17:15 – 17:45
Conversation between Vandana Shiva, Asif Zaidi and Mark Dion
Disowning Life is a two-day public conference that takes as its starting point dOCUMENTA (13)’s ecological perspective, building on a global alliance between different forms of research and knowledges that is actively being developed in a variety of fields. On September 10, the first part of this conference discusses humans as only one form of animal life amongst many others. On September 15, the second part focuses on questions around food and seeds, water and land, energy and de-growth. At a time when the models of production on which our world is based have been proved insufficient, and the arbitrary division of roles largely unjust, thinking about the way in which we sustain life on the planet is not just an interesting field of research but a crucial necessity.
The development of a collective consciousness that allows us to think and feel in sympathy with all types of mineral, vegetal, and animal life is allowing a new narrative to emerge—one that shifts the position of humans in the constellation of the natural world, placing us in a more balanced scenario in relation to other beings. Notions revolving around seeding and the idea of multispecies intra-action are introducing new perspectives in eco-feminism that place the problem of difference or “othering” beyond gender. Inspired by and hoping to elaborate on the interrelated horizons of two main thinkers in these fields— multispecies biologist and cultural theorist Donna Haraway and seeds activist Vandana Shiva—this final conference of dOCUMENTA (13) gathers some of the most rigorous scholars, artists, and activists in these fields together with a range of committed new voices.
Vandana Shiva is a seed activist and one of the leading voices in the field of activism during globalization. She has fought for changes in the current dynamics and paradigms of biodiversity, agriculture, food, biotechnology, intellectual property, bioethics, and genetic engineering. Her writings, such as Ecofeminism (1993), Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace (2005), and Soil Not Oil (2008) have helped shape contemporary notions on the use of seeds, on third-world women, and on eco-feminism.
Mark Dion is an artist based in New York whose work examines the ways in which dominant ideologies and public institutions shape our understanding of history, knowledge, and the natural world. Appropriating archaeological and other scientific methods of collecting, ordering, and exhibiting objects, Dion creates works that question the distinctions between “objective” (rational) scientific methods and “subjective” (irrational) influences.