[-empyre-] AMAZON IS BURNING

margaretha haughwout margaretha.anne.haughwout at gmail.com
Mon Sep 16 22:04:51 AEST 2019


I write from Oneida territory in what is currently central New York within
the so-called United States. The Oneida are one of the 5 nations that
comprise the Haudenosaunee confederacy, and this land from which I write
has never been ceded. The apocalypse began here 500 years ago.

...

Amazon is burning. forest, cows, soybeans, machines, trades, global
food/trade politics

This week's discussants hope to think together about disasters, and
disaster capitalism/ vs. possibilities in ruins: how, as Oliver Kellhammer
puts it, ruins are the porous interface between imagining possible futures
on one hand and disaster capitalism on the other. Here we must think hard
about the relationships between Amazon fires, opportunities for soybean
production as food and feed, and cattle ranching (noting the "soy-cattle
pasture-deforestation dynamic"). We must think hard about what emerges
intentionally and unintentionally from the disturbance. Soybeans (and we
might think of the crop here as cheap energy, nitrogen fixer, endocrine
disruptor, as allergen generator), and cows (as frontier, as cheap energy,
cheap labor, as domesticating 'wilderness')  are intentionally introduced
of course, and they are implicated in the larger dynamics of global
capital, and the processes of what Jason Moore calls "making cheap."
Specifically they are implicated in the trade poitics of the moment:
Trump's trade war with China. Soybeans were the biggest export from the US
to China; new tariffs position Brazil to take over the drop in US shipments.

...What other species emerge and travel from the fires? What viruses hop,
what ghosts.

...This week, let's also ask, how can we do time and dreams in relation to
food/ trade/ politics. To return, always to Benjamin's 9th Thesis. How do
we stop the storm of progress and tend to the catastrophe? What are the
practices that change time? Fabi Borges will share with us (among other
amazing interstellar work she is doing) indigenous wisdom she has learned
from the Amazon, asking, how do we stop dreaming the same dream? How do we
imagine more worlds than one?

...What are the ways that we know? Using interstellar satellite imagery to
know about fires, we use technology that itself emerges from coloniality
and ways of knowing from above, as if there can be a whole, a point of
neutrality not implicated in totalizing regimes of control. How are we
caught up and inadvertently worlding with this technology -- can this
entanglement make more than one world? More than one dream?

...I'd love to ask the discussants and invite the readership to imagine
together what a revolt of  unpaid machines and unpaid natures could look
like. What plants can disrupt monocrop cultivation of soybeans? What kin do
soybeans thrive with? What invasive species will act as a scab on the
scorched earth? What technologies can be hijacked for different ends than
global capital and control.

...Always, we must recognize who and what worlds are lost. The indigenous
(Munduruku, Huni Kuin, Xingu to name 3 of over 300 in Brazil) and their
kin. The marmosets, the spider monkeys, the tamarin, the jaguars, the
sloths, frogs, lizards, parakeets, mahogany, ironwood, brazil nuts, cocoa,
passiflora vines, orchids, bromeliads....

A few thoughts to begin.

Amazon is burning. forest, cows, soybeans, machines, trades, global
food/trade politics

(Note: originally the title She Lea gave me was: "amazon is burning. on
forest, machines, interspecies, interstellar, plantationocene, cows,
soybeans and global food/trade politics," and after agonizing over it, now
I realize I am somewhat attached to it. Consider the additional terms stars
in a constellation that are usually hard to see)

...

I am honored to have a set of artists and thinkers with me this week to
work on remembering together -- re-member-ing as reassembling a body,
reassembling worlds. A forest.

I like to mix up the format for -empyre- a little, and so I'm introducing a
*caravan* of creative thinkers, and Shu Lea will add as the week goes on.
This week will need a LOT of voices, to inch toward the catastrophe, to try
and turn away from the future, to deal with NOW. So I hope the readership
will feel very invited to participate. Needed.

Fabi Borges (BR)
Fabiane M. Borges: Acts at the intersection between clinic, art and
technology. She works as a Psychologist (in person and online) and as an
essayist, having written and organized publications between academic
journals, collections and personal books. She articulates two international
networks/festivals: Technoshamanism (technology & ancestry) and
Intergalactic Commune (art & space sciences). She has a Post-phd in Visual
Arts at EBA / UFRJ - School of Fine Arts, Federal University of Rio de
Janeiro / 2016-2018. She did a Phd in Visual Arts at Goldsmiths University
of London / 2011, and currently she is doing two post-phd: one at ECA / USP
(School of Communication and Arts at the University of São Paulo / 2019)
the other at ETE / INPE (Space Engineering and Technology at the National
Institute for Space Research / 2019), both dedicated to art and science
focused on space projects that also include terrestrial systems and
Philosophy of science. Since July 2019, she organizes SACIE (Subjectivity,
Art and Space Sciences) a research program and artistic residencies in the
Brazilian space program (INPE), where she develops a series of activities
focused on Space Culture. She is the organizer of Extremophilia magazine,
launched in 2018. As her academic background is in Psychology, with a
master's degree and phd in Clinical Psychology (PUC / SP), all her work has
a focus on the production of subjectivity. Acting on the frontier between
Art and Clinic, having developed several immersive programs focused on
dream and imaginary levels, operating with fiction, speculation, creation.
Some of her actions have been supported by institutions such as Goethe
Institute, SESC, MAC, MAST, MAR, Museum of Tomorrow, Valongo Observatory,
Ibirapuera Planetarium, Nucleus of Arts and New Organisms PPGAV / UFRJ -
(Brazil), Center for Contemporary Art (Ecuador), Aarhus University -
Department of Information Studies & Digital Design (Denmark), STWST / Ars
Electronica (Austria), SenseLab Concordia University (Canada), XenoEntities
(Germany), Transmediale (Germany), Grow Tottenham, Si Shang Art Museum
(China), etc. She lives in São Paulo in a collective house that plants
organic, organizes parties, concerts, meetings, workshops, etc (Casa
Japuanga, SP).

