»It is time to focus beyond logical systems and to utilize the potential of an inter- and transdisciplinary approach to (artistic) research in order to critically rethink the concept of ›Mutations‹ and, consequently, life.«
Mutations. A Lecture Series brings together a dynamic group of researchers, artists, thinkers, curators, and scholars. Curated by the fellows of the interdisciplinary artist residency »Mutations« at Akademie Schloss Solitude, Stuttgart, and in cooperation with the KfW Stiftung, Frankfurt, it is the first of several public platforms which are being developed within the scope of the program. Interconnected with the evolving digital platform, mutations.akademie-solitude.de, which will be launched at the end of March, the lecture series is both an outcome of the program and a source of knowledge for further discussion. Within the fellows’ individual backgrounds in fields such as fine arts, architecture, music, philosophy, or life sciences, the lecture series aims to contribute a transdisciplinary approach to artistic investigation.
The participating experts JoAnn Kuchera-Morin, Heather Davis, Eben Kirksey, Marcia C. Castro, Natasha Ginwala, Andres Lepik, Sophia Roosth, and Brenna Bhandar represent different voices that offer a spectrum of perspectives on the concept of mutations and its multifaceted impact on social, political, and scientific structures. Following each lecture, there will be a Q & A where viewers are encouraged to join in on the discussion.
The thematic focus group »Mutations« is a cooperation between Akademie Schloss Solitude and KfW Stiftung, an independent non-profit foundation which focuses on intercultural dialogue and artistic production in the global context. The lecture series takes place within the KfW Stiftung’s Mondays102 – an event series at the Villa 102, the platform for culture and dialogue of the KfW and its foundation.
Lectures are free and open to the public. Registration is, however, requested. You can find the registration links below. All lectures will be recorded and made available online.
If you have any problems joining Zoom or Vimeo, please drop us an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Since October 2020, seven international artists and creative thinkers have been engaging, both locally and digitally, with the topic of mutations through immersive group labs. To define the mutational is, at its most basic, to set apart a condition at odds with an established order. In the life sciences, this translates to alterations in chromosomal sequence, molecular transformations in cells, tissues, and organisms that are tracked within empirical contexts construed by modern science. Yet embedded in the idea of mutation are blind spots underpinning the designation of order itself. This is true not only in conceptual terms, disciplinary methodologies, or institutional priorities, but also through socio-political configurations that frame what is deemed disparate or exceptional in the first place.
»Mutations« is comprised of the following fellows:
Sabina Hyoju Ahn: Media and Sound Artist (South Korea) | Angela Anderson: Video Artist and Researcher (USA/Germany) | Grayson Earle: New Media Artist (USA) | Ana María Gómez López: Artist, Writer, and Researcher (The Netherlands/Colombia/USA) | Clara Jo: Video Artist (Germany) | Maxwell Mutanda: Multidisciplinary Researcher, Visual Artist, and Designer (Zimbabwe) | Joana Quiroga: Visual Artist and Philosopher (Brazil).
May 10, 2021, 7 pm: Brenna Bhandar
Brenna Bhandar is an associate professor at the University of British Columbia, Peter A. Allard School of Law. Before that, she was a Reader in Law and Critical Theory at SOAS, University of London, and previously held faculty positions at the Queen Mary School of Law, Kent Law School and the University of Reading Law School. She has also held visiting appointments at L’École des hautes études en science sociales (Paris) and the Stellenbosch University Faculty of Law (South Africa). Brenna Bhandar earned a BA (Hons.) in South Asian Studies and History from the University of Toronto, her LLB at UBC, and was called to the Bar of British Columbia after clerking at the BC Court of Appeal and articling with Arvay Finlay. The recipient of numerous graduate scholarships, she completed her PhD at Birkbeck School of Law, University of London.
