Weaving Knowledges in Thinking Beyond the Human

Conveners: Carlos A. Ortiz (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Florencia Carrizo (Universidad Nacional de Avellaneda)

The concept of the Human––as an androcentric and anthropocentric Enlightenment man––has acquired a great interest in recent times where an acknowledgment to ponder, question, and reconceptualize the concept takes center stage in the attempt to move away from extractive and oppressive dynamics and towards multispecies justice and sustainable futures. This working group attempts to weave ongoing practices, as well as those that are yet-to-come, that reconsider the concept of the Human, unpacking it as a limiting category and mode of being. Becoming human and observing the dividing line between human and nonhuman intersects with a series of other identity categories: gender, race, nationality, etc. evidencing patterns of repression and ostracization. Thus, we also seek to explore the intersectionality that involves the act of interrogating the division of human and nonhuman. We invite artists, academics, theorists, and activists to exhibit and/or experiment with modes of shifting/moving/dislocating the category of the human, considering the multiple permutations in the encounter with other species. In the end, we pursue to unveil those intimate architectures, part of new aesthetical approaches and resistance networks that challenge structures of power that limit humans and other species.

We will divide the working group in half, beginning with the presentation of work by each member, followed by a workshop in the second half directed towards a sensitive production around the movements and forms of plant life. In order to experience other forms of being, and to begin thinking beyond the human, the working group aims to develop a series of spatial, corporal, and temporal inquiries in relation to the movement of plants. With these movements, we will go about generating a common register for the creation of a Ritual / Meeting / Ceremony collective among all the members. This practice will be based on a set of gestures (cultivate, collect, prepare the land, care, irrigate, collect, among many others) that we are going to learn, understand, listen, record in different formats throughout the experiences developed. In the end, we hope to cultivate strategies for an interspecies encounter.

We encourage applications that consider or expand on the following questions: How can we imagine and/or articulate anthro-decentric practices? What is at stake when we think beyond the human? How do we approach the incommensurable in the task of questioning our humanness and understanding other nonhuman species? What possible strategies and methods can we create for the encounter of interspecies corporealities?

To apply, please submit the general application here and include the information below in your application.

  1. Short Bio 
  2. Statement of Interest pertaining to a scholarly paper, aesthetic intervention, an activist project, or any other form of presentation.
  3. Expectations for and hopeful outcomes of the working group
  4. Links to a website or related work if relevant.