Aesthetics and Communication of Species

Research Workshop
Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Dec 18-19, 2018

One of the central basic units of biology is the classification of living beings into species. Like no other concept, the concept of species has shaped our ideas of a hierarchical order of nature, which in turn has been and continues to have a significant impact on the understanding and self-understanding of humans, their radius of thought and action, and its consequences for the living and inanimate world.

However, over time not only the conceptions of what a species is, what distinguishes it from and what connects it to other species have become differentiated and changed. The same applies to the question as to whether, how and to what ends species (can) communicate with each other – and to the ways in which possible answers are investigated. A.o. in the course of a "species turn" that has been inspired by Donna Haraway and others approaches towards a multi-species-perspective have been developed. Among the core topics of their agenda is the search for "new kinds of relations emerging from nonhierarchical alliances, symbiotic attachments, and the mingling of creative agents" (Kirksey & Helmreich 2010).
This, in turn, includes the questioning of traditional knowledge systems and the development of methods that focus on interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches with which theories and practices can enter into new relationships as well.

But what exactly does that mean? What potentials and problems can arise from this, especially for dealing with aspects of the aesthetics and communication of species – a field of research which is pre-formed in many ways in terms of scientific and cultural history?
In our workshop, we want to discuss this from the concrete work priorities, projects and research questions of the participants.

Concept & Organization: Jessica Ullrich & Verena Kuni

tags: aesthetics, agency, anthropology, art & media, art & science, biodiversity, biology, biosciences, communication, cultural history, design, ecology, environment, everyday culture, everyday technologies, film, gender, history of science, image & imagination, invisibility, material culture, methodology, mimesis, mimicry, models, music, natural history, nature, photography, popular culture, sociology, storytelling, subject & authorship, topologies, video, visual culture