Scroll to find out about internal staff & student presentations

During term time, we organise research seminars on a regular basis for Critical Ecologies members and staff/graduate students from across the university to present and discuss work-in-progress. If you are a Goldsmiths staff member or student and would like to be notified about upcoming seminars, please email us here. 

14 May 2024

Josephine Berry

The devastation left in the wake of modernity and globalization is revealing a fragile and unfamiliar planet, and humanity has awoken into a new real. If the old ‘realist’ tools of objectivism have contributed to capitalist society’s divorce from the natural world, how are artists finding new ways to make us really see – and feel – the planet? Surveying a body of planet-facing art, communal practices and activism, this book investigates art’s power to break with capitalist realism and decarbonise the imagination. With chapters on feeling as world-making, the rupture of petroleum landscapes, artists’ urban exodus, and migration as survival, Planetary Realism delves deeply into art’s necessary reimagining of life on Earth.
This will be the first presentation I have made of the book which I only recently finished - I will give an overview of its ideas, and likely focus on the chapter ‘Mending the Aesthetic Rift’ that discusses ex/artists living eco-political and communal lives in France and the Pyrenees.

Josephine Berry is an art theorist, writer and political thinker. She has written on public art in the neoliberal context of creative cities (No Room to Move: Radical Art in the Regenerate City, 2010, co-authored with Anthony Iles), and more recently on the function of autonomous art within contemporary biopower (Art and (Bare) Life: A Biopolitical Inquiry, Sternberg 2018). She is Tutor at the Royal College of Art, London and lecturer at Goldsmiths College in MCCS. She was a member of the editorial collective of London based cultural politics magazine Mute from 1995-2014. She is series co-editor for Goldsmiths Press’ Spatial Politics series.

Lenka  Vráblíková

Mushroom foraging is a passion shared nationwide across all demographic and social groups of Czech society: over 70% of the population visit forests for mushroom foraging at least once a year, gathering almost 11 kg of mushrooms per household. The presentation explores how mushroom foraging as ‘nation’s precious hobby’ (Šiftová 2020) has figured in the negotiations of belonging in Czech (post)socialist cultural politics. The first part of the presentation provides an analysis of the instrumental role mushrooms and their foragers have played in the articulation of Czech national identity and the country’s self-positioning within the broader frame of the current hegemonic geopolitics rooted in European colonialism. In the second part I close-read art works and other cultural practices that engage with fungi to envision new forms of belonging beyond the constraints of this hegemony, including art installation ‘Nothing Nowhere into Something Somewhere’ (Anetta Mona Chisa & Lucia Tkáčová, 2015) and poem ‘The Czech are Excellent Mushroom Hunters’ (Milan Kozelka, 2013).

Lenka Vráblíková is a lecturer at the Departments of Art and Visual Cultures at Goldsmiths. Her work lies at the intersection of visual culture studies, contemporary art, transnational feminisms, political ecology, feminist deconstruction, and critical pedagogy. Her research focuses on examining the role fungi and their foragers have played in the cultural and political imagination of European heteropatriarchal postcoloniality, with the aim of generating new notions of belonging in a world defined by unequally distributed social and ecological precarity. Her work in ‘feminist visual ethnomycology’ (together with Elspeth Mitchell, University of Leeds) also includes facilitation of “Out of Office” walks that combine feminist reading with mushroom foraging. Lenka is a co-founding member of transnational Feminist Readings Network, a member of Woods – collective for cultivation, theory and art (Czechia), Critical Ecologies Research Stream at Goldsmiths (UK), and the advisory board of KAFKÁRNA, Center for Arts and Ecology UMPRUM (Czechia).

27 February 2024

Susan Schuppli

This presentation focuses on the frozen water trade; specifically the ways in which European and American merchants tried to cool the tropics through the financialisation of temperature, shipping natural ice extracted from glaciers and winter lakes to colonial elites around the world. Schuplli will present an excerpt from a new film on the topic.

