(Modernity did not only set the division between nature and culture: it brought a transformation of nature into Nature, an objectified, idealized and fix image. Starting from this perspective the program of this imaginary school takes place in the park, not in the attempt to reconcile nature and culture, but rather to blur the solidity of these two categories.
Through a series of lectures of guest speakers, working groups, screenings and performances, this late–summer night school opens a public reflection on the birth of the modern idea of Nature and its domesticated use as myth in conservative politics, to eventually propose a further one)
(a public program in the park on the modern
transformation of nature into Nature)
(in the frame of ParckDesign,
in collaboration with Goethe Institut
and Workspace Brussels)
(with Timothy Morton, Raafat Majzoub, Isabelle Stengers, Fabrizio Terranova, Rodrigo Sobarzo, Cord Riechelmann and a public reading of the Xenofeminist Manifesto)
(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!»)
(in Park Duden, Brussels, between
September 6th and 9th 2016)
What ecological awareness forces us to notice is that “Nature” is an anthropocentrically-scaled concept that, to say the least, doesn’t work anymore. “Nature” is how we have been talking to ourselves about what is in fact the case, which he calls the symbiotic real.
There is a sharp difference between the real and “reality,” or our sense of realness. Our human, agricultural and neoliberal (and so on) reality is now violently impeding less coercive relationships with nonhuman beings. Less coercive relations with nonhumans would also give rise to less coercive ones between humans. In order to bring these about, one key tactic is to drop completely the concept of "Nature".
Timothy Morton is the Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English at Rice University. He is the author ofNothing: Three Inquiries in Buddhism and Critical Theory, Hyperobjects: Philosophy and Ecology after the End of the World, Realist Magic: Objects, Ontology, Causality, The Ecological Thought, Ecology without Nature. He blogs regularly at ecologywithoutnature.blogspot.com.
Raafat Majzoub is a Lebanese architect, author and artist. His work negotiates the territory of reality through literature, visual arts and public interventions, inventing and advocating accessible utopic alternatives and possible scenarios. He co-founded The Outpost, a quarterly magazine of possibilities in the Arab world and was its Creative Director for its first four issues. Majzoub recently completed writing a novel through a series of installations, turning ‘real life’ interventions into first drafts for 'The Perfumed Garden: An autobiography of another Arab World'.
"The real is overrated, my dear, so make up your own, and I’m sure that by the time we see each other, the catastrophic people of Arabia would have chosen you as their romantic poet. Until then, habibi, read first sentences, fuck, write and love".
On the occasion of Nature, Aleppo commissioned a new novel to Lebanese writer Raafat Majzoub. In this book, Majzoub starts from the translation of the Arabic word Tat'beeh into Normalization which literally translates to Naturalization in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict. A novel where Nature no longer appears as a fixed idea opposed to fiction, rather as the instrument to rethink an overrated Real.
On september 6th the book is distributed and discussed with the author.
العارية – Naked
Released one year ago online by collective Laboria Cuboniks, Xenofeminism: A Politics for Alienation became immediately a crucial manifesto to rethink the political use of nature. Laboria Cuboniks proposes a shift, in which imagination and alienation become an instrument of freedom. «Nothing should be accepted as fixed, permanent, or ‘given’ — neither material conditions nor social forms – and Nature shall no longer be a refuge of injustice, or a basis for any political justification whatsoever. If nature is unjust, change nature!». As part of the program and led by Livia Andrea Piazza, the short manifesto is read and discussed collectively in the park in two sessions
The filmmaker Fabrizio Terranova visited Donna Haraway at her home in California, living with her – almost literally, for a few weeks, and there he produced a quirky film portrait. Terranova allowed Haraway to speak in her own environment, using attractive staging that emphasised the playful, cerebral sensitivity of the scientist. The result is a rare, candid, intellectual portrait of a highly original thinker. Premiered at the last edition of the Kunstenfestivaldesarts the movie is presented now for a unique screening in the the middle of nature, where Haraway's words and discourses about the artificial construction of natures inevitably exceed and echo beyond the frame of the screen.
Starring: Donna Haraway, Rusten Hogness, Cayenne Pepper; Written & directed by Fabrizio Terranova; Cinematography: Tristan Galand; Sound: Nicolas Lebecque; Film editing: Bruno Tracq; Sound design: Frédéric Fichefet; Sound mixing: Cyril Mossé; Music: Laurent Baudoux & The Fan Club Orchestra; Visual effects: Alain Clément, Patrick Theunen; Digital crochet coral reef animation: Clara Sobrino; Process witch: Isabelle Stengers; Producer: Ellen Meiresonne; Co-producer: Olivier Marboeuf, Javier Packer-Comyn; Associate producer: Fabien Siouffi; Production: Atelier Graphoui (Brussels); Co-production: Kunstenfestivaldesarts, Spectre Productions (Rennes), CBA – Centre de l’audiovisuel (Brussels), Fabbula (Barcelona), Rien à Voir (Brussels); Supported by Centre du Cinéma et de l’Audiovisuel de la Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles
Fabrizio Terranova, who lives and works in Brussels, is a film-maker, activist, dramaturge, and teacher at erg (École de recherche graphique) in Brussels, where he launched and co-runs the master’s programme in Récits et expérimentation/Narration spéculative (Narrations and experimentation/Speculative narration). Terranova is the author of Josée Andrei, An Insane Portrait, an experimental documentary that was turned into a book published by Les Editions du souffle. He is also a founding member of DingDingDong – an institute to jointly improve knowledge about Huntington’s disease. He has recently published the article Les Enfants du compost in the joint publication Gestes spéculatifs.
