[-empyre-] Introducing Week 3 :: Weedy Resistance & Debt Solidarity with the More-than-Human ::
margaretha.anne.haughwout at gmail.com
Tue Oct 17 12:13:10 AEDT 2017
Thank you SO MUCH to our Week 2 discussants and guests -- to Julie
Andreyev, Grisha Coleman, Meredith Drum, Benjamin Schultz-Figueroa who have
generated "rhizomes of ruminations", to quote Grisha, and extending what it
means to study, communicate and respond to our nonhuman kin; how these
developed methods of response (embodied *and* mediated -- perhaps the same
thing) can help us all to flourish. Thank you to our guests Tyler Fox and
Jordan Matthew Yerman for enriching the conversation with your current
projects! I'd also like to acknowledge provocations and posts from the
larger -empyre- community that came in this week -- from Norie, Brian,
Renate, William, Elaine, Joline, and others. The conversation has been so
dynamic and I am still very much immersed in the questions, ideas, and work
we've done. I hope that the threads that began in Week 2 will continue on
-- please don't hesitate to post to them, and I hope the discussants,
guests, and participants from Weeks 1 and 2 will continue to be very active.
I too echo the many sentiments already expressed, that April and Matt, as
well as those those they are connected to, are well out of harm's way and
breathing fresh, uncontaminated air. Please do be safe, and write in if and
when you can.
I am over-the-moon excited to introduce Ellie Irons, Christopher Kennedy,
Max Haiven, Cassie Thornton, and Adam Zaretsky -- yet more incredible
discussants -- to facilitate Week 3 :: Weedy Resistance & Debt Solidarity
with the More-than-Human.
We leave last week with Julie and Norie agreeing that historical natures
labor and are not compensated. Ben, Brian and Elaine wonder how to develop
and understand ourselves and other species in ways that influence "land
management, social organization, agricultural practices, etc." Elaine
provokes us to think of other species and ourselves as media, expanding our
understandings of agency and response, perhaps reframing or extending
Grisha, Meredith, and Julie's articulations of somatic practice, and
continuing to speak to the (shared) power of entanglements. These
ruminations (in my mind) help to locate how capitalism insists on frontiers
of appropriation (Jason Moore identifies these frontiers as "interlocking
agencies of capital, science and empire"), and are pointers to how and
where "we" can resist (understanding "resist" as "thrive"). For many of us
interested in achieving solidarity across species for the purposes of
resistance, revolution, and recuperation, the Capitalocene -- it's regimes
of appropriation and exploitation -- can never be out of sight.
Indeed, what are the ways that multispecies artists and multispecies
worlders achieve resistance? Are there methods that compliment and/or
methods that are at odds with one another? Can we include other engagements
with the more-than-human — hauntings for example — that can aid our
co-produced "revolutionary ecologies" (again, Moore's term)? And, given
that art so often contributes to regimes of capital, is it realistic to
think there is potential for our work to contribute to its undoing?
Ellie Irons is an artist and educator based in Brooklyn and Troy, New York.
She works in a variety of media, from video to workshops to gardening, to
reveal how human and nonhuman lives intertwine with other earth systems.
For the past five years her work and research have revolved around
spontaneous urban plants, including the co-founding of two ongoing
collaborative projects, the Next Epoch Seed Library and the Environmental
Performance Agency. Her solo and collaborative work has been part of recent
group exhibitions exploring contemporary environmental issues, including
Social Ecologies, Emergent Ecologies, and the ongoing Chance Ecologies
series. Her recent writing has appeared in Temporary Art Review, The
Brooklyn Rail, Landscape Architecture Futures and on the blog Inhabiting
the Anthropocene. She is a 2015 NYFA Fellowship recipient, a 2015
Turbulence Commission grantee and a 2017 Asian Cultural Council Fellow. She
received her BA from Scripps College in Los Angeles, where she studied
studio art and environmental science, followed by an MFA in painting and
drawing from Hunter College. After teaching at CUNY and Brown University
for several years, she is now pursuing a practice-based PhD at Rensselaer
Polytechnic Institute. Her PhD research focuses on the intersection of
socially engaged art and ecology fieldwork in the form of “public
fieldwork”, a method of collaborative artistic practice designed to
decenter the human and provoke engagement with the biological and cultural
implications of weedy habitats and lifeforms.
