the second nature
(By acknowledging the work of First Nations, Inuit and Māori cultures in thinking an expanded idea of ecology, The Second Nature inhabits a collapsed border between the self and the environment, and between those who protect, and that which is to be protected. On the one side it drags the human as part of nature in the ecological concerns; on the other it explores the assigning of a political agency to non-human entities, challenging the anthropocentric delimitation of political agency at the core of Western politics. A second program in the middle of nature to reflects on nature with feminist and indigenous ecologies )
(as Laboria Cuboniks says in the recent manifesto, «Nature shall no longer be a refuge of injustice, or a basis for any political justification whatsoever! If nature is unjust, change nature!»)
(8th-9th september 2017,
in the frame of Homo Novus, Riga, Latvia)
Eco-Poetics & Bioethics for a Pluriverse in Transit appears as a natural-cultural assembly collectively conceived and emerging through sound-listening sessions, words and screenings in the forest. It starts from a transiting of biotic/inorganic ecocentrism via the Zapatista’s cosmological call to “mandar obedeciendo,” (lead obeying). Eco-Poetics brings together the cosmologies and ontologies of artists/scholars from across the globe, and the biotics of more-than-human post-human assemblages, as aquifers, mineralisations, avian, and larval colonies.
Elin Øyen Vister is a Norwegian artist with an MFA in Nordic Sound Art from the art academy in Bergen. They are occupied with listening as an artistic practice, in ways of composing, sensing and experiencing the world, much inspired by the American philosopher and composer Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening practice. One of their ongoing projects Soundscape Røst, investigates and documents the rapidly changing natural and cultural sound environments of the Røst archipelago, as a result of the ongoing global environmental crisis. They are the founder of Røst AIR – an interdisciplinary, ecological artist in residency and artist association, founded in 2012, situated on Skomvær island, Røst, Nordland.
Alex Wilson is Neyonawak Inniniwak from the Opaskwayak Cree Nation. Her scholarship has greatly contributed to building and sharing knowledge about two-spirit identity, history, and teachings, indigenous research methodologies, anti-oppressive education, and the prevention of violence in the lives of indigenous peoples. As a community activist and Idle No More organizer, her work also focuses on interventions that prevent the destruction of land and water.
Emilie Rākete is a student and organizer based in Tāmaki Makaurau. She is of the Ngāpuhi and Te Rarawa iwi, and her ancestors fought and did the Flagstaff War resisting European colonialism in Aotearoa. She is the National Press Spokesperson and Mational Māori Caucus Coordinator for No Pride in Prison, a prison abolitionist organization engaged in direct action, advocacy, and revolutionary organizing to overthrow the prison system and colonial state is props up.
'Under liberal individualism, a dialectic is formed between self and envoronment. The parasite poses a synthesis of this model – that the self is as environment, and conversely thate the environment is a self'.
What if agency and political are not functions of a body which must necessarely be a human one to enact them? Moving from Māori traditions and collapsing the constructed borders between the self and the environment, Emilie Rākete opens in this short text a reflection on Political Ecologies, as that which queries the level at which political agency exists, interrogating the potentialities of non human to whom political agency can be assigned – and questioning so the anthropocentric assumption behind Western definition of politics.
(for the participants of the Festival School)
Nocturnal Gardening considers how communities come together through alternative and pre-colonial uses of land. Structured around four central storylines, the video explores indigenous land rights, off-the-grid subsistence, racism and injustice in the food system and the consequences of consumer behaviour on farm animals. It portrays a group of women living by alternative norms and who have each, on their own, established communities. Though they fight a culture in which everything is archived in a museum of dead things, they are not trying to destroy civilization, but rather experiment with different agreements, standing for sensitivity, connection, and communication with other communities, plants, animals and elements.
The movie is presented for the first time in a unique screening in the the middle of nature, giving the chance to images and discourses on nature to inevitably exceed and echo beyond the frame of the screen.
Aqqalu Berthelsen, better known as Uyarakq, is a greenlandic electronic musician/producer and DJ. His musical background varies from metal to funk, which he played with a passion in his youth in Greenland and Denmark. He’s now producing electronic music and produces hip hop for inuit rappers. He’s also the man behind the music label and production company, Mediahouse Qunnersuaq. He was nominated for Nordic Councils Music Prize in 2016 for his collaborative work, Kunngiitsuuffik, with the indigenous rapper, Peand-eL. Uyarakq closes with a concert the first night of The Second Nature.
Melanie Bonajo (b.1978, The Netherlands) is an artist based in Amsterdam and New York. Her work examines the paradoxes inherent to ideas of comfort. Through her videos, performances, photographs, and installations, Bonajo studies subjects related to how technological advances and commodity-based pleasures increase feelings of alienation, removing a sense of belonging in an individual. Captivated by concepts of the divine, she explores the spiritual emptiness of her generation, examines peoples’ shifting relationship with nature and tries to understand existential questions by reflecting on our domestic situation, ideas around classification, concepts of home, gender and attitudes towards value. She is the initiator of the Genital International collective which tackles issues such as feminism, equality and participation, and a member of the band Z▲Z▲Z◎Z◎.
