“Human-non-human networks” | Antennae | Autumn 2016
La revue Antennae – the journal of nature in visual culture – a consacré dans son dernier numéro sur le thème “Human-non-human networks”
This issue of Antennae is entirely dedicated to Human-Non-Human Networks, a multidisciplinary symposium held at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago on March 12th 2016. It was organized by Giovanni Aloi, Editor in Chief of Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture, Andrew Yang, Assistant Professor at SAIC, and David Getsy, Professor at SAIC.
Human-Non-Human Networks gathered some of the most exciting thinkers and artists working at SAIC who share similar interests in the non-human, in materiality, perception, and epistemology.
The event questioned epistemological limitations and artistic potentialities in the acknowledgement that existing disciplinary approaches require to be updated in the face of the current climatic/environmental challenges. What is at stake in the re-imagining of disciplinary boundaries through the pursing of new epistemic strategies involving multispecies networks? What may the aesthetic repercussions of such new directions be? How can art produced within new parameters impact on everyday life?
Téléchargeable gratuitement sur : http://www.antennae.org.uk/
REGISTERING INTERCONNECTEDNESS – Text by Giovanni Aloi
It’s been ten years since I became actively involved in the field of academic enquiry known as human-animal studies. Its anti-
anthropocentric, revisionist, and multidisciplinary approaches have proved largely productive in rethinking human-animal
relationships and in challenging the representational tropes that have relentlessly objectified animals in art, as well as other
disciplines. Although very active in publishing and well integrated amongst research peers, from an early day, I was a dissident
voice. While many focused on farm animals or pets, I began wondering about insects and amphibians. The more others examined
charismatic megafauna, the more I became interested in plants. The recent speculative turn in philosophy including the rise of new
materialism, object oriented ontology, and critical plant studies have proved my doubts to be well founded: the zoocentrism that
characterizes human-animal studies requires serious problematization. This talk looks at the productivities involved in moving
beyond human-animal studies in art.
NETWORKS OF THE NATURAL – Text by Andrew Yang
A seed is a ‘small maybe’ that intends to not only grow, but also travel. The landscape owes its very existence to the wanderlust of
plants and the seeds they release: possibilities in search of new territories. Cities’ entangled fluxes of infrastructure, architecture,
and creature, present a rich site to examine how plants find new strategies and new vehicles for living out their improbable
possibility. As their animal couriers successively fall prey to human innovation, from spear to skyscraper, it remains an open
question how these ecologies of interruption reroute and reimagine themselves.
SENSE & SENSES – Text by localStyle (Marlena Novak and Jay Alan Yim)
localStyle’s projects explore how territories and boundaries — whether physical or intangible — are constructed, interpreted, and
negotiated, via themes as varied as issues of trespass, the mating behavior of hermaphroditic marine flatworms, the sonification of
electric fish from the Amazon, and experimental Eurasian blackbird grammar.
ARID SYSTEMS: OBSERVATIONS ON EXTREMOPHILES IN AN AGE OF EXTRA-, HYPER-, SUPER-OBJECTS – Text by Marissa Lee Benedict
In a world increasingly produced by Timothy Morton’s theory of hyperobjects—a term borrowed from computer science to
conceive of objects massively distributed in time and space as non-localized yet cohesive entities—what is the role of the localized
organism? Taking up extremophiles, strange organisms that thrive in very specific extreme environmental conditions, from the
industrial sludge at the bottom of the Calumet River to the arid deserts of the Atacama, this talk will explore the economic,
environmental and social positions modeled and enacted by these organisms in a world increasingly characterize by volatile cycles
of drought and flood, “extreme” fuel extraction, and fluid hyper-connectivity .
WEAK MEDIA, PHYTOCENTRISM AND GESTURES TOWARDS TRANSGRESSING THE SELF – Text by Lindsey french
In Plant-Thinking, Michael Marder calls for, “an infinite loosening up, a weakening of the self’s boundaries, commensurate with
the powerlessness (Ohnmacht) of the plants themselves.” In an ongoing search for adopting a photocentric perspective, can
gestures of weakness and powerlessness open us to plant modes of being? In loosening our identities, what new selves might we
embody? Phytovision, as both a practice of perception and a plant-oreinted media, begins as an experiment to destabilize the
primacy of vision, and quietly opens a number of modes of perception beyond the clear distinctions of our human senses. In this
talk I consider and present a number of practices aimed toward adopting a phytocentric perspective, weaker boundaries, passive
actions, and distributed selves. What is plant media? How can we be both mediated by, and media for, a phytocentrism?
SOCIAL NETWORKS OF NON-HUMAN SEEING Text by James Elkins
This will be an excerpt from material in the forthcoming book “Visual Worlds” (Oxford), concerning the visual capacities of
pelagic fish and invertebrates. The notion is to avoid at least five possible approaches: Flusser’s half-serious aesthetization in
“Vampyroteuthis Infernalis,” the temptation to expand Lacan’s models of seeing to nonhumans, the abstractions of object-oriented
ontologies, and the anti-anthropomorphisms of Uexkull and others. Pelagic communities offer a good example of complex networks
of seeing and being seen than cannot be fully interpreted given the current resources of biology: we can watch acts of seeing, and
we can appreciate their complexity, but we cannot fully interpret them: they exist as languages of seeing that are not assimilable to
CAT’S CRADLE: AIDS, TOXOPLASMOSIS GONDII, AND IMPURRRFECT LOVE – Text by Eva Hayward
Altering the string figures held by Donna Haraway—most notably from her essay “A Game of Cat’s Cradle: Science Studies,
Feminist Theory, Cultural Studies” where she opens with the line: “The tradition of the oppressed teaches us that the ‘state of
emergency’ in which we live is not the exception but the rule” (59)—I want to pull forward questions about microbial life,
particularly Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Toxoplasmosis gondii, and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). So often the
accounts of human and nonhuman interaction are defined by face-to-face, immediacy, and direct modes on contact, which
reinforce anthropocentric (and colonial) notions of encounter. However, microbial life not only complicates “contact zones,” but
also the certainty of liberal humanist notions of agency, subjectivity, and power. Starting with the ball-of-string figure the “crazy
cat lady,” this talk follows the ways that human/feline relationships are done and undone by “para-affective” (microbes that alter