Susan Schuppli is an artist and writer as well as Professor in and Director of the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths.

4 March 2020

Pete Jiadong Qianga

My research tries to establish a new inventive methodology of Queer Maximalism by reusing the creative practices from ACGN (Anime, Comic, Game and Novel), fandom communities and autoethnography in VR (Virtual Reality) space in game engine. Both visually and acoustically, this new entanglement will redefine the concept of Portal with multiple HyperBodies intermediating between physical and virtual spaces.The particular part of research of Hyper-Sexual Body in Beijing and London is introduced to establish the idea of spatial autoethnography and lead to creative practices of shipping and modding in VR spaces from diverse Chinese gaming and fandom communities, within this maximalist environment of shipping and modding, it tries to create a possible maximalist ecology constantly intermediating between physical and virtual spaces.
Pete Jiadong Qiang is currently a PhD student in arts and computational technology at Goldsmiths and trained in architecture at Architectural Association School of Architecture. His work focuses on the specific investigation of the bridges and interstices between pictorial, architectural and game spaces. His works range from architectural drawings, paintings, moving images to photogrammetry, augmented reality (AR) drawings, virtual reality (VR) paintings and games that form an idiosyncratic research methodology between the physical and virtual spaces with ACG (Anime, Comic and Games) and fandom contexts. Pete Jiadong Qiang is often referred as architectural Maximalism.

Peter Ainsworth

My recent practice focus is relational to the Early Egyptian gallery of the British Museum. Particularly the display case containing a 5000-year-old predynastic natural mummy known as Gebelein Man (presented in a diorama representing a reconstructed grave-pit), whose remains became part of the collection in 1900 and has been on display consistently since this point. This has become a focus in my work because placed in relation to the installation is an ‘interactive visualization display’. Described by the creators (RISE Interactive) as a ‘Virtual autopsy’ or ‘Inside explorer’ the exhibit consists of an annotated graphically rendered CAT scan that may be interacted by the museum spectator through a large touch screen.
Influenced by understandings of metonymy and copresence I am considering relationality in the museum space; particularly how such displays are experience through post-photographic technologies. My interest is towards thinking of whether or if research of photographic or perhaps what might be termed ‘electromagnetographic’ technologies may be considered through understandings that are substantially different from normative discussions of likeness, similitude or indexicality considered in photography theory. Furthermore, whether there is scope in this engagement to highlight photographic mediation as a way to think the museum in an eco-phenomenological sense. By and large the work and analysis were completed in front of the display and the research is a combination of observational analysis and practice-based experimentation. The practice has taken various forms – including video, stills, photogrammetry and AR works created in or surrounding the object and all made with a mobile phone camera. The process of making in this context has been both within the normative documentary tradition of filmmaking but also informed by intuitive work conducted on-site. Considered relationally to problems in the usage of interactive photographic technologies in the museum space, the display of human remains, concepts of history and the logic of using medical imaging systems through a contemporary understanding of digital humanities and in consideration of how the photographic medium may be thought with.

Peter Ainsworth is an artist working with lens-based media and lecturer in Photography at LCC UAL. The work that he makes explores photographic practices, in the context of new technology relationally to contemporary philosophy, digital anthropology, architecture and museum practices. His current work is exploring 3D scanning technologies, photogrammetry and Augmented Reality through mobile devices as a way to think with the contemporary museum space. Specifically, in this context understandings of knowledge creation; such as the relation between concepts of object, artefact and image and how these may be thought through practice. He is currently undertaking a practice-based PhD in the department of visual cultures at Goldsmiths with working title, Metonymy, Copresence and Affect in Contemporary Post-photographic Practice.

