Aarhus University Research on the Anthropocene (AURA) hosts a weekend workshop with creative methods and experimental genres for living in contaminated landscapes, garbage dumps, and compost heaps of the Anthropocene. Led by Niels Bohr Professor Anna Tsing and Professor Nils Bubandt of the Department of Culture & Society, AURA research combines the arts, sciences, and humanities to ask: how might humans and nonhumans continue to inhabit a damaged planet? How might "we" collectively make and unmake livable relations?
The workshop is organized in conjunction with an exhibition currently on view at Kunsthal Aarhus, curated by Elaine Gan (AURA), Steven Lam (Purchase College, NY), and Sarah Lookofsky (Museum of Modern Art, NY). Over a weekend, the workshop will gather seven different artists-scientists from the exhibition in a series of performances, tastings, presentations, and roundtables. A short story by Ursula K. Le Guin, The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction provides a rich conceptual framework. (Guests are invited to enjoy reading the short piece in advance.)
On 5 September, the workshop opens with a welcome at 10.30am, followed by a curatorial introduction to the exhibition. This will be followed by an AURA presentation on ongoing field research at the brown coal mining beds in Søby Brunkuslejerne. Around noon, Åsa Sonjasdotter (Sweden/Berlin) will lead a potato harvest and share insights on historical trajectories of potato varieties. In the afternoon, Cecilia Vicuña (Chile/NY) will talk about seed collecting and the beings of seeds in Chile and Denmark. This will be followed by Semiya 2015 town hall, an open celebration of seeds and stories. All guests are then invited to take a short break to eat Sonjasdotter's potatoes harvested in the morning, along with some local beer brews. In late afternoon, Pawel Wojtasik (NY) will do a screening and open discussion on his experimental documentaries and works in progress.
On 6 September, the workshop reconvenes at 13.00pm, with an open seminar by Etienne Turpin (Jakarta/Berlin) on postnatural histories. This will be followed by a short presentation by Amy Balkin, calling in from San Francisco, CA. At 15.00pm, roundtable discussion among all participants will be held. This roundtable will engage with Le Guin's short story through three key themes: (a) the work of art and archives as carrier bags in a time of unprecedented environmental crises, (b) problems of scale and narrative, and (c) the representation of species temporalities and differential ontologies through various media (performance, poetry, film, writing). A tasting/cooking event by Spurse collective will be held in the early evening.
SATURDAY, 5 SEPTEMBER
Welcome and Introduction
Anna Tsing and Jens-Christian Svenning: Multispecies Life in Søby Brown Coal Beds
Field researchers bring together art, science, and natural history to track multispecies encounters and landscape change in Søby.
ÅSA SONJASDOTTER: Between Plants & Politics
Harvest of Adretta potatoes that have been growing at Kunsthal Aarhus over the summer
Break for lunch
Invitation to visit "Multispecies Storytelling", a special book section assembled in cooperation with Antipyrine Books.
MATHIAS KOKHOLM: Ting and Polis
Editor-curator presents works on vandalism, collecting, and Asger Jorn's imaginary institute, S.I.S.V.
CECILIA VICUÑA: Artist Talk
Artist discusses her environmental works with seeds and garbage in Chile since the 1960s.
TOWN HALL: Semiya 2015
A realization of Cecilia Vicuña’s 1971 proposal to Chilean president Salvador Allende: A civic gathering to share stories about collected seeds, culminating in a performance by Vicuña.
NB: Please collect seeds and stories about them to share during the meeting!
Invitation to eat harvested potatoes and enjoy Aarhus microbrews by Kunsthal Café
PAWEŁ WOJTASIK: Enduring Captivity: Sea Mammals, Pigs, Water Buffaloes
Filmmaker's screening and discussion of his multispecies documentaries and new work in India
SUNDAY, 6 SEPTEMBER
ETIENNE TURPIN: Sedimentality - Seven Homolithic Inquiries
An experimental presentation/discussion of seven ways to consider the Anthropocene
ROUNDTABLE: Making and Unmaking the Anthropocene with The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction by Ursula K. Le Guin
A lively and open workshop around an alternate story of humans and collective life on earth
NB: Please read the short story here to participate in the conversation
AMY BALKIN: A Report on "A People’s Archive of Sinking and Melting"
Artist-researcher presents her collaborative recordings of vanishing places.
SPURSE: Towards a Multispecies Commons
A forage, a meal, a conversation
20.00 Champagne Toast
Wrapping up and invitation to watch Dana Sherwood's racoons in Florida (projection only visible to humans at night)
The DUMP! workshop is organized in conjunction with an exhibition currently on view at Kunsthal Aarhus, curated by Elaine Gan (AURA), Steven Lam (Purchase College, NY), and Sarah Lookofsky (Museum of Modern Art, NY).
See also the official poster here: AURA WORKSHOP: DUMP! Multispecies Making and Unmaking
DUMP! at Kunsthal Aarhus: kunsthalaarhus.dk/en/programmes/dump-multispecies-making-and-unmaking