More-than-human perspectives and regenerative art practices toward climate justice Symposium
A collaboration between Experimental Film and Media Art, Universität der Künste (UdK, Berlin) and the Climate Crisis Thinking Network, University of Oxford. Universität der Künste (UdK)
Friday 3 June 2022, all day
Online - Live on Youtube
A collaboration between Experimental Film and Media Art, Universität der Künste (UdK, Berlin) and the Climate Crisis Thinking Network, University of Oxford.
Universität der Künste (UdK)
Aula, Medienhaus, Grunewaldstr. 2–5, 10823 Berlin
The programme is available here, and the discussions will be live-streamed here.
Nina Fischer, Professor of Experimental Film and Media Art, KuM, UdK Berlin / Artist, and Maroan el Sani / Artist Dr. Amanda Power, Associate Professor of History, University of Oxford Dr. Nayanika Mathur, Associate Professor of Anthropology, University of Oxford Eiko Soga, Ph.D. student, University of Oxford / Artist Lilli Kuschel, Artistic Researcher, Experimental Film and Media Art, UdK Berlin / Artist Hana Yoo, UdK KuM Alumni / Artist
Moderated by Vanina Saracino, independent curator, writer, and lecturer at UdK, KuM
The dominant modes of thinking in the Global North are leading to the obliteration of alternative narratives, and to the loss of biodiversity with equal force. Collaborative strategies for more-than-human survival and the elaboration of other ways of living are now more urgent than ever. They require our efforts in joining minds and practices across political, geographical, cultural, and linguistic borders with a view to creating hybrid spaces for exchange and regeneration.
In this symposium and artist film program, we gather artistic practices and theoretical positions rooted in audacious encounters across different biological species, historical times, cultural narratives, distant cosmologies, and academic disciplines. We aim at conveying thoughts and practices striving to co-think and build together a more just future from an intersectional perspective. These acknowledge the multiple and differential levels of violence perpetrated by anthropogenic climate change on peoples and species, while also exposing the structural contradictions that our own research and practice may bring to the surface. The symposium will be structured in the form of roundtables presenting short individual inputs followed by an open discussion with the participants and the audience. The aim is to enable a space for artistic and academic storytelling. Here, practices and theories explicitly distancing themselves from anthropocentric thinking can converge and attempt together to responsibly create common patterns for regeneration around the two broad themes proposed.
Significant otherness beyond human exceptionalism
Across a set of apparently distant stories involving big cats, crows, cows, and humans, the first roundtable will mobilize the notion of significant otherness as “on-the-ground work that cobbles together non-harmonious agencies and ways of living that are accountable both to their disparate inherited histories and to their barely possible but absolutely necessary joint futures” (Haraway, 2003). The roundtable brings together artists and theorists to share their observations on interspecies communication and intersubjectivity beyond human exceptionalism, through specific case studies: the big cats in India’s central Himalayan region who are, inexplicably, making prey of humans in a landscape that is increasingly prone to climate disasters (Dr. Nayanika Mathur); the crows, cohabiting and co-creating the urban environments as an example of natureculture (Lilli Kuschel); the cows and the way their lives—like that of many other animals—have been affected by our use of technology as a necrotrophic device toward efficiency and profit (Hana Yoo).
The historical roots of anthropocentric thought and alternative narratives for the future
The second roundtable unpacks the historical roots of anthropocentric thought and considers alternative modes of living that have been marginalized or neglected by the dominant narratives—the indigenous epistemologies, amongst others—while also engaging in speculative thinking toward the elaboration of survival strategies for the future. Anthropocentric thinking is historically and culturally situated; understanding the context and power dynamics within which our contemporary ideas were formed is thus crucial to moving into the future (Amanda Power); dramatic events can either bring us to face the change together, therefore strengthening the notion of community, or they can split societies toward further atomization (Nina Fischer & Maroan el Sani); indigenous Ainu epistemologies emerge through their tales of hunting, replacing the Western indifference of killing animals with acts of respect and gratefulness toward each individual, acknowledging the need of reciprocity for surviving (Eiko Soga).
This two days symposium will enable encounters between artists and researchers to present their works and to expand the discourse on the topic of more-than-human perspectives and regenerative art practices toward climate justice, highlighting alternative worldviews and collaborative acts of survival rooted in careful consideration of other modes of thinking and doing.
Text by Vanina Saracino
Funded by the University of Oxford and UdK Berlin Seedfunding for Creative Collaborations.