Summer Zine Release

At the start of summer 2021 the Benelux Association for the Study of Culture and Environment (BASCE) organised a creative jam — an interactive workshop bringing together scholars, artists, writers, students, and others interested in creative research practice and the environmental humanities. Over several workshops, we experimented collectively with creative and artistic methods and their application in times of environmental crisis. 

Following this workshop, we brought out a call for submissions of creative work inspired by the creative jam. This e-zine is a collection of those submissions – a synthesis of summer musings and autumn reflections. We would like to thank all contributors for their amazing work!

You can check out the zine by clicking on the image:

Or you can click here: https://basce.itch.io/basce-summer-zine

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BASCE E-Zine: Call for artistic responses

The summer is a time for thinking and doing things differently. It’s a time of adventure, as well as boredom. A time for sleeping in, and staying up. A time that lends itself just as well to field-philosophy as it does to frivolous thinking. We are interested in collecting some of this serious frivolity to be showcased in a zine this fall.

This is a call for artistic responses to the environmentally precarious conditions of modern life by people who may not identify as artists (although professional artists are welcome to respond as well). Perhaps you’re just a person who doodles, or maybe you are a fantastic dreamer, a storyteller, a gothic soul, or an incorrigible jokester. However you cope and mediate your experience of the unfolding climate crisis, this call invites you to consider sharing your thoughts and visions for the future with others who are equally adrift on the rising tide of the present. 

Submission may include but are not limited to: 

  • Sun-drunk musings on the fate of the world
  • Creepy microfiction (terrify us in 50 words or less, we dare you!)
  • Poetry that makes us want to taste it 
  • Photographs of forgotten places
  • Doodles of dogs and other kin
  • Sketches of strangers
  • Correspondence from alien pen pals
  • Legends and myths – real or imaginary

Submissions may be in English, French or Dutch and may not exceed 500 words in length. Images should be PNGs or Jpegs and should be accompanied with one or two lines of context.

Deadline August 31, 2021. Postponed to 1 October 2021

Questions? Don’t hesitate to get in touch at basce@protonmail.com.

BASCE creative jam

1st of June 2021, 1 p.m. – 6 p.m. CEST

Join us on the 1st of June for an afternoon of creative workshops and the chance to contribute to our online exhibition in the autumn of 2021! The Benelux Association for the Study of Culture and Environment (BASCE) welcomes all scholars, students, artists, writers, and anyone with an interest in creative methods and the environment to take part in this virtual event. We will work together to produce creative responses to Anthropocene realities. Spread out over four different workshops, we will experiment with creative methods to approach environmental themes, for example through provocative graphic design and speculative storytelling.

We will begin the afternoon with an interactive lecture on creative methods in the Anthropocene by Groningen-based artists Olivia D’Cruz and Marina Sulima. They will share some of their fascinating multimedia work on how the earth responds to mining, and start off a discussion on how artistic and creative methods can respond to complex contemporary realities such as biodiversity loss, ocean acidification, deforestation, and global warming. Olivia and Marina will give us some starting points for the rest of the workshops and get us thinking about how experimenting with creative methods can help us find new ways of representing these issues, and taking action against them.

After this first session, we will split into four breakout rooms for the workshops. The workshops will run concurrently over two sessions, so there will be the opportunity to participate in two out of four. The workshops will introduce various different themes and practices, such as ‘writing utopia,’ deep time futures, ‘writing with water,’ and subvertising/activist poster-making. The workshops will be led by expert hosts, who will provide context and prompts to start off the exercise, providing inspiration for participants to generate their own projects – for example a poem, a virtual poster, or a story. Participants will be invited to develop their projects  after the event and to contribute what they produce to an online exhibition which BASCE will be launching this autumn. The exhibition will bring together environmental work from artists, scholars, writers, as well as others, providing a platform for forging creative methods in the Anthropocene.

