SYM-BI-O/ LIVING TOGETHER AT THE LIMITS OF SCIENCE
An online study day of talks and discussions to revisit the artistic, intellectual and transformative contexts of The Incident exhibitions and symposia held in 1995 & 1996, held at University for the Creative Arts, UK on 18th march 2021.
Convenor Kathleen Rogers, co-convenor/moderator Rob La Frenais
Speakers Rob La Frenais, Kathleen Rogers, Jeremy Narby
Respondent, Birgitta Hosea
The study day revisited The Incident exhibitions and symposia held in Switzerland and London 1995 & 1996 – to consider intergenerational themes and artistic and political questions of our time. Rob La Frenais organised and was the director of the incident events in Fribourg and at ICA London and Kathleen Roger’s work was credited as strongly influencing the artistic and intellectual themes of these events.
The incident I, Fribourg (1995) program: The Incident I 1995
The Incident II, ICA, London (1996) program: The Incident II 1996
The Incident events were one of the few occasions where speculative science, philosophy and spirituality were discussed in the context of contemporary art practice. It was a market-place of ideas that reflected a changing world as we moved towards the end of the last Millennium that resonated with the 2012 Doomsday meme. The incident events sought to bring together different visions that reflected on the idea of network consciousness of the early internet, ethnopharmacology, genetic engineering, artificial intelligence and alternative new systems of knowledge that were shattering old paradigms and theories of mind and matter – with some pointing toward the hyper dimensions of the post human – a mass mind of psychedelic futures. Exploring what the mind is and might become.
The incident events emphasised how novel frameworks are essential for approaching uncertainty and the day emphasised emergent themes that resonated with Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis; with Margulis’s ideas of symbiosis as the way of life; with plant teachers and indigenous knowledge system that go beyond human centred ways of knowing and revisited the alien hypothesis – looking to new paradigms that are relevant to the interests of new generations.
Historically, early cybernetic theories from the 60’s and the emergence of the digital offered new possibilities for exploring concepts of wholeness and connection – connecting molecular matter in biology to non-human world ecologies, and coinciding with this, the environmental movement took off and began to make urgent calls that addressed and predicted the climate and ecological crisis we are now facing.
UCA Study Day (2021) program and speakers details : Sym-bio Living Together – Incident 2021
00.00 Brief introductions – Kathleen Rogers and Rob La Frenais
00.30 Rob La Frenais. The story of The Incident
01.00. Kathleen Rogers. Entangled Dimensionalities
01.30 Jeremy Narby. Plant Teachers
02.00 Response by Birgitta Hosea.
The artist/gallerist, Sally Annett has written and published a reflective response to the study day on her gallery website here:
Interview with Jeremy Narby on his new book and work on Plant Healers here
More details and links on Kathleen Rogers website here:
Archive photo credits: Eliane Laubscher