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Multispecies Worldbuilding Lab
We are a podcast about climate change that engages with interdisciplinary perspectives on more-than-human worlds through interviews, field recordings, and experimental sound.
Jan 22, 2022
SHANNON MATTERN is a theorist and professor of media, design, architecture, and anthropology at the New School for Social Research in New York. In this lively episode, Mattern asks: what metaphors, tools, and projects are needed to imagine ways of building and repairing our cities more collaboratively? She shares her expansive interests—from computation, interconnection, and urban intelligences to thinking with trees, writing as grafting, supporting public libraries, and redesigning the academy. Mattern is the author of multiple books and essays. Her most recent book is A City Is Not A Computer: Other Urban Intelligences (Princeton 2021). She is also a contributing writer for Places, an online journal of architecture, urbanism, and landscape design. https://wordsinspace.net/ twitter @shannonmattern
Sep 1, 2021
Una Chaudhuri & Marina Zurkow
Friendship as method and medium is the heart of this conversation between Marina Zurkow and Una Chaudhuri, artists-academics behind "Dear Climate," a New York-based art collective that engages with climate change through public installations, design, experimental pedagogies, and playful toolkits for multispecies survival. Marina and Una share stories of early teaching in the field of Animal Studies, arriving at the right name and mode of address for the collective, and the many friendships that have deepened their shared practice and aesthetico-political commitments to multispecies worlds over the last decade.
Jul 1, 2021
Cecilia Vicuña and Sarah Lookofsky
Two rivers situate our conversation with two friends, poet/artist Cecilia Vicuña and art historian/curator Sarah Lookofsky. El Río Mapocho begins in the Andes Mountains and runs through the city of Santiago, Chile where Cecilia was born, while the River Akerselva begins in Maridal Lake and flows through waterfalls and former industrial areas of Oslo where Sarah recently moved. What might we learn to hear if we attend to the interweaving languages of these ancient waters and the many lives, joys, brutalities, and deaths they carry, remember, and resist? In this episode, Cecilia and Sarah talk about multispecies connection, histories of contamination and colonialism, quantum co-evolution, listening with fingers, dancing with mussels, speaking with red wing thrushes, and the "explosive commitment to the beauty of being alive." ceciliavicuna sarahlookofsky
1 hr 10 min
May 8, 2021
PAUL SADOWSKI, mycologist and musician, shares stories about working with John Cage and sound, learning about fungi and trees with Gary Lincoff and NY Mycological Society, and going on fungi forays throughout New York. Paul is a mycologist, musician, and autographer based in New York City. He teaches at the New York Botanical Gardens and is a beloved member of the New York Mycological Society with whom he has led forays in all seasons throughout the state, guided mushroom identification sessions and fungi surveys, and taught mycological microscopy for many happy years, and counting. Mushrooms, Paul says, are always surprising.
1 hr 7 min
Mar 26, 2021
Lesley Green - Part 2
*Lesley Green, anthropologist and science studies scholar in Cape Town, discusses her new book **Rock | Water | Life: Ecology and Humanities for a Decolonial South Africa** (Duke/Wits Press 2020). Green develops an ecopolitical approach to critically engage with South Africa's history of racial oppression and environmental extraction, paying close attention to water conflicts, natural gas fracking, baboon management, sewage, soil, and land restitution. Emphasizing the "relation," Green calls for a paradigm shift that requires collaboration, experimentation, pedagogy, and laughter.*
Mar 5, 2021
Lesley Green - Part 1
How might humanists, social scientists, and natural scientists do "research that matters and matters politically" in the Anthropocene? Lesley Green is an anthropologist and science studies scholar based in Cape Town who invites us to inhabit the diverse ecologies, violent colonial histories, neoliberal logics, and possible futurities from within South Africa. Emphasizing the "relation," Green proposes a critical paradigm shift that requires collaboration, experimentation, pedagogy, and laughter.
Jan 29, 2021
ZHENG Bo + Steven LAM
How might weedy plants and creative practices break through extractivist logics of colonialism and industrial modernity? ZHENG BO and STEVEN LAM are artists and educators who are engaged with multispecies ecologies, chemical regimes, and social/environmental justice. In this episode, they discuss a shift away from the aesthetics and politics of representation and their moves toward the affects and materialities of plant sex, the Golden Spike, Indigenous lifeways, and ecological health.
Aug 20, 2020
HEATHER DAVIS talks about plastic in the United States, discussing its materiality, geography, and toxic histories. Combining feminist and queer theory with chemistry, geology, history, and art, Davis unpacks the constitution of throwaway culture, petrochemical industries, pvc, feminized male bodies, human endocrine systems, multidisciplinary collaboration, mealworms, and mermaids’ tears (also known as nurdles) in order to think through questions of justice, inheritance, and multispecies kinship. Davis works across the fields of environmental arts and humanities, and feminist and queer studies. She teaches at Eugene Lang College at the New School in New York City and is a member of the Synthetic Collective, a multidisciplinary group of artists and scientists who are mapping the material effects of plastic in the Great Lakes.
Feb 4, 2020
*Elizabeth Hénaff* discusses her collaborative investigations of microbial life in the waters of the Gowanus Canal, a Superfund site in Brooklyn, New York, as well as her interdisciplinary practice that brings together plant biology, metagenomics, and design. As a scientist, artist, and teacher, Henaff describes the various methods, apparatuses, and creative improvisations she uses in order to understand how multispecies dynamics work and thrive beyond human control. Henaff teaches at the Department of Integrated Digital Media at New York University, Tandon School of Engineering, where she also runs the Laboratory for Living Interfaces. For her work on the Gowanus Canal, she collaborates with architects, scientists, and designers at the BK BioReactor project. BKBioReactor bkcioreactor.com Laboratory for Living Interfaces http://idm.engineering.nyu.edu/henafflab/ Henaff Studio http://elizabeth-henaff.net instagram ehenaff twitter henafflab
Oct 2, 2019
ASHLEY DAWSON talks about "extreme", or urban densities like New York City, where social inequalities and uneven effects of colonial violence and capitalist development are increasingly exacerbated by extreme weather and environmental degradation. He calls on the power of storytelling to radically imagine different futures. Dawson works across the fields of postcolonial studies, environmental humanities, and climate justice. He is a professor of English at CUNY Graduate Center and College of Staten Island, and leads a Climate Action Lab.
1 hr 25 min
Sep 24, 2019
JULIE GUTHMAN talks about strawberries, soil fumigants, pathogenic fungi, farmers, and scientists — a dynamic more-than-human assemblage that has remade California agriculture. Her rigorous and expansive study warns against the technoscientific fix, as well as the challenges of acknowledging that there is no easy way out. Guthman is a geographer and social scientist who has written extensively about California farms. She is professor of Social Sciences at University of California Santa Cruz and a Guggenheim fellow.
Aug 2, 2019
JAMES HIGHAM talks about the evolution and ecology of nonhuman primates as well as the ethics and politics involved in long-term fieldwork with: rhesus macaques at Cayo Santiago, Puerto Rico, which was wiped out by Hurricane Maria in 2017; and the movements of the people and cattle at Gashaka Gumti in Nigeria. He is interested in variation and sexual selection, and the urgent question around conservation. Higham works across the fields of primatology and Anthropology at New York University where he also leads the Primate Reproductive Ecology and Evolution Group.
1 hr 12 min