Meeting #3: Chemical Dirt

Planet Marx

Time: May 18, 2019

Location: Center for Visual Studies of Peking University, Beijing

Guest speakers: Jo Wei, Zhangbolong Liu

Planet Marx rotated its orbit towards the Center for Visual Studies of Peking University, where we read and talked about the cultural and social implications of scientific practices. Pioneering in this field is Bruno Latour and Steve Woolgar’s groundbreaking work Laboratory Life: the Process of Constructing Scientific Facts, which placed science and culture on the same plane for observation. The renowned science fiction writer Wu Ming-Yi instead chose to relocate the teleology of laboratories into the realm of fiction. In his fiction, the recurrent arguments of his ecological theses transform themselves into various imageries. Jussi Parikka dives into the depths of fiction, and reemerges with something geological. He proposes that in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s novel When the World Screamed crouches an unprecedented image of the Earth’s geological consciousness.

The session invited curator Jo Wei and artist Zhangbolong Liu, together with Wen Xinyi of the Center for Visual Studies and Zian Chen of Long March Project to introduce the selected texts, unpacking the connections linking these three articles, attempting to answer many questions that might be raised, starting with, “In what format does chemical dirt live with us?”

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