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MUTABILITY & MUTUALISM
Seminar with the Institute for Postnatural Studies 


May 17th–June 28th

7 online sessions*
Every Tuesday from 19:00 to 21:00 GMT+1
Starting May 17th to June 28th

150€ registration fee
(20% discount sending student certificate)

Need-based scholarships available - inquire here!

For registration and more info, please write studies@instituteforpostnaturalstudies.org

*Online format throughout the whole seminar


SYNOPSIS

Queer Ecology is a theoretical framework that applies queer theory to environmental concerns, ecological constructs, and our relationships with nature. Queerness and ecology together make visible the interconnected, entangled conditions of life on earth and honour the strange, multispecies amalgamation we live in community with. To make sense of the broad constellation of practices that emerge from Queer Ecology, we examine at two scales: the individual and the collective. As we explore, the binary distinction between these scales quickly blurs and blends.

At the scale of the individual—the organism—Queerness is mutability: it is the power of transformation; of shapeshifting, fluency, and the freedom to move from form to form; of code-switching, mimicry, flamboyance, delight; of subtlety, grace, and the embrace of fluidity. It plays in contrast to rigidity, permanence, and stasis; to one way of being. It is metamorphosis and a constant becoming.

At the scale of the collective—the ecosystem—Queerness is mutualism: it is symbiotic, in-contact, relational; it is a space of eccentric economies and mutual support; of found families and utopian dreams; of care and connection and the net benefits species gift one another. It is a world shaped through cooperation. On a rapidly changing planet, Queer mutability and mutualism can guide us toward adaptation and survival.

The speakers in this seminar series will consider the influence of mutability and mutualism on their work in the fields of visual art, evolutionary biology, biodiversity, environmental activism, synthetic biology, ecology, and queer theory.



CALENDAR

Session I - May 17th
Institute of Queer Ecology

Speaking on behalf of the Institute of Queer Ecology, co-directors Lee Pivnik and Nicolas Baird will present a brief history of the institute and share how their current research has led them to a focus on mutability and mutualism as foundational themes of Queer Ecology. They will identify how these themes can be embodied as a transformative strategy both for individual and planetary adaptation. Lee is a Miami-based artist whose current work is focused on the history of the built environment in South Florida, and looks towards local organisms and living systems to identify regenerative solutions to continue living in a city marked by precarity. Nicolas is an artist, evolutionary biologist, writer, and dancer currently living in Oracle, Arizona, whose scientific research and art practice are concerned with the evolutionary relationships between bodies and their landscapes, multispecies adaptation, and the transmutation of memory and dreams.


Session II - May 24th
Institute for Postnatural Studies


After a brief introduction to the postnatural framework, this session will focus on new modes of overcoming the human/animal binomial. We will explore how humans have interacted with animals in western culture and contrast it with other approaches to multi-species coexistence. Collectively we will also exercise different ways of embodying an expanded notion of the human-animal through vocal activations and roleplaying through hybrid bodies. Case studies of wild children, the phonocene, contemporary artistic practices, and different cultural and popular subgenres of identity and sexuality will provide a horizontal and fertile platform to discuss and learn from each other.


Session III - May 31st
Rian Ciela Hammond

In this session Rian Ciela Hammond will share some of their research and interventions into hegemonic hormone production, regulation, and codification systems. Together participants will co-create a web of interspecies hormonal relations, mapping molecular semiotic kinship, and unwinding entrenched western mythologies about these shapeshifting guides so often narrowly understood as “human” essences of “masculinity” and “femininity”.


Session IV - June 7th
Film Screening 

Metamorphosis is a 4-stage film by the Institute of Queer Ecology, modeled after the life cycles of holometabolous insects: bugs who undergo a “complete metamorphosis” where the organism fully restructures itself to adapt to its changing needs and ensure its survival. Relying on this metaphorical transformation, IQECO aims to help catalyze a planet-wide transformation from the prevailing extractive relationship with the earth to one characterized by regeneration and care.


