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“Non-Adaptive Aesthetics: On Orientation for Planetary Co-Existence.” A lecture by Patricia Reed

A joint lecture cycle organized by Garage Museum of Contemporary Art and Moscow Art Magazine (Khudoshestvenny Zhurnal)
16 January 2020


While the term “planetary” has come to signal the complex entanglement of social, technologic, economic, epistemic, and ecologic forces with the geologic, how does it inform possible histories yet to come? If “planetarity” is upheld as distinct from “globalization”, how can those differences be mobilized so as to break from the intense asymmetries governing existing forms of life?  

It is one thing to invent a term, and quite another to practice its ramifications in substantial and material ways. During this talk, “planetarity” is used to mark a unique historical demand: as creatures now facing climate catastrophe, humans are confronted, for the first time, to learn modes of co-existence for an environment in common (Sylvia Wynter); a notion that is crucially not interchangeable with a “common environment.” 

The demand captured by planetarity is simultaneously ethical, pragmatic, and aesthetic in nature, requiring frameworks of orientation for it. That is to say, co-existence within planetary dimensions requires co-emergent frames of reference through which the reconfiguration of sense-making can be manifest. Rather than learning how to adapt to conditions that only reinforce existing structures of life (implicitly or explicitly), the concept of “non-adaptive aesthetics” will be introduced as a premise for creating counterfactual conditions of sensing. For art to play a constructive role in the demand of planetarity, it cannot merely create vehicles for sensing the nonsense of our current condition (critique), but is also charged with the creation of conditions for witnessing that which is not yet in existence: a practicable environment in common, with its spatial, linguistic and gestural consequences.


Patricia Reed is an artist, writer and designer based in Berlin. Recent writings have been published in Glass Bead JournalThe New Normal (MIT & Strelka Press, forthcoming), Construction Site for Possible Worlds (Urbanomic, forthcoming), e-flux JournalMaking & BreakingAngelakiPara-Platforms (Sternberg); Post Memes: Seizing the Memes of Production (Punctum Books); e-flux ArchitectureXeno-Architecture (Sternberg Press); and Cold War Cold World (Urbanomic). Reed is also part of the Laboria Cuboniks working group whose Xenofeminist Manifesto (2015) was republished by Verso Books in 2018, with additional book-length translations in Korean, French, and Greek (all 2019).


Free admission with advance registration.

The talk will be delivered in English with simultaneous translation into Russian.


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