The Reading Room #15 – Ecologies of Existence


March 29 2017

Location: Stroom Den Haag

Readers: Yvonne Volkart, Christoph Brunner

Texts: Isabelle Stengers, Félix Guattari

Ecologies of Existence

The current planetary situation, as it may be, is perceived as one of crises; ecological, economic, and psychological. In opposition to a surrender to these paralysing processes, but also keeping in mind the risk of subsuming the “ecological” as a label for anything and everything, we ask: What kinds of artistic practices and aesthetic strategies emphasise a kind of “ecological thinking”? And how can we conceive of such an ecological thinking so that it does not become a haunting “new call to order”, falling victim to the reductive tendencies of our mental, political, and social present?

For this cluster of events we have chosen texts by Isabelle Stengers and Félix Guattari on the environmental and ecological, as well as texts by Denise Ferreira da Silva and Fred Moten which bring together radical positions in ecological and post-colonial/de-colonizing thinking that together bridge 25 years of thought on the topic. These texts do not only depict artistic and aesthetic practices as important factors of change, but cast them quite literally as the embodiment of a continuous experiment in a multi-faceted notion of ecological thinking. We will also examine some relevant artists and artworks who we find particularly interesting within the light of these readings.

Please reserve a spot by sending an email to We will also provide you with a copy of the texts.

Christoph Brunner is assistant professor for cultural theory at Leuphana University Lüneburg. He works on the intersections between art, philosophy, and activism with a specific focus on emergent collectivity and technopolitics. Together with Yvonne Volkart he organized the symposium “Ecologies of Existence” in 2016. Before coming to the north of Germany he worked at Zurich University of Arts and studied in Montreal and London. He is member of the SenseLab in Montreal and initiated the ArchipelagoLab for Transversal Practices at Leuphana. 

Yvonne Volkart is lecturer in art and media theory and researcher of the project “Times of Waste” at the Academy of Art and Design Basel. From 2009-11 she was curator at Shedhalle Zurich. Living in Zurich, she regularly writes for Springerin. Her texts and projects include “Art and Ecology in the Technosphere” (forthcoming in: Marcus Maeder (ed.): Kunst Wissenschaft Natur, Bielefeld), “Ecologies of Existence” (with Christoph Brunner), “Subverting Disambiguities” (with A. Hoffmann), Nürnberg 2012, “Ecomedia. Ecological Strategies in Today`s Art” (with Sabine Himmelsbach), Ostfildern 2007, “Fluide Subjekte” (“Fluid Subjects. Adaptation and Defiance in Media Art“”), Bielefeld 2006, “Cyborg Bodies”, “Mediaartnet, ZKM, Karlsruhe 2003.

A note from the curators

We are very excited to begin a new year of Reading Room events with our collaborators at iii and Stroom, Den Haag. This year we are expanding our curatorial activities outward by partnering with the Archipelago Lab, an art and philosophy research hub at Leuphana University in Lüneburg, Germany. In this collaboration we look forward to creating an exchange of scholars and artists that encourages a cross-disciplinary, ongoing discussion around urgent and compelling ideas which can potentially resonate with artistic practice. 

The Reading Room is a series of reading groups revolving around short texts provided by invited guests – contemporary researchers, cultural theorists, philosophers and artists – who join us to provide insight and context to the topics at hand. The Reading Room is a joint cooperation between the artist-initiatives Platform for Thought in Motion and iii.