Talking Objects Lab: UNEXPECTED LESSONS #2

What makes nature the other? What role does the decoupling of nature and culture play? And how can we decolonize our view of the world? The performative conference UNEXPECTED LESSONS #2 – Decolonizing Nature will focus on anti-colonial approaches to nature – both in Kenya and Iceland – against the backdrop of the relations between the Global North and the Global South.
Neo Musangi on the Conference stage gesturing towards the audience (not in the picture). A moss asterisk floating in mid-air © Goethe-Institut In July 2022 the Think Tank Anti-Colonial Approaches to Nature took place in Nairobi. The event addressed seed archives and their colonial entanglements, colonization of land, lost indigenous knowledge on plants and medical botanicals, nature as an archive of memory and the philosophy of nature. The think tank brought together experts from different fields to reflect on the decolonization of nature.

The performative conference UNEXPECTED LESSONS #2 will take place from 13-15 September 2022 in Reykjavík. In dialogue with the Think Tank in Nairobi, it further expands the theme. What makes nature the other? Is the culture/nature dichotomy tenable at all? And how can we decolonize our view of the world? What does the colonization of “uninhabited nature” in the context of the vastness of the Icelandic landscapes mean? In light of todays’ climate catastrophe and the ongoing exploitation of natural resources, the role of nature not as an “object” but as an acting subject is central to both locations. Do we need a different way of thinking about nature?

The UNEXPECTED LESSONS are part of the long-term think tank and exhibition series Talking Objects Lab in Senegal, Kenya, Germany and beyond, which deals with the decolonization of knowledge and memory and explores plural forms and practices of knowledge of the African continent. The UNEXPECTED LESSONS are organic, they provide starting points and intermediate points, interweaving thematically with think tanks in Dakar, Nairobi and Frankfurt. With lecture performances, artistic interventions, poetry and a decolonized dinner, the program will engage with questions of decolonization on a historical as well as spiritual level.

Curated by Mahret Ifeoma Kupka (Frankfurt, Germany), Njoki Ngumi, The Nest Collective (Nairobi, Kenya), Chao Tayiana Maina, African Digital Heritage (Nairobi, Kenya), Isabel Raabe (Berlin, Germany)
More on Talking Objects Lab here

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UNEXPECTED LESSONS #2 – Decolonizing Nature is supported by Goethe-Institut London. The preparatory workshop "Anticolonial Approaches to Nature" in Nairobi was funded by the Heinrich Böll Foundation and supported by the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation.

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