17 March 2020

Susan Schuppli

Learning from Ice investigates polar environments as a vast information network composed of material as well as cultural ‘sensors’ that are registering and transmitting the signals of pollution and climate change. The film trilogy coalesces disparate – and oftentimes imperceptible – data sources across a wide range of spatial scales that, when taken together, create a more comprehensive picture of our current ecological condition. It is organised around the concept of “learning from ice” and highlights the many different practices that have produced knowledge of environmental change in the North, from the study of past climates using ice cores, the lived experiences and observations of indigenous people, to techniques of material investigation. Part I: Ice Cores documents activities in the Canadian Ice Core Archive and the OSU Ice Core and Quaternary Geochemistry Lab in the US as well as glacial retreat at the Athabasca Glacier in the Columbia Icefields and ice core drilling at Mount Oxford, Nunavut.Generously supported by the Toronto Biennial of Art, Canada Council for the Arts, and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in Fine Arts.

Susan Schuppli is a researcher, media theorist, and artist based in London whose work examines material evidence from war and conflict to environmental disasters and climate change. Current work is focused on the politics of cold. She is the Director of the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths and an affiliate artist-researcher and Board Chair of Forensic Architecture. Schuppli has published widely within the context of media and politics and is author of the new release Material Witness (The MIT Press, 2020).

Ifor Duncan

II Hydrologic knowledges have long been mobilised in the interests of extraction and manifest as Hydrosocialities of control, predominantly through the role rights of access play in the exploitation and subjugation of populations. These most noticeably include irrigation practices as crucial technologies of colonial expansion (Dilip Da Cunha, Donald Worster, Daanish Mustafa, Aaron T. Wolf). Here I propose hydrologic practices as, in turn, dictating the modes of resistance and politically transformative possibilities. These often explicitly Feminist practices are aesthetic and social in form, and include: the existence of River contracts drafted by communities in the act of taking responsibility for local river health; irrigation practices adopted in Rojava used to resist Turkish policy and infrastructure that limits supply; the activism of the River Sisters in Poland; and the multiple forms of action against hydropower extraction taking place across the Americas - most notably outlined by Macarena Gomez-Barris (The Extractive Zone, 2017) and including the aesthetic modes adopted by Carolina Caycedo and the strategies instigated by Movimientio Rios Vivos and The Association of People Affected by the El Quimbo Hydroelectric Project (ASOQUIMBO), and Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens ((MAB) Brazil The Movement of those Affected by Dams). As work in progress developing beyond my PhD thesis, I intend to propose that the banks, course, flow, and channels of bodies of water are themselves sites of political action.

Ifor Duncan is a London-based writer and researcher. He recently completed his PhD at the Centre for Research Architecture, Goldsmiths, University of London. His research concerns the complex relationships between political violence and watery spaces; specifically, the ways hydrologic properties are instrumentalised within border regimes, as technologies of obfuscation, or weaponised against marginalised communities. Ifor currently teaches at Goldsmiths and the Royal College of Art.

18 February 2020

Michael Richardson

Witnessing has always been inseparable from making meaning that matters ethically and politically, of producing responsibility and demanding justice. Yet how can witnessing face up to violence and catastrophe that eludes human knowing? How can crises of war and climate be witnessed when they are distributed geographically, massive in scale or insensible to the human? Thinking across drone war and ecological crisis offers one set of answers. Entangled within a wider set of interlocking intensifications of technology, capital and ecological violence, drone warfare is war for the Anthropocene: distributed, networked and aerial yet animated by nonhuman agencies, racializing in its colonial logics and destructive of bodies, ecologies and atmospheres alike. Reading from an unruly archive of military technologies, new media arts and decolonial fiction, this paper argues that understanding witnessing as bound up with nonhuman entities can provide new and potentially transformative modes of relating to crisis.

Michael Richardson is a Senior Research Fellow in the School of the Arts & Media, UNSW. His transdisciplinary research investigates witnessing and testimony at the intersection of affect, power and war in culture, media and politics. He is the author of Gestures of Testimony: Torture, Trauma and Affect in Literature (Bloomsbury 2016), holds an Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (2019-2021) for the project “Drone Witnessing: Technologies of Perception in War and Culture” and is co-director of the UNSW Media Futures Hub. Michael is a visiting fellow in the Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies during February 2020.

