News

New Publication: Dossier ‘What do we talk about when we talk about queer death?’ – Theories and Definitions

Recently I had a pleasure to contribute to the dossier ‘What do we talk about when we talk about queer death?’, edited by Mattia Petricola and published in the latest issue of the journal ‘Whatever: A transdisciplinary journal of queer theories and studies’.

You may find my short text ‘On queering death studies’ in the longer article ‘Theories and Definitions’, along with the fantastic contributions by Patricia MacCormack, Nina Lykke, Ida Hillerup Hansen, Phillip R. Olson and Nicholas Manganas.

Here comes the abstract:

This is part 1 of 6 of the dossier What Do We Talk about when We Talk about Queer Death?, edited by M. Petricola. The contributions collected in this article sit at the crossroads between thanatology and queer theory and tackle questions such as: how can we define queer death studies as a research field? How can queer death studies problematize and rethink the life-death binary? Which notions and hermeneutic tools could be borrowed from other disciplines in order to better define queer death studies?
The present article includes the following contributions: – MacCormack P., What does queer death studies mean?; – Radomska M., On queering death studies; – Lykke N., Death as vibrancy; – Hillerup Hansen I., What concreteness will do to resolve the uncertain; – Olson P., Queer objectivity as a response to denials of death; – Manganas N., The queer lack of a chthonic instinct.

MacCormack, P., M. Radomska, N. Lykke, I. Hillerup-Hansen, P. R. Olson, N. Manganas. 2021. What do we talk about when we talk about queer death? Theories and definitionsWhatever: Transdisciplinary Journal of Queer Theory and Studies, vol. 4: 573-598. https://doi.org/10.13131/2611-657X.whatever.v4i1.147

New Publication: Fathoming Postnatural Oceans…

It is my great pleasure to say that our latest article, dealing with postnatural ecologies, non/liveability and low-trophic ecosystems and maricultures of the Baltic and North Sea is finally out in Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space (OPEN ACCESS)!

Radomska, M. and C. Åsberg. 2021Fathoming Postnatural Oceans: Towards a Low-Trophic Theory in the Practices of Feminist PosthumanitiesEnvironment and Planning E: Nature and Spacehttps://doi.org/10.1177/25148486211028542

Check it out!

Abstract:

As the planet’s largest ecosystem, oceans stabilise climate, produce oxygen, store CO2 and host unfathomable biodiversity at a deep time-scale. In recent decades, scientific assessments have indicated that the oceans are seriously degraded to the detriment of most near-future societies. Human-induced impacts range from climate change, ocean acidification, loss of biodiversity, eutrophication and marine pollution to local degradation of marine and coastal environments. Such environmental violence takes form of both ‘spectacular’ events, like oil spills and ‘slow violence’, occurring gradually and out of sight. The purpose of this paper is to show four cases of coastal and marine forms of slow violence and to provide counter-accounts of how to reinvent our consumer imaginary at such locations, as well as to develop what is here referred to as ‘low-trophic theory,’ a situated ethical stance that attends to entanglements of consumption, food, violence, environmental adaptability and more-than-human care from the co-existential perspective of multispecies ethics. We combine field-philosophical case studies with insights from marine science, environmental art and cultural practices in the Baltic and North Sea region and feminist posthumanities. The paper shows that the oceanic imaginary is not a unified place, but rather, a set of forces, which requires renewed ethical approaches, conceptual inventiveness and practical creativity. Based on the case studies and examples presented, the authors conclude that the consideration of more-than-human ethical perspectives, provided by environmental arts and humanities is crucial for both research on nature and space, and for the flourishing of local multispecies communities. This paper thus inaugurates thinking and practice along the proposed here ethical stance of low-trophic theory, developed it along the methodological lines of feminist environmental posthumanities.

Environmental Racism is Garbage. Virtual Research-Creation and Art Symposium. NOW AVAILABLE ONLINE

Photo by David Kilabuk (source: https://environmentalracismisgarbage.art/)

On 27th-29th May 2021 Environmental Racism is Garbage: Virtual Research-Creation & Art Symposium took place online.

