SCI FI SESSIONS #2

In the SCI FI SESSIONS De Appel and Netwerk Aalst embrace the apocalypse. Not as a definite scenario for doom, but as a new beginning. Which brave new worlds can we imagine if the world as we know it ceases to exist? We invite artists, researchers, and thinkers from a variety of disciplines to speculate with us – and with you – about alternative scenarios for the future.

Evi Swinnen (Timelab) and Michel Bauwens (P2P foundation) warm up the sessions with a reading group on McKenzie Wark's book Molecular Red. Over the shoulder of Wark we read excerpts of Bogdanov, Platonov, Donna Haraway and Ken Stanley Robinson.

After lunch, nuclear physicist, philosopher, and climate activist Gaston Meskens presents a keynote presentation. How to re-think human rights in light of the climate changes surrounding us? His engagement in the UN climate conventions led him to consider the possibility of an ecological democracy. Alongside his academic work, Gaston Meskens also developed an artistic practice. In his hypothetical Institute of Idle Curiosity for Elements of Seduction, he pictures a form of humanism that radically opposes the ruling dynamic of polarisation.

The British Autonomy unites researchers from multiple fields around the position and organisation of work today. Two questions prove critical: to what measure does the central position of work in society contribute to our personal happiness? Should the continuity of a society centred on labour remain a tangible goal in an increasingly automated world? Autonomy invests in radical new ways of thinking and solutions to tackle the crisis of labour we face today; solutions that also make sense in a new, more sustainable, and more fair world. Following an introduction to post-work, we split up in three smaller groups to collectively discuss and speculate on three specific post-work questions.

Tamás Kaszás’s and Anikó Loránt's Ex-Artist's Collective concludes the SCI FI SESSIONS. Their Famine Food research - food in times of crisis - is the starting point for a meal and a conversation. Tamás enters into dialogue with a local food connoisseur about the fine line separating the poor man’s diet from what we consider to be delicacies. This Bureau d’Alimentation is the third instalment in the series of the same name in which Netwerk Aalst makes a wide range of social issues negotiable and edible during a delicious meal.

This event was made possible with the generous support of the Dutch Embassy in Brussels. This second series of SCI FI SESSIONS is organized by Netwerk Aalst and De Appel in Amsterdam in collaboration with Timelab

PROGRAMME

11 AM - 12:30 PM: Warm-up reading session led by Evi Swinnen (BE) & Michel Bauwens (BE)

12:30 PM - 2 PM: Group lunch

2 PM - 2:45 PM: Keynote Gaston Meskens (BE)

2:45 PM - 3:15 PM: Prompt Will Stronge, Maria Dada and Julian Siravo from Autonomy (UK), followed by an introduction of three break-out sessions during which we'll talk in small groups

3:30 PM - 4:30 PM: Break-out sessions, moderated by Will Stronge, Maria Dada and Julian Siravo connected to Autonomy

Session 1: Post-work economy: what work is useful, what do we want to de-commodify, what work should be created? Leading into a discussion on the value and ethics of work, on UBI (Universal Basic Income) and UBS (Universal Basic Services).

Session 2: Post-work domesticity: how does the collapse of work challenge the structure of the family and household? What kind of automation, politics of time or reorganisation of domestic labour do we envision after the breakdown of identities such as the breadwinner and the pensioner?

Session 3: Post-work technology: what technologies do we need for a post-work society? What technologies are currently being used to automate and how can they be repurposed for a post-collapse world?

4:30 PM - 5 PM Round-up

6 PM: Bureau d’Alimentation - Famine Food with Ex-Artist Collective

PRACTICAL

SCI FI SESSIONS are always free, including lunch. Only the Bureau d'Alimentation is payable at 15€ per person. Choice of vegetarian or with meat, drinks are not included.

Please subscribe to let us know you're coming, and if you'd like to join the Bureau d'Alimentation dinner.

SPEAKERS

Evi Swinnen is coordinator of Timelab, life coach and interested in group dynamics and social structures. She is specialized in cocreation and methods for conceptual development. Swinnen likes analyzing, researching and hacking; but is not so fond of rules and procedures.

Michel Bauwens is cyberphilosopher, co-founder of the Peer-to-Peer Foundation (P2P Foundation) and the Commons Strategies Group. He is the author of "De wereld redden: met peer-to-peer naar een postkapitalistische samenleving" (To Save the World; With Peer-to-Peer to a Post-Capitalist Society).

Gaston Meskens is a philosophical activist and artist with a background in theoretical physics. He works with the Centre for Ethics and Value Inquiry of the Faculty of Arts and Philosophy of the University of Ghent and with the Science and Technology Studies group of the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre SCK•CEN. He is a guest advisor at the Rijksakademie Amsterdam and a regular guest lecturer in university seminars and conferences around the globe. Gaston Meskens is also chair of the Constituency of Research-oriented Non-Governmental Organisations, the constituency that represents the global scientific world towards the United Nations in its work on climate change. Based on the idea that philosophical activism also needs some kind of meta-reflection, Gaston Meskens developed an art practice parallel to his philosophical work. This ‘art as research’ practice starts from the question of what social agency and humanism can mean ‘in a world still struggling with the cramps of modernity’.

Autonomy is an independent, progressive think tank with one focus: work. It provides necessary analyses, proposals and solutions with which to confront the changing reality of work in society today. The aim is to promote real freedom, equality and human flourishing above all. Will Stronge is a researcher in Politics and Philosophy at the University of Brighton and an Associate Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Chichester. Maria Dada is Research Fellow at the Digital Anthropology Lab at UAL. Her research is placed within the fields of design and material culture. She investigates the possibilities of digital materials in reconfiguring socio-political and economic structures. A PhD candidate in science and technology studies at Durham University, she holds an MA from the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy and a BSc in Computing and Communication Arts from the Lebanese American University in Beirut. Julian Siravo is an Architect and Urbanist. In 2015, he co-founded Rowhill Studio. In his research project “Post Work City” Julian developed a system for automating construction as well as exploring ideas of post-familial domesticity and socialised care-work. He focuses on ageing populations and the future of care.

Ex-Artist Collective is the shared artistic practice of Tamás Kaszas and Anikó Loránt. Their name is an homage to their wish of escaping the classic ‘creative’ economy of artistry through radical self-sufficiency.