Last week the Seed Box Environmental Humanities Collaboratory communication team invited me for a little chat about my research and various collaborations. Here’s the outcome (please, don’t mind the darkness – we’re living in Zoom/non-pro webcam times…):
Check out the exciting online event: det gode liv/The Sweetness of Living forming part of the Barents Spektakel festival, taking place on 17-21 February in Kirkenes, Norway. The symposium itself is scheduled on 20th February (Saturday) from 10:00 to 14:00 CET. It takes place both on location and online. In order to register, fill out the form here.
Here’s a short description of the event, taken from the organisers’ website:
det gode liv // The Sweetness of Living is a networking, knowledge exchange, and experience-sharing artistic research and contemporary art project that begins in February 2021 and extends into the long-term future.
The research takes its inspiration from the publication Global Warming and the Sweetness of Life: A Tar Sands Tale (2018) by Matt Hern and Am Johal, where the authors investigate philosopher Giorgio Agamben’s invocation of Alexandre Kojeve’s phrase ‘la dolce vita’.
These ideas describe a common attitude in Spain, Italy, and southern Europe that is claimed to be qualitatively different from the Protestant work ethic of northern European countries. Agamben’s claim is that this attitude describes a wholly different relationship to the future, a recovery of time, a resistance to capitalism, and the preservation of a significant way of living: in short, the capacity to define life as something outside of work.
det gode liv // The Sweetness of Living builds on these gestures, investigating and challenging what ‘the sweetness of life’ represents specifically in the Barents region / the nordic countries and north-west Russia / Sápmi. The project is grounded in the belief that the topic has become an urgent cultural question following the events of 2020, when the present societal changes taking place during the Covid-19 pandemic have urged a radical re-configuration of the priorities of life and living.
The project begins by opening up the topic through three artworks and through several discursive, performative, and processual responses under The Sweetness of Living Symposium.
Among the speakers you can also find myself and Cecilia Åsberg with our talk on “More than survival: weaving vulnerabilities, questioning certainties, mobilising resilience. On low-trophic theories-practices for a more-than-human world”, starting at 12:00 sharp! Hope to see you there!
The latest issue of Artnodes: E-journal for Art, Science and Technology, focused on ‘Art in the Time of Pandemic’ and edited by Laura Benitez and Erich Berger is finally out and available in OPEN ACCESS. Inside you may also find a contribution by myself, Mayra Citllali Rojo Gómez, Margherita Pevere and Terike Haapoja, entitled: ‘Non/Living Queerings, Undoing Certainties, Braiding Vulnerabilities: A Collective Reflection’. You can read our article here.
The ongoing global pandemic of Covid-19 has exposed SARS-CoV-2 as a potent non-human actant that resists the joint scientific, public health and socio-political efforts to contain and understand both the virus and the illness. Yet, such a narrative appears to conceal more than it reveals. The seeming agentiality of the novel coronavirus is itself but one manifestation of the continuous destruction of biodiversity, climate change, socio-economic inequalities, neocolonialism, overconsumption and the anthropogenic degradation of nature. Furthermore, focusing on the virus – an entity that holds an ambiguous status between the ‘living’ and ‘non-living’ – brings into question the issue of the agentiality of non/living matter. While the story of viral potency seems to get centre stage, overshadowing the complex and perverse entanglement of processes and phenomena which activated these potentials in the first place, the Covid-19 pandemic also becomes a prism that sheds light on the issues of environmental violence; social and environmental injustices; more-than-human agentiality; and ethico-political responses that the present situation may mobilise.