This wonderful and important event was supported by a Seed Box grant from Mistra-Formas Environmental Humanities Collaboratory, the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Waste Flow (www.wasteflow.ca) and Queen’s University.

Here comes the (shortened) description from the symposium’s website:

The aim of this interactive virtual research-creation and art symposium is to bear modest witness to waste as a symptom of environmental racism. […] Environmental Racism is Garbage seeks knowledge production and acts of resistance at the intersection of art, politics, and the relationship between racialized injustice and ecological crisis. We’ve invited contributions and collaborations from visual and performance-based artists, curators, theorists and activists, to create submissions that engage with the interconnections between environmental health, socio-economic conditions, racialized discrimination, social justice – with transdisciplinary work driven by creative inquiry and lived experience forefronted.

I had a pleasure and honour to speak in the panel focused on Ecological Grief which took place on 26th May. In case you missed it, feel free to check out the recording of the panel (along with many other fascinating talks and panels) available until May 2022 on the symposium’s YouTube channel and website.

‘Arts of Non/Living Matters’ seminar & the launch of The Eco- and Bioart Lab – on 17th June!

Join us for this event!

Welcome to the Posthumanities Hub Seminar on ‘Arts of Non/Living Matters’ with Margherita Pevere and Dr Marietta Radomska!

The seminar is combined with the launch of the new research group and platform: The Eco- and Bioart Lab (EBL).

EBL, founded and head by Dr Marietta Radomska, connects artists, artistic researchers and other practitioners, as well as doctoral students whose practice and research focus on art and the environment in their broadest understanding.

When: 17th June 2021, 13:15 – 15:00 CEST

Where: On Zoom (more info below)

REGISTRATION: In order to take part in the seminar, please register by sending an email to the.posthumanities.hub@gmail.com by 16th June 2021 at noon (CEST) the latest.

The Zoom link will be sent to you on 16th June in the evening.

Speakers:

Leaking. Mattering.

By Margherita Pevere

Abstract

Drawing from her transdisciplinary practice, Margherita Pevere will recount how the non/living is an ongoing, uncontainable encounter made of leaks and unlearning.

She will do so by sharing the research behind her recent and previous artworks. She will talk about what it means to interrogate slugs and hormonal contraception as she did for the series ‘Wombs’. She will share very real and potential leaks encountered during the realisation of ‘Semina Aeternitatis’. She will delve into the body entanglements in ‘Eingeweide’, made in collaboration with artist Marco Donnarumma. She will recount how she worked with animal remains in ‘Lymph’.

While celebrating art, Margherita’s talk will weave a dialogue across non/living encounters with ecosystems as a fundamental epistemic mode. In fact, her artworks would exist without learning why the lagoon water gets transparent, observing algal blooms in urban waterways, or engaging with hybrid kinships of different kinds. Art and ecological observation are, in her practice, conjoined strategies of knowing differently. 

Bio

A truly transdisciplinary practitioner, Margherita Pevere works across bioart and performance with a visceral signature. Her arresting creations hunt today’s surging ecological complexity and the ways embodiment and environment are always entangled. To do so, her research hybridises biolab practice, ecology, queer and death studies with a hacking attitude. She has exhibited her work internationally and is now completing a PhD in artistic research at Aalto University on bioart and queer theory.
https://margheritapevere.com
https://frontevacuo.com

Contact: margherita.pevere[at]aalto.fi

Ecologies of the Non/Living: A Queerfeminist Biophilosophical Perspective

By Marietta Radomska

Abstract

The concept of ‘the non/living’ (Radomska 2016) stems from a transdisciplinary theoretical and practical engagement with bioart, bioscience, and philosophical approaches to life. The non/living reframes what is conventionally referred to as ‘life’ in order to problematise the materiality, processuality and ambiguity of the relationship between the living and non-living, growth and decay, and ultimately, life and death. This ambivalent entwinement comes to the fore even more so when considered against the backdrop of the planetary environmental disruption and other intersecting more-than-human crises of our times.