18 June 2019

Cydney Phillip 

The extractive economy of memory in the US South – based on the exploitation of natural resources and predominantly African American bodies – becomes legible when reading the memorial landscapes of the region. This talk will examine The National Memorial for Peace and Justice, and the ways in which the site interrupts this hegemony by utilising the environment to memorialise the evolution of racialised violence in the American South. Juxtaposing the ecological modes of remembrance exhibited at the memorial with the petro-chemical memoryscapes active elsewhere in the region, this presentation will contrast notions of organic and artificial memory. This presentation will attempt to synthesise how the regions oily politics have enabled slippages in memories and ethics, and how these politics have prompted activists to pursue alternate modes of remembrance that are ecologically mediated and challenge dominant petrochemical memoryscapes.

Cydney Phillip is a PhD candidate at Goldsmiths, investigating how expressive cultures of the US South reveal how the legacies of slavery are environmentally mediated. Her research is funded by CHASE and brings together critical race studies, eco-criticism and new materialism to apprehend environmental, racialized violence as it is expressed ecologically – through imbrications of human and more than human domains – in Southern literature, photography, and heritage sites. She excavates the ostensibly natural topographies found in these works and the mnemonic landscapes of the US South in order to reveal the ways in which they materially evidence the plantation system and its continuums.

Samaneh Moafi

The Centre for Contemporary Nature is a research division within Forensic Architecture which explores the relationship between human rights violations and environmental violence. Historically, nature has been understood as a static, eternal backdrop against which human social, political, military or industrial activity unfolds. Our notion of ‘contemporary nature’ seeks to challenge that understanding. In the era of massive environmental damage and rapid, anthropogenic climate change, nature is moving at the same speed as human history, racing alongside it, interacting and becoming entangled with it. Environmental change and human agency appear locked in a feedback loop, with consequences far beyond our control.Following the Second World War, ‘culture’ and ‘humanity’ were seen as a common and unifying project, pitted against the calamity of war, crimes against humanity, and genocide. In such contexts, conflict was understood as specifically human-on-human violence. Today, however, social, political and military conflicts are increasingly enmeshed in their environmental circumstances. The extensive destruction or loss of ecosystems is beginning to be conceptualised as ‘ecocide’, a term which encompasses new forms of violence that may be slow, indirect, and diffused. If the twentieth century’s response to conflict was the commitment to ‘contemporary culture’, and the proliferation of centres for its study, we propose that, in response to modern forms of conflict, we must organise ourselves urgently around a concept of ‘contemporary nature’.

Samaneh Moafi is an architect and researcher. She is currently based at Forensic Architecture, Goldsmiths University of London where she oversees the Centre for Contemporary Nature (CCN), a research stream with the goal of developing new investigative techniques for environmental violence. Her work and contributions have been exhibited globally in forums such as the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art (2019), Tate Britain (2018), MACBA (2017) and Venice Architecture Biennale (2016). Previously, Samaneh has taught at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College of London (2014-15), University of Technology Sydney (2012-13), Royal College of Arts and the Architectural Association (AA) School of Architecture. She holds her PhD from The Architectural Association and her Masters and BA degrees from University of Technology, Sydney. Her PhD thesis engaged with struggle and resistance from the space of the home with a particular focus on the intersection of gender and class in Iran. Her articles on gender and domesticity have appeared at the Avery Review and the Funambulist among other places.