An artist and educator based in Brooklyn and Troy, New York, Ellie Irons
works in a variety of media, from walks to WIFI to gardening, to reveal how
human and nonhuman lives intertwine with other earth systems. Her recent
work focuses on plants, people and urban ecology in the so-called
Anthropocene. Irons received her BA from Scripps College in Los Angeles,
her MFA from Hunter College, CUNY, and is currently pursing a PhD in
Electronic Arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY.
Christopher Lee Kennedy
Christopher Lee Kennedy is a teaching artist and organizer who creates
site-specific projects that explore relationships between the built and
natural environment, queer identity, and alternative education. These
projects generate publications, research, performances, sculptures, and
installations often in collaboration with other artists, community groups,
or youth. With a background in environmental engineering, Kennedy uses
field science techniques such as transects, specimen collecting, sampling,
and mapping, in addition to new forms of storytelling and embodied
experience to help archive and visualize complex systems. For the past few
years, Kennedy has been increasingly interested in how urban ecological
systems are adapting to global climate shifts including rising
temperatures, toxic soils, mega-droughts, flooding events, and
unprecedented urban development. His projects aim to question conventional
notions of “wilderness” and “nature,” and to re-think the value of
so-called wastelands — vacant lots, highway medians, post-industrial
sites and transient green spaces — as ecologically, culturally, and
politically important for both humans and non-humans.
Kennedy was born in Ocean County, New Jersey and currently lives and works
in Brooklyn, New York. He has worked collaboratively on projects shown at
the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, the North Carolina Museum of Art,
the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, the Levine Museum of the New
South, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Ackland Art Museum and
the Queens Museum. Kennedy holds a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer
Polytechnic Institute, a M.A. in Education from NYU, and a PhD in Education
and Cultural Studies from the University of North Carolina.
The University of the Phoenix is a premiere for-prophet learning platform
committed to teaching the dead and the living to rise up together to avenge
the crimes and cruelties of global capitalism. It organizes site- and
context-specific educational encounters towards a radical financial
We are the world’s only institution of higher education dedicated to
accumulating the human capital of the no-longer-living. This nomadic
institution offers participatory classes on the themes of finance, debt,
money and value. We also offer revenge consultancy services to those who
have been wronged by global capitalism, and sometimes teach the dead to
rise up and become stars.
The University of the Phoenix is a spectre that possesses the body of the
for-profit university and the good-natured neoliberal model of “social
practice” art. It is a free-school and research institute for the dead that
is also sometimes open to “not-yet-dead” auditors. It teaches rigorous
site-specific classes based on parapsychological local inquiry and ghoulish
interventions. It is funny, but not a joke.
The University of the Phoenix is a collaboration between Cassie Thornton
and Max Haiven at the haunted intersection of art, research and activism.
Adam Zaretsky, Ph.D. is a Wet-Lab Art Practitioner mixing Ecology,
Biotechnology, Non-human Relations, Body Performance and Gastronomy.
Zaretsky stages lively, hands-on bioart production labs based on topics
such as: foreign species invasion (pure/impure), radical food science
(edible/inedible), jazz bioinformatics (code/flesh), tissue culture
(undead/semi-alive), transgenic design issues (traits/desires), interactive
ethology (person/machine/non-human) and physiology (performance/stress). A
former researcher at the MIT department of biology, for the past decade
Zaretsky has been teaching an experimental bioart class called VivoArts at:
San Francisco State University (SFSU), SymbioticA (UWA), Rensselaer
Polytechnic Institute (RPI), University of Leiden’s The Arts and Genomic
Centre (TAGC) and with the Waag Society. He has also taught DIY-IGM
(Do-It-Yourself Inhereted Genetic Modification of the Human Genome) at New
York University (NYU) and Carnegie Melon University (CMU). Adam runs a
public life arts school: VASTAL (The Vivoarts School for Transgenic
Aesthetics Ltd.) His art practice focuses on an array of legal, ethical,
social and libidinal implications of biotechnological materials and methods
with a focus on transgenic humans. Adam is currently Media Arts Faculty in
the School of Communication and the Arts at Marist College, Headmaster
VASTAL (The Vivoarts School for Transgenic Aesthetics Ltd.), Principal
NADLinc (BioArt.Tech.Startup), psyFert (Psychic Fertility Clinic) and BEAk
(The Bioart Ethical Advisory komission).
*Image Accompaniment for Adam Zaretsky. “Animal Enrichment and the The
VivoArts School for Transgenic Aesthetics Ltd.” Inflexions 7, “Animating
Biophilosophy” (March 2014). 218-245.
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