At the beginning of the 70's James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis named Gaia, the “living planet” opening the way to a transcendent and objectify-able idea of Nature that does not recognize its complexity. In recent years with The Intrusion of Gaia Isabelle Stengers explained the risk dwelling in this simplified image: «There will be no response other than the barbaric if we do not learn to couple together multiple, divergent struggles and engagements in this process of creation, as hesitant and stammering as it may be». Following Donna Haraway's words, Isabelle Stengers opens up a dialogue with Fabrizio Terranova, reflecting on the objectification of the concept of Nature in modernity.
Isabelle Stengers is a Belgian philosopher, teaching at the Université libre de Bruxelles. Her early work, linked to the research by Ilya Prigogine, with whom she wrote La Nouvelle Alliance in 1979 (Paris), focused on the role played by the physical, considering both the visions of the work it inspires and that of the model of the scientific character it represents. This investigation was widened to look at expressions of knowledge and the role of scientific authority in our societies. This led her to political engagement around the need for re-appropriation by those involved in issues of the present and the future (La Sorcellerie capitaliste, with Philippe Pignarre, Paris, 2005; Au temps des catastrophes, Paris, 2009; Les Faiseuses d’histoires, with Vinciane Despret; Paris, 2011; and Une autre science est possible!, Paris, 2013).
Xenofeminism: a Politics for Alienation
(a collective reading part 1)
Nature Isn't Real
Donna Haraway: Story Telling
for Earthly Survival
(open air screening)
Isabelle Stengers and Fabrizio Terranova
A Conversation on Nature
Xenofeminism: a Politics for Alienation
(a collective reading part 2)
Some Remarks on the Aesthetics of Being Alive
The creation and destruction of landscapes is at the core of the work and practice of Rodrigo Sobarzo, whose performances present natural elements and technology intertwining in a peculiar way. In 2014 Rodrigo creates for remoTe sense a landscape of salt and light, on which – in contrast with the idea of remote as providing information about objects or phenomena without making physical contact – Rodrigo works with his hands and body as tools, reconstructing nature in different scales. By bringing now for the first time his universe in the middle of nature, Rodrigo Sobarzo discloses a yet-unexplored confrontation between nature and its reconstruction, blurring the border and the very concept of artificiality.
In collaboration with Workspace Brussels
Rodrigo Sobarzo de Larraechea (CL/NL) is an artist who studied choreography at the SNDO in Amsterdam, and theatre at Universidad de Chile in Santiago. He was a recipient of the DanceWeb scholarship in Vienna in 2009, and a resident at the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht working on his creation S ITE S in 2014. His work often explore a mysterious lost world, able to let emerge in a peculiar way some interrogatives on our narrative of the future
 remoTe sense 
(all activities are open and free, and take place in the middle of nature. To attend come to the bar of ParckDesign, Parc Duden, Square Lainé 1-3, 1190 Forest . In case of rain the activity will take place in the pavillon of ParckDesign)
Cord Riechelmann, who was born in Celle in 1960, studied biology and philosophy at the FU Berlin. He was a lecturer in the social behaviour of primates and the history of biological research. He also worked as a columnist and urban nature reporter for the Berlin pages of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He is the author of the books Bestiarium (2003) and Wilde Tiere in der Großstadt (Wild Animals in the City) (2004), editor of a collection of voices of animals in Europe, Asia and Africa and three CDs with kein und aber (2009). He is presently lecturer in general studies at the Berlin University of the Arts.
The idea for the 1997-lecture The Animal That Therefore I Am came to Jacques Derrida when his cat watched him step out of his shower naked. At that moment, Derrida was filled with sudden shame at two different levels. Because cats – like all animals – have no conception of nudity, there could be no direct relationship between the cat’s glance and his shame. The shame was ultimately evoked by our imperialistic anthropocentrism toward animals. Starting from this anecdote Cord Riechelmann opens a reflection on man, the Nature and the aesthetics of being alive, eventually inviting to create a space in our minds for the untranslatable meaning of the cat’s glance.
In collaboration with Goethe-Institut
Conceived by Aleppo
Produced by ParckDesign and Aleppo
in collaboration with Goethe-Institut and WorkSpace Brussels.
Project manager: Michelangelo Miccolis.