Logic of Life

22 Feb 13:00 — 15:00
De Brakke Grond – Grote Zaal

As we witness the Sixth Mass Extinction and the Fourth Industrial Revolution our planet is undergoing, it is time to put a serious question mark over our humanist heritage and the way this has dominated our thinking for at least the past 200 years. We need to develop a new culture that suits this new earth, as Michel Serres would put it. We continue our rethinking of death by rethinking life. Through two keynote lectures, by Susanne M. Winterling and Didier Debaise, we open our eyes to the practices of life that we have hitherto been blind to and that our humanist concept of nature refused to accept.

Gravitational Currents and The Life Magic
24 Jan 13:00 — 14:00 Susanne M. Winterling


In her conference talk, Susanne M. Winterling will show some of her recent works including Planetary Opera In Three Acts, Divided By The Currents (2018), a composition of sounds, natural and synthetic, documentary and imaginary. The composition includes hydrophone recordings of dinoflagellates, the sound of green turtles hatching, crabs rubbing their claws together and other ecological marvels. Enacted is a sensory inversion of the dominant anthropocentric dynamics that governs our sensual and political consciousness. What if we try to reverse the scale and focus, and deploy historical forms of media, usually associated with the internal human drama, to express the drama of the planet instead? Sensors of change and actors in climate change, the tiny protozoa in this imaginary aim to generate a new sense of interspecies alliance; a connection to blur the nature-culture division, the entangled social and ecological conflicts and actual structures reproducing violence. Let’s join the creatures that dwell within planetary space and through the currents.

Meditation on Terraforming (a tribute to Marie Tharp) and Shield Warrior For Biodiversity, 2018, Susanne M. Winterling. Photo by Michael Yu. Courtesy of SMW Empty Gallery and TBA21–Academy.
Out of Nature. How a Concept Became a Political Power?
24 Jan 14:00 — 15:00 Didier Debaise


The moderns have invented ‘nature’ and have made it one of their most important political institutions. Didier Debaise will revisit this very singular adventure through which a number of local inventions, gestures, and operations, namely within experimental systems, have given birth to a new political force. Disconnecting this nature from the very conditions of its emergence and existence, the moderns have instantiated it as an essential actor within the processes of normalisation of practices and as a crucial instrument justifying the extension of their impact on all other territories. Today the question then has become the following: How to resist the hegemonic tendencies of this modern version of nature in order to reinstate space and restore legitimacy to other ways of inhabiting the Earth.

Didier Debaise.