Parallel Ecologies: A Symposium on Art, Media and Environments
With Ina Blom, Synne Tollerud Bull, Jennifer Gabrys, Stefanie Hessler, Ursula Münster, and Susanne M. Winterling. Registration is required.
Wolfgang Tillmans, red lake, 2002. Courtesy Galerie Buchholz, Berlin/Cologne.
Exploring the life of beings both technical and natural in the 1950s and 60s, the philosopher Gilbert Simondon intimated that a being is nothing on its own but only becomes through dynamic interactions with other beings. Such becoming presumes the notion of an environment, the constitution of a “milieu” alongside the individuation and concretization of beings. To speak of individuation rather than singular individuals is to acknowledge the processual nature of “beings” – whether technical or human. Such notions allow us to consider the environmental nature of all being, the sense that things such as natural materials, humans, animals or basic entities like molecules or pieces of code come into existence through their continual interaction.
This symposium seeks to examine such conceptualizations, the notions that not only humans but technical- and natural objects too form “milieus,” ideas that have been variously explored by artists. More precisely, we wish to discuss how artists since the early twentieth century have probed into the material specificity of various objects and technologies to further explore the processes of their individuation and differentiation.
Seeking to contribute to the development of a genealogy of an ecological thinking of contemporary art, Parallel Ecologies is concerned with our conceptions of existence, of ways of being and modes of sensations as they relate to the condition of Earth in an era defined by some as the “Anthropocene.” Rather than defining our era in terms of the human, however, or of the “Anthropos,” we may instead understand our condition – the condition of life itself – in terms of “entanglements,” “symbiotic relations,” “networks,” “processes” and “milieus”.
For Parallel Ecologies, the closing symposium of the project diagrams, we have invited a group of outstanding artists as well as scholars from the fields of visual art, art history, and media studies to discuss environmental perspectives on and within modern and contemporary art.
Ina Blom (University of Oslo and University of Chicago), Synne Tollerud Bull (University of Oslo), Jennifer Gabrys (Cambridge University and Goldsmiths, University of London), Stefanie Hessler (Trondheim Kunsthall and TBA21), Ursula Münster (University of Oslo), and Susanne M. Winterling (Trondheim Academy of Fine Art).
The event is free and open to the general public, but advance registration is required. Registration will open in March 2021. Everyone who registered in 2020 will need to re-register. Light lunch and beverages will be served.
The full program will be announced by the end of March.
Parallel Ecologies: Art, Media and Environments is a collaboration Media Aesthetics research group at the University of Oslo and Kunstnernes Hus, convened by Sara R. Yazdani.
The symposium is part of diagrams, a project of exhibitions, workshops and discursive production, initiated by Sara R. Yazdani and generously supported by Arts Council Norway, Norsk Fotografisk Forbund, and the Media Aesthetics research group at the University of Oslo.
Ina Blom is a professor at the Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Art and Ideas at the University of Oslo and Wigeland Visiting Professor in the Department of Art History, University of Chicago. Recent books include The Autobiography of Video. The Life and Times of a Memory Technology (New York: Sternberg Press, 2016), On the Style Site. Art, Sociality and Media Culture (New York: Sternberg Press, 2007/2009) as well as the edited volumes Memory in Motion. Archives, Technology and the Social (Amsterdam University Press, 2016) and Raoul Hausmann et les avant-gardes (Paris: Les presses du réel, 2014). A co-founder of the Oslo School of Environmental Humanities, she is also an art critic, contributing to, among other, Artforum, Texte zur Kunst, Afterall and Parkett.
Synne Tollerud Bull is an artist and researcher in Media Aesthetics at the Department for Media and Communication, University of Oslo. Bull has been a Professor of Contemporary Art at Oslo National Academy of the Art. She holds a PhD from Department for Media and Communication, University of Oslo and an MFA from San Francisco Art Institute. She is the co-editor of Urban Images: Unruly Desires in Film and Architecture, (Sternberg Press, 2011) and Screen Space Reconfigured, (Amsterdam University Press, forthcoming spring 2020.) Bull also works with artist and researcher Dragan Miletic as Bull.Miletic (B.M) B.M have exhibited their artwork internationally at venues including California Biennial, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, German architecture Museum, Frankfurt, Künstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin, Pasadena Museum of California Art, Victorian Arts Center, Melbourne, Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita, Henie Onstad Art Center, Oslo, and Museum of contemporary Art, Belgrade.