Drawing on process, queer and feminist philosophical perspectives as well as several select examples of contemporary bio-, eco- and media artworks, I will offer a queerfeminist biophilosophy as an approach that may allow us to better comprehend the complexity, vibrancy and materiality of the non/living. The latter, always-already understood as ‘ecologies of non/living matters’, calls for not only an ontological reflection, but also for an ethical one.

Bio

Marietta Radomska, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in Environmental Humanities at Linköping University (Unit Gender Studies); director of The Eco- and Bioart Lab; co-director of The Posthumanities Hub; and co-founder of Queer Death Studies Network. She works at the intersection of the posthumanities, environmental humanities, continental philosophy, feminist theory, queer death studies, visual culture and contemporary art; and has published in Australian Feminist StudiesSomatechnicsWomen, Gender & Research and Artnodes, among others. Web: www.mariettaradomska.com

Image used on the poster:
Margherita Pevere, Wombs | Study. pencil on colour print 27×18 cm, 2018.

The Eco- and Bioart Lab

Podcast ‘Den föränderliga människan’ (in Swedish)

Recently I have had a pleasure to take part in a podcast ‘Den föränderliga människan’ focused on art and posthumanism, and produced by Svenska YLE (Swedish-speaking Finnish Radio).

In order to listen to the programme click here

Here comes a little blurb from YLE’s website:

Transhumanism ser teknologin som människans räddning. Medan posthumanismen säger att vi ska försöka se bortom det individuella och se på människan som en del av naturen och teknologin. Men varför är just trans- och posthumanism viktiga för att förstå världen av idag? Och hur formar de konsten och påverkar konstnärens arbete? Medverkar gör konstnärerna Elmer Bäck, Annika Tudeer och Magdalena Åberg och forskaren Marietta Radomska. Ljuddesign och klipp Mike Grönroos, producent Johanna Dikert, redaktör Johanna Grönqvist.

Image: Deep Kultur/Svenska YLE

Seminar on Queer Death Aesthetics, 27th May on Zoom

I am curating The Posthumanities Hub Seminar on Queer Death Aesthetics, which takes place on 27th May at 13:15 – 15:00 CEST and is organised in collaboration with my research group The Eco- and Bioart Lab.

The speakers are: Karolina Żyniewicz (University of Warsaw, PL) and Jacob B. Riis (Aarhus University, DK).

For more details, also on how to REGISTER for the event, see below.

Welcome to the Posthumanities Hub Seminar on Queer Death Aesthetics with speakers: Karolina Żyniewicz (University of Warsaw) and Jacob B. Riis (Aarhus University)!

Queer Death Studies (QDS) is an emerging transdisciplinary field that critically investigates and challenges conventional normativities, assumptions and expectations surrounding the issues of death, dying and mourning in the contemporary world. In particular, QDS pays attention to the ways planetary-scale necropolitics render some lives and deaths more recognised, understood or grievable than others.  If ‘queering’ in QDS is understood in a broad, open-ended sense as strange-making, defamiliarising, where the critical defamiliarisation implied may lead to an opening of other, more affirmative horizons, what would then ‘queer death aesthetics’ mean? During the seminar we will try to tackle this question in depth…

The event is curated by Dr Marietta Radomska and is organised in collaboration with The Eco- and Bioart Lab.

When: 27th May 2021, 13:15 – 15:00 CEST

Where: On Zoom

REGISTRATION: In order to take part in the seminar, please register by sending an email to the.posthumanities.hub@gmail.com by 25th May 2021 at noon (CEST) the latest.

The Zoom link will be sent to you on 26th May.

Speakers:

Safe suicide – becoming immortal and dying anyway.

By Karolina Żyniewicz

How to experience immortal life and death at the same time? How to do it safely, without a risk? Are cells isolated from my body still part of me? These were the main questions which I asked to myself and to my scientific collaborators in the beginning of working on safe suicide project. The project was transmattering on many different levels, a transformation of the body and its notion, understanding of life and death coalition, cognitive production, artistic expression. In the frame of the project I immortalised my cells, B lymphocytes just in order to decide about their death. Technically speaking, it was giving to them/myself immortality to take it back in many different experiments. It was being a donor, an observer, a caretaker and a killer at the same time. The project does not give precise answers for the posted questions but it allows to envision what means being liminal, being many and being constantly reconfigured.

