In recent years, the loss of biodiversity has increased at an alarming rate. It also led to the formation of interstate organizations such as IPBES focusing on conserving the variety of species. However, since Earth has undergone at least five mass extinctions, why should we act now? And even if we do, we need to ask: how should we act?
In the realm of today’s sciences, the arts and humanities are usually not privileged to any sort of authority or credible source of knowledge when it comes to biodiversity. Yet, this separation of the arts and hard sciences only emerged in the late-nineteenth century with the rise of new technological advancements, precipitating an epistemic shift in knowledge production. After the exposure of the conceptions of nature and biology as social constructs developed across generations, there is an urge to renegotiate these terms and update them for the 21st century. In order to do so, we are turning toward contemporary cultural and activist practices that steadily make biodiversity a subject of discussion. Merging approaches from life sciences and cultural studies through the deconstruction of the binary opposition Nature/Culture equals embracing the complex and large-scale hybridity of biodiversity. For this symposium we invite researchers, scholars, artists, activists, and politicians to come together on a public forum at the University of Vienna and discuss new approaches for human and non-human co-existence.
We believe that biodiversity constitutes a multifaceted challenge on a global scale. The endangerment thereof impacts all classes, groups, professions and nations, thus highlighting the entanglement of human and non-human agents in our contemporary world and the necessity to put these various affected actors in conversation with each other. In fact, by facilitating an exchange between rather uncustomary combinations of perspectives on the subject of biodiversity, we can perform (bio-)diversity in the very structure of the conference.
Some of the questions we are hoping to discuss include: How may human intervention increase biodiversity? Can there be such a thing as peaceful co-existence between humans and the environment, especially in late capitalism? Can we even assume that the loss of biodiversity has a negative impact on the environment? How can we re-evaluate the colonial background of the life sciences? How can we include indigenous voices and incorporate their knowledge as a source for combating the loss of biodiversity? What kind of artistic positions may help us grasp the magnitude of the global environmental crisis?
Tuesday, 14 January 2020 | mumok cinema
19:00 Film screening of “Water Makes Us Wet” by Beth Stephens & Annie Sprnkle followed by a panel discussion with Brishty Alam, Simeon Gazivoda and Magdalena Stöger moderated by Fanny Hauser
Wednesday, 15 January 2020 | Aula am Campus
10:00 - 10:15 Opening
Moderation: Sophie Publig
10:15 - 10:45 Eva Horn: “Biodiversity in the Anthropocene”
10:50 - 11:20 Fahim Amir: “Other Ecologies: Berghain, Estrogens, Bird Nests”
11:20 - 11:30 Coffee break
11:30 - 12:00 Ingeborg Reichle: “Endangered Species: On the Loss of Biodiversity in Contemporary Art”
12:00 - 12:45 → Public discussion with Eva Horn, Fahim Amir and Ingeborg Reichle
12:45 - 14:00 Lunch break
Moderation: Mihály Németh
14:00 - 14:30 → Roswitha Schuller: “Re-reading Victor Gruen: The Cultural Landscape Between Arcadia and Habitat”
14:35 - 15:05 → Tahani Nadim & Sybille Neumeyer: ”Whole Earth's Cataloguing”
15:05 - 15:15 Coffee break
15:15 - 15:45 Alice Vadrot: “Science-Policy Interrelations in and for Protecting Marine Biodiversity”
15: 45 - 16:30 Public discussion with Roswitha Schuller, Tahani Nadim, Sybille Neumeyer and Alice Vadrot
16:30 - 17:00 Coffee break
Moderation: Julia Jarrett & Martina Genetti
17:00 - 17:30 Maria Huhmarniemi: “Art Contributing to Biodiversity”
17:35 - 18:05 Yulia Kopr: “Ecological Catastrophe and Cultural Impoverishment of the Far North of Russia”
18:05 - 18:15 Coffee break
18:15 - 18:45 Extinction Rebellion (Paul Sajovitz): "Heading for Extinction and What to do about It”
18:45 - 19:30 Public discussion with Yulia Kopr and Paul Sajovitz
Please note that the symposium will take place on Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at Aula am Campus (Spitalgasse 2-4, Hof 1.11, 1090 Vienna), while the film screening will take place on Tuesday, January 14, 2020 at mumok cinema (Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna).