Intra_flux, symposium accompanying the Saša Spačal: Earthlink exhibition

Participants: Saša Spačal, Karolina Sobecka, Regine Rapp, Chris de Lutz, Ida Hiršenfelder; moderator: Jani Pirnat

The symposium will deal with the post-human state of planatary metabolism in art, culture and theory. It will focus on organic and mineral substances in the soil, while applying mechanical, digital and organic logic onto biopolitics and necropolitics of our time.

Nov 2018
Time: 5 p.m.
Location: City Museum of Ljubljana
Adults, students, seniors
Meta_bolus, 2017
Meta_bolus, 2017 © Karolina Prica/Kapelica Gallery Archive

Saša Spačal: Enter intra_flux 

Earth is immersed in a planetary metabolism of matter circulating through litosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere and biosphere. Bio-geo-chemical circulation between these spheres is propelled by feedbacks of microorganism metabolism, which join all of the biological and technological agents in an all-encompassing flow, an intra_flux of exchange and relation. When they inhale and exhale, humans create an intimate bond with the planet – but what happens, when this bond becomes technologically mediated? In that case, what is the dosage, who gauges it and who survives it? Geopoliticality of planetary metabolism is not a coincidence but also a result of decisions and discourses in a feedback of contemporary technologically mediated continuum between the environment and culture.

Saša Spačal is a postmedia artist working at the intersection of living systems research, contemporary and sound art. Her work focuses primarily on the posthuman continuum, where human beings exist and act as one of many elements in the ecosystem and not as sovereigns. Therefore abandoning the Cartesian system of classification and accepting the fact that the field of technology has expanded not only from hardware to software but also to wetware resulting in hybrid phenomena inscribed in mechanical, digital and organic logic. Her work was exhibited and performed at venues such as Ars Electronica (AT), Prix Cube Exhibition (FR), Transmediale Festival (DE), Onassis Cultural Center Athens (GR), Chronos Art Center (CH), Cynetart (DE), National Art Museum of China (CH), Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (SI), Kapelica Gallery (SI), Device_art (HR), Art Laboratory Berlin (DE), Kiblix (SI), Gallery of Contemporary Art Celje (SI), Museum of Contemporary Art Vojvodina (RS), Lisboa Soa (PT) and Sonica (SI). She was awarded Prix Ars Electronica Honorary Mention and nominated for Prix Cube.

Duration: 30 min

Karolina Sobecka: Carbon cycling and fixations

The present slight-yet-profound alteration in the planetary carbon distribution signals a profound disruption of the Earth system, creating prerogatives for measuring, understanding and controlling the carbon flows within the planet and the economy. Carbon moved by natural respirations and metabolisms, embodied in commodity products and emissions, or exchanged as carbon credits and offsets has become the information signal in the contemporary cybernetic paradigm of environmental governance. The metaphor of a harmonious and self-regulating carbon cycle structures how we understand and how we attempt to control the materiality it represents, including naturalising industrial and economic practices as cyclically sustainable. Can we redraw the staccato of rhythms and cadences of carbon exchanges in a way that will help us reform how we think about the larger picture they add up to?

Karolina Sobecka is an artist and designer who has been working at the intersection of art, science and technology, examining social arrangements that exploit, resist or accommodate technological change. Sobecka’s work has been shown internationally, including at the V&A, The National Art Museum of China, MoMa Film, ZKM, Marfa Dialogues, Science Gallery, and has received numerous awards, including from Creative Capital, NYFA and Princess Grace Foundation. Sobecka is the founder of design studio Flightphase, has taught widely including at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Rhode Island School of Design, and New York University, and is currently doing research at HGK in Basel, Switzerland.

Duration: 45 min

Regine Rapp: Towards a Performativity of Inter-Connectedness. Reflecting the Works of Saša Spačal

In a posthuman or post-anthropocentric world view, we still retain our subjective viewpoint, but find it de-centred and appropriated by new forms of community. We are no longer individual, but a collective of human, fungal, bacterial and viral agents that make us who we are. From that point we move outward into a world in which we are but part of a stream of interaction and becoming, in tandem with myriad others. Specifically these conditions form the setting for the performative aesthetics and ethics of Saša Spačal’s work. Her projects offer intriguing (bio)technical strategies for immersion and inter-connectedness. Without ever losing the artistic value of aesthetic experience, Spačal makes use of scientific knowledge and lab practice to setup special encounters that are mediated by nonlinguistic forms of awareness and exchange – sonic, electronic and metabolic. The results offer us a new repertoire for re-engaging the world.

