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Symposium: Molecular Intimacies

31 January 2020 until 2 February 2020

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Molecular Intimacies is a field and performance symposium associated with knowbotiq’s project thulu thu thu, before the sun harms you, to critically engage and participate in the contaminated landscapes of the Scottish Highlands and the cultural, technological, political and social apparatus which govern them. The Highland lands are unearthly territories to imagine and speculate on future extinction and the limits of the planet, where the ghosts of the white Anthropocene – land grabs, dispossession, forced migration, corporate extraction, environmental poisoning – are preserved in deep time and rendered inhuman materialities of the earth.

Bringing together researchers, artists, performers, scientists and historians, the symposium will approach specific local energy zones – the carbon sequestration peatland blanket bog; the irradiated decommissioned nuclear plant and the future site of the first UK spaceport – to consider scales and depths of time, natural and artificial mutations, residues of colonial histories, imperceptible biodata, technological machinations and traumatic cultural memories, which are inscribed in the land that people, and other beings and sentients, are embedded in and composed of.

A collective will operate the undefined raffia, at the various energy zones, as a mode of enquiry to penetrate and participate in the current ecological condition. The collective movement will be led by various incantations, a fractured series of sounds, songs, readings and technocosmologies which respond to the politics of the Anthropocene.

On Friday, Ama Josephine Budge will present a performative lecture on climate justice and speculative fiction, followed by a collective and participatory Algerian feast from Soul Food Sisters.

On Saturday, we’re out on the field in the community bus, guided by a recording from historian David Alston on Sutherland’s colonial history and its relationship to the Highland Clearances. Our first stop is the monitoring stations at the peatland bogs for an improvised collective performance and a discussion on carbon politics between peat ecologist Roxane Andersen and environmental policy researcher Yolanda Ariadne Collins. Next, we’re travelling to the site of the UK’s first space-port to discuss the racialisation of datascapes, surveillance technologies and territories. We’re then travelling to the beach at decommissioned Dounreay nuclear plant for a nuclear energy inspired ‘end of the world’ picnic from Soul Food Sisters, a radioactive seaside performance and a participatory lecture on soil contamination and colonial legacies from researcher and architect João Prates Vital.
We’re finishing off Saturday’s big day out with a pop-up restaurant from Soul Food Sisters and a performance from Belinda Zhawi.

On Sunday morning, we’ll host an open breakfast, for participants, pals and guests to discuss the expanded notion of nature and its technological, political, biological and social registers.