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Accepted Paper:

Staying with the struggle: Possibility, contingency and failure in three speculative more-than-human worldings that attempt to speak-with  
Viktor Bedö (FHNW Academy of Art and Design) Kit Braybrooke (FHNW - University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland) Gabriela Aquije (FHNW Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst) Ruth Catlow

Short abstract:

How can we ‘give voice’ to non-humans in ways that move beyond speaking-for? Through 3 transnational case studies – two interspecies LARPs and a global anthology of posthuman feminisms – we investigate the struggle of turning-to, as opposed to turning-into, in speculative more-than-human worldings.

Long abstract:

What kinds of intimacies, tensions, and ethical challenges emerge when speculative more-than-human worldings are proposed to transcend human-oriented collaboration? What does it mean to ‘give voice’ to non-humans in ways that move beyond speaking-for, and instead invite speaking-with (Hee Jeong-Choi, Braybrooke & Forlano 2023)? Even more importantly, how do design and art practices stay with the struggle of doing so, when the majority of such projects are doomed to fail?

In this paper, we examine three cases of 'giving voice' in more-than-human worldings which invite speculative futures in collaboration with/for animal, vegetal and algorithmic communities – two more-than-human LARPs in London and in Basel, and a global anthology of posthuman feminisms. Each project enacts diverse sociotechnical assemblages to experiment with speculative modes of collaboration in/with non-human worlds – from blockchains, commons, treaties, zines, and public parks to stag beetles – which are introduced as boundary objects to make kin, and speak-with (Bellacasa 2017, Haraway 2016, Star & Griesemer 2016).

Despite best intentions, however, the anthropocentric realities of idealized worldings like these tend to invite not only new possibilities but also disappointment, discomfort, and in certain cases, betrayal. Humans have typically failed at turning into badgers (Foster 2016) and goats (Thwaites 2016), their efforts unable to overcome the bias, power dynamics and violence of human-oriented worldings. However, when turning-into is no longer the goal but rather an affective turning-to (Orozco & Parker-Starbuck 2017), possible more-than-human futures re-emerge, inviting relations that grow from – and not against – the struggle.

Traditional Open Panel P340
More-than human research and innovation
  Session 1