Regine Rapp is an art theoretician, curator and director of Art Laboratory Berlin. Her research focuses on 20th and 21st century art, installation, image text theory, and art & science collaborations. She taught Art History from 2010-13 as an Assistant Professor at Burg Giebichenstein Kunsthochschule Halle. As co-founder of Art Laboratory Berlin (2006), she has researched and curated numerous exhibitions, seminars and conferences (Time and Technology, Synaesthesia, [macro]/[micro] biologies) and has presented research ideas internationally. Together with Christian de Lutz she developed the international interdisciplinary conferences Synaesthesia. Discussing a Phenomenon in the Arts, Humanities and (Neuro-) Science (2013) and Nonhuman Agents in Art Culture and Theory (2017). Her publication "[macro]biologies & [micro]biologies. Art and the Biological Sublime in the 21st Century" was released in 2015. She is currently a researcher in the Dept. of Applied and Molecular Microbiology, Technical University, Berlin specialising in art and science collaboration.

Duration: 30 min

Chris de Lutz: Soil and culture at the nonhuman/human interface

Culture comes literally from the soil. The word culture, from the Latin cultura, meaning "the tilling of land, act of preparing the earth for crops". Today, except for the word agriculture, we have all but forgotten this original meaning, sealing it beneath more urbane definitions. Yet for all our fascination with technology, we depend upon the soil, and its balance of minerals and microorganisms to survive. Three years ago the UNFAO highlighted a soil crisis: 12m hectares of fertile topsoil is depleted annually; in short we may be less than 60 harvests away from disaster. Beyond romanticizing the agrarian, artists, have the option of working with scientists to highlight this crisis, and to build a bridge from our postmodern culture back into the soils that give us sustenance. This talk will work through the science of soil via artistic practitioners like Yashas Shetty, Suzanne Anker, Alexandra Toland and Saša Spačal.

Christian de Lutz is a curator and visual artist, originally from New York. Co-founder and co-director of Art Laboratory Berlin (ALB), he has curated over 40 exhibitions, including the series Time and Technology, Synaesthesia, and [macro]biologies & [micro]biologies. His curatorial work focuses on the interface of art, science and technology in the 21st century, especially BioArt, DIY Science and facilitating collaborations between artists and scientists. He has published numerous articles in journals and books. His last publication [macro]biologies & [micro]biologies. Art and the Biological Sublime in the 21st Century reflects theoretically on ALB's 2013-15 program. His recent projects include the Nonhuman Subjectivities and Nonhuman Agents series of exhibitions, workshops, talks and a conference.

Duration: 30 min

Ida Hiršenfelder: Chronicles of Terraforming the Planet Earth

Intervening with the landscape on a planetary scale first and foremost requires one (human, culture, civilisation) to position oneself outside of the planet. Regardless of the aspiration to positively affect the planet (by planting seeds and replenish the Earth) or to negatively affect the planet (by destruction for monetary gain) or to mitigate the negative effects (by apply geoengineering “to heal the Earth”), one needs to first feel disjoint from Earth and make it an object of one’s manipulation. Theorists like Timothy Morton or Donna Haraway are on a quest to find concepts that promote inhabiting the Earth without such disconnections. Concurrently, artists working with the Earth as a subject propose an intra-subjective relationship to create conditions to work against the habitual destructive relations and become neither carers nor destroyers but to immerse in the collective mind and become one of the multitudes. The video is based on responsive kinetic installation Sonoseismic Earth developed together with Saša Spačal.

Ida Hiršenfelder works in the fields of sound art and media art. From 2011 she was a member of Theremidi Orchestra sound collective. With Sašo Spačal they are artistic collaborators and co-initiators of ČIPke – Initiative for Women with the Sense for Technology, Science and Art. With media artist Robertina Šebjanič and sound artist Aleš Hieng – Zergon they presented their work on Ars Electronica (2016). Her sound works under alias beepblip were aired on radioCona in radia.fm.

Duration: 12 min

The lectures will be held in English.
Free entry. 

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