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Composting Settler Nationalisms

Who defines what soil is and determines how it is used and cared for? Following the 22nd World Congress of Soil Science – Crossing Boundaries, Changing Society and the current exhibition We are Compost / Composting the We at the CCA, CCA Annex will host a series of online performance lectures and dialogues in a process of collaborative thinking between art, science and ancestral ways of knowing. In an age characterised by the entangled crises of climate change and political upheaval we are interested in exploring soils as dynamic spaces of multi-species engineering and convivial encounter, collective metabolisms that materially and conceptually intersect with concerns about food sovereignty, waste and energy streams, allotment politics, right to land, seed saving strategies, and soils as relational bodies.

Dirt, takeout containers, wilting flowers, earthworms, e-waste, rot, shards of plastic or styrofoam beads, peels and husks, mould. Our sorting practices might be fine-tuned, but compost is impure; its mess is not always regenerative. Compost is never separate from urban and industrial practices enmeshed in histories of nation-building and post-scarcity “green” sensibilities.

In “Composting Settler Nationalisms” (2017) we scrapped together methods for thinking and writing with multispecies relations. In the intervening years, we find ourselves surrounded by bioplastic cups, takeaway trays, and other compostables. Industrialisation sensitises us to the hazards of compost methods being conscripted into institutionalising circulations. We wonder what other “composty” figurations might offer, acknowledging that political grammars of posthumanism can become amenable to colonial logics.

So, we look to 3d printed architecture, beaver dams, art made from junk, the videogame Katamari Damacy, and DALL-E-2 AI-generated images as sites where scraps assemble with varied material and ethical effects. This work extends our theorisation of compost as a form of citationality: how knowledges are recomposed, fail, or decay in the specificities of a constituent mix. We want to craft a motley repetoire of figures that work in, with, and through compost to open generative inroads to non-institutional forms of critical scientific and environmental literacy.

Registration or pre-booking is not required for this event, simply open CCA Annex at 6.00pm (UK time) on your browser, however please feel free to register for event reminders.

Questions will be invited from the audience who can participate over CCA Annex. This event will be live-captioned and recorded.

 

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