Session V - June 14th
Mary Maggic


How do bodies queer at the molecular level? How is this queering inextricably tied to industrial capitalism? Combining body and gender politics and environmental toxicity, we begin to unpack the concept of “open source estrogen,” the underlying premise that hormonal molecules are ubiquitously all around us - available for us to hack, mutate, and become-with. Through this process of unboxing their molecular mystique, we see that even in our toxic sea of industrial molecules, it is still a sublime sea of co-mattering.


Session VI - June 21st
Noam Youngrak Son

The workshop series ‘Chimera Gastronomy’ was developed by the Belgium-based queer communication designer Noam Youngrak Son supported by the Institute of Queer Ecology. In the workshop, the participants contributed to a collaborative process to turn edible ingredients from daily grocery stores into an imaginative hybrid creature.
In the session, Noam will share their thoughts about the aftermath of the workshop, about how context-dependent the workshop is, and what the practice that involves edible matters should orientate in the era of heightened global insecurity of food influenced by the pandemic, climate change and the war.

Session VII - June 28th
Houston R. Cypress


Houston R. Cypress grew up in the swamps of the Florida Everglades, blazing trails through the bush. The endangered beauty of the natural environment made such an impression on him during his childhood – being a refuge for his ancestors and the source of traditional plant medicines – that he grew to find ways to articulate strategies for preserving this World Heritage Site. Through his organization, Love the Everglades Movement, Cypress has become a major force within Miccosukee society as an advocate for cultural preservation, environmental protection, business development, and sovereignty.




Speaker Bios:

Rian Ciela Hammond
Artist and biologist Rian Ciela Hammond (b. Richmond VA, USA) creates bio-technical performances, media-expansive artworks, and transdisciplinary texts that invite people to examine the interactions between technology, power, and ways of knowing and being a body. Hammond’s work can be found in the online publication PUSH/PULL: Trans Family Archive (2020) and has been exhibited at Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY (2021), Vox Populi, Philidelphia, PA (2021), El Museo, Buffalo, NY (2020) and Gas Gallery, Los Angeles, CA (2019). Hammond is based in Lenapehoking (Jersey City, NJ).

Mary Maggic
Mary Maggic (b. Los Angeles, '91) is a nonbinary artist working at the intersection of hormones, body and gender politics, and ecological alienations. Maggic frequently uses “biohacking” as a xeno-feminist practice of care that holds the potential to demystify invisible systems of molecular biopower. Completing their Masters in the Design Fiction group at MIT Media Lab, Maggic is a current member of the global network Hackteria - Open Source Biological Art, the tactical theater collective Aliens in Green, the Asian feminist group Mai Ling Vienna, as well as a contributor to the radical syllabus project Pirate Care and to the online Cyberfeminism Index.

Noam Youngrak Son
Designer based in Ghent and Eindhoven. They inscribe myths for the underrepresented in various mediums, from books to performances to 3D printed sex toys. They are excited about the unexpectedness that a well-designed fiction can open up, and critical political discussions that it may cultivate. They use their capability as a designer to visualize and materialize the setup for the technological & ecological bodies in their fiction to play roles in. Their identity as a queer person of color is one of the crucial axes of their design practices.

Houston R. Cypress
Reverend Houston R. Cypress is a two-spirit poet, artist, activist, and ordained minister from the Otter Clan of the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians of Florida. He resides on the Miccosukee Reservation located west of Miami, Florida; and he maintains a number of traditional villages located on tree islands scattered throughout Water Conservation Area 3A — the area known as the historic River of Grass, and called by his community: KAAHAYATLE, which can be translated as “Shimmering Waters.”

Organizers:

Institute of Queer Ecology
IQECO is a collaborative organism that supports the necessary transition away from extractive, exploitative systems towards mutually symbiotic living. IQECO builds on the theoretical framework of Queer Ecology, an adaptive practice concerned with interconnectivity, intimacy, and multispecies relationality.

Institute for Postnatural Studies
IPS is a center for artistic experimentation from which to explore and problematize postnature as a framework for contemporary creation. Founded in 2020, it is conceived as a networked place that brings together artists and researchers concerned with the issues of the global ecological crisis.

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