Her research and teaching broadly lie within the fields of property studies and legal theory, spanning the disciplines of property law, critical theory, colonial legal history and critical race feminism. Her book Colonial Lives of Property: Law Land and Racial Regimes of Ownership was published in 2018 with Duke University Press, and the co-edited book (with Rafeef Ziadah) Revolutionary Feminisms: Conversations on Collective Action and Radical Thought was published in 2020 with Verso.
Brenna Bhandar’s lecture on Racial Regimes of Ownership: Laws of Property and the Colonial Present was moderated by Rose Field.
May 3, 2021, 7 pm: Sophia Roosth
Sophia Roosth is an anthropologist who writes about the contemporary life and earth sciences. She has published widely in journals including Critical Inquiry, Representations, Differences, American Anthropologist, Science, and Grey Room, as well as in popular venues such as Slate, The Los Angeles Review of Books, American Scientist, e-flux, and Aeon. She is the author of Synthetic: How Life Got Made (Chicago 2017), an ethnography of synthetic biologists that documents the profound shifts biology has undergone in the post-genomic age. Her next book, The Quick and the Dead, will offer a historically and ethnographically informed travelogue into the worlds of contemporary geobiologists, scientists seeking ancient microbial life-forms fossilized in stone.
Roosth is a Max Planck Society Sabbatical Award Laureate. Her work has also been supported by a Berlin Prize from the American Academy in Berlin, as well as fellowships at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. She will join the faculty of New York University Gallatin School of Individualized Study this fall. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women at Brown University. She earned her PhD in 2010 in the Program in History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Sophia Roosth’s lecture And Say the Fossil Responded? was moderated by Ana María Gómez López.
April 19, 2021, 7 pm: Andres Lepik
Andres Lepik is director of the Architecture Museum TU Munich and professor of Architectural History and Curatorial Practices at the TU Munich. His main focus is on the history and theory of architecture exhibitions and contemporary developments in the field of architectures of social engagement and participatory architectural structures. Lepik studied Art History at the University of Augsburg, after which he was awarded a fellowship for his doctoral studies on The Architectural Model in Italy 1353–1500 at the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome. In 2007, he became curator of the Architecture and Design Department of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2011-2012, he was a Loeb Fellow at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University. On May 1, 2012 he was appointed to the Chair of History of Architecture and Curatorial Practices. Since 2012, he is the director of the Architecture Museum of the TUM.
Andres Lepik’s lecture titled Small Scale, Big Change: 10 Years of Architectures of Social Engagement! was moderated by Maxwell Mutanda.
April 14, 2021, 7 pm: Natasha Ginwala
Natasha Ginwala is associate curator at Gropius Bau, Berlin/Germany, co-artistic director of the 13th Gwangju Biennale 2021 and artistic director of COLOMBOSCOPE interdisciplinary arts festival.
Her lecture Matters of Mutation on April 14, 2021 at 7 pm, explores organic and inorganic modes of intelligence in the framework of the 13th Gwangju Biennale »Minds Rising, Spirits Tuning«, co-directed with Defne Ayas. Accelerated capitalism stirs crises within and between bodies amid the paradoxical textures of time. The jagged and atonal moment we are living through unleashes mutant beings – both microscopic and colossal – that quickly replace dated concepts of beauty, race, and dominant constructs of ›nature.‹ What future body awaits us? How might collective ways of being and being held together and apart affect our understanding of where the body begins and ends?
The lecture was moderated by Clara Jo.
April 12, 2021, 7 pm: Marcia C. Castro
Marcia C. Castro is andelot professor of Demography, chair of the Department of Global Health and Population at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Boston/USA, and co-director of the Brazil Studies Program of the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies (DRCLAS). Her research focuses on the development and use of multidisciplinary approaches to identify the determinants of infectious disease transmission in different ecological settings to inform control policies. She earned a PhD in Demography from Princeton University.
