Terrestrial University: Observing-Participating-Commoning

Sam Skinner and Mirko Nikolić in conversation

Sam Skinner and Mirko Nikolić in conversation
Sam Skinner and Mirko Nikolić in conversation

What could artist-led observatory/observation be in the 21st century, which might begin to see through and beyond our intersecting planetary crises?

How do the activities of measurement, sense, and observation change when enacted through, and with, experimental modes of (collectivized) noticing, (community) building, (communal) imagination, and (collaborative) activism? How might ideas such as »participant observation« in anthropology, »observing systems« in cybernetics, and the »observer effect« in quantum physics, speak with radically different, but kindred discourses and processes, such as embodied perception and feminist »situated knowledges«?

This Terrestrial University session will sketch and prefigure alternative visions for observing and caring for what Sam Skinner and Mirko Nikolić call »material communities«. Based on their interdependent and collaborative research and praxis it will connect an artist-led horticulture project in Oxford with the river basins of Korenita and Jadar in the Balkans. The river sites are under threat of old and new large-scale extractivist operations. The above drawn-out questions and sites are unravelled and entangled from the positions of regenerative practices of horticulture and de-extractivist poetry.