This article serves as a written record of joint conversations between artists and researchers in the working group ‘Non/Living Queerings’ that formed part of the online series of events ‘Braiding Friction’ organised by the research project Biofriction. The article strives to capture the collective effort of braiding and weaving a variety of situated perspectives, theoretical toolboxes, knowledges and experiences against the background of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. In particular, the text focuses on the issues of crisis, ‘amplification effect’, viral agency and the changing notions of humanity.
the non/living, queering, Covid-19 pandemic, art, vulnerability, amplification
Radomska, Marietta, Rojo Gómez, Mayra Citlalli, Pevere, Margherita, Haapoja, Terike. “Non/Living Queerings, Undoing Certainties, and Braiding Vulnerabilities: A Collective Reflection”. Artnodes, [online], 2021, No. 27, doi:10.7238/a.v0i27.374989 .
It is my great pleasure to say that the chapter “Environmental Violence and Postnatural Oceans: Low-Trophic Theory in the Registers of Feminist Posthumanities” , written by Cecilia Åsberg and myself, has just been published as part of the exciting volume “Violence, Gender and Affect”, edited by Marita Husso, Sanna Karkulehto, Tuija Saresma, Aarno Laitila, Jari Eilola and Heli Siltala.
The book came out in the series Palgrave Studies in Victims and Victimology.
More on our contribution:
“Environmental Violence and Postnatural Oceans: Low-Trophic Theory in the Registers of Feminist Posthumanities” by Cecilia Åsberg and Marietta Radomska
Environmental violence takes form of both ‘spectacular’ events, like ecological disasters usually recognised by the general public, and ‘slow violence’, a type of violence that occurs gradually, out of sight and on a long-term scale. Planetary seas and oceans, loaded with cultural meanings of that which ‘hides’ and ‘allows to forget’, are the spaces where such attritional violence unfolds unseen and ‘out of mind’. Simultaneously, conventional concepts of nature and culture, as dichotomous entities, become obsolete. We all inhabit and embody the world differently, as variously situated people, divided by national, sexual, bodily and economic status, and as very variously situated nonhumans in an increasingly anthropogenic world. This chapter focuses on subtle ‘slow violence’ unfolding through the instances of submerged chemical weapons, so-called dead zones, invasive species and high- and low-trophic mariculture in the Baltic and North Sea regions. It zooms in on the select cases of such ‘environed bodies’, their stories of excruciating slow violence and yet also on unexpected encounters with care and hospitality. The aim is to unfold a low–trophic theory for the naturecultural research on violence and care within environmental humanities, and to engage a coexistential ethics of environmental adaptability informed by feminist posthumanities.
Environmental violence; Seas and oceans; Low-trophic theory; Feminist posthumanities
Åsberg C., Radomska M. (2021) Environmental Violence and Postnatural Oceans: Low-Trophic Theory in the Registers of Feminist Posthumanities. In: Husso M., Karkulehto S., Saresma T., Laitila A., Eilola J., Siltala H. (eds) Violence, Gender and Affect. Palgrave Studies in Victims and Victimology. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-56930-3_13
You may also check out this short clip posted on The Seed Box A Mistra Formas Environmental Humanities Collaboratory website/YouTube channel:
Check out this exciting CfP! DEADLINE: 15 January 2021!
Whatever. A Transdisciplinary Journal of Queer Theories and Studies (https://whatever.cirque.unipi.it/) is inviting submissions for short contributions (500-2000 words) to be collected in a multi-authored article entitled “What do we talk about when we talk about queer death?”. The article will introduce the themed section Queer thanatologies (edited by A.C. Corradino, C. Dell’Aversano, R. Langhi and M. Petricola) that will appear in Whatever’s next issue in summer 2021.
Queer death studies has recently emerged as a transdisciplinary field of inquiry investigating the cultural performances related to death, dying, grief, and disposal from the perspective of queer theory, defined as a hermeneutical stance whose premises could be summed up as follows: «queer states that any construction of identity (including LGBT ones) is a performance constituting a subject which does not “exist” prior to it, and encourages to bring into being (both as objects of desire, of fantasy…
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Frame Contemporary Art Finland’s public programme Rehearsing Hospitalities (2019-2023) connects artists, curators and other practitioners in the field of contemporary art and beyond in order to build up and mediate new practices, understandings and engagements with diverse hospitalities. In September 2020 RH held a series of events under the same title and published a new volume Rehearsing Hospitalities Companion 2. The book is edited by Yvonne Billimore and Jussi Koitela, and is available in OPEN ACCESS via Archive Books.
