Accepted Paper:

The Form(ation) of Insterspecies Aesthetics   


Li Jönsson (Kakd)
Tau Lenskjold (University of Southern Denmark)

Paper short abstract:

In this paper we explore the event as an inventive (design) method that sparks interspecies relations into being through speculative artefacts. Furthermore we describe a set of different aesthetical conceptualizations of environmental concerns.

Paper long abstract:

Events are a process in which human and non-human actors come together and in this coming together they become something different (Fraser 2006). Supposedly, this allows us to follow how interspecies events inadvertently condition an issue and produce a public. This is certainly noteworthy in regards to current sustainable issues, involving ozone-holes, garbage-piles and the concept of biodiversity. Yet, we contend that this process is not entirely graspable by solely paying attention to the relational translations it entails. Across the micro-events through which issues comes into being, different affective forces that we may identify as aesthetical, play their part too. In this paper we discuss how these affective moments are grounded through the interplay of different aesthetic theories. We describe a set of different aesthetical conceptualizations of environmental concerns - from an activist aesthetic to a darker ecology, to a minor and more nuanced environmental aesthetic, enacted through the speculative artifacts deployed in the recent design research project Urban Animals and Us (UA&Us).

More specifically, we describe how the event can be used as an inventive (design) method that sparks issues into being and forms a potential interspecies public, using UA&US as case. The agenda for the design project has been to conceptualize a Danish neighborhood as an urban ecology that we as citizens merely co-inhabit with many different species.

Finally, following the event framing we discuss how the actants in UA & Us are potentially transformed; suggesting that aesthetic affect is part of design's capacity for issue formation.

Panel T012
The Event of the Public: Convolutions of Aesthetic and Epistemic Practice