In the context of the exhibition Chronic desire – Sete cronică – an activation of the work The tree of life by Mona Vătămanu & Florin Tudor
Birch bending: political ecology and deindustrialization
Just as other genres (fiction or law), social theory has had trouble reclaiming the arboreal point of view, not least because of the mismatch in temporal scales. Starting from the very material figure of the birch, at the center of this installation, I try to bend theory (political ecology and economy) so that it approximates the perspective of the tree itself: a relatively short-lived pioneer species that thrives in industrial ruins, strikes into new territory while adapting to radical transformations, but is also deeply social and often enmeshed into mutual networks of support and communication with other species. In a present that couples deindustrialization with implacable climate change, ongoing ventures beyond the capitalist model (such as degrowth) are necessary. Perhaps the hardy birch can even bend towards a revolutionary ecology (with a nod to Murray Bookchin).
The Pluriversal in Eastern Europe: a Realist Proposal
The much-awaited end of the tunnel of the "post-socialist" transition has finally come and was burnt in flames, while the entire world has just entered a transition on multiple levels: economical, political, social, cultural, ecological. Yet this belated millennial turn lacks an enlightened orientation. Decolonial thinkers and activists from the Global South have long proposed that, instead of the "universal", which has forcefully guided the progressives as well as the colonial empires in the past 500 years and some more, we should now look into developing relations within a pluriversal world, able to host the many worlds of different civilizations and cultures. But what are our resources and obstacles, and how are we to cultivate realistically the pluriversal in Eastern Europe? In this conversation, I will start with a story and make the argument for a major re-orientation of sensibilities which could be brought by the cultural and artistic workers of the region.