Inside you may find a chapter written by me ‘Viral Queering, Amplified Vulnerabilities’ (pp. 155-172).
You can check it out here.
And here comes a little snippet about the project taken from RH website:
Rehearsing Hospitalities Companion 2 is the second in a series of readers published by Frame Contemporary Art Finland and Archive Books, which accompany Frame’s five-year public programme Rehearsing Hospitalities.
The Rehearsing Hospitalities Companion series makes visible the processes and influences that shape the content and relations within the wider Rehearsing Hospitalities programme. The first edition in the series centered how to become more hospitable to diverse ways of knowing. The second edition leads on from this by introducing questions of access and considering access from multiple approaches, perceptions and relations.
“Now more than ever we need to be consciously reconsidering diverse forms of hospitalities and ways of being together”, say the editors Yvonne Billimore and Jussi Koitela. “With this publication we wanted to look beyond normative and institutionalised understandings of access. How can arts organisations and institutions treat access not as general or universal policy, but instead understand access needs as coming from plural and decentralised ways of knowing and experiencing the world?”
The 2020 publication came together during times marked by a myriad of global crises (COVID-19, racialized violence, ecological emergency, being among the most prominent). It is in these disconnected times that the publication and its contributors have turned to hospitality. Rehearsing Hospitalities Companion 2 is a site hosting and gathering, for coming together to re-visit, re-turn and re-configure worlds of hospitaties.
With contributions coming from a range of practitioners all with differing backgrounds, writing styles and approaches, the publication welcomes engagement across disciplines. It aims to spark critical thinking, discussion and action on access and hospitality in the field of arts and culture, and beyond.
I am delighted to say that the special issue of the journal Australian Feminist Studies focused on the topic of “Queer Death Studies” and co-edited by myself, Tara Mehrabi and Nina Lykke, has finally been published.
The issue contains contributions by QDS scholars: Patricia MacCormack, Marietta Radomska, Tara Mehrabi, Stine Willum Adrian, Margrit Shildrick, Hema’ny Molina Vargas, Camila Marambio and Nina Lykke.
The collection strives to advance queerfeminist methodologies and ontological, ethical and political understandings that critically and creatively attend to the problem of death, dying and mourning in the current environmental, cultural, and socio-political contexts.
In order to learn more, do check out the introduction “Queer Death Studies: Death, Dying and Mourning From a Queerfeminist Perspective”, co-authored by myself, Tara and Nina, available in OA here.
This autumn the Swedish Arts Grants Committee’s international programme for Visual and Applied Artists Iaspis Open Studios transforms into an online platform and seven-day programme with live-streamed happenings, art, talks and scheduled conversations. One of the elements of the rich programme is a conversation between brilliant Swedish artist Josefin Tingvall and myself. For more, see IASPIS Open Studios website.
EDIT: If you missed our conversation on 17th September, you can still check it out here: https://openstudiosautumn2020.iaspis.se/programme/#tingvallconversation
Last month the book The Kelp Congress (in English) / Tangboka (in Norwegian), edited by Hilde Mehti, Neal Cahoon and Annette Wolfsberger, was published by NNKS Press (Nordnorsk kunstnersenter). The volume contains contributions by the participants of the Kelp Congress, an event forming part of Lofoten International Art Festival, which took place in September 2019. Among many brilliant chapters by artists and researchers you may also find an essay by Cecilia Åsberg, Janna Holmstedt and myself, entitled ‘Methodologies of Kelp: On Feminist Posthumanities, Transversal Knowledge Production and Multispecies Ethics in an Age of Entanglement’.
For more info on how to order the book, see The Kelp Congress website.
