One of the most prominent contemporary thinkers, the Belgian philosopher and psychologist Vinciane Despret presents her most recent research for the first time in Italy, only a few days after the publication of her latest book Habiter en oiseau (Actes Sud).
After the LIVING MATTERS project by American artist