Colloque international : « Nonhuman Agents in Art, Culture and Theory » (Berlin, 24-26 novembre 2017)

Nonhuman Agents takes into account recent philosophical approaches which question anthropocentrism. These discourses emphasize the nonhuman perspectives through object-oriented ontology (Harman and Meillasoux); discuss nonhuman / human encounters (Haraway); postulate a posthumanism (Braidotti); and examine various posthuman performative strategies such as intra-acting (Barad). A new ‘de-centring’ lets us draw our attention to a reality that can no longer be described in purely anthropocentric parameters.

As a theoretical addition to our ongoing series « Nonhuman Agents » (June – December 2017) Art Laboratory Berlin – along with our partners, The Institute for Arts and Media, University of Potsdam – will bring together international artists, scholars, and scientists from different disciplines to discuss artistic, philosophical, ethical and scientific approaches to nonhuman agency. Previous positions from our « Nonhuman Subjectivities » series (2016-17) will also be included.

The conference will start with a reflection on post-anthropocentrism by redefining intelligence (human, animal and plant intelligence), agency and sentience. An in-depth consideration will include the role of fungi: mycelium, the Internet of trees and yeasts. Microbial agency will be explored via the phenomenon of quorum sensing and biofilms, proposing a micro-subjectivity. There will be contributions on the microbiome and holobiome, taking into consideration the human as nonhuman. We want to open up a discussion to endosymbiosis and sympoiesis, reflecting symbiotic relationships, horizontal gene transfer and the role of Lynn Margulis in 21st century Biology and Science and Technology Studies. Finally, the conference will discuss nonhuman perspectives under threat and propose an ethology for the techno-scientific era.

Conference Program:

Friday, 24 November, 2017

9:00: Registration

Regine Rapp, Christian de Lutz (Art Laboratory Berlin)
Welcome and Introduction

Other Subjectivities. Redefining Intelligence, Agency and Sentience
#post anthropocentrism #animal intelligence #definition of sentience

Rahma Khazam (Philosopher, Paris)
When the Sardine Can Looks back…

Desiree Förster (Media Ecology, Institute for Arts and Media, University of Potsdam)
Environments of Shared Concern

Maja Smrekar (Artist, Ljubljana)
The Wolf-human-dog Continuum in Light of K-9_topology

12:30 Lunch break

Fungal Perspectives. From the Viewpoint of a Mushroom
#mycelium #Internet of trees # wood wide web #yeasts

Saša Spacal (Artist, Ljubljana)
Mycohuman Relationships. Fungi as Interspecies Connectors, Companion Species and Human Symbionts

Mirjan Švagelj (Microbiologist, Aceis Bio, Ljubljana)
Mushrooms as Teachers. Mushrooms in Human Societies

Vera Meyer (Applied and Molecular Microbiology, Institute of Biotechnology, Technical University Berlin)
Fungal Biotechnology – What We Do with Fungi (and What Fungi Do With Us)

15:30 Break

Plant Intelligence
#plants #botany #redefining intelligence

Špela Petric (Scientist & artist, Amsterdam/ Ljubljana)
The Vegetal, Intimately

Joana Bergmann (Institute for Biology, Free University Berlin)
Hand in Hand. Root Morphological Traits and Their Mediation by Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi

17:30 Break


Monika Bakke (Institute of Philosophy, Adam Mickiewicz University Poznan)
The Force of Radical Openness: Multispecies Alliances Beyond the Biological

Reception at Art Laboratory Berlin, on view current exhibition Nonhuman Networks

Saturday, 25 November, 2017

Microbial Agency. Proposing Micro-Subjectivity
#bacteria #quorum sensing #microbiology and philosophy

Ingeborg Reichle (Media Theory, University of Applied Arts Vienna)
Biome and Biomatter

Regine Hengge (Institute of Biology, Dep. of Microbiology, Humboldt University Berlin)
Biofilms – invisible cities of microbes from the Petri dish to the human body

Anna Dumitriu (Artist, Brighton)
Make Do and Mend

12:30 Lunch break

Human as Nonhuman. Microbiome and holobiome
#human microbiome #holobiont #redefining ourselves

François Joseph Lapointe (Artist and microbiologist, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Montreal)
Performative Microbiome Experiments

Tarsh Bates (Artist, SymbioticA, University of Western Australia, Perth)
On Being a Microbioartist: Making Art in a Microbiology Lab

Regine Rapp (Art Theory, Curatorial Research, Art Laboratory Berlin)
Nonhuman Subjectivities. Artistic Strategies for a Multispecies Performativity

15:30 Break

Endosymbiosis and Sympoiesis
#Lynn Margulies #symbiotic relationships #horizontal gene transfer #autopoiesis and sympoiesis

Rachel Mayeri (Artist, Media Studies, Harvey Mudd College, Los Angeles)
Orfeo Nel Canale Alimentare

Heather Barnett (Artist, Researcher, Central St. Martins, London)
Many-Headed: Co-creation across Scales and Species

Daniel Renato Lammel (Institute for Biology, Free University Berlin)
Endosymbiosis and « Love Stories » between Plants and Microorganisms

Laura Benítez Valero (Institute of Philosophy, Autonomous University of Barcelona)
Biosophy and Mutagenesis. Towards an Alien Sym_poiesis

18:15 Break

Nonhuman Agents. A report
Alanna Lynch, Margherita Pevere, Theresa Schubert, Sarah Hermanutz, Heather Barnett and plan b (Sophia New & Daniel Belasco Rogers)

Sunday, 26 November, 2017

Nonhuman Perspectives Under Threat
#6th species extinction #human destruction of environment #anthropocene

Mary Maggic Tsang (Artist, Vienna)
From Molecular Colonization to Molecular Collaborations

David Sepkoski (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin)
Are We Experiencing a ‘Sixth Extinction’ and Does it Matter?

12.30 Break

Beyond the Animal as Machine. Ethology in the Age of Technoscience
#animal-machine interfaces #ethology #Uexküll

Birgit Schneider (Media Ecology, Institute for Arts and Media, University of Potsdam)
Through the Eye of an Animal. Uexküll’s Perceptual Worlds in 360°

Robertina Šebjanic (Artist, Ljubljana)
Sounds of Troubled Worlds = Songs for Serenity

Vivian Xu (Artist, Designer, Shanghai)
The Silkworm Project

15:00 Final Discussion – END

Conference participation upon confirmed registration.
Register now (soon booked out):
3-day ticket: 40/ 25 EUR; 1-day ticket: 20/ 12 EUR

Venue: Theater Hall, Prinzenallee 58, 13359 Berlin
(Across the street from the Art Laboratory Berlin exhibition space)

Sources :

Leave a Reply