Zooetics: Zooetics II

Public lecture, October 1, 2015 at Kaunas University of Technology (Kaunas, LT)

Zooetics held series of public lectures at Kaunas University of Technology, Winter 2014 and Autumn 2015. Leading thinkers across the fields of humanities, design and engineering unpacked the notions of Interspecies, Anthropocene and Nature, and proposed new conjunctions across these ideas.

All lectures have been recorded and are available on Zooetics Vimeo.

Zooetics II


Keller Easterling – Knowing How

We are very good at “knowing that”—pointing to things and calling their name. In our most primitive moments we even regard this cumulative identification as a primary form of knowledge. “Knowing how” redoubles that knowledge. It is the ability to detect the unfolding interplay between things as an information system. We are accustomed to the abstractions of information systems—languages, DNA or codes for digital devices. But we are less attuned to the ways in which information resides in the lumpy, heavy objects of our world—not only living beings but everything from the smallest object to buildings and cities. We are more aware of their name than the repertoire they enact. It is harder to unfocus eyes and see not only the object but the matrix of activities in which the object is suspended. It is harder to see the ways in which objects are computing, exchanging and generating information. Using a series of simple examples, “Knowing How” rehearses the ability to read this matrix as an infinitive rather than nominative expression.

Keller Easterling is an architect, writer and professor at Yale. Her most recent book, Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space (Verso, 2014), examines global infrastructure networks as a medium of polity. Another recent book, Subtraction (Sternberg, 2014), considers building removal or how to put the development machine into reverse. Other books include: Enduring Innocence: Global Architecture and its Political Masquerades (MIT, 2005) and Organization Space: Landscapes, Highways and Houses in America (MIT, 1999).


Dimitris Papadopoulos – Political Posthumanism

What is politics when it is decentred into other forms of life and movements of matter? In more than human worlds politics becomes a form of dispersed experimentation and making comes to permeate political organising. Social movements reveal themselves as more than social, operating through distributed invention power, ecological transversality, compositional practice, a complex traffic between instituted and community technoscience, the involution of human, animal and inorganic actors, the centrality of craft and experimental labour, the topological stacking of materials and processes. Politics qua making changes knowledge practices by recomposing the materiality of everyday life: forking worlds into other ontologies. Alter-ontology is before the event of politics; it is politics engrained into cells, tissue, space, things, plants and animals.

Dimitris Papadopoulos is a Reader in Sociology and Organisation at the School of Management, University of Leicester. His work in science and technology studies, politics and organisation, labour and transnational migration has been published in numerous journals and in several monographs, including Escape Routes. Control and Subversion in the 21st Century (Pluto Press 2008), Analysing Everyday Experience: Social Research and Political Change (Palgrave 2006) and Lev Vygotsky: Work and Reception (Campus 1999/Lehmanns 2010). He is currently completing Political Posthumanism. Movements of Technoscience (forthcoming with Duke University Press), a study of the political and ontological implications of alternative experimentations with technoscience.


Matthew Fuller – In the Middle of Growth

Zooetics proposes the problematic of how humans may more effectively collaborate with other forms of life on the planet. This in turn raises two questions, of how our notion of the human changes due to such relations, and how to recognise and work within ecologies as a mutual field of co-composition, opening up questions about intent, aesthetics, design-process and art. To make such a move is also to navigate accounts of nature, and of relations between kinds of knowledge. The lecture drew upon botany and the notion of the ethico-aesthetic proposed by Félix Guattari to discuss the way in which patterns and mechanisms of plant growth may offer a particular set of examples and capacities to guide and query experimental thinking and action in such collaboration.

Matthew Fuller is the author of the forthcoming How to Sleep, in Art, Biology and Culture(Bloomsbury). Other titles include Media Ecologies, Materialist Energies in Art and Technoculture(MIT Press), Behind the Blip, Essays on the Culture of Software and Elephant & Castle (both Autonomedia). With Usman Haque, he is co-author of Urban Versioning System v1.0 (ALNY) and with Andrew Goffey, of Evil Media (MIT). Editor of Software Studies, a Lexicon (MIT Press) and co-editor of the journal Computational Culture, he is involved in a number of projects in art, media and software. He is Professor of Cultural Studies and Director of the Centre for Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths, University of London.