More on the book itself:
Assembled from a collection of Nordic, international, and multispecies perspectives, The Kelp Congress is a gathering of writings and artworks that contribute to the recent interest in kelp and seaweed within contemporary art and thinking. The book forages for the insights that emerge through spending time together with these ecologies, revealing their inherent and entangled values.
Contributors: Aoife Casby, Devil’s Apron, Robin Everett, Tiina Arjukka Hirvonen, Janna Holmstedt, Øyvind Novak Jenssen, Signe Johannessen, Signe Lidén, Julia Lohmann, Janice McEwen, Arjen Mulder, Astrida Neimanis, Michael Pantalos, Julia Parks, Viktor Pedersen, Marietta Radomska, Francisco Trento, Danni Zuvela and Cecilia Åsberg.
And a little bit more on our contribution:
C. Åsberg, J. Holmstedt and M. Radomska, 2020. Methodologies of Kelp: On Feminist Posthumanities, Transversal Knowledge Production and Multispecies Ethics in an Age of Entanglement. In: The Kelp Congress, edited by H. Mehti, N. Cahoon, and A. Wolfsberger, Svolvær: NNKS Press, pp. 11-23.
This chapter takes departure in the experience gathered through our participation in two workshops: Kelp Curing and Coast, Line, forming part of the Kelp Congress, as well as our daily research and art practices. We take kelp as material entities immersed in a multitude of relations with other creatures (for whom kelp serves as both nourishment and shelter) and inorganic elements of the milieu it resides in, on the one hand, and as a figuration: a material-semiotic “map of contestable worlds” that encompasses entangled threads of “knowledge, practice and power” (Haraway 1997, 11) in its local and global sense, on the other. While drawing on our field notes from the congress and feminist posthumanities and environmental humanities literatures (e.g. Alaimo 2016; Åsberg & Braidotti 2018; Sandilands & Erickson 2010; Iovino & Opperman 2014) – with a special focus on the so-called blue humanities/oceanic humanities (e.g. DeLoughrey 2019) – that unpack human/nonhuman relations in the context of the current environmental crisis and the accompanying “slow violence” (Nixon 2011), we mobilise a reflection on and make a proposal for “thinking with kelp” as a multi-faceted methodology of transversal and transdisciplinary knowledge production and practices: situated (Haraway 1988), enfleshed, transcorporeal (Alaimo 2010), collaborative, and committed to an ethics of multispecies response-ability (Haraway 2008).
You may read it HERE.
It is my great pleasure to say that my latest article Deterritorialising Death: Queerfeminist Biophilosophy and Ecologies of the Non/Living in Contemporary Art, forming part of the special issue of Australian Feminist Studies focused on “Queer Death Studies: Death, Dying and Mourning From a Queerfeminist Perspective”, co-edited by myself, Tara Mehrabi and Nina Lykke, has just been published online. The text is available in OPEN ACCESS.
In the contemporary context of environmental crises and the degradation of resources, certain habitats become unliveable, leading to the death of individuals and species extinction. Whilst bioscience emphasises interdependency and relationality as crucial characteristics of life shared by all organisms, Western cultural imaginaries tend to draw a thick dividing line between humans and nonhumans, particularly evident in the context of death. On the one hand, death appears as a process common to all forms of life; on the other, as an event that distinguishes human from other organisms. Against this background, this article explores how contemporary art—in particular, the series of works The Absence of Alice (2008–2011) by Australian new-media and bioartist Svenja Kratz—challenges the normative and human-exceptionalist concept of death. By employing queerfeminist biophilosophy as a strategy that focuses on relations, processes and transformations instead of ‘essences’, the article examines the ways Kratz’s works deterritorialise the conventional concept of death. In this way, it hopes to attend to the intimacies between materialities of a human and nonhuman kind that form part of the processes of death and dying, and what follows, to reframe ethico-ontology of death as material and processual ecologies of the non/living.