6 June 2019

Martin Savransky

I am currently finishing a book project titled Around the Day in Eighty Worlds: Politics of the Pluriverse. This book weaves together the speculative pragmatism of William James with debates on the politics of alterity in contemporary anthropology, philosophy, and postcolonial studies, in order to dramatise the stakes of a radical pluralism today. What I would like to present in this session are some very preliminary thoughts on the project that follows on from this book, exploring some of its implications at the heart of our environmental condition: a project on the notion of “cosmoecology”. As I currently envisage it, cosmoecology is a name for a problematic that haunts our present: the patterns of ecological devastation that mark our present and impending futures are such that, whatever the future, we can no longer be modern. As such, the contemporary environmental condition relays an ancient and many-storied question with renewed force, a question that, buried under the dreams of progress and the enthroning of technoscience, the moderns have all but forgotten: the question of the art of life. But what might it mean to reclaim the question of the art of life today? There are at least two dimensions which seem paramount at present. First, the question of the art of life is as much ethological as it is cosmological: it belongs to the cosmoecological connections through which habits and habitats, beings and worlds, are woven together; connections which demand a pluralistic experimentation beyond the bounds of the secular metaphysics that still underpins much environmental thought and politics. And second, if the art of life concerns the question of what makes a life worth living, today we can no longer ignore the fact that this also belongs, simultaneously, to the question of what a death worth living for might be. Hence the experiment I am envisaging under the sign of cosmoecology: an experiment on the pluralistic arts of living and dying well with others on a devastated planet.

Martin Savransky is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology. He develops a pluralistic philosophy of difference that experiments with the possibles created by a multiplicity of divergent practices of thinking, knowing and living with others in and out of Europe: how they might enable us to envisage modes of inhabiting worlds otherwise, and of making worlds more inhabitable. He has a keen interest in early American Pragmatism, radical pluralism, ecological humanities, speculative and empirical philosophy, postcolonial and anti-imperialist thought, religious and non-secular practices, and the history and philosophy of the human sciences. Publications include The Adventure of Relevance (Palgrave, 2016) and Around the Day in Eighty Worlds: Politics of the Pluriverse (Duke UP, 2021).

James Burton

“Existential risk” (ER) has been used to refer to the threat of a destructive event that would be global in scope and terminal in intensity, such that, in the words of Nick Bostrom, it “would either annihilate Earth-originating life or permanently and drastically curtail its potential”. I’ll take a critical look at some of the philosophical habits displayed by Bostrom and other members of the Future of Humanity Institute in establishing and using the paradigm of ER, arguing, first, that their categorial schema itself risks imposing a reductively static approach on thinking about the possible future destruction of earthbound life; and second, that the largely analytic bent of these approaches devalues a range of potentially invaluable resources for thinking existential risk from the realms, for example, of mythology, speculative fiction and other fabulative modes. (Part of the point of this argument is to contribute to laying the foundations for an approach to ER incorporating such resources – which is where there’s lots of scope for discussion in the session about how this could/might work – or whether indeed it already exists in various transdisciplinary forms, many of which crisscross Critical Ecologies.)

James Burton is Lecturer in Cultural History in the Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths. He researches and publishes on a wide range of topics in cultural theory, philosophy and literature, with particular interests in fabulation, science fiction, posthumanism and post-natural ecology. With Erich Hörl, he edited General Ecology: The New Ecological Paradigm (2017). His publications include The Philosophy of Science Fiction: Henri Bergson and the Fabulations of Philip K. Dick (2015), “From Exegesis to Ecology” (2015), “Towards a Parasitic Ethics” (with Daisy Tam, 2016) and “Metafiction and Ecology: Making Worlds with Worlds” (2017). In 2019, James co-organised a series of workshops entitled Organic Systems (Science Fiction and Ecology).

28 May 2019

Ele Carpenter, Warren Harper, Bridget Kennedy & Andy Weir

Ele Carpenter, Bridget Kenndey, Warren Harper, Andy Weir will introduce their research in art and nuclear culture to the critical ecologies research group, and discuss future projects and collaborations. Dr Ele Carpenter is Curator of the Nuclear Culture project. Her curatorial research investigates nuclear aesthetics through commissioning new artwork, publishing, curating exhibitions, site visits and roundtable discussions in partnership with arts organisations and nuclear agencies. Ele regularly participates in European workshops on the role of culture in long-term radioactive waste management, and was interviewed for 'Radioactive Art' on BBC Radio 4 (2 March, 2017).

Ele Carpenter is convenor of the Nuclear Culture Research Group and was a Reader in Curating. She is a Visiting Research Fellow, Institute of the Arts, University of Cumbria. Recent curated exhibitions and roundtable discussions include: ‘Perpetual Uncertainty’ Malmö Konstmuseum, Sweden (24 Feb – 26 Aug 2018), Z33 House of Contemporary Art, Hasselt, Belgium (Sept - Dec 2017), Bildmuseet, Umeå University, Sweden (Oct 2016 - April 2017). Ele is editor of The Nuclear Culture Source Book (2016).

Warren Harper is a curator, writer and researcher based in London. His work has reflected on the recent and historical cultural shifts of his home county of Essex, from its architecture, industry and how communities engage with or are impacted by these changes. He is a PhD candidate at Goldsmiths Art Department where his practice-based curatorial research project will investigate the relationship between the nuclear landscape of the Blackwater Estuary, home to the Bradwell Nuclear Power Station, and its communities and technologies. In 2016 he participated in a residency programme with Arts Catalyst and S-AIR in Hokkaido, Japan, to research nuclear power and alternative energies. There he initiated, alongside James Ravinet, research-led project Institute for the Recognition of Peripheral Interests (IROPI).

Bridget Kennedy is an Art practice-led PhD candidate at Goldsmiths, focussing on industrial heritage and the legacy of the nuclear power industry. Her interest in nuclear culture began in 2014 through Power in The Land, a visual arts project, during which she investigated the cultural significance of the closure of Wylfa nuclear power station on Anglesey, North Wales. Creating artworks for Power in The Land opened up new areas of interest such as deep time, geophilosophy, and a re-examination of the Anthropocene. The geographical focus of her research has now shifted to Sellafield, Cumbria. Here she is looking for ways to create a new imaginary of nuclear futures via a performative installation practice.

Andy Weir is an artist and writer. He has been interested in nuclear temporality since making artwork on geological repository sites, Deep Time Contagion, in 2012. Since then, he has developed research around problems and potentials of using art to ‘interface’ long-term radiological futures, focusing on concepts, affects and politics of ‘deep time’ in relation to geotrauma, futurologies, subjectification and the time of contemporary art. Recent texts from this research include ‘Thick Dia-chronic Crash. Incision Into Delay’, in Realism Materialism Art, ‘Cosmic Alreadymades’ in Journal of Curatorial Studies, and ‘Instituting Art at The Outermost’ in Project Anywhere. He is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art at Art University Bournemouth, PhD Candidate and MFA Graduate at Goldsmiths. His Pazugoo project was featured on the Perpetual Uncertainty exhibition curated by Ele Carpenter, which led to the Malmo Konstmuseum acquiring a Pazugoo figure for their collection in 2018.

11 December 2018

Helen Pritchard

Today so-called "Critter Chips" and "living sensors" are used in hundreds of applications from environmental remediation to cosmetic testing. These living sensors upload, move and stream trillions of data points to big data repositories as part of practices intended to manage and control environments. Through empirical research in a toxicology lab this presentation discusses lab practices in which living is entangled with modes of harm. I outline how practices of computation, in the context of monitoring pollution for the protection of some, holds more-than-humans in injurious states. At the intersection of geography, computational aesthetics and feminist technoscience, this talk focuses on that which is beyond affirmation, as an ethical model for collective living.  I ask what type of activity is this computational execution that derives from injury and how we might fabulate on computing otherwise? Here, I am interested in sites of politics that emerge from engagements with that which we can hardly know and can never flourish with: the darker, murkier “in-between”. Illuminating relationalities and hauntings of otherness that are torques of recognition and misrecognition, reorganisations of desire, anxiety and affinities that make appear and disappear shimmering affinities of affect and ethico-political kinships. As a response, in punk solidarity, I place Vinciane Despret’s provocation, to “think like” microbial life, in conversation with queer theory’s affirmative attention to injury and harm. I propose that by engaging with difficult/troubling/hardly-knowable-barely-sovereign arrangements of living sensors might just provide an ethics of engagement that is not predicated on the creativity of engagements but instead on their dark arts.