Bio

Karolina Żyniewicz is an artist (2009 graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź, Department of Visual Arts) and researcher, PhD student (Nature-Culture Transdisciplinary PhD Program at Artes Liberales Faculty, University of Warsaw). Working in a laboratory (mostly at the Institute of Genetics and Biotechnology, Faculty of Biology, University of Warsaw) locates her works in the field of bio art, although she tries to avoid using this term.

Are we dead yet?

By Jacob B. Riis

One of the defining characteristics in human behavioural modernity is burial of the dead in conjunction with ritual and art – art’s primordial love affair is with putrefying corpses. This project outlines a genre that utilises material corpses to produce contemporary art pieces. I currently conceptualise this art form as Necro Art, which serves to connect it to Mbembian inspired Necro Aesthetics and simultaneously establish it as its own field or genre within Art History. While perhaps being a version of Body Art originating in Viennese Actionism, Necro Art simultaneously aligns along different trajectories. It samples and shuffles in early human ritual, folkloric, pagan and rural art forms usually not present in realms of High/Academic Art, and brings the overlooked, the spectral, the magical, and the illiterate too Art History. Through focus on materiality, agency and constellations of subjectivities, each artwork conjures ghosts, reveals life where there is none, and allows its experiencer to connect with the dead, forcing us to reconsider the boundaries of life.

Bio

Jacob B. Riis, Art historian (graduated from Copenhagen University in 2014), 2009-2014 Curator Assistant at The Danish Museum of National History, Hillerød, 2014-2018 Head of Teaching and Curator at Ordrupgaard in Copenhagen, currently PhD student at Art History, Aarhus University.

Photos included in the poster:

(1) Portrait of Karolina Żyniewicz by Pawel Jozwiak (CSW Laznia, Gdansk; LEFT) and 

(2) Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), 1991, by Felix Gonzalez-Torres (RIGHT).

Watch online: “(Bio)art & ecologies of non/living matters: A conversation between visual artist Emanuela Cusin and philosopher Marietta Radomska.”

In case you missed the event ‘(Bio)art & ecologies of non/living matters’ that was livestreamed last month, fear not… The recording of the session is now available on University of Birmingham YouTube channel (see below).

About the event:

Visual artist Emanuela Cusin (Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge (UK)) and philosopher Dr Marietta Radomska (Assistant Professor in Environmental Humanities, Linköping University (SE)) present their artistic and philosophical engagements with the matter(s)—and materialisation—of (bio)art and ecologies of the non/living. They do so against the backdrop of these more-than-human crisis times that are afflicted by political and pandemic violence, (counter)terrorist acts and events, and processes of mourning, trauma, and commemoration.

“(Bio)art & ecologies of non/living matters: A conversation between visual artist Emanuela Cusin and philosopher Marietta Radomska.” An event at the University of Birmingham

I’ll be speaking at this exciting event on 15th April!

The Posthumanities Hub

Join us for this fantastic even organised by the ERC project ‘Urban Terrorism in Europe (2004-19): Remembering, Imagining, and Anticipating Violence’.

Location: Online

Date: Thursday 15 April 2021, 14:00-16:15 GMT / 15:00-17:15 CET

Contact: e.m.l.geerts@bham.ac.uk

REGISTRATION

Official event website

Introduction

During this research seminar, visual artist Emanuela Cusin (Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridge (UK)) and philosopher Dr Marietta Radomska (Research Fellow in Environmental Humanities, Linköping University (SE)) will present their artistic and philosophical engagements with the matter(s)—and materialisation—of (bio)art and ecologies of the non/living. They will do so against the backdrop of these more-than-human crisis times that are afflicted by political and pandemic violence, (counter)terrorist acts and events, and processes of mourning, trauma, and commemoration. Special attention will be paid to new materialist, posthumanist, and affect theoretical strands of thought and artistic practice that can help us better understand these complex times, while emphasising the importance of such novel…

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Symposium ‘det gode liv/The Sweetness of Living’ at Barents Spektakel Festival, 20th Feb 2021!

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!

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