Marton KABAI, Natela LEMONDZHAVA / Oddkin. Apocalyptic calmness (performative lecture)

In our performative, psychoanalytical lecture we will intimately investigate the relation between design and critical posthumanism, through our hybrid design, artistic, research practice. Instead of focusing on results and accomplishments, we will share ways of engagements with the ecological crisis. We will attempt to emphasize the struggles of designing in a hyper-capitalist reality, the pedagogy of unlearning in the face of the unrepresented non-human histories and the impossibility of living in apocalyptic times. We will outline our intuitive, speculative methods of formulating, continuously shaping a post-anthropocentric, relational, post-disciplinary practice. We share how insufficiency, unproductivity, and anxiety counter-producing and maintaining our awareness and vulnerability to stay active and alert. We will present two of our research directions, the Clarion Call and the Ground Zero both in which we claim a mediative, prismatic role in times of radical misunderstandings, combining forensic awareness with visionary hopelessness.

Oddkin is an artist and design formation of Marton Kabai and Natela Lemondzhava founded in 2018, in The Hague, NL. Our hybrid, mutant practice shifts between investigative and metaphoric approaches through forensics and intuition that unfolds in critical storytelling. We wish to reveal the fertility within hopelessness and its vast possibility, unlocking persistent optimism in contrast to psychic entropy. We wish to uncover systemic biases that had been mistaken as truths or legal and demystify hidden affairs that seem to be innocent, efficient or normal. We embrace an ecocentric, post-anthropocentric outlook, crafting radical visions and critical maps to de-center the status-quo. We formulate our researches in forms of books, games, videos, workshops, installations, and live performances. We are active in exhibiting, teaching, lecturing, facilitating different forms of workshops as well as collaborating with other fields of knowledge. www.oddkin.net


Chelsea POLK. 44, 320: Interpolating 8 Bogs and the Post-Transcendental

Natural and vital sites with specific and ancient ecosystems—such as bogs—are masked and marketed as nature preserves, vehicles of research, education tools, and experiences. It is no longer a question of what is natural or artificial, as beneath each bog of a sample collection of 8 throughout North America, Ireland, and Eastern Europe, is an industrial plant and a political agenda. Ecotourism, by definition, warrants sustainable travel. However, what feeds this green industry is channeling the desire in a collective whole for an interrelation to land that is lost. This relation to land cannot thrive in a tech-heavy, postcolonial society, but what remains as a supplement is situated between the infatuation with ecological industry and a to return to the transcendentalist perspective, a fetishization of a place and its history—post-transcendentalism. 44,320 is an 8 chapter audio piece and accompanying text which addresses these concerns, graphing the stories of eight bogs. It follows the paths between them, diverges, and diverges again. It exists somewhere between episodes of a podcast and movements of a composition, narratives, nonfiction, a travel log, and a manifesto. The following eight bogs represent a set of fixed points which are then interpolated.

1. The insertion of something of a different nature into something else;
2. [mathematics] The method of constructing new data points within the range of a discrete set of known data points
3. [classical music] Unrelated material inserted between two logically succeeding functions

Chelsea Polk is a multimedia artist and musician specializing in video, sound installation, and cello performance. She recently received her MFA from Massachusetts College of Art & Design in Boston, MA. and provides media and technology support at MIT’s Program in Art, Culture, and Technology. Her latest research includes a podcast series commenting on the rise of the intersection of art and science by exploring the hydrology of local Massachusetts reservoirs, as well as a collaborative documentary project researching peatland conservation in central Ireland. In addition, she is a member of the New England Philharmonic, a Boston-based orchestra specializing in contemporary music.


Karel DOING. Building human/plant affiliations

The desire to accurately depict nature has been a driving force from the beginning of photography. Such techniques have also been employed in early modernist experiments in the context of Bauhaus and surrealism. Intense engagement with materials and methods and a subsequent problematization of human cognitive perception can be identified as important underlying characteristics of aforementioned practice.
Departing from this context I have developed the Phytogram, an image making practice based on similarities between chemical compounds found in industrial film developers and naturally occurring phytochemical substances. Besides the replacement of industrial products by biodegradable chemistry, such a material engagement can be used for the production of animated images that are a direct result of chemical reactions occurring by bringing organic samples in contact with film emulsion. By using the internal chemistry of plants, images can be produced unmediated by lenses and photographic or cinematic mechanisms. These images might be described in terms similar to a Deleuzian understanding of affiliation: indistinction, indiscernibility or ambiguity. Not a natural filiation but an unnatural alliance. This terminology can also be productive in a posthumanist discourse, in search of a displacement of the human subject, building toward a decentred view of the biosphere.

Karel Doing is an independent artist, filmmaker and researcher. His interest in experimental film and expanded cinema is reframed within a critical approach toward modernity and post-modernity, in search of new meanings of the real and the material. His films, performances and installations have been shown internationally, including shows in Paris, Los Angeles, Toronto, Bonn, Rotterdam and London.


Robert HENGEVELD. Art in Natural and Post Natural Worlds

Our cultural relationship to and perception of the natural environment has continually transformed throughout the course of human history. These shifting perspectives are made evident in artists’ depictions of, or interactions with, nature. This paper establishes a cursory survey of this evolving relationship between humankind and the natural world as interpreted through artistic production. The research centres on the work of artists working within our contemporary culture and the differing perspectives they bring to the Anthropocenic, Post-Natural World we presently inhabit.

Robert is an artist whose work explores the boundaries between reality and fiction, often engaging technologies and collaborations in the process. He now lives in Newfoundland where he teaches at Memorial University. His work has been exhibited across internationally and is head in various public and private collections. Past exhibitions include Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center (Buffalo US), Art Athina (Athens, GC), Powerplant (Toronto, ON), Mercer Union (Toronto, ON), Mulherin New York (NYC, US), and Opinion Makers (London UK).



The forced dividing between “culture” and “nature” demands an (educated-)human(-in-a-city)-centered way of thinking. “Culture” as the cultural, manufactured, planned and “nature” – as the wild, unpredictable one. I propose a new methodology on how to look at “nature” – in terms of holistic, intuitive, vernacular design. Using common sense and DIY arts and crafts, we can take a step back and become part of the weird, slow loop that is “nature” (“loop” and “weird” here is borrowed from T.Morton). We are aware of ourselves (as a species, as part of a family, as individuals with needs and dreams) and some of us also possesses the ecological awareness. Moving away from the depressing feeling imposed by dark ecology, we have to find a way to become “green” – I’m not saying that everyone should become a bio-farmer, but to become part of the natural loop. Art has the opportunity to look for experimental new ways of living and to use technology the “wrong” way (or the “weird” way). In my research I’ve created experiments and prototypes that can be used by anyone who wants to grow food in limited spaces, reduce household waste and be more aware of the limitations of our planet.

Maija Demitere is an artist and lecturer and doctoral student at Liepaja University. Her main fields of research are dark ecology, deep sustainability, slow media art, developing artistic research and presentation methods that could offer different lifestyles – promoting individual self-sustainability, using local culture and traditions (Latvian and Soviet cultural heritage) together with technologies to create a deeper understanding of true balance between urban and country environment and individual and communal lifestyle.