[-empyre-] rehearsal of a network - [week 2]

margaretha haughwout margaretha.anne.haughwout at gmail.com
Tue Jun 19 23:49:50 AEST 2018

Dear all,

I hope it's okay I'm writing to a week 2 thread.... I'm compelled by much
of this conversation and had a few thoughts to add, that have been very
much on my mind and related to a current project of mine called Trees of
Tomorrow. The project collapses hard boundaries between politics and
ecology, communication and exchange, considering the political networks of
trees in the neighborhood of Flushing, Queens.
http://www.treesoftomorrow.life/ We've begun to track how NYC Parks frames
these trees in terms of ecosystem services and quantifies their labor in
monetary terms.

I also just want to point out that the idea of nature as homeostatic is a
theory -- one which comes from cybernetics -- that has largely been
debunked. While it might be useful to think of our engagements with nature
in systems terms so that we can think creatively and sustainably about
inputs and outputs, ways to turn waste into nutrient for example, the ways
that nature is not a system is what might offer us the most answers to many
of the questions in this thread. Again, FRAUD's work with the reindeer
lichen is a concrete example of this. I recently interviewed a London Plane
Sycamore, one of Flushing's hardest workers when it comes to ecosystem
It seems to suggest that adding companion species and keeping the
totalizing system on it's toes creates possibilities for sabotage and

I also wanted to add one more possibility to John's suggestions for what
can be done, esp. extending the idea to "hack from the inside": eat. Can we
enlist multispecies kin to collaboratively EAT the system from the inside
and the outside?

PS I would love a reading list on the necropolitics of the network.


On Sun, Jun 17, 2018 at 12:35 PM, FRAUD <aud at fraud.la> wrote:

> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Hi all,
> Bleeding into week 3.
> @Christina: In brief, the installation is composed of a whaler wreck (used
> to be used to harpoon the whale from), a scale showing the 'value' of wood
> in carbon futures, and documentation of the process of collecting wreck
> wood. This is accompanied by scrolling text tracing a genealogy of carbon
> emission trading through whale oil, the whale oil myth, pitch, boat
> building, colonialism, slavery, witch burning and forestry. We hope to put
> it online soon (txt/doco).
> Also >>> Feral MBA <3
> Would happily contribute in explorations of feral bond trading and trusts!
> A&F
> On 15/06/2018 17:28, Christina McPhee wrote:
> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
> Dear Audrey and Francisco of FRAUD-
> How great to have the chance to bring this intervention on lichen, the
> incalculable /-financialization abstractions, and forest culture into the
> heart of London at Somerset House. Please could you describe the physical
> attributes of your installation (?) - how you are carrying these ideas into
> the space ?
> Thanks
> Christina
> On Sun, Jun 10, 2018 at 3:09 PM FRAUD <aud at fraud.la> wrote:
>> ----------empyre- soft-skinned space----------------------
>> Dear all,
>> We are delighted to join the network discussion (and with such great
>> company!).
>> Some little bits to begin.
>> *Networks:*
>> In our case, we are interested in the materiality and necropolitics of
>> the network and critical ecologies. Of late, we have been thinking through
>> the finantialisation of nature through emission trading systems and green
>> bonds. We are producing a genealogy of the conception of the forest as a
>> space of carbon flows which has carbon circulation, exchange and storage as
>> a nominal abstractions. Emission trading and green markets are popping up
>> globally (China just started its own), it is predicted to be the biggest
>> trading market by 2020. Carbon Futures is a speculative valuation system
>> that captures and extracts 'natural resources'. We are also inquiring into
>> how these markets are networked and we are investigating what is obfuscated
>> by this abstraction (cultural conflicts, subaltern knowledges and
>> environmental violence). Happy to expand, also we have a show opening
>> Tuesday in London on this topic :) [https://www.somersethouse.
>> org.uk/whats-on/complex-values].
>> *The incomputable:*
>> During related research (in the Finnish forests) we were fascinated about
>> the reindeer lichen in East Fennoscandia, a disappearing species that
>> problematises the management of industrial forestry in Finland. Generally
>> lichen species are interesting because they constitute the majority of
>> diversity in the northern forests--there are only 5 tree species, whereas
>> there are thousands of lichens. Being a composite of a algae or
>> cyanobacteria and a fungi, their genetic make-up is more exposed to
>> mutation, hence diversity. They also have an interesting cultural relevance
>> as both a delicacy and a famine food. Lichen presents itself as an
>> non-computer readable element in the forestry modelling calculations. While
>> the efficiency of industrial forests is heralded, validating the move to
>> increase production and cutting down of trees, 'inefficient' old growth
>> forests provide essential elements such as beard moss the source of food
>> for reindeer in winter. The post World War massive clear cutting in the
>> north and subsequent forestry is a scarification leaving Finland with
>> approximately 5% of its old growth forest. Calculations have deemed
>> industrial forests more efficient in terms of carbon sequestration, and
>> consequently enriches the Finnish economy with carbon credits. In addition,
>> forestry growth provides jobs and fuels many by-product economies. We
>> explore these complex entanglements and scales of power. How are forests
>> calculated? Which forms of knowledge are privileged in this discussion?
>> What is deemed an acceptable compromise/sacrifice? How does one begin to
>> discuss the simultaneous cultural livelihood and destruction of a nation?
>> Also, something to throw out there, there is an interesting tension
>> between the incomputable, the uncapturable, as a method of resistance and
>> survival, as well as disappearance/extinction from the network.
>> "[P]ower is in fact grounded in the very ability to calculate, count,
>> measure, balance and act on these calculations. Inversely to make oneself
>> ungovernable one much make oneself incalculable, immeasurable uncountable"
>> [Eyal Weizman: https://www.e-flux.com/journal/38/61213/665-the-
>> least-of-all-possible-evils/]
>> *A footnote on invasive / native* (mentioned last week):
>> Those definitions in themselves are quite problematic. Usually there is a
>> point in time after which a species' arrival is determined to be invasive.
>> That point is heavily imbued in politics of immigration, colonialism and
>> other ways of viewing the world that have little to do with the plant or
>> animal's 'threat'. Without expanding further here, we did a project
>> exploring this some time ago, Dreaming in tongues/舌頭/langues/
>> بألسنة/tunger, and Cooking Sections do great work on this subject.
>> Look forward to continuing the discussion over the week.
>> Audrey & Francisco of FRAUD
