Philosophy of Ecology III – Nature’s Dimensions
14-20 September with Ben Woodard
If human beings are continuous with nature what are the modes of best finding and describing that continuity? How are we to mark the differences within and between living things, for instance, without reducing them to a form merely convenient for human eyes and minds?
One means of doing this is to investigate the relation of embodiment to motion captured in the term dimension. Dimension indexes the body-shape, habitat, and material conditions of lifeforms but also how these in turn produce the organism’s capacity to act and perceive. The dimensions of a mushroom, for example, would not only describe its shape and its decompostional abilities but its cloud of spores expand its space of action upwards into the air and sideways via the leg of a passing animal. The actions of a microorganism to move may seem limited but its chemical life (fermentation, disease, etc) is massively broad in its effects.
In a general sense this workshop aims to think through our relation to the various scales of life and its histories through our shared but radically different articulations of space and their material contexts. We will combine scientific, philosophical, and cultural texts on the dimensions of organisms while engaging in actual practices of fermenting, bone collecting, foraging, and ingesting.
Day 1&2 – Cultures
Reading: “Bacterial Lives: Sex, Gender, and the Lust for Writing” – Deboleena Roy
Day 3 – Better Living Through Tentacles
Reading: “Inscription / Vampire Squid Media-Melody” – Melody Jue
Day 4 – Skull Blooms
Reading: “Cervical Prospectus” – Thomas Moynihan
Day 5 – The Spores of Perception
Reading: “This Compost: Erotics of Rot” – Elvia Wilk
We will be experimenting with different forms of studying together and continue to expand the ‘classroom’ to the compost heap, forest, garden, beach…
In addition we ask that participants bring questions/practices/projects/… to the workshop to add to discussion and to working together. There will also be many optional readings and images available as background. Material will be shared closer to date.
The lectures are meant for non-experts. If you’re curious, you’re welcome. The duration is 7 days with the first and last days being dedicated to arrivals and departures.
Duration: 7 days (Sep 14-20)
Location: MASSIA, Estonia
Accommodation: 11€ per night (12€ if you stay less than 5 nights) plus a 12€ one-year MASSIA membership
Food: Cooking will be collective and cost will be 8€ per day
This workshop is for free, donations are possible
Make reservations at firstname.lastname@example.org
For questions about the workshop, you can get in touch with Ben Woodard.
Ben Woodard is an independent researcher based in Germany. His research focuses on the relationship between naturalism and idealism in the long 19th century. His most recent work is Schelling’s Naturalism: Motion, Space, and the Volition of Thought (Edinburgh University Press, 2019).
Image: David Graham – “The Thing”