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New Planetary Narratives Interdisciplinary Talk | 23rd of March, 2024

With artist Ishita Chakraborty, urban gardening pioneer, chef, and artist Maurice Maggi, and philosopher and professor Federico Luisetti
Moderated by Tasnim Baghdadi, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, and Martina Huber, WE ARE AIA
Time: 5:00 PM to 5:45 PM

Maurice Maggi breaks from within to transform the existing whole. In his fascinating anecdotes from 40 years as a "flower-graffiti-artist-activist" in Zurich, we experience his transformative work up close. Similarly, Ishita's artistic practice reveals the migration of plants and confronts us with our colonial past. Nitin Bathla is the co-editor of Unearthing Traces and draws in this conversation from his know-how and teachings about social ecology and his project agri-urbanisms. Federico Luisetti invites an open dialogue to develop visions for possible futures. He addresses the emerging wave of indigenous politics, the rights of nature, and social movements interacting with rocks, rivers, glaciers, and lakes, thereby shedding light on an ecology of non-life.

A collaboration of WE ARE AIA I Awareness in Art and Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst.

Maurice Maggi is a chef, gardener, and artist-activist who has been transforming public spaces since 1982 by secretly planting flowers. Following a meticulous plan, he roams the city day and night to sow so-called pioneer plants—robust species that are the first to colonize barren environments or previously biodiverse ecosystems disrupted by, for example, bituminization. In the artist's words: "From the niche outward, to break and change the compact whole, that's what pioneer plants do. They are, for me, the avant-garde and subculture of nature, which is why I feel connected to these plant species as socio-political comrades."

Nitin Bathla is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Architecture, ETH Zürich, where he coordinates the Doctoral Programme at the Institute of Landscape and Urban Studies. Additionally, he lectures urban studies, political ecology, and sociology and work as part of the transdisciplinary project on agri-urbanisms at the Chair of Sociology. In his research practice, he actively combines academic research with artistic practices of filmmaking, and socially-engaged art.

Ishita Chakraborty's artistic practice includes scratched drawings, installations, poetry, performance, and sound. She explores the strategies and discourses of resistance told by individuals, often from marginalized communities. Her contexts are shaped by traces of displacement, the trauma of colonialism, articulated through language, oral history, and identity. Her recent works address themes associated with the climate crisis through a connected social justice lens. Her approach involves examining the impacts of climate change on various social groups, particularly the marginalized and vulnerable.

Federico Luisetti is a philosopher, professor of Environmental Humanities at the University of St. Gallen, and author of the recent monograph Non-human Subjects. An Ecology of Earth-Beings (Cambridge University Press, 2023). In his talk, he will address the planetary condition, its difference from previous ideas about the global, and our relations with natural entities that we can now recognize as subjects. Stones, valleys, rivers are “earth-beings”, eccentric subjects that question deep-seated Western notions of life and personhood. Their mode of existence disrupts the perception of the environment as a system that can be managed and a resource that serves humans. By engaging with earth-beings, participants will explore alternative perceptions of nature and emancipative relationships with other-than-human subjects.

Photo Credit: WE ARE AIA; Nathanael Gautschi.

Published on by onlineportale