Marcia Castro’s lecture Covid-19 in Brazil: a mutating virus in a mutating society on April 12, 2021 at 7 pm discusses the many transformations that Brazil has historically experienced that have provided both challenges and opportunities to contain the pandemic. It will also reflect how opportunities were lost, leading to a catastrophic scenario of exacerbating inequalities and excess mortality. Lastly, it will reflect how the SARS-CoV-2 virus is now mutating, triggering further transformations in Brazil.
The lecture was moderated by Joana Quiroga.
April 7, 2021, 12 pm: Eben Kirksey
Eben Kirksey is an American anthropologist who specializes on science and justice. In academic circles, Prof. Kirksey is perhaps best known for his work in multispecies ethnography – a field that situates contemporary scholarship on animals, microbes, plants, and fungi within deeply rooted traditions of environmental anthropology, continental philosophy, and the sociology of science. Currently, he is associate professor (Research) at the Alfred Deakin Institute in Melbourne/Australia.
On April 7, 2021 at 12 pm, Eben Kirksey gave a lecture titled Who owns the future of gene editing?. In anthropologist Eben Kirksey’s latest book THE MUTANT PROJECT: Inside the Global Race to Genetically Modify Humans, he visits the frontiers of genetics, medicine, and technology to ask: Whose values are guiding gene editing experiments? And what does this new era of scientific inquiry mean for the future of the human species?
At a conference in Hong Kong in November 2018, Dr. He Jiankui announced that he had created the first genetically modified babies — twin girls named Lulu and Nana — sending shockwaves around the world. A year later, a Chinese court sentenced Dr. He to three years in prison for »illegal medical practice.« His research shed light on fundamental questions about science, health, and social justice that are at stake. Kirksey takes us on a groundbreaking journey to meet the key scientists, lobbyists, and entrepreneurs who are bringing cutting-edge genetic engineering tools like CRISPR to your local clinic. He also ventures beyond the scientific echo chamber, talking to disabled scholars, doctors, hackers, chronically-ill patients, and activists who have alternative visions of a genetically modified future for humanity.
This lecture was moderated by Grayson Earle.
March 29, 2021, 7 pm: Heather Davis
Heather Davis is an assistant professor of Culture and Media at The New School, NY/USA. She is co-editor of Art in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Aesthetics, Politics, Environments and Epistemologies and Desire Change: Contemporary Feminist Art in Canada. Her current book project Plastic Matter re-examines materiality in relation to plastic. She is also a member of the Synthetic Collective, an interdisciplinary team of scientists, humanities scholars, and artists, who investigate and make visible plastic pollution in the Great Lakes. Her writing can be found at heathermdavis.com.
Her lecture The Queer Futurity of Plastic on March 29, 2021 at 7 pm examined the networks of queer kin that are inadvertently being birthed by the proliferation of plastic. The microorganisms that are appearing as a result of plastic’s proliferation — the new bacteria that have evolved in order to eat plastic — invite a reconfiguring of categories of kin making, not only to extend beyond normative family units, or even to the more-than-human world, but also to these slightly abhorrent technobacterial becomings.
This lecture was moderated by Angela Anderson.
March 22, 2021, 7 pm: JoAnn Kuchera-Morin
JoAnn Kuchera-Morin is a composer, director and chief scientist of the AlloSphere Research Facility (www.allosphere.ucsb.edu), professor of Media Arts and Technology and Music at the University of California, Santa Barbara/USA. Her research focuses on creative computational systems, multi-modal media content, and facilities design.
On March 22, 2021 at 7 pm, JoAnn Kuchera-Morin talked about Using the Creative Process as a Computational Framework for Unfolding Complex Systems. In her research, one picture is worth approximately 60 million numbers. How can one find patterns in complex information and work with the information creatively and intuitively leading to new and unique innovation? Using the compositional framework within the AlloSphere, one of the largest display devices in the world for multi-modal data representation and an ideal platform for designing our n-dimensional sketching system, we have developed a series of prototypes and solutions for immersive multimodal mappings of complicated scientific data.
This lecture was moderated by Sabina Hyoju Ahn.