IMPACT20 – Planetary Alliances
Lectures & Talks with Rosi Braidotti, Johannes Paul Raether & Lars Blank

Free admission

The lecture programme is available online. Please scroll down to view the YouTube videos.

IMPACT20 - Lectures and Talks, Nov 12 & 13

›IMPACT20 – Planetary Alliances‹

For years, experts from all fields of knowledge have been occupied with the complex interconnections and vital dependencies between the human and the non-human. Under the title ›Planetary Alliances‹, IMPACT20 invites you to a polylogue on relationship net- works in which humans are just one actor among many.

As a scientific and artistic think-tank, IMPACT20 criss-crosses perspectives from biotechnology, natural science, philosophy and contemporary art: Lars Blank, Rosi Braidotti and Johannes Paul Raether reflect on the relativities, metabolisms and relationships between the elements and protagonists of our world and how these impact on ecological, social, economic and technological developments in a community. How can new alliances that no longer place humankind at the centre of perception, shape and define new models of societies?

A project within the framework of the Alliance of International Production Houses supported by the Federal Government Commissioner for Culture and the Media.


THU 12.11. 18 H (CET)
Rosi Braidotti
›Posthuman Critical Thought‹


As a pioneer of posthumanism and a feminist theorist, Prof. Dr. Rosi Braidotti is a seminal figure in contemporary philosophical discourse. As the boundaries between the human and its others are becoming increasingly blurred, through our digital lives and reproductive technologies, the question of what it means to be human is taking a new turn. Braidotti proposes new and affirmative ways of producing knowledge and building communities.

This lectures outlines the main concepts and building blocks of a critical analysis of the posthuman condition. It starts from the notion of a posthuman convergence between post-humanism and post-anthropocentrism. The former critiques the Eurocentric idea of the “Man of Reason”, pleading for the rights of the de-humanized and excluded others. The latter targets anthropocentric species supremacy and human exceptionalism, pleading for ecological activism, trans-national environmental justice and the rights of the non-humans.  Situated between the 4th Industrial Revolution and the 6th Extinction, the posthuman convergence is not a utopian science fiction fantasy, but a material component of our historical reality.

Arguing that humanity is not a neutral term but rather one that indexes access to specific powers, values and norms and entitlements, posthuman critical thought defends the notion of critical thinking as creative practice. It  provides both tools for critique and imaginative figurations to describe what kind of posthuman subjects ‘we’ are in the process of becoming.  Emphasizing that ‘we’ are in this predicament together, but ‘we’ are not one and the same, but we are connected by our shared existence on this planet and by an affirmative ethics of inter-dependence.

THU 12.11. 19.30 H (CET)
Johannes Paul Raether
›aLifveForms in Presence, in between Appearances: Surrogates‹


At the centre of artist Johannes Paul Raether’s work are constructed identities made up of language, technological skins, digital devices and bodies. The aLifveForms are a group of constructed identities enabled by Johannes Paul Raether, which, as new bodies, develop their own forms of reproduction and mutation. Thus the protectoramae lifeline crystallized out of a multitude of SelfSisters and AlterIdentities.

The herd of WorldWideWitches includes the ›Surrogate Witch‹ developed by Nathan Fain and Raether. As a networked entity, the ›Surrogate Witch‹ brings together digital fragments and applications in a model unit that is simultaneously a browser-based Internet platform with Java scripts, an app in the app store or a chat bot. The creation of the ›Surrogate Witch‹ gives rise to a prototypical and constantly expandable medium which, as an artistic-technological toolkit, can initiate new forms and imaginations of networked cooperation and community building which Raether calls 'Communeering' through his alter-identities. This practice is not rooted in theatre, but connects to everyday places and digital life.

FRI 13.11. 18 H (CET)
Lars Blank
›You might want to ask what microbes can do for you and you for the microbes‹


Prof. Dr. Ing. Lars M. Blank is head of the Institute of Applied Microbiology at the RWTH Aachen University. In his research he focuses on fundamental and applied aspects of microbial metabolism, and in particular on the interaction between the metabolic network and the introduced genetic and environmental perturbations.

The challenges of human kind are truly enormous, with a solid climate crisis made by humankind that goes hand in hand with rapid biodiversity loss and reduced food security besides many other impacts. While we focus mainly on our doings, we might should consider the role of microbes as foe and friends on our way towards a sustainable future. Microbes are omnipresent, helping us personally on a daily basis to stay healthy, while attacking us when they can. They keep the gigantic element cycles of carbon and nitrogen going, emitting the greenhouse gas methane, while producing vitamins and antibiotics for human health. That microbes contribute 50% of all oxygen (the rest is produced by plants, mainly our still existing forests), is hardly known by the public. Here, the contributions of microbes to access carbon dioxide and hence the climate crisis and to some other challenges humankind faces are highlighted. Synthetic approaches using the biochemical potential of microbes are discussed. Will microbes save us and the world? 

FRI 13.11. 19.30 H (CET)
Lars Blank, Rosi Braidotti, Johannes Paul Raether & Sarah Johanna Theurer in conversation

Talk, moderated by Prof. Dr. Gabriele Gramelsberger

In the concluding discussion Lars Blank, Rosi Braidotti and Johannes Paul Raether discuss their different approaches to the topic.


SUN 15.11. 13H (CET)
ASSEMBLY (exclusively for participants)

At the Assembly, participants present and discuss their own projects within the context of IMPACT20 topics.

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