One part of humankind is dependent on technologies that help us maintain a responsible relationship between our present, past, and future. Another part fears a future in which superintelligence will take over running the world. Through the lens of speciesism, we study how human beings have divided the family of animals, singled themselves out, and put themselves on top. They have also put the artificial intelligence they created into the domain of the “other”. How does research on the neuroplasticity of the brain (not just human, but also animal), memory, creativity, neuro- and roboethics, and neuroethology fit into processes of return to the more-than-human community? This is the subject of the two-year project Woods: More-than-Human Curiosity.
The project will be carried out in the form of an international symposium, art residencies, workshops, lectures, travel for curators, video interviews, online formats, an anthology of texts, a documentary film, and newly created works of art.
Woods: More-than-Human Curiosity is one of the activities of Woods – Community for Cultivation, Theory, and Art, whose main regular activity is an annual forest symposium. The fourth edition of this interdisciplinary gathering will take place on July 28–30, 2023. The symposium’s program will include three areas of research: neuroplasticity and memory, creativity, and the animal brain and speciesism. The fourth component is the Children’s Forest Group, which addresses these topics using methods accessible to young people.
The symposium uses a range of artistic and theoretical formats and methods of communication: lectures, panel discussions, outdoor movie screenings and concerts, landscape and architectural interventions, workshops, collective imagination, walks, group reading, performances, and other artistic approaches. It takes place in an open space in a meadow and in a forest in the Orlické Mountains.
The symposium programme will be published in May and registrations will open in June 2023.
The property is owned and cared for by the curatorial organization Are, which started Woods – Community for Cultivation, Theory, and Art in 2019. The initiative operates at the intersection of contemporary art, the landscape, human health, and interspecies coexistence.
Woods: More-than-Human Curiosity is curated by Zuzana Blochová, Edith Jeřábková, and Tereza Porybná, who are collaborating with people from the fields of art, activism, science, ecology, and permaculture.
Katrine Elise Agpalza Pedersen collaborates on the dramaturgy of the programme section dedicated to memory, and anto_nie, Denisa Langrová, Ruta Putramentaite and Alex Sihelsk* collaborate on the section concerning animal brains and speciesism. The forest cinema programme is prepared by Lucia Pietroiusti. The symposium film and video interviews are directed by Tomáš Bojar and Marek Meduna.
The project’s partners are the contemporary art institution Kunsthall Trondheim and the residency centres Røst AiR and Ovenecká 33.
The project is funded by EEA Grants 2014-2021 under the Programme Culture, the European Union – Next Generation EU, the Czech Recovery Plan, the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, the Prague City Hall, the State Cultural Fund of the Czech Republic, the Office for Contemporary Art Norway (OCA), and the City of Oslo.