Helen Pritchard was the head of BSc Digital Arts Computing and a lecturer in Computational and Digital Arts at Goldsmiths. As an artist and geographer Helen’s interdisciplinary work brings together the fields of Computational Aesthetics, Geography, Design and Feminist TechnoScience. Her practice is both one of writing and making and these two modes mutually inform each other in order to consider the impact of computational practices on our engagement with environments. Central to Helen’s work is the consideration of co-research, participation and environmental practices. Helen’s practice often emerges as workshops, collaborative events and computational art. She is the co-editor of Data Browser 06: Executing Practices, published by Autonomedia, NY (2017).

Rachel O'Reilly

Since the 2011 install of the gas fracking industry through the unceded Gooreng Gooreng land and seas of the colonial port city of Gladstone, Australia, artist, research curator and poet, Rachel O’Reilly has used drawing, poetry, film, theoretical essays and film history lectures as part of The Gas Imaginary project to diagram and periodise the settler coloniality of power informing modernist versus unconventional extractive industries in Australia. Attending to the de- and re-compositional dramas of fracking’s install, the romance of investment property ontologies, and the minimalist environmental and water policies that rest on a history of land law innovations dating from the mercantile era, the project makes sense of how corporate governments install infrastructure through gender normativity, imagistic non-indexicality, informatic poverty and industrialized languaging. This talk will briefly address O’Reilly’s concepts of ‘topsoil citizenship’ and ‘form-finding research’ that puts O’Reilly’s theoretical writing on fracking and infrastructural aesthetics in dialogue with critical legal scholarship (Brenna Bhandar, Sarah Keenan, Cheryl Harris, Aileen Morton-Robinson).

Rachel O’Reilly (Brisbane/Berlin) is an artist, poet, critic and research curator whose work explores relationships between art and situated cultural practice, non-colonial aesthetic philosophy, and feminist political economy. She is currently a PhD candidate in the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths. She was a researcher at the Jan van Eyck Akademie and teaches the theory seminar ‘At the Limits of the Writerly’ at the Dutch Art Institute. She was previously curator at the Australian Cinematheque/Gallery of Modern Art and Fifth Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, for which she archived the films of Kumar Shahani. Recent co-curatorial projects include EX-EMBASSY, Berlin, ‘Infrastructural Rifts: Souls and Soils of Disaster Developmentalism’ at DAI, and ‘Planetary Records: Performing Justice between Art and Law’ for Contour Biennale, Mechelen. Publications include: ‘Neutrality: From the Letter from Melos to Non-Aligned Movement(s)’ with Jelena Vesić (Haus der Kunst Goethe Fellow) and Vladimir Jerić Vlidi, and ‘Infrastructures of Autonomy on the Professional Frontier: Art and the Boycott of/as Art’, with Danny Butt, Journal of Aesthetics and Protest. Rachel’s artistic work has been presented at the Institute of Modern Art, Eflux, Van Abbemuseum, Qalandiya International, Savvy Contemporary, Tate Liverpool, and as part of Frontier Imaginaries. She was a member of the Place, Ground and Practice group of the International Society for Electronic Arts, and Future South(s), an online network hosted by UNSW. Her writing has been published by Cambridge Scholars Press, MIT Press, Postcolonial Studies, Eflux Journal and in networked e-books. She began her PhD in Research Architecture at Goldsmiths in 2018.