«In customary potlatch ceremonies, goods in the form of material and non-material “wealth” are generally given with the intention that they be “paid back” at a future date—with interest. Potlatches, each with very specific associations and intentions depending on the local context, are one way in which Native societies honour ancestors, give names, repay debts, share resources, settle disputes, and instil social values». Writer and curator Candice Hopkins shares a reflection on wealth, nature and potlatch in the Yukon region.
The session is preceded by a listening practice session. The sound material of Elin Már Øyen Vister – developped in Røst, where she lives and streamed the previous night in the forest – is diffused in a different context, exploring the participation of contexts and non-human agents in the same production of sounds.
The concert takes place at the festival centre of Homo Novus Festival. Free Admission, more information here.
Listen to the music of Uyarakq here.
Melanie Bonajo, Nocturnal Gardening
(open air screening)
Elin Már Øyen Vister / mirko nikolić / Alex Wilson / Larval Rock Stars
Eco-Poetics & Bioethics for a Pluriverse in Transit
In Human - Parasites, Posthumanism, Papatūānukumore
(a collective reading)
Political Concepts After the (Western) Human
The Second Nature
Curated by Daniel Blanga Gubbay
Produced by Homo Novus and Aleppo
(with Elizabeth Povinelli, Karrabing Film Collective, Candice Hopkins, a concert by Uyarakq; a sound intervention by Elin Már Øyen Vister, mirko nikolić, Alex Wilson and Larval Rock Stars, and the screening of Melanie Bonajo's Nocturnal Gardening in the forest)
(a public program in the middle of nature to think nature with feminist and indigenous ecologies, and beyond the division between human and non-human)
(all activities are open and free. Eco-Poetics & Bioethics for a Pluriverse in Transit and the screening of Nocturnal Gardening takes place in the forest. For information about the location click here. The concert of Uyarakq, and the sessions of Candice Hopkins and Elizabeth Povinelli takes place at the festival centre)
mirko nikolić’s praxis aims to re(con)figure power apparatuses of bio/geo-capitalism through a hybrid art+philosophy praxis. Performative intra-actions, situated along the boundaries of where extraction of agency and life take place, prefigure more just multispecies collaborations. Recent projects tackled the financialisation of biosphere and carbon-dioxide, quantification of labour in sheep industry, correlation between internet and atmosphere, and unlearning ‘survival strategies’ at the edges of wilderness. mirko is in final stages of his PhD in Arts & Media Practice at the University of Westminster, London.
Larval Rock Stars is orbifold twins Anuj Vaidya and Praba Pilar. Anuj Vaidya is artist, educator and media curator whose work straddles performance and film to address issues of gender, sexuality and ecology. He is currently pursuing a PhD in Performance Studies at UC Davis. Praba Pilar is a diasporic Colombian artist keen on disrupting the overwhelmingly passive participation in the contemporary ‘cult of the techno-logic’ through performance art. She has a PhD in Performance Studies from UC Davis.
In her latest book Povinelli describes a mode of power she calls geontopower, which operates through the regulation of the distinction between Life and Nonlife, and the figures of the Desert, the Animist, and the Virus.
Putting into question the western conception of Nature and ecology, Geontologies examines this formation of power from the perspective of Indigenous Australian maneuvers against the settler state, and presents different forms of existence that refuse the incorporation into the vocabularies of Western theory: a woman who became a river, a snakelike entity who spawns the fog, plesiosaurus fossils and vast networks of rock weirs. The talk is followed by a conversation with Candice Hopkins.
Elizabeth Povinelli is Franz Boas Professor of Anthropology and Gender Studies at Columbia University where she has also been the Director of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender and the Co-Director of the Centre for the Study of Law and Culture. She works on indigenous alterity and multinaturalisms and her latest project – Geontologies – is figured as an analysis of how ‘late liberal power’ appears as it is encountered from the perspective of the Karrabing media collective, a ‘supermajority Indigenous group’ and in the northwest Northern Territory (NT).
She is part of the Karrabing Film Collective, a grassroots Indigenous based media group. Filmmaking provides a means of self-organization and social analysis for the Karrabing. Screenings and publications allow the Karrabing to develop a local artistic languages and forms and allow audiences to understand new forms of collective Indigenous agency. Their medium is a form of survivance—a refusal to relinquish their country and a means of investigating contemporary social conditions of inequality. The films represent their lives, create bonds with their land, and intervene in global images of Indigeneity.
Originally from Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and a citizen of Carcross/Tagish First Nation, Candice Hopkins is a curator, writer, and researcher who predominantly explores areas of history, art, and indigeneity, and their intersections. She is part of the curatorial team for the upcoming documenta 14. and has held curatorial positions at prestigious institutions including the Walter Phillips Gallery, Western Front Society, the National Gallery of Canada, and The Institute of American Indian Arts Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Candice Hopkins + Elin Már Øyen Vister
Wealth and the potlatch in the Yukon
(© Melanie Bonajo)