental sustainability? How does it intersect with indigenous epistemologies and anti-racist politics? How does the neo-Spinozist notion of endurance foster the project of constructing an affirmative ethics for posthuman subjects? How does the idea of endurance connect to the philosophical tradition of neo-stoicism, and to Foucault’s re-reading of it? How does a posthuman ethics of affirmation help us practically to confront the lived reality of pain, death and dying?

Please click on the following registration link if you are interested in participating: https://www.utrechtsummerschool.nl/courses/culture/posthuman_ethics_pain_and_endurance       

Or send an e-mail to receive more information to: gw.braidottiass@uu.nl

COMPULSORY READING:

The basic textbook for the course is The Posthuman Glossary    (Bloomsbury Academic 2018), edited by Rosi Braidotti and Maria Hlavajova, which all participants are expected to buy.

 

BACKGROUND READING:

Please note that all participants are expected to have read Rosi Braidotti’s book The Posthuman (Polity Press 2013), and for an introduction to brutalism, the special issue of e-flux, co-edited by Rosi Braidotti, Timotheus Vermeulen et alia, which can be found here: http://www.e-flux.com/journal/83/

 *Please note that the course fees (excluding housing) are 300.00 euros. You can receive 2.0 ECTS for active participation during this summer school.

 

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