Programme

13:00-13:15 Opening words

13:15-14:00 Lecture Creating Response-ability through Art – Olivia D’Cruz and Marina Sulima

14:00-14:15 Small Break, but the room stays open for casual conversation

14:15-15:45 Workshops Round 1

15:45-16:00 Small Break, main room stays open for chitchat

16:00-17:30 Workshops Round 2

17:30-17:45 Closing Words

Lecture – Creating Response-ability through Art

Olivia D’Cruz (India) and Marina Sulima (Moldova) are a duo based in Groningen. They are interested in ecology and they tell stories about the rights of humans and non-humans through the combination of fiction and documentary. They work with video, animation, drawing and sculpture, and are fans of cooking and collaboration.  

Through drawing, animation and film they try to respond to ecological issues, such as the destruction of the habitat of a crocodile or the effects of mining-induced earthquakes on a landscape. They will talk about their approach to making artistic works by using speculative fiction. At the end of the talk they will share some exercises to respond artistically to specific situations of climate crises.

Workshops

1. Writing with Water

During this workshop, Rosanne van der Voet, Creative Writing PhD candidate at the University of Sheffield, will lead some writing exercises on the theme of writing with water, specifically in the context of low-lying coastal areas such as the Netherlands. She will begin the workshop by introducing some of her own work on developing a non-anthropocentric writing style which seeks to make complex environmental issues material on the page. Using some photographic prompts, she will then invite participants to produce some written content of any genre (poetry/short story/nonfiction/hybrid) trying to inhabit the qualities of water and some specific marine-dwelling animals. Participants will be invited to share some of their thoughts and to continue working on their writing after the workshop so it may be submitted for the online exhibition later this year.

2. Exploring Deep Time

In this workshop Laura op de Beke, principal investigator of the project Playing with Deep Time, will prepare participants for a journey into the deep future. We start by familiarizing ourselves with a number of starting locations, or case studies: the Svalbard seed vault, nuclear waste repositories like the one near Olkiluoto in Finland, and the 10.000 year clock of the long now. After that our paths will diverge. Using techniques from speculative fiction and role-play, and with the help of painting and hypertext software, the challenge is to find our way through eons of growth, decay and transformation; and to come back from our journey with more understanding of the ethical responsibilities we owe to the beings of the future, than when we first set out. 

3. Writing Utopia

In this workshop, David Lombard, PhD candidate in American literary studies and the environmental humanities at the University of Liège and the KU Leuven, will break down the genre of utopia into its essential parts. Drawing on examples from literature and visual arts, he will address the spatial and temporal assumptions of the genre, as well as its narratological conventions (epistolary style, fictional ethnography). He will also illustrate the variety of subgenres in utopian writing (e.g. solarpunk, post-apocalyptic fiction) and touch on some of the more complex aspects of the genre, for example its relationship with dystopia, and its politics of creative destruction. Equipped with this knowledge, participants will then be invited to put all these pieces together again in ways that speak to their personal hopes and concerns for the future, or in search of forms that challenge mainstream, Western, conceptions of ideal societies. This output may take any form the participants are comfortable with, and the workshop will provide plenty of examples for inspiration. 

4. Subvertising and activist poster making

In this workshop participants will be invited by Kevin ten Thij to turn the language of advertising against those who use it to pollute our visual environments, fabricate materialist desires, and stimulate rampant consumerism. Subvertising involves the creation of spoofs or parodies of corporate advertisements that expose these corporations for their politically and environmentally destructive behavior. With corporations like Shell developing more sophisticated, greenwashing facades, revealing the hypocrisy behind their public campaigns is becoming more important than ever. In this workshop we’ll cover aspects like visual rhetoric, sloganeering, and the situational context of ads, and how to tactically mobilize them for a more just, and sustainable world.

Book Launch: Narrating the Mesh

On May 3 at 7 pm (UTC+1) the ERC-funded project NARMESH (Ghent University) is hosting an online launch of Marco Caracciolo’s new book, Narrating the Mesh: Form and Story in the Anthropocene (University of Virginia Press, 2021). Together with Caracciolo, Jon Hegglund (Washington State University), Kaisa Kortekallio (University of Helsinki), Erin James (University of Idaho), and Eric Morel (University of Delaware) will discuss the present and future of “econarratology.” Kristin Ferebee (Ghent University, NARMESH project) will moderate this discussion of how narrative (theory) can contribute to contemporary debates on the climate crisis.

