Multispecies Landscape is a two-year artistic research on alternative ways of practicing relationships with the environment and diverse bodies that are part of the ecosystems in which we operate and are being transformed. It understands the environment as the process that emerges from numerous relationships and tries to look for methods for overcoming binary oppositions such as nature and culture, dead and alive, etc. The research inspired by the concept of the holobiont as an object of thought that disables thinking through individual categories, but rather focuses on the body as a porous environment of various organisms that are enabling life. Another important pillar of research is inspired by Astrida Neimanis’ and Rachel Loewen Walker’s thought that “How we live in the world is contingent upon how we imagine that world to be.” Therefore, one of the main questions is how to imagine the world differently.
The first year consists of 4 chapters that turn with the seasons change. On March 20, the Ljubljana’s Old Power Station will host the opening of the first chapter, which will focus on observation as the central method for reconceptualising the relationship with the environment.
»We have lost the habit of noticing through our own observations of the world in addition to conversations with human interlocutors (Mathews 2018). The Anthropocene is a wakeup call urging us to reinvent observational, analytical attention to intertwined human-and-nonhuman histories.« (Tsing, A. L., Mathews, A. S., & Bubandt, N. (2019). Patchy Anthropocene: Landscape Structure, Multispecies History, and the Retooling of Anthropology: An Introduction to Supplement 20, S188)
The First Chapter: OBSERVATION
The first chapter of Multispecies Landscapes places observation at the centre of searching and understanding ways of living in and with multispecies landscapes. In early January 2022, Tery set her first goal: observation as a method of learning about the landscape. She began with the daily practice of observing, photographing, and describing a small fragment of the Beatrixpark in Utrecht as a way to explore her own gaze, perception, attention, attitude toward the observed fragment, and to observe the change of all of the above. Over time, the question that became increasingly important was: What influences and shapes the view?
By regularly describing a small fragment of the park, it became clear that language and vocabulary strongly influence the perception of the elements that are creating the landscape, which established “landscape literacy” and various practices and approaches to “reading” the landscape as the main topics of the research. The working hypothesis that “landscape literacy” strongly influences our relationship with the environment brings to the debate the importance of learning and unlearning the gaze and ways of observation, and the topic of attention as historically and culturally shaped.
The first event of Multispecies Landscapes will be a reading group in which we will discuss the importance of observation (not just visual) and “landscape literacy” for our relationships with various agents form which the landscape is emerging.
»When I first learned polyphony, it was a revelation in listening; I was forced to pick out separate, simultaneous melodies and to listen for the moments of harmony and dissonance they created together. This kind of noticing is just what is needed to appreciate the multiple temporal rhythms and trajectories of the assemblage.« (Anna Tsing, The Mushroom at the End of the World. On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins, 24)
On Sunday, 20th March at 4.00 p.m. in the Old Power Station the reading will be accompanied by the opening of the installation, an invitation to observe and search for ways to coexist with various temporalities of relationships.
AUTHOR TERY ŽEŽELj
Tery Žeželj is a dramaturg and artistic researcher. In January 2022 at the Bunker Institute, she began with a two year research Multispecies Landscapes on the possibilities for reconceptualizing the relationship with the environment which focuses on the multiplicity and diversity of entangled and interdependent bodies that co-shape landscapes.
She holds a BA in Dramaturgy and Contemporary Performing Arts from the Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television (AGRFT) in Ljubljana, and a Master’s degree in Contemporary Theatre, Dance, and Dramaturgy from the University of Utrecht. She finished the program with a MA thesis More-Than-Human Practices: Feminist Environmental Potentials of Working with More-Than-Humans. During her studies, she worked with the archive of performances at Framer Framed in Amsterdam, proposed a curated program of performances for Framer Framed, and worked as a dramaturgy intern in the creative process of How to Exit Reality (Attempt 1 of 19) by Andrea Božić and Julia Willms.
During their residency at Het Huis Utrecht, she, together with Madison Joliffe initiated a longer practice-based research the day after yesterday.
Since 2019, she has been working as the editor of the theatre programme at the Glej Theatre. She currently navigates through a variety of roles and relationships: as a researcher, writer, editor, as well as a dramaturgical and production ally in the process with choreographer and curator Ainhoa Hernández Escudero.
- Author: Tery Žeželj
- Producer: Maja Vižin
- Production: Bunker, Ljubljana
- Supported by: Ministrstvo za kulturo, Mestna občina Ljubljana, Evropska skupnost – program Ustvarjalna Evropa, Kultura, ACT – Art, Climate, Transition
- Photo: Nada Žgank
The first event:
The first chapter: Observation – March 20th 2022, Stara mestna elektrarna – Elektro Ljubljana
The second chapter: Imagination – June 2022