Ecologies of Existence – Art and Media beyond the Anthropocene


06/30/2016 Symposium with the Archipelago Lab

The pla­ne­ta­ry si­tua­ti­on, as it may be, is per­cei­ved as one of cri­sis; eco­lo­gi­cal­ly, eco­no­mi­cal­ly, and men­tal­ly. Whi­le the im­pact and de­struc­tive force of en­vi­ron­men­tal chan­ge re­cei­ve new at­ten­ti­on in the dis­cour­se on the an­thro­po­ce­ne, cri­sis, on the other hand, be­co­mes the ju­s­ti­fi­ca­ti­on for ex­ten­ded me­cha­nisms of con­trol. We find our­sel­ves in a tight­ly wo­ven nar­ra­ti­ve of a net­wor­ked all en­com­pas­sing (hu­man) con­di­ti­on per­mea­ted by ope­ra­ti­ons ma­nage­ment of com­ple­xi­ties and their preemp­ti­ve har­n­es­sing of af­fect. Against a mere sur­ren­der in the face of the­se pa­ra­ly­zing pro­ces­ses, but also dis­mis­sing a form of ca­pi­ta­list sub­sump­ti­on of the eco­lo­gi­cal as a la­bel on ever­y­thing, we want to in­sist on the no­ti­on of eco­lo­gy as con­cept and prac­tice that re­fu­ses any form of uni­ver­sa­li­ty. Re­sis­ting this to­ta­li­ty of cri­sis and con­trol as well as ad­ap­ta­ti­on and (non)sustaina­bi­li­ty we won­der how eco­lo­gy as eco­so­phic pra­xis be­co­mes a con­struc­tivist and trans­ver­sal “re­la­tio­nal ge­ne­ra­ti­vi­ty” along he­te­ro­ge­neous mo­des of exis­tence and their eco­lo­gies.

Brin­ging to­ge­ther prot­ago­nists from me­dia eco­lo­gy, bio­lo­gi­cal eco­lo­gy, and eco-me­dia dis­cour­ses, we ask: What kinds of prac­tices and aes­t­he­tic stra­te­gies might pro­vi­de us with a trans­ver­sal eco­lo­gy? What does eco­lo­gi­cal exis­tence mean and how do eco­lo­gies of exis­tence evol­ve? In a world, in which both con­cepts like na­tu­re or en­vi­ron­ment are un­der con­stant re­vi­si­on, and ta­king care for our com­pa­gni­on spe­cies seems too com­pli­ca­ted and ex­haus­ting, we want to find out how art and me­dia tech­no­lo­gies might co-com­po­se more re­la­tio­nal mo­des of exis­tence and their eco­lo­gies.

Du­ring the three days of the sym­po­si­um we fo­cus on four di­men­si­ons in clo­se re­so­nan­ce with each other:

  1. How can we think the notion of ecology more “environmentally?” If we consider the interlacing between social, mental, and environmental ecology, the notions of the environment and the environmental require a reconsideration as the material ground of planetary existence.
  2. What is the impact of collecting, monitoring, and interpreting (curating) data in relation to ecological conditions? How can we overcome the bifurcation between interpretative knowledges and the actual processes of exploitation?
  3. How do modes of ecological practicing occur between different sets of knowledge and making? What are the conditions of emergence for such interstitial practices? What is the function of art and aesthetics for such ecological modes of practice?
  4. How can we generate ecological practices with and through different modes of existence, capable of accounting for relational states of co-emergence?



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