Module I.

of Condensed Presents

Jan. 22nd — Feb. 22nd 2024

Jussi Parikka
Ayesha Hameed
Brigitte Baptiste
Gesyada Siregar

        In the moment of the collapse of systems, the end of binary categorisations, and enormous ecological and sociopolitical crisis, we could say that the present is disappearing; almost as if the past and the future were blending with each other. This module is about celebrating this new conception of time, while mourning its deadly context, through connecting past and future and looking at the past remains, at what is there —in short, matter— not as a collection of given facts but as a collection of possibilities, in the same way that we generally look into the future.

Sessions Module I.

Genealogies of postnature
        Against human exceptionalism, that is, against the belief in the superiority of "Man" over an essentialized and romanticized wilderness, we must destabilize the nature-culture binomial, in any of its variants, and generate a new, more complex fabric that does not reduce the intricate network of dynamic interactions that constantly blur and refigure it. To do so, we will change places and move slightly in time, tracing non-linear paths through certain key events and locations in order to establish their post-natural genealogies, driven by a radical skepticism towards both anthropocentrism and objectivity.

Anarcheological thinking
        The an-archaeological approach, even more than the archaeological methodology from which it departs, is useful to dismantle the inherited idea of nature and to understand history as an agglomerate based on intermingled perspectives and interests that leave out alternative globalizations. It aims to reconstruct a genealogy of natural-artificial and human-non-human relations and tensions, understanding them as unstable aggregations, and also including the political, economic, ethical, and aesthetic layers implicit in every cultural and artistic process, as well as the different levels of the agency involved and their infinite relations.

Un(vealing) the Anthropocene: Capitalocene, Chthulucene, Anthrobscene…
        In the context of the ecological debate that so many theories, names and viewpoints is awakening, there is no doubt that we must rethink the mobilizations of the technological and infrastructural based on the vocabulary and deep time of the geology that encompasses and precedes them, that is, as part of the perpetual stratifications and de-stratifications (human, non-human, more-than-human) of matter. But, as the idea of the Chtulhucene suggests, we must also understand these processes as a kind of "strati-fiction": a hybrid sedimentation of human narratives, desires, longings, myths, denials and figurations that demand the generation of alternative ways of narrating the past, the present and the future.

Geopolitics and Botanics
        The history of botany, gardens, and greenhouses has always established hierarchies between plant species and genres. From a political standpoint, these taxonomies manifest the human capacity to colonize and exploit the wealth of others, ranking certain species as more productive, more beautiful or more exotic than others, and importing them from all corners of the world. The Plantiatocene invites us to explore the relations between such control and power devices and the ideas of progress and time they entail: for colonial time is the time of simplification for the extraction of value, of distribution in a hierarchical fashion, coupled with mass genocides of both people and other creatures. Geopolitics can help us understand the hidden complexity behind the movements of bodies and seeds which are always linked to economic and aesthetic interests, while also revealing the power relations between different states and territories.

Ecological awareness: art, criticism, curating
        The problem of the Anthropocene confronts us with a context where it is difficult to situate ourselves, as it involves as much myth as science, oscillating between fatal statistics, misinformation, and the mysticism of associated narratives. As thinkers, artists, and cultural workers we must ask ourselves what it means, and how it makes us feel, to be human today, on this planet. In an age challenged by the events of a global crisis that we ourselves have contributed to create, with its slow violence -Rob Nixon-, its strange Hyperobjects and viscous materialities -Timothy Morton-, in times of barbarism -Isabelle Stengers-, of dystopias, of atomic energy and accelerationism. In short, to be human in times of an absence of futures, at best, and an absence of presents, at worst. And how to move on from here.

Module II.

More-than-human Ecologies and Coexistence

Mar. 11th — Apr. 10th 2024

Emanuele Coccia
Filipa Ramos
Laura Tripaldi
Stacy Alaimo

        Within the framework of the Phonocene, described by Donna Haraway and Vinciane Despret as a possible era of sound, we will explore how active listening allows us to access new ways of inhabiting the territory and create new modes of care and kinship among critters, human or not. Through the lens of queer ecology and non-western cosmologies, we will explore different topics that promote new ways to rethink our relationship with non-human entities and ecosystems in order to generate new possibilities for the recomposition of terrestrial ecological communities. These types of non-binary thinking and embodiment function as tools to break the taboos of coexistence and social constructions that come with inhabiting human cultures.

Sessions Module II.

De-anthropocentric ontologies and anti-humanism
        Decentering the anthropos is not enough to overcome the lethal ideals of humanism and build a genuinely solidary multispecies alliance based on the productive and immanent force of all human and non-human life on Earth. What is crucial, moreover, is a profound reconceptualization of subjectivity that does not confuse it with rational and conscious human autonomy or with neoliberal, self-referential, and self-indulgent individualism, but recognizes our historical, material and situated embeddedness with non-human agents as always already constitutive of our dynamic identities. We need to visualize the subject as a transversal entity encompassing the human (including the millions of symbiotic microorganisms that compose it), animals, fungi, plants, bacteria, and the planet as a whole.

Affect and coexistence
        The politics of affect and interrelation traced from some of the most far-reaching contemporary feminisms are indispensable to destabilizing the socio-political layers implicit in the inherited image of the natural that we are constantly trying to destabilize. In a context presided over by genetically rigid and techno-directed subjectivities, we need to foster new theoretical frameworks from which to reclaim radical imagination and artistic or cultural creation as an engine for envisioning new ways of co-inhabiting and co-existing on a severely damaged planet. We must open our sensibilities to difference and establish post-Darwinist and feminist ethics as tools to rewrite the history of that which escapes the norm as another of the histories necessary to understand the cartographies and genealogies of the present.

