Ecologies of speculation: - Imagining environmental and spatial justice beyond interconnected crises

Kristine Samson*, Iben Holck, Rodrigo Andreolli, Madeleine Kate McGowan

*Corresponding author

Publikation: KonferencebidragKonferenceabstrakt til konferenceForskningpeer review


Global cities are places where a multitude of socio-environmental and political struggles take place and intersect. Urban marginalization, real estate speculation, green colonialism and environmental extraction form part of larger political ecologies. For instance, urban marginalization are often directly a consequence of real estate
investment with speculative interest in land extraction with severe consequences for the environment, the destruction of land and nature resources and of indigenous ways of cultivating and relating to the land. The panel will work with the ecologies of speculation pointing to the intersection of environmental, social and spatial injustices. While the panel works with a critical, decolonial analysis, it at the same time promotes a reworlding of the current ecologies as we seek to reimagine places and spaces by reaching beyond current colonial-financial ecologies of speculation. We are for instance interested in the prefigurative politics of marginalized communities and gardening activism, how the relation to land and urban spaces is articulated as embodied and material practices, and how collaboration across cultures and places can initiate worldmaking practices. We are interested in the ecologies of speculations where the boundaries between fiction and realities become blurred, and where prevalent hegemonies are contested by imagining otherwise. (the role of art, performance and poetic expression)
With an explorative approach to ecologies of speculations, the panel also
intends to contest the epistemic injustice, colonialism, and socio-cultural discrimination inherent to much academic research and practice. Instead, the panel will propose a space for transdisciplinary dialogue between artists, researchers and activists across places and struggles. Hence, we seek to practice academic-activist-artistic worldmaking where cooperation and the sharing of diverse knowledges are put to the center. As such the panel will enact alternate knowledge ecologies bringing in diverse expressions and materials from listening, film production, architecture renderings, speculative fiction and gardening activism.

1. Aesthetics of the (un)desired: “Ghetto laws” and Speculative futures of Danish
common housing
Iben Holck, Roskilde University
From the archipelago of inhabitation in Denmark, a patchwork emerges of houses on soil that the market can’t reach, and no one profits on. Of houses organized in
neighborhoods, with hundreds of other neighborhoods, in circular economies that makes each resistant to debt when facing renovation. And of neighborhoods that the inhabitants
have direct influence on through local councils. The soil, houses and neighborhoods are Denmark’s public housing sector, where about 20% of the population live. In Danish, this inhabitation is called “common housing”, a political-societal approach to the housing question that surfaces from the post-war construction of Denmark’s welfare state. Since early 2000, a coalition of the market and the state has started to encroach on the land
and homes. Through its so-called “ghetto legislation”, the state targets more and more common housing areas through a political categorization system based on ethnic and class profiling and demands extensive demolitions, evictions, and selling of public houses and soil to the market in these areas. The market doesn’t follow order, it must be attracted. In this paper, as a site of political struggle, I engage spatial imaginaries of the historical welfare state in dialogue with those present in the computer visualizations of the development projects of marketized housing in targeted areas. What happens in the cracks between the ideological speculative commons of housing and the financial speculation in housing commons?

2. Embodied speculations on urban futures in Bixiga neighborhood, Sao Paulo
Rodrigo Andreolli, Teatro Oficina

Bixiga is one of the oldest and most culturally diverse areas in the city of Sao Paulo.
Facing the ongoing speculative urban development in the city center of Sao Paulo, the
65-year-old theater company, Teat(r)o Oficina in Bixiga has managed to embody
discussions concerning the cultivation of spaces for social and political existence.
Through performative actions, reenacting indigenous, marooned and immigrant
knowledge inherent to the history of the neighborhood and the diverse queer cultures of the theatre, the community contests current hegemonies in speculative urban
development. Performing a politics of resistance through an aesthetic movement,
activists and performers reflect upon the struggles related to property, culture and the
scars of colonial processes. Through visual material, the presentation will enact and
discuss diverse speculations around the future of futures for Teat(r)o Oficina and the
Bixiga neighborhood. Among them the speculative futures of an urban park reopening a river underneath the ground, and welcoming the multilayered urban ecologies where
social, environmental and cultural (hi)stories intersect. The presentation asks what
pluriversal publics are emerging from the political and cultural ecologies of Bixiga, and
what role can performance theatre play in enacting alternate urban futures?

3. Permaculture Urban Gardens: between prefiguration of environmental futures and
green colonialism?
Kristine Samson, Roskilde University
Gardening Activism is a community garden In Lundtoftegade, Copenhagen. In the
neighborhood, residents have endured territorial stigmatization from shifting Danish
governments and their stigmatizing “ghetto laws”. No longer on the “ghetto list”, the
neighborhood is still characterized by high-rise buildings with few places to meet.
Gardening Activism is a three-year art project by artist and permaculture designer Skye Jin, which connects artistic practice and methods within permaculture to establish a forest garden. The edible garden is emerging by the help of the community as the
gardeners work to arouse children's and adults' curiosity in relation to biodiversity, food cultures, and food sovereignty. At the same time, the garden will become a green oasis that awakens the senses and invites people across social and cultural divides to interact and co-create through self-organized workshops. In the gardening activism project, ecologies of environmental and social justice are at play, and the project seeks to addresses broader planetary inequalities in cities where marginalization of people
equals vulnerabilities to climate change and unequal access to green areas. The
presentation argues that while urban permaculture gardens enact utopian ideals of a just urban and planetary futures, they also risk becoming part of a new green colonialism
neglecting existing environmental, social and cultural ecologies.

4. Other Story: ‘Plant me in you’ A video portrait of Nariman Tamimi, The West Bank,
Palestine (2019) By Other Story
Madeleine Kate McGowan, Other Story
Opening voice and presence for ‘the pluralistic expressions of human’ that hold an
alternative to the mono-narrative that is currently being told about humans through the geological term the Anthropocene (that man has now touched and influenced everything on this planet). What is being told with the Anthropocene is that the qualities of humans are made up of everything that has laid the foundation for this term – greed, dominance,
unbridled progress, and mechanical extraction of natural resources.
Publikationsdato30 jun. 2024
StatusUdgivet - 30 jun. 2024
BegivenhedPOLLEN 24: Towards Just and Plural Futures / Hacia Futoros Plurales y Justos - Lund University, Lund, Sverige
Varighed: 10 jun. 202412 jun. 2024


KonferencePOLLEN 24: Towards Just and Plural Futures / Hacia Futoros Plurales y Justos
LokationLund University

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