Ecologies of Existence

2016-06-30 Symposium with the Archipelago Lab

Ecologies of Existence – Art and Media beyond the Anthropocene

International Symposium at Kunstraum, Leuphana University Luneburg

June 30 - July 2, 2016

Organizers: Christoph Brunner (Archipelago Lab) and Yvonne Volkart

In collaboration with the Digital Cultures Research Lab

Program (incl. abstracts, bio) as pdf download

Poster as pdf download


The planetary situation, as it may be, is perceived as one of crisis; ecologically, economically, and mentally. While the impact and destructive force of environmental change receive new attention in the discourse on the anthropocene, crisis, on the other hand, becomes the justification for extended mechanisms of control. We find ourselves in a tightly woven narrative of a networked all encompassing (human) condition permeated by operations management of complexities and their preemptive harnessing of affect. Against a mere surrender in the face of these paralyzing processes, but also dismissing a form of capitalist subsumption of the ecological as a label on everything, we want to insist on the notion of ecology as concept and practice that refuses any form of universality. Resisting this totality of crisis and control as well as adaptation and (non)sustainability we wonder how ecology as ecosophic praxis becomes a constructivist and transversal “relational generativity” along heterogeneous modes of existence and their ecologies.

Bringing together protagonists from media ecology, biological ecology, and eco-media discourses, we ask: What kinds of practices and aesthetic strategies might provide us with a transversal ecology? What does ecological existence mean and how do ecologies of existence evolve? In a world, in which both concepts like nature or environment are under constant revision, and taking care for our compagnion species seems too complicated and exhausting, we want to find out how art and media technologies might co-compose more relational modes of existence and their ecologies.

During the three days of the symposium we focus on four dimensions in close resonance with each other:

  1. How can we think the notion of ecology more “environmentally?” If we consider the interlacing between social, mental, and environmental ecology, the notions of the environment and the environmental require a reconsideration as the material ground of planetary existence.
  2. What is the impact of collecting, monitoring, and interpreting (curating) data in relation to ecological conditions? How can we overcome the bifurcation between interpretative knowledges and the actual processes of exploitation?
  3. How do modes of ecological practicing occur between different sets of knowledge and making? What are the conditions of emergence for such interstitial practices? What is the function of art and aesthetics for such ecological modes of practicing?
  4. How can we generate ecological practices with and through different modes of existence, capable of accounting for relational states of co-emergence?


Thursday, June 30, 2016 – Mondbasis Luneburg

21.00 - Screening & Discussion
Elke Marhöfer & Mikhail Lylov (Berlin)

Friday, July 1, 2016 – Kunstraum, University of Luneburg

9.00 - Coffee & Tea

9.15 - Introduction
Christoph Brunner (Leuphana U.) & Yvonne Volkart (FHNW Basel)

9.45 - Ethico-Aesthetics and Applicational Ecologies
Matthew Fuller (Goldsmiths, U. of London): An Aesthetics of Roots and Branch
Stamatia Portanova (Orientale U. of Naples): Applicational Ecologics

11.15 - Coffee Break

11.30 - Technological and Biological Envrionmentality
Jennifer Gabrys (Goldsmiths, U. of London): The Becoming Environmental of Computing
Vicky Temperton (Leuphana U.): Deciding who belongs and who does not in the field of plant ecology

13.00 - Lunch Break

14.15 - Data and Technoecologies
Rasa Smite (Rix-C, Riga): Techno-Ecological Data Interpretations in artistic research practices

15.00 - Coffee Break

Working Session 1 (Fuller, Portanova)
Working Session 2 (Gabrys, Temperton, Smite)

16.45 - Plenary Discussion

18.15 - End

Saturday, July 2, 2016 – Kunstraum, University of Luneburg 

9.00 – Coffee & Tea

9.15 – Wrap-up from last day and introduction
Christoph Brunner & Yvonne Volkart

9.30 - Ecologies of Making and Animal
Erich Hörl (Leuphana U.): Ecologies of Making. Tim Ingold's Genera-Ecological Critique of Worldmaking and the Fascination with Non-Modernity
Alanna Thain (McGill U., Montreal): Experimental Ecologies of Intensity: The Bestiality of Time Travel

11.00 - Coffee Break

11.15 - Oikos between Ecology and Economy
Baruch Gottlieb (Berlin): Concatenated oikoi. Human Nature and Counter-politics in the Anthropocene

12.30 - Lunch Break

13.15 - Epistemic Disobedience and Algorithmic Plants
knowbotiq (Zurich U. of the Arts): moving through the vegetal as if there is no resistance

14.00 - Coffee Break

Working Session 1 (Hörl, Thain)
Working Session 2 (Gottlieb, knowbotiq)

15.30 - Plenary Discussion and Wrap-up

16.30 - End


Mondbasis, Lünertorstraße 20, 21335 Lüneburg

Kunstraum, Scharnhorststraße 1, 21335 Lüneburg


Digital Cultures Research Lab (DCRL), Kunstraum Lüneburg, Archipelago Lab