Ecologies of Existence. Art and Media beyond the Anthropocene

International symposium
June 30th to July 2nd, 2016

with contributions by Matthew Fuller (Goldsmiths, University of London), Jennifer Gabrys (Goldsmiths, University of London), Baruch Gottlieb (Telekommunisten, Berlin), Erich Hörl (Leuphana Universität Lüneburg), Knowbotiq (ZHdK, Zürich), Elke Marhöfer und Mikhali Lylov (Berlin)Stamatia Portanova (Orientale Napoli), Rasa Smite (Rix-C, Riga), Vicky Temperton (Leuphana Universität Lüneburg) und Alanna Thain (McGill University, Montreal)

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 practicing?

4. How can we generate ecological practices with and through different modes of existence, capable of accounting for relational states of co-emergence?

Organised by Christoph Brunner (Archipelago Lab) and Yvonne Volkart (Basel)

Partner: Archipelago Lab, Digital Cultures Research Lab (DCRL), Kunstraum of Leuphana University Lüneburg