Amanda McDonald Crowley (USA)
Amanda McDonald Crowley is an independent cultural worker and curator.
Amanda’s work has largely been at the intersection of art + technology
working with artists and groups who have a research based practice; and
current research interests include #artfoodtech #growfoodmakeart. Amanda
develops platforms to generate dialogue, bringing together artists with
professionals and amateurs from varied disciplines, and creating space for
audience engagement.  In recent years Amanda has developed projects with
Kulturföreningen Triennal (Malmo), Bronx Arts Alliance, YMPJ (Bronx), New
Media Scotland / Edinburgh Science Festival (Edinburgh), Pixelache
(Helsinki), PointB (Brooklyn), Bemis Center (Omaha). Amanda has curatorial
and advisor roles on Mary Mattingly’s Swale (NYC), Di Mainstone’s Human
Harp (UK), Juanli Carrion’s OSS Project (NYC), Shu Lea Cheang’s CycleX (NY)
and Vibha Galhotra’s S.O.U.L Foundation (Delhi), and in summer 2019 Amanda
curated Amy Khoshbin’s pop up tattoo parlor in a hotel room for Detroit Art
Week in a project that addressed gun violence in America. Amanda has
previously worked with Eyebeam art + technology center NY, Australian
Network for Art and Technology, ISEA2004, Finland, Adelaide Festival 2002
and has done curatorial residencies at Helsinki International Artists
Program (FI), Santa Fe Art Institute (US), Bogliasco Foundation (IT), Sarai
New Media Institute (IN), and Banff Center for the Arts (CA).
publicartaction.net

Oliver Kellhammer (USA)
Oliver Kellhammer is an artist, writer, and researcher, who seeks, through
his botanical interventions and social art practice, to demonstrate
nature’s surprising ability to recover from damage. Recent work has focused
on the psychosocial effects of climate change, decontaminating polluted
soil, reintroducing prehistoric trees to landscapes impacted by industrial
logging, and cataloging the biodiversity of brownfields. He is currently a
lecturer in sustainable systems at Parsons in NYC.

He has lectured and given artists talks on bio-art, ecological design,
urban ecology and permaculture at universities and cultural institutions
throughout North America and abroad, including New School, NYU, Rensselaer
Polytechnic, OTIS College, University of Oregon, Emily Carr University,
Smith College, University of British Columbia, Bainbridge Graduate
Institute, University of Windsor, Aalto University (Finland) Tohoku
University (Japan).

Escher Tsai (TW)
Escher Tsai, New Media Art Artist, Producer, Creative Director of Dimension
Plus,
Director of Arts and Technology: Creative Innovation and Counseling
Project, Production supervisor of “3x3x6”Taiwan Exhibition in 58th Venice
Biennale. He devotes himself into open culture and new media art research,
promotion and creation. He was project manager of Acer Digital Art Centre,
planner of many new media arts creation and centre, host of Digital art
exchange platform.

Established by Escher Tsai and Keith Lam, well-known curator and artist
from Taiwan and Hong Kong, Dimension Plus is a creative team that devotes
themselves to the interactive digital environment. We are constantly been
generating new ideas that deal with digital and analog technologies. We
also dedicate ourselves to digital art education and environment change.
http://dimensionplus.co/,
http://www.dimensionplus.co/en/projects/soybean.html, (see also:
http://www.makery.info/2019/09/10/les-futurs-du-soja-nourrissent-le-debat-en-marge-dars-electronica/?fbclid=IwAR0zdRyzTktIVHHOsXsM1C1JHgec0eg5E7Yvz0g0JO-W0UDRa-AEZtDFRCE
)

Dan Phiffer (USA)
Dan Phiffer is a software developer and artist who builds web-based tools
for the American Civil Liberties Union. His previous job was working on an
open data gazetteer called Who’s On First (part of the open source mapping
company Mapzen). This Fall he’s teaching a hacktivism course at Rensselaer
Polytechnic Institute and has started organizing with Extinction Rebellion
in the New York Capital Region.

Dawn Weleski (USA)
Dawn Weleski’s art practice administers a political stress test,
antagonizing routine cultural behavior by re-purposing underground brawls,
revolutionary protests, and political offices as transformative social
stages. Recent projects include The Black Draft (with Justin Strong), a live
mock sports draft event during which ten Black former Pittsburghers, from
all professions, are drafted to return home and City Council Wrestling, a
series of public wrestling matches where citizens, pro-am wrestlers, and
city council members personified their political passions into wrestling
characters. She co-founded and co-directs Conflict Kitchen (with Jon
Rubin), a take-out restaurant that serves cuisine from countries with which
the U.S. government is in conflict, which has been covered by over 900
international media and news outlets worldwide and was the North American
finalist for the Second Annual International Award for Public Art in 2015.

Weleski has exhibited at The Mercosul Biennial, Brazil; the Hammer Museum,
Los Angeles; the San Jose Museum of Art, San Jose; Anyang Public Art
Project, South Korea; The CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San
Francisco; Project Row Houses, Houston; Townhouse Gallery, Cairo; Festival
Belluard Bollwerk International, Switzerland; The Mattress Factory Museum,
Pittsburgh; Arts House, Melbourne; and 91mQ, Berlin; has been a resident at
The
Headlands Center for the Arts, SOMA Mexico City, and The Atlantic Center
for the Arts; is a 2017 Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
Curatorial Fellow.

Currently, Weleski is NEH Visiting Assistant Professor of Art & Art History
at Colgate University.

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