Burning Futures: On Ecologies of Existence
#Too little, too late
A look at the state of our planet gives every reason to worry – and to think. The speed and extent of the environmental disasters looming over us with climate change, species extinction, extreme weather events, pollution and overuse of land, air and water, etc. are unprecedented and as real as they are incomprehensible. The slow violence of these transformations has accelerated to a staccato of events. The series of lectures and discussions at HAU Hebbel am Ufer, "Burning Futures: On Ecologies of Existence", initiated by Magarita Tsomou (HAU) and curated by Maximilian Haas, looks at the escalating and indeed apocalyptic discourses of the coming catastrophes against the background of ever-growing ecological crises and debates ways and aims of political action. While we can still discuss these issues in a relatively safe and sound environment, in the global South and elsewhere the ecologies of human existence are already being destroyed by rising sea levels, hurricanes, floods, droughts and fires. Yet it is primarily the way of life and production of the industrialized West, based on the destructive exploitation of resources, human and other, that has led to this situation, from which it is still quite well shielded today. The ecological question is therefore closely linked to economies of extractivism, racial capitalism, patriarchal oppression and colonial exploitation, and thus cannot do without critically addressing them. For these reasons, this discussion series is not intended to be an expert debate on ‘nature’, but to take an intersectional perspective on ecological issues and make economic and cultural contexts explicit.
“Burning Futures: On Ecologies of Existence” is a lecture and discussion series by HAU Hebbel am Ufer. Supported within the framework of the Alliance of International Production Houses by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media. With kind support by Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung. Initiated by Margarita Tsomou (HAU Hebbel am Ufer) and curated by Maximilian Haas.
Podcast Production: Fritz Schlüter. Speaker: Orlando de Boeyken. Jingle: Sonja Deffner
#9 Future Ecologies: Compounds, Breakdown, Reparation
#9 Future Ecologies: Compounds, Breakdown, Reparation with Maria Puig de la Bellacasa and Dimitris Papadopoulos, a Podcast by HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin).
Burning Futures enters into conversation with Maria Puig de la Bellacasa and Dimitris Papadopoulos, two people who have focused their research and work on ecological philosophy and transformative practice between natural history and techno science for years. In her much read book “Matters of Care. Speculative Ethics in More Than Human Worlds” (Minnesota University Press, 2017), Bellacasa examines the feminist tradition of care work in planetary dimensions while Papadopoulos brings together new green chemical innovations with the formation of social movements in “more-than-human-worlds”.
In the podcast, they discuss the tension between ecological collapse and the reparability of the world with Maximilian Haas and Margarita Tsomou.
#8 The Micropolitical Combat
#8 The Micropolitical Combat with Suely Rolniki, a Podcast by HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin).
Consciousness of the fact that we are part of an ecosystem does not guarantee that this condition will guide our actions. Our access to this condition tends to be blocked in the dominant mode of subjectivation under the colonial-racializing-capitalist unconscious regime, which allows life to be turned away from its ethical destiny in our own actions, to be placed instead at the service of capital accumulation, economic as well as political and narcissistic. Resistance to this depends on a subtle labor to dismantle the colonial-racialising-capitalistic unconscious regime that conducts our subjectivities, a labor that leads to transforming ourselves, which implies the whole weave of our relationships, not only with humans. In this process, the borders between art, therapeutics and politics become permeable.
Suely Rolnik is a Brazilian psychoanalyst, writer, sometimes curator (when it is the best way to make sensible some of her ideas) and Full professor at Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo (since 1979) and guest professor of the Interdisciplinary Master of Theatre and Living Arts at the National University of Colombia (since 2013).
#7 Becoming Land
#7 Becoming Land with Angela Melitopoulos and Barbara Glowczewski, a Podcast by HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin).
In her work, artist Angela Melitopoulos questions the ways we observe and perceive landscapes. Unlike the colonial legacy of anthropology and the positivism of natural sciences, she advocates an understanding of the earth's surface as a 'speaking landscape', an agent of a statement. In this podcast issue of “Burning Futures: On Ecologies of Existence”, Melitopoulos and anthropologist Barbara Glowczewski look into the method of affective cartography as well as resistant cultures of the perception of land – including those of the indigenous cosmologies central to Glowczewski's activist and scholarly work for the past 40 years. In the face of ecosystem destruction through extractivism and climate change, they ask how to accept and appreciate heterogeneity and the revitalisation of existential territories.
#6 What makes people sick? Racial capitalism and the politics of suffocation
#6 What makes people sick? Racial Capitalism and the Politics of Suffocation, with Françoise Vergès and Edna Bonhomme, A Podcast by HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin).
The current environmental crises are rooted in racial capitalist exploitation of both humans and nature. The basic elements of life such as water and fire are violently turned into ‘cheap’ commodities and weaponised against unprivileged communities. “I can’t breathe” , echoed by Black communities around the planet, speaks to a politics of suffocation that works both through social oppression and environmental devastation. Activist and theorist Françoise Vergès engages in a discussion with writer and science historian Edna Bonhomme around the feminist and decolonial aspects of the question of what makes people sick, the racially differentiated exposition to environmental risks, the relation between cleaning and care, and the revolutionary potential of dreaming.
#5 Beyond The End Of The World?
#5 Beyond The End Of The World? with T.J. Demos and The Otolith Group (Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun), A Podcast by HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin)
Art theorist T.J. Demos, author of “Against the Anthropocene” and “Decolonizing Nature”, engages in this podcast edition of “Burning Futures” in a discussion with the artist collective The Otolith Group, founded by Anjalika Sagar and Kodwo Eshun. Taking their recent film “INFINITY Minus Infinity” - that we show at HAU 3000 - as point of departure, the discussion touches on genocide and ecocide at the origins of what is now called the Anthropocene, the biopolitics of citizenship and deportation, and the loss around which the Black Lives Matter movement assembles, as well as on art as a means to imagine eco-fictional and afrofuturist futures that go beyond the end of the world. Until 28 July, you can watch the film “INFINITY Minus Infinity” here: https://www.hebbel-am-ufer.de/en/podcast-burning-futures-5/
#4 Coexistence, Planetarity and Uncertainty
#4: Coexistence, Planetarity and Uncertainty with Patricia Reed, A Podcast by HAU Hebbel am Ufer (Berlin)
The situation of our present can be seen as an historic consequence of emphasizing “existence” over “coexistence” – a picturing of the human motivated only by securing its own existential material wants. In her lecture, artist, designer and writer Patricia Reed examines the term “planetarity” (coming from Earth System sciences) as a demand for a perspectival shift to coexistence, in order to be able to access different scales of reality – including more-than-human interdependencies. How does “planetarity” recondition our understanding of the “local”, how do picturings of the human change when upheld relationally, and how are linkages to be built between scientific knowledge and socio-political responsibilities?