27 November 2018

Sean Cubitt

Studying large-scale trends like climate must address whether there has been, will be, or is at present a change. These involve different practices of truth: observation, instrumentation, indirect observation, measurement and graphic and textual archives in information gathering; accumulation, verification, matching, inference, deduction, and modelling in data processing; human logic and affect combined or in conflict with automated network data crunching; and dissemination through technical papers, popular science, environmental communication, campaigning, editorial and conflicting receptions. Expert systems demand access and expertise to use them, and those excluded are confused and resentful. What modes of truth are on offer, and what alternatives might there be, both to common cognate terms for truth (plausibility, adequacy, clarity, degree of certainty) and to the locally specific practices of paleoclimatologists and other specialists in the field?

Sean Cubitt is Professor of Film and Television at Goldsmiths, University of London and Honorary Professorial Fellow of the University of Melbourne. His publications include The Cinema Effect (MIT 2004), Ecomedia (Rodopi 2005), The Practice of Light: Genealogies of Visual Media (MIT 20014) and Finite Media: Environmental Implications of Digital Technology (Duke 2017). He is series editor for Leonardo Books at MIT Press. His current research is on political aesthetics, media technologies, media art history and ecocriticism.


An art-led enquiry into the enunciative modality of the computational perspective of machine learning and the resulting patterns of accumulation which form topologies of investment, or divestment, according to valuation in the calculations of finance capital and security. We are exploring an ontology of Spring that includes the Arab Spring, Spring Garden Carpets and Silent Springs.

FRAUD is a métis duo (Fran Gallardo and Audrey Samson) that develops forms of art-led enquiry that examine financialization through extractive data practices and cultivate critical cosmogony building. Somerset House Studios alumni, recent work includes: “EURO–VISION”; “Carbon Derivatives,” presented at the Salon Suisse (the 57th Venice Biennale), Whitechapel Gallery (2018) and Somerset House (2018); and “Shrimping Under Working Conditions,” shown at Kunsthall Trondheim (2017) and the Empire Remains Shop in London (2016).

13 November 2018

Marleen Boschen

In the face of anthropogenic climate change and catastrophic loss of biodiversity seed banks have emerged as beacons of hope for the conservation of ‘nature’ and as insurance policies for future food security. How are images used to construct seeds as vulnerable subjects - both in need and worthy of ‘saving’ by human hands? Looking at a selection of image material produced by the Crop Trust (the main organisation responsible for the management of the Global Seed Vault in Svalbard in the Norwegian Arctic) as well as media features and art works I point at the affective dimension of this techno-scientific rescue project in how the seed vault comes to perform and embody hope, while also constructing a gaze that centres it as the legitimate carer for these precarious seeds. The issue of legitimacy when the seed-as-subject about to be frozen (visually and physically) cannot speak asks us to consider how we as viewers see these human-plant relationships as practices of care that are always also about control. How are practices of banking seeds embedded in broader geopolitical and neocolonial risk mitigation, resilience and adaptation to a warming world? And how are other kinds of seed saving creating different concepts of ‘nature’, property, the commons and more-than-human agency?

Marleen Boschen is a CHASE-funded PhD candidate in the Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies.

Sam Nightingale

I am developing experimental modes of image production that utilise the inherent photochemical capacities of plants and minerals to produce biochemical images. I will present some early research on this project, which I carried out in the isolated region around the Kilpisjärvi Biological Station in northern Lapland this September. Using a camera-less technique these images (if they can be called that) are not produced or communicated through light energy, but by biochemical ('alchemic') energy: a photo-material entanglement with the site that enfolds moss, lichen, fungi, mud and lake water into the image as its means of production. What are these forms of 'elemental media' generated by the environment itself, who is the audience, who do they address and what's their relation to image and materiality?

Sam Nightingale is a PhD candidate in the Department of Media, Communications and Cultural Studies.