10 Sep 2012 /

On Seeds and Multispecies Intra-Action: Disowning Life / Tron Frede Thingstad. Complexity and Simplicity in an Invisible World.

CONFERENCE / SEMINAR / 10:00 10 SEP 2012 / Ständehaus
On Seeds and Multispecies Intra-action: Disowning Life

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16:30 – 17:00
Tron Frede Thingstad. Complexity and Simplicity in an Invisible World.

The "invisible" microbial ocean world is a choice between competition and defense. Struggle for survival generates patterns in biodiversity, resulting in an ecosystem that is tremendously complicated yet generated from a simple principle. Simplicity and complexity thus becomes complementary, rather than opposite aspects of life.

17:00 – 17:30
Conversation between Tron Frede Thingstad and Claire Pentecost

This lecture will deal with the issue of working animals, which might take a particular (and optimistic) stance with both disowning life and intra-action perspectives.

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.

Tron Frede Thingstad is a marine biologist and professor at the University of Bergen whose main research field is the microbial part of the marine pelagic food web. He leads a research group investigating how the oceanic microbial ecosystem emerges from the interplay between properties of the individual organisms and chemistry of the ocean, and the forces of physics and evolution.

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.

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