Panel 13

Artistic Intelligence? Making it together in the Multispecies World

Organizers: Silvia Casini (1); Gediminas Urbonas (2); Roberta Buiani (3); Philippe Sormani (4)

1: University of Aberdeen; 2: Massachusetts Institute of Technology; 3: ArtSci Salon; 4: University of Lausanne

Topics: Ecological transitions and climate justice; Knowledge co-creation, citizens science, co-design processes, material publics and grassroot innovation; Methodological challenges in a more-than-human world; Technofeminism and interspecies solidarities; Embodied identities, genders and interests

Keywords: multispecies research; organism-oriented ontology, composability and cohabitation, sympoiesis, art as research

In recent years, academia has sought new approaches to tackle phenomena that couldn’t be grasped through traditional discipline-specific research methods. Anna Tsing expresses the difficulties of examining and communicating the system known as the Anthropocene and calls for “new kinds of storytelling” that can “tell empirically grounded stories of particular times and places and positions and [that can] tell them with some much curiosity and wonder”. In practice, this means to abandon the “god’s view from nowhere” (Haraway), which leads to the prioritisation of anthropocentrism. Tsing proposes an embodied approach that takes in different positionalities, that is, she exhorts us to become-with the non-human and more-than-human, instead of just observing them from afar. To this end, the feminist and more-than-human curatorial work of Haraway and Tsing with her platform Feral Atlas (2021), the collaborative thought-exhibitions by Latour and Weibel at ZKM (Iconoclash 2002, Making Things Public 2005, Reset Modernity! 2016, and Critical Zones 2020 all devoted to the crisis of representation in art, science, and politics), and the visual STS approach by Galison in his collaborative work all use curatorial and artistic practice as research. These forms of research embodied, situated, and materialised knowledge that matters (Turkle 2011: 7). Moreover, they foreground storytelling, invention, and fictionality as tools for ‘getting real’ and challenging anthropomorphism (Skiveren 2022). All these collaborative endeavours might offer the coordinates of new zones of friction and creative resistance, asking us to engage with indigenous perspectives and traditions, forging alliances with symbionts, imagining anew the social and material fabric of the world. Perhaps from these zones new ways of being can become thinkable along the lines of what Ingold suggests with the concept of a «mycelial person» (Ingold 2003).

With this panel, we encourage proposals coming from both academics and practitioners for creative/performative presentations (regarding curatorial practices and/or exhibitions and storytelling), interactive sessions (bearing on material objects), and/or traditional academic papers. In particular, we ask prospective contributors to reflect on how exhibitions understood as “more-than-human alliances” might contribute to STS research and methods, demonstrating the importance of cherishing the process rather than the results; the significance of relational thinking; and the importance of interrogating the epistemological contributions of exhibitions.

At a time when some of the prominent venues promoting collaborative work in art, science and technology studies have closed (Science Gallery Dublin) or are under threat (SymbioticA), we call for forms of engagement, critical zones and methods capable of nurturing a “slow art-science” practiced by amateurs and connoisseurs in the guise of what Isabelle Stengers (2017) suggests in her manifesto for a slow science. What are the coordinates of such zones? How can we draw a map to chart our ways through a changing world? How to be alive in the "regime of the human," characterised by the lure of progress and “techniques of alienation," and "still exceed it" (Tsing 2017: 19). How can artists and scientists use their observatory stations not as ivory towers but as scaffolding for ‘engagement all the way down” (Stengers: 2019, 19)?