“There isn’t one single answer to the question of where to draw the limits of my body. We are in constant interaction with the organisms living in and upon us – a locus of biotic relations and overlapping borders. If you relax and try to imagine every facet at once, you’ll see that we’re a kind of Venn diagram come to life.”
Derek J. Skillings
For the fourth session of Elastic Nature, we will be discussing a prevalent topic - the interconnectedness of matter. You only have to look to the recent Shape of a Circle in the Mind of a Fish interspecies symposium at the Serpentine or We Live in an Ocean of Air by Marshmallow Laser Feast to sense the urgency of the conversation, a conversation that suggests that seeing the ‘stuff’ that surrounds us as an integrated, connected part of us - perhaps we can start to empathise with the non-human and stimulate a collective shift in how we start to tackle the colossal crises facing our biosphere.
We will be hosting an exploratory discussion group as part of the programme of the Falling Stars / Stelle Cadenti exhibition curated by LUMEN. Whether you’re familiar with the research area or not, we will be providing a set of PDF readings and links to provide grounding for what we hope will be an inspiring, fruitful and most of all accessible conversation.
Thought starters may include:
● Jane Bennet’s seminal Vibrant Matter, a text that implores us to assign a liveliness to all things and avoid categorisation of the ‘dead’ and ‘not-dead’. By advocating for a vitality of matter we can revert the concept of “thoroughly instrumentalized matter [that] feeds human hubris and our earth-destroying fantasies of conquest and consumption.”
● What are the consequences of perceiving certain materials (such as landfill) as dead? And how would that perception change if we perceived them as lively? How else have we privileged particular types of matter?
● What evidence or arguments exist, either scientifically or philosophical of the ability for non-living matter to ‘self-organise’?
● What can we learn from the great mineralization event whereby soft tissue calcified into bone enabling unprecedented movement across terrain and as Verdansky describes turned us into “walking, talking minerals”?
● How is the search for extraterrestrial life impacting our perception of life on Earth?
● Can technology be considered nature? Danny Hillis explains that in the Age of Entanglement, “We can no longer see ourselves as separate from the natural world or our technology, but as a part of them, integrated, codependent, and entangled.”
This is the fourth Elastic Nature event - an art research club bringing together interdisciplinary researchers, practitioners and thinkers around the broad subject of ‘the future of nature’ via artificial life, sympathetic synthetics, sensory realities, materiality and speculative bodies.
All are welcome and it is not at all compulsory to have any prior knowledge of the area or complete the readings to attend.
RSVP for a free place and receive a link to the readings at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Crypt Gallery, Euston Road, Kings Cross, London NW1 2BA
Nearest station: Euston, Kings Cross
Google Maps Pin: https://goo.gl/maps/LUAaPRLVppv
ABOUT ELASTIC NATURE
Elastic Nature is a project by artist and researcher Becky Lyon. Through interactive workshops, seminars, breakfast salons and screenings we’ll stimulate conversation, ideas and the imagination around the changing shape of nature addressing subjects such as:
● How are we creating new forms of nature? And for what purpose?
● How do we define/distinguish ‘artificial’ and ‘wild’ life?
● Can new forms of nature better the state of the planet?
● What roles do culture, cognition, sensory mediation play in our understanding of nature and our perceived ‘reality’ of it?
● How have new forms of nature/ life been represented through speculative and science fiction? And how useful are these fictions in modelling the future?
● What’s the future of the stuff of life - what will living things be made of?
● Can synthetic nature ever be more sublime than wild nature?
● How is technology changing the way we view nature - for better or worse?
● Does a living thing need a material body?
Find out about future events at: https://www.elasticfiction.co/elastic-nature/
Follow Elastic Fiction on Twitter: @elastic_fiction