What are the benefits and costs of things in relation to human and non-human worlds? What challenges arise from working and living with smart infrastructures? And what role can art, design or technology play in creating sustainable relationships with the environment and our planet? As part of its 35th edition, the European Media Art Festival (EMAF) presents five discussion events with theorists, artists and designers on the theme of “The thing is” from 20 to 24 April, in addition to an exhibition at the Kunsthalle Osnabrück (until 29 May). The talks, curated by Daphne Dragona, will feature speakers who, as the announcement says, “will discuss the interconnectedness of the living and the non-living together with the audience”. Three of the talks, which will be held in English, can be experienced as online events on the festival website; two others can be attended in presence at venues in Osnabrück.
According to the curator, the talks of the European Media Art Festival “explore the question of what it means to live with things, but also how different temporalities, doctrines of being and world views exert their influence”. In the talk “Personhood of a forest”, moderated by the Berlin architect and curator Rosario Talevi, the artists Ursula Biemann (Switzerland) and Caetano (Brazil) will discuss “how ecosystems forests and rivers can be understood not as reified objects, but rather as persons with their own rights and possibilities”. Under the title “Smart things at work”, the founder of the feminist organisation “Superrr Lab” Julia Kloiber will discuss interactions between humans and machines with Alessandro Delfanti (University of Toronto) and Jenny Kennedy (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology). “Design for multiple worlds”, moderated by Valentina Karga, professor at the Hamburg University of Fine Arts, will be devoted to the influence of object design on our thinking and our existence in conversation with the designer and activist Nina Paim (Basel/Port/ Rio de Janeiro) and the researcher Dr Ahmed Ansari (New York). Other events deal with symbiotic communities of lichens, fungi and algae. In addition, the media artist Valentina Karga will present her installation “The life of a self-eating table” in a live discussion at the Kunsthalle Osnabrück. The complete programme of the 35th European Media Art Festival is available online.
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