>> On 09/06/2018 10:41, Shu Lea Cheang wrote:
>> dear all
>> It seems like our week1 focus on Mycelium network is just heating up, i
>> am sure we will be coming back to reflect on mycelium's network nature...
>> Now we enter  rehearsal of a network - [week 2], with a focus on
>> networked activism and performance.
>> We are interested in reviewing a glory past/present/future with  update
>> on strategies of intervention including applications with social networks
>> and analogue tactics of 'body counts matter".
>> I introduce the very very special guests for this week2.
>> with great respect.
>> sl
>> John Jordan (UK/France)
>> Labelled a  "Domestic Extremist" by the police, and “a magician of
>> rebellion” by the press, John Jordan has spent the last 25 years merging
>> art and activism. Working in various settings from Museums to squatted
>> social centres, International Theatre Festivals to climate camps, he
>> Co-founded *Reclaim the Streets* and the *Clown Army*, Co-edited *We Are
>> Everywhere: the irresistible rise of global anti-capitalism*" (Verso),
>> and co-wrote the film/book *Les Sentiers de l’Utopie* (Editions
>> Zones,2012). He now co-facilitates the *Laboratory of Insurrectionary
>> Imagination (Labofii)*, with Isabelle Fremeaux. Infamous for fermenting
>> mass disobedience on bicycles, throwing snowballs at bankers, launching a
>> rebel raft regatta to shut down a power station, running workshops in
>> postcapitalism and refusing to be censored by the Tate Modern,* t*he
>> Labofii now lives on the autonomous zone of la zad of
>> Notre-dame-des-Landes, 'a territory lost to the republic,' according to the
>> French government. For more info about the zad see www.zadforever.blog
>> Nitasha Dhillon (India/USA)
>> Nitasha Dhillon is one of two artists who make up the MTL Collective, a
>> collaboration joining research and aesthetic, theory and practice, action
>> and organizing. With Amin Husain as MTL, they are co-founders of Tidal:
>> Occupy Theory, Occupy Strategy magazine, Global Ultra Luxury Faction
>> (G.U.L.F.), the direct action arm of Gulf Labor Artist Coalition, Strike
>> Debt and Rolling Jubilee, Direct Action Front for Palestine (DAFP), and
>> most recently, as MTL+, Decolonize This Place, a movement space and
>> decolonial formation in New York City that combine organizing, art, and
>> action around five strands of struggle: Indigenous Struggle, Black
>> Liberation, Free Palestine, Global Wage Worker, and De-Gentrification.
>> Nitasha is currently a PhD candidate at Department of Media Study,
>> University at Buffalo.
>> Ricardo Dominguez (USA)
>> Ricardo Dominguez is a co-founder of The Electronic Disturbance Theater
>> (EDT), a group who developed virtual sit-in technologies in solidarity with
>> the Zapatistas communities in Chiapas, Mexico, in 1998. His recent
>> Electronic Disturbance Theater 2.0/b.a.n.g. lab project (
>> http://tbt.tome.press/) with Brett Stalbaum, Micha Cardenas, Amy Sara
>> Carroll, and Elle Mehrmand, the *Transborder Immigrant Tool* (a GPS cell
>> phone safety net tool for crossing the Mexico/US border) was the winner of
>> “Transnational Communities Award” (2008), an award funded by Cultural
>> Contact, Endowment for Culture Mexico–US and handed out by the US Embassy
>> in Mexico. It also was funded by CALIT2 and the UCSD Center for the
>> Humanities. The *Transborder Immigrant Tool* has been exhibited at the
>> 2010 California Biennial (OCMA), Toronto Free Gallery, Canada (2011), The
>> Van Abbemuseum, Netherlands (2013), ZKM, Germany (2013), as well as a
>> number of other national and international venues. The project was also
>> under investigation by the US Congress in 2009-2010 and was reviewed by
>> Glenn Beck in 2010 as a gesture that potentially “dissolved” the U.S.
>> border with its poetry. Dominguez is Associate Professor of Visual Arts at
>> the University of California, San Diego, a Hellman Fellow, a Society for
>> the Humanities Fellow at Cornell University (2018), and a Rockefeller Arts
>> & Humanities Fellow (2019) and Principal Investigator at CALIT2/QI, UCSD.
>> He also is co-founder of *particle group*, with artists Diane Ludin, Nina
>> Waisman, Amy Sara Carroll, whose art project about nano-toxicology entitled
>> *Particles of Interest: Tales of the Matter Market* has been presented at
>> the House of World Cultures, Berlin (2007), the San Diego Museum of Art
>> (2008), Oi Futuro, Brazil (2008), CAL NanoSystems Institute, UCLA (2009),
>> Medialab-Prado, Madrid (2009), E-Poetry Festival, Barcelona, Spain (2009),
>> Nanosférica, NYU (2010), and SOMA, Mexico City, Mexico (2014):
>> http://hemisphericinstitute.org/hemi/en/particle-group-intro.
>> FRAUD is a *métis* duo of critical art practitioners. Their backgrounds
>> include computational culture, post-colonial and critical feminism,
>> performance, disruptive design, and space system engineering. They develop
>> art-led inquiries into the multiple scales of power and
>> governmentality that flow through physical and cultural landscapes. The duo
>> focuses on critical ecologies, exploring forms of slow violence and
>> necropolitics that are embedded in the entanglement of archiving practices
>> and technical objects, and erasure as a disruptive technology in knowledge
>> production.
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