Zoom link:

https://ugent-be.zoom.us/j/98671707978?pwd=WWVib05OeXdQVDJQcGZKa29kbS9XZz09
Meeting ID: 986 7170 7978
Passcode: sz4qx4Lc

BASCE’s Back!

After having slumbered for a little while BASCE is back in 2021 with a brand new monthly discussion series called Snippets – organized by the recently established events committee. As the committee finds their footing they hope to organize more events across the Benelux region, including something extra special to sound in the summer.

For questions and suggestions, feel free to reach out to basce@protonmail.com.

New book by Astrid Bracke: Climate Crisis and the 21st-Century British Novel

BASCE board member Astrid Bracke has just published her book Climate Crisis and the 21st-Century British Novel with Bloomsbury.

The challenge of rapid climate change is forcing us to rethink traditional attitudes to nature. This book is the first study to chart these changing attitudes in 21st-century British fiction. Climate Crisis and the 21st-Century British Novel examines twelve works that reflect growing cultural awareness of climate crisis and participate in the reshaping of the stories that surround it. Central to this renegotiation are four narratives: environmental collapse, pastoral, urban and polar. Bringing ecocriticism into dialogue with narratology and a new body of contemporary writing, Astrid Bracke explores a wide range of texts, from Zadie Smith’s NW through Sarah Hall’s The Carhullan Army and David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas to the work of a new generation of novelists such as Melissa Harrison and Ross Raisin. As the book shows, post-millennial fictions provide the imaginative space in which to rethink the stories we tell about ourselves and the natural world in a time of crisis.

Astrid Bracke is Lecturer in English Literature at HAN University of Applied Sciences (Nijmegen, The Netherlands). She regularly publishes on ecocriticism and contemporary literature on www.AstridBracke.com

Cultural ecology in the Greater Region

Conference on cultural ecology in the Greater Region, organised by Jeanne E. Glesener, Christiane Solte-Gresser and Sébastian Thiltges.
1st June 2017 at the Musée national d’histoire naturelle Luxembourg, 2nd June at the University of Luxembourg, Campus Belval.
For further information, please visit http://www.uni-saarland.de/kulturoekologie or contact sebastian.thiltges@uni-saarland.de.
View the conference programme here:

Call for papers Ecologie culturelle / Kulturökologie in Luxemburg

Chères collègues, chers collègues

Veuillez trouver ci-joint un appel à communication pour le colloque “Ecologie culturelle et cultures écologiques dans la Grande Région” qui se déroulera le 1er et le 2 juin au Luxembourg.

J’espère que ce texte vous intéressera et je vous saurais gré de bien vouloir diffuser l’appel auprès de vos collègues.
D’avance merci et bien cordialement,
Sébastian Thiltges

Liebe Kolleg/inn/en,

Im Anhang findet ihr den Call for Papers zur Tagung “Kulturökologie und ökologische Kulturen in der Großregion” die am 1. und 2. Juni 2017 in Luxemburg stattfindet.
Gerne dürft ihr den Text an interessierte Kollegen weitersenden.

Vielen Dank im Voraus und mit herzlichen Grüßen,
SébastianThiltges

Appel “Ecologie culturelle et cultures écologiques dans la Grande Région”: appel-ecolitlux-fr

Call for Papers “Kulturökologie und ökologische Kulturen in der Großregion”: call-ecolitlux-d

Farewell to the Beautiful Soul: A Poetics for the Anthropocene

SYMPOSIUM

23 SEPTEMBER 2016, 13-17HRS
Bushuis, AMSTERDAM
Registration and programme

The question here is whether and how certain forms of augmented, patterned and foregrounded language known as “poetry” matter in times of extreme crisis. The crisis of the Anthropocene involves a paradigm shift of the notion of the “human” itself and also the relationship of the “human” to “Nature”.

Since 1950 humans have become a marked geophysical force that has changed earth systems to such a degree that several planetary boundaries are already seriously violated. In her response (climate warming, biodiversity loss, acidification of the seas, the disturbance of the nitrogen/phosphate cycles), the earth, now understood as a secular Gaia, has revealed herself as a finely tuned reactive entity –  not only wholly materially transcendent but also utterly indifferent to us. We now relate to her, not necessarily as exceptional human beings but as one type of earthbound critter amongst others that need to survive in the severely damaged and increasingly dangerous conditions of our own making, the ravenous excesses of the Capitalocene. As poets we have to find radical and critical alternatives to our Beautiful Soul habits of aesthetic distancing from/objectification of and immersion in “Nature”. We have to face Gaia with a new respons-ability. What kind of ethos, modes and voices, what kinds of political interventions, can one try to map for the earthbound poet?  And who cares?

