1. Speculative Sensing
Current PhD research
Institut für Theaterwissenschaft, Freie Universität Berlin
Climate collapse, species loss and what is commonly (and, some suggest, problematically) called the Anthropocene, indicate that we have reached a series of earthly tipping points and a failure of anthropocentric worldly inhabiting. In an attempt to respond to this crisis, we find ourselves in the midst of what might be called a ‘posthuman turn’ in critical theory.
Artists, too, have responded to these urgent issues, renegotiating planetary relations through aesthetic means. This exploration of the posthuman — or what I will preferably call in my dissertation more-than-human — by aesthetic practitioners is perhaps inevitable. It no longer makes sense to think of sensing as we do. The limits of an anthropocentric sensorium are revealing themselves. The earth is speaking back, but we do not yet know how to listen.
Given this, how might the norms of anthropocentric sensing — that are, following Judith Butler, performed — be de-naturalised from their stabilised repetition? How might a sensorium be reconfigured towards a more-than-human and co-constituting relationality? And are there emergent, speculative or non-normative modes of sensory-aesthetic experience that offer potential for breakage, away from a sensorium that is not only anthropocentric, but simultaneously and mutually heterosexist, ableist and racist-colonialist?
Works of art offer particularly intense loci of aesthetic encounter, making them interesting sites of experiment for emergent sensoria. My dissertation therefore looks at several emergent aesthetic methodologies that renegotiate the anthro-sensible, working with and within more-than-human collaborations in ways that go far beyond the eco-art of the 1970s or the bio-art of the 1990s.