Kopparstick med blommor i svartvitt

Project: Multispecies Storytelling in an Intermedial Perspective

This environmental humanities project was done to seek new constellations inside and outside conventional academic and artistic circles by way of a five-week symposium/exhibition/pedagogical program in Växjö in October through November 2018 and a book publication 2021.

Project information


Main organizers were Jørgen Bruhn and Ida Bencke (www.labae.org/) with support from Ola Ståhl (Design), Martin Gren (geography) and Maria Bergström (microbiology).

More about the project

The project is meant as an opening of future engagements between three institutions – Linnaeus University Centre for Intermedial and Multimodal Studies (IMS) (in particular the Anthropocene group), Laboratory of Ecology and Aesthetics, and Växjö Konsthall. A number of artists and researchers have already accepted invitations to come to the symposia and exhibitions.

Scientific fields, such as microbiome research, have provided deconstructive insights into human identity, stating – for example – that the human body consists of a substantial percentage of non-human DNA. As a consequence, human identity can be viewed as a heterogeneous interspecies relationship (Tsing). The human body can no longer be understood as belonging to a unitary subjectivity, but rather as a dwelling place for numerous entanglements between unalike agents. In the words of multispecies philosopher Donna Haraway, such insights 'inoculate against human exceptionalism' and ripe intellectual thought for 'Multispecies Storytelling'.

Inspired by such ontological shifts, contemporary art and literature has seen a rise in experimental art-science collaborations exploring and actively altering relations between the human and the non-human. In order to grabble with multispecies identities, art-science collaborations often make use of technological devices as tools for interface and/or deploy knowledge from the natural sciences (genetic engineering, botany, ethology, etc.).

Often, some of the questions that arise in these debates are: what is gained and what is lost in the transmediations (here defined as the transportation and transformation of form and content between different media) between science and art? How do such interdisciplinary methodologies inform, transform, implicate and complicate each other? And how does this relate to the epochal notion of the Anthropocene? These are the kinds of questions we will deal with in this project.