Phonocene: Ecologies of listening
      The temporality of non-ocular sensories can sensitize us to other forms of care and kinship that we are not so used to, culturally. Within the framework of the Phonocene, described by Donna Haraway and Vinciane Despret as a possible era of sound, listening, and sound are reclaimed as vehicles to access new ways of inhabiting the territory and the current ecological crisis. From this perspective, the first act and the basis for the implementation of coexisting ecologies lie in actively listening to the voices of those who surround us, humans and non-humans, artificial and organic, imagined and real. Field recording research and sound art thus emerge as important performative and artistic practices for the dissolution of the human/animal binomial. By switching away from the supremacy of the visual, they can generate empathy, care, and sensibility towards “otherhood”.

Perspectivism and non-western cosmologies
        Viveiros de Castro and Adolfo Chaparro describe the ritualistic anthropophagus act of Amerindian societies as leading to an incessant proliferation of subject positions in perpetual becoming that endowed with meaning a social whole including various types of deities and spirits and excluding neither nonhuman forms of life nor the dead. For these cultures, which took the war as a primordial metaphysical fact, all beings (alive or dead, human, vegetal, spiritual or animal...) were conceived as integral parts of a cosmic reality in which they could potentially be devoured by others, thus participating in the interspecific –and never exclusively material– exchange of creation-predation. Thus, humans did not hold a master position: they took part in an eco-cosmological complex of which they temporarily incarnated just one of the many possible perspectives. Being human depended on the point of view.

Queer worldings and rituals
        Recent theoretical-critical and scientific interest in queer ecologies and animalities demonstrate the connection between the control of sexuality and the increasing destruction of non-human life forms, as well as the way in which these kinds of queer attachments and becomings, far from undermining the reproduction and continuity of species, help to strengthen them: the more diverse the species, the more resistant it is to external threats and disease. Moreover, according to these approaches, queer exuberance –broadly understood– would be the main engine of life, since it is precisely this form of desire and existence that generates the experimental, co-adaptive, and symbiotic conditions that constitute evolution.

Module III.

Desirable Futures

May 6th — May. 29th 2024

Institute for Queer Ecology
Bayó Akómolafe
Karen Barad

        In the union between species and the activation of different senses and sensibilities, we can research, learn and speculate about a world of coexistence. In the process of creating desirable futures and collaborative healing, we may find unexpected joys that unite us in the contemporary ecological crisis. The relationship between human beings and nature is present in our daily lives in the form of stories that define our way of inhabiting the planet. In this module, we will try and understand ourselves as part of the ecosystem and not as a regulator, curator, or submissive extractor, in its multiple meanings. Art and critical thinking are inherent to the comprehension of the global landscape, analyzing territories, geopolitics, sustainability, bodies, new spiritualities and ecologies through new academic approaches.

Sessions Module III:

Decolonial approaches
        Colonialism is the underlying logic of the foundation and development of western civilization, and it is, therefore, essential to delve into decolonial theory in order to propose critical methodologies for contemporary ecology and research. In order to overcome such perspectives, based on extractivism, violence, objectivity, and a constant hierarchization of the world, it is important to attend to subaltern corpus of knowledge and thinking, and their diverse forms of critical theory, articulated by plural forms of liberating epistemes. From perspectivism to the ontological turns of the global south, postcolonial theory invites us to overcome social (and cosmopolitical) discrimination codified as racial, ethnic, or anthropological.

Posthumanism and the politics of becoming
        Posthuman subjectivity lives in a simultaneous state of singularity-plurality, harboring within itself the unknown and the in-human, more-than-human and other-than-human; a living nexus of multiple interconnections and radical immanence. But if posthumanism demands a redefinition of subjectivity, it certainly also requires a reconsideration of kinship and the imagination of less invasive and less destructive ways of becoming-together with other beings on earth. Becoming, as a material-theoretical tool, is not about resemblance or imitation, but about deploying a network of forces, intensities, and encounters to bring us closer to those "others" that have been excluded from discourse, creating a new affective proximity that generates different types of relationship and care.

Mutualism: towards symbiotic living
        If, at the scale of the individual, queerness manifests itself as mutability, as the power of transformation (of shapeshifting, code-switching, mimicry, flamboyance, fluidity…) that characterizes most species on Earth, at the scale of the ecosystem, queerness becomes mutualism, for it is symbiotic, in-contact, affective, and relational. It brings forth a space of eccentric economies and mutual support; of found families and utopian dreams; of communality, cooperation, care, and connection. A queer world is a world shaped by cooperation, by symbiogenesis as an evolutionary force, by the net benefits that different species and different life kingdoms gift one another, constantly and everywhere, at all times and at all scales. On a rapidly changing planet, queer mutualism can guide us toward adaptation and survival. Only through it (and only perhaps) will we be able to restore the shelters for the survival of human and other-than-human mortal "critters" that are not yet irreversibly damaged or lost.

Science fictions and speculative narratives
        In the era of the cultural fall of Humanism, it is necessary to create new narratives that subvert the hegemonic discourses of white patriarchal supremacy, obsessed with antagonism and separation, with the dominion over alterity, and rearticulate the complex relations of the post-natural environment in which we, earth critters, co-exist. Female and racialized voices in science fiction have proven to be crucial for this task, for they are able, more than other perspectives and other strata of discourse, to imagine alternatives worlds while condemning political and epistemological gaps in this one, not only in order to criticize the current problems of subaltern subjectivities and project them towards invented futures and lands, but also to revisit, question and rewrite the events of the past. In a sense, it is therefore a way to bridge the future with the past in order to help reinvent the experience of people in the present.
Monday Oct 31 2022