Jennifer Gabrys is Chair in Media, Culture and Environment in the Department of Sociology at the University of Cambridge, and Visiting Professor in the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London. She is Principal Investigator on the project AirKit, and she leads the Citizen Sense project, both funded by the European Research Council. In May 2020, she is beginning a new ERC-funded project, Smart Forests: Transforming Environments into Social-Political Technologies. She is the author of Program Earth: Environmental Sensing Technology and the Making of a Computational Planet (2016); and Digital Rubbish: A Natural History of Electronics (2011); and co-editor of Accumulation: The Material Politics of Plastic (Routledge, 2013). Her recent and in-progress books include How to Do Things with Sensors (University of Minnesota Press, Forerunners series, 2019), and Citizens of Worlds: Open-Air Toolkits for Environmental Struggle. Together with Ros Gray and Shela Sheikh, she is co-editing the “Planetarities” book series published through Goldsmiths Press. Her work can be found at citizensense.net and jennifergabrys.net.
Stefanie Hessler is a curator and writer. Her work focuses on interdisciplinary processes, long-term collaborations with artists and researchers from different fields, and systems at large, be they ecological, economic, or societal. She is the director of Kunsthall Trondheim in Norway. Recent curatorial projects include “Joan Jonas: Moving Off the Land II” at Ocean Space, Venice (2019); “Armin Linke: Prospecting Ocean” for TBA21–Academy at the Institute of Marine Sciences, Venice (2018); the 6th Athens Biennale “ANTI” (2018); the symposium “Practices of Attention” at the 33rd Bienal de São Paulo (2018), and “Fishing for Islands” at Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2017). Her book Prospecting Ocean with a visual essay by Armin Linke and a foreword by Bruno Latour was published by The MIT Press in December 2019.
Ursula Münster is an associate professor of environmental humanities and the director of the Oslo School of Environmental Humanities (OSEH). She has done extensive ethnographic fieldwork in South India on issues of gender, conservation and more-than-human relations. Her research and teaching interests include multispecies studies, political ecology, wildlife conservation in the Anthropocene, extinction studies, and practices of more-than-human care. She is currently working on the publication of her second monograph with the working title: "Encountering Wildlife."
Susanne M. Winterling works across a range of media to explore the sentient economy, digital cultures and the social life of materials in the environment. Forms and materials narrate about species and the elements in today’s challenging geopolitical context. Winterling’s practice reflects upon political as well as aesthetic entanglements and power structures among human/ animal/ matter. She is a part of the collective 'The Kalpana' and pingpongs the art of conversation on pandorasbox.susannewinterling.com. Recent exhibitions and projects include Gravitational currents and the life magic, Empty Gallery HongKong; Barents spectacle, Kirkenes; Myths of the Marble, HOK Oslo and ICA Philadelphia; An Inventory of Shimmers, MIT List Boston, Contour Biennale 2017; Sitevisit, Kunstverein Freiburg; Complicity, Kunstverein Amsterdam; Tidalectics, tba 21 Vienna and MoMa Dubrovnik; Variations on time, Karma Ltd. Extended; Between Bodies, Henry Art Museum University of Washington, Luleåbiennalen 2018.
Sara R. Yazdani is an independent scholar based in Oslo. She holds a PhD in art history from the University of Oslo, Norway and her fields of research are modern and contemporary art with a particular focus on the relationships between art, media, technologies, theory of the Anthropocene, avant-garde art studies, media ecologies and process philosophy. Yazdani is also an art critic and her work has been published in Artforum International, Mousse Magazine, Kunstkritikk, Art & Education, Objektiv, as well as in a number of journals and anthologies on contemporary art.
A follow-up workshop, Parallel Ecologies: A Workshop on Art, Media and Environments, convened by Synne Tollerud Bull, Ingrid Halland, Sara Eliassen and Sara R. Yazdani, taking place at the University of Oslo, June 25, 2021.