18:45 – 19:15
Conversation between Josefina Hepp, Claire Pentecost, Amar Kanwar and Nalini Malani
Disowning Life is a two-day public conference that takes as its starting point dOCUMENTA (13)’s ecological perspective, building on a global alliance between different forms of research and knowledges that is actively being developed in a variety of fields. On September 10, the first part of this conference discusses humans as only one form of animal life amongst many others. On September 15, the second part focuses on questions around food and seeds, water and land, energy and de-growth. At a time when the models of production on which our world is based have been proved insufficient, and the arbitrary division of roles largely unjust, thinking about the way in which we sustain life on the planet is not just an interesting field of research but a crucial necessity.
The development of a collective consciousness that allows us to think and feel in sympathy with all types of mineral, vegetal, and animal life is allowing a new narrative to emerge—one that shifts the position of humans in the constellation of the natural world, placing us in a more balanced scenario in relation to other beings. Notions revolving around seeding and the idea of multispecies intra-action are introducing new perspectives in eco-feminism that place the problem of difference or “othering” beyond gender. Inspired by and hoping to elaborate on the interrelated horizons of two main thinkers in these fields— multispecies biologist and cultural theorist Donna Haraway and seeds activist Vandana Shiva—this final conference of dOCUMENTA (13) gathers some of the most rigorous scholars, artists, and activists in these fields together with a range of committed new voices.
Amar Kanwar is an artist based in Delhi whose film and multimedia works explore the politics of power, violence, sexuality, and justice. His multi-layered installations originate in narratives often drawn from zones of conflict and are characterized by a distinctly poetic approach to the social and political. Kanwar has exhibited widely, including at the Bienal de São Paulo (2011) and documenta 11 (2002) and documenta 12 (2007).
Josefina Hepp is an agronomist based in Chile. She has studied plant abundance and diversity in the alpine meadows of Yerba Loca Natural Sanctuary in the Andes of north-central Chile. Currently she is working at the Atacama Desert Center where she is developing projects related to the conservation of plants from arid and semiarid ecosystems.
Claire Pentecost is an artist based in Chicago. Her interdisciplinary practice interrogates the imaginative and institutional structures that organize divisions of knowledge, often focusing on nature and artificiality. She is Professor in the Department of Photography at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.