"How Like a Leaf" is the title of an interview conducted with Donna Haraway, a thinker whose interdisciplinary approach reflects the necessity of creating new ways of thinking, relating and practising with and in the natural world. For Haraway, being "like a leaf" denotes not only the shared "molecular architecture" of plants and animals, but also the history of cross-species relations and the variety of tools and discourses with which we have addressed and represented these relations, as well as the possibility of an aesthetics which breaches the human and nonhuman.
This TECHNE Conflux will bring together students from across different disciplines - including literary studies, philosophy, visual arts, music, history, classics, dance and theatre - to assess, adapt and develop interdisciplinary approaches to the relationships between art, nature and the world, with the assistance of world-renowned practitioners and theorists. The Conflux has three main aims:
- To examine the relationship between aesthetic theories of nature and twenty-first century artistic practice.
- To consider the ways in which historical accounts of the relationships between art, nature and world might be re-purposed in order to address the contemporary world.
- To provide a space, in the form of both events and a final exhibition, in which these conversations between artistic products and aesthetic theories, will reach a wider audience.
The Conflux will run across two years, from June 2018 - June 2020 and will consist of four themes: Encountering; Writing; Performing; and Thinking. Each theme will comprise a roundtable discussion between leading theorists or practitioners in the field and one or more workshops focusing on developing students' interdisciplinary skills. The Conflux will conclude with a dialogue event drawing on all three themes and an exhibition (in the Davison Building, Royal Holloway), displaying the work of students and other practitioners who are connected to the Conflux.