Marlene van Niekerk is one of South Africa’s most influential and thought provoking writers. She is a poet, novelist as well as professor of Literature at the University of Stellenbosch. Her most renowned works are Triomf (1994), Agaat (2004) and Memorandum (2006), all translated into several languages, amongst them Dutch and English. Recently she has published a volume of poetry called Kaar, which deals extensively with the relation between people, the environment and politics (2014).

This lecture is part of a larger symposium about contemporary Afrikaans literature organised by the Literary and Cultural Analysis department at the Unversity of Amsterdam in collaboration with the Week van de Afrikaanse roman and the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns.

With: Ena Jansen, Marlene van Niekerk, Francois Smith, Lien Botha, Simon Bruinders, Carrol Clarkson, Luc Renders, Ksenia Robbe, Hanneke Stuit.

More information, registration and programme

Lecture on Biophilia by Artis professor Erik de Jong

Biophilia
Lecture by Erik de Jong, Artis Professor (in Dutch)
Friday 18 November, 15-17hrs at VU University Amsterdam, Main Building, room 1A-33

With a response by Tirza Brüggemann

Erik de Jong holds the Artis Chair for Culture, Landscape and Nature at the University of Amsterdam. In his lecture he wonders whether we could use ‘biophilia’, a concept coined by the Harvard biologist Edward O. Wilson, to write a cultural history of the love of nature in the past four centuries.

Tirza Brüggemann is PhD student at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Her project ‘Flashes of Understanding. Animal Poetry and Empathy’ is a literary/philosophical exploration of poetry’s capacity to arouse empathy with animals.

The lecture is in Dutch and open to everyone. Please register before 15 November using the form below.

‘Biophilia’:

‘Biophilia’ of ‘ liefde tot natuur’ doordringt alle lagen van de samenleving. De biophilia-hypothese werd ontwikkeld door Edward Wilson, Harvard bioloog. Hij beschouwt onze liefde voor natuur als het resultaat van een biologisch evolutieproces waarin onze verhouding tot onze omgeving  weerspiegeld wordt. Naast biologische factoren onderkent hij ook culturele, maar werkt deze eigenlijk niet uit. Kunnen wij met Wilsons fascinerende hypothese als uitgangspunt een cultuurgeschiedenis van de liefde tot natuur in de afgelopen vier eeuwen schrijven? Het is een ambivalente liefde: voor  hond en kat, maar ook voor jagen. Hij ligt tussen bewondering, angst en intens gebruik, in een aantrekkingskracht tot landschap, van ruige wildernis tot verzorgde tuin. Affectie voor natuur voedt de naturalist, de wandelaar of  vegetariër, maar ook de  toerist en de sporter. Natuurliefde manifesteert zich in verdiepte studie, maar uit zich ook in verschillende vormen van lifestyle,  mode en andere toe-eigeningen. En welke rol speelt ‘natuurliefde’ eigenlijk in andere culturen? Onze tijd kenmerkt zich door een complexe samenhang tussen natuur en cultuur, wereldwijd. Deze twee grootheden  zijn zelfs  het resultaat van ambivalente en omstreden processen geworden. Dat heeft een nieuw en globaal, tijdperk ingeluid: het Antropoceen.  Deze door de mens beheerste wereld stelt de dringende vraag  naar waar onze grenzen en mogelijkheden liggen. Wat blijft er over van onze natuurliefde? Wordt natuur cultuur?  Kan cultuur veranderen door bio-emancipatie? Welke rol kunnen diverse culturele tradities voor elkaar spelen en wat betekent dat voor onze opvattingen over natuur en cultuur? Deze lezing wil  iets blootleggen van onze complexe verwevenheden met natuur om te kunnen komen tot besef van en toekomst voor ‘biophilia’ in ons antropocene tijdperk.

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