Roundtable title: How to Escape from the Anthropocene: Entanglements of More-Than-Human Bodies and Technologies in Contemporary Performative Arts
Discussants: Mateusz Borowski, Mateusz Chaberski, Filip Ryba & Małgorzata Sugiera
Abstract: The main point of reference for the four papers gathered in this panel is the concept of Anthropocene as an impasse on planetary scale and an epoch of accelerating entropy of environmental and social systems, caused by a few centuries of exploitation of natural, human and technological resources. This challenge is met by today’s performative arts, which not only take up the issues pertaining to the Anthropocene, but also propose alternative futures away from the rhetoric of oncoming catastrophe. The proposed panel involves examples of performative projects which point to the escape route from the Anthropocene towards a new epoch in which a critical function is fulfilled by technologies entangling human and non-human bodies in the ongoing process of mutual care and becoming.
The examples that we have chosen are manifestly different from those performances in which machines and media functioned as hybrid extensions of human sensorium. After all, they still sustained the division between culturally conditioned technology and a universalized body, a binary laying at the core of ideologies of transhumanism and posthumanism. The performances that we analyse feature other, non-biological conceptualizations of life, which cannot be separated from technological organs. This perspective entails a profound subversion of such typically modernist concepts as subjectivity and agency, as well as a new perspective on the relationship between the scale of an individual body and the planet. These themes provide a context for our discussion of selected performative projects, which employ technologies to probe possibilities of being-together of people, animals, plants and abiotic elements outside of Anthropocenic logic of domination and exploitation. Thus, they steer us towards futures offering a chance of survival on the ruins of modernity.
The panel, planned for 90 minutes, covers four fifteen-minute papers and a thirty-minute discussion:
- Mateusz Borowski, Bodies Between Scales in Performative Arts
- Mateusz Chaberski, More than Individuals, Less than Multitudes. Bodies after the Anthropocene
- Filip Ryba, Being with crisis and necessity of shifting around: The Lebanese example
- Małgorzata Sugiera, Escaping from the Anthropocene (in the Company of Spiders, Monarchs and Digital Technologies)
Bio: Mateusz Chaberski is assistant professor in the Department for Performativity Studies of the Jagiellonian University in Kraków, Poland. His academic interests range from performance studies, affect, and assemblage theories to Anthropocene studies. Recently he published Situated Knowing: Epistemic Perspectives on Performance (Routledge 2020) with Ewa Bal.