Zooetics

Kaunas Museum of Zoology
ACT at MIT

Zooetics, a five-year project, was launched on December 5, 2014, in Kaunas, Lithuania. The project examines the interactions between humans and other life forms, and engages with an interdisciplinary exploration of designs for future interspecies ecologies. The project’s goal is to unpack, reevaluate and recombine the notions of Nature, Interspecies and Anthropocene, an era that began when human activities started to significantly impact the Earth’s ecosystems, as well as address the crisis of human relationships with the environment and nature. Zooetics participants will work to discover a common discourse bridging science and the arts that can facilitate the discussion of innovative ways to lessen human impact on the environment.

Zooetics begins with a series of keynote lectures at the National Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre at Kaunas University of Technology in December 2014. Practice-led research workshops that will focus on analyzing existing approaches to these problems will follow in 2015 and 2016 in Finland, Iceland, and Lithuania. The research process in-between actual meetings will be facilitated with an evolving online glossary and reading group, available on www.zooetics.net. An exhibition and symposium are planned for 2017 at MIT and aim to be the pilot project of a new cross-disciplinary research institute in Kaunas, Lithuania.

Lecturers and keynote speakers include notable artists and researchers Natalie Jeremijenko, engineer, inventor and founder of the Environmental Health Clinic, and professor at NYU; Skylar Tibbits, architect and director of Self-Assembly Lab at the MIT’s Department of Architecture; Caleb Harper, founder of the CityFARM research group at the MIT Media Lab; Timothy Morton, philosopher, author of “Hyperobjects” and professor at Rice University; Visual artist, designer and ACT alumnae Jae Rhim Lee, lecturer at Stanford University; Territorial Agency—architects and urbanists John Palmesino and Ann-Sofi Rönnskog, lecturers at Architectural Association in London.

Zooetics is conceived and organized by Gediminas Urbonas, artist and Associate Professor in the MIT Program in Art, Culture & Technology; Nomeda Urbonas, artist and PhD fellow at the Norwegian University of Science & Technology and ACT affiliate; Dr Tracey Warr, writer and Research Associate at Oxford Brooks University; and Viktorija Siaulyte, curator and researcher at Jutempus Interdisciplinary Art Program.

The project is part of the Outreach and Education Programme of the Frontiers in Retreat project, developed in partnership with Kaunas University of Technology. The Frontiers in Retreat project has been funded with support from the European Commission.

The initial lecture series will take place between December 5 and 19, 2014. Learn more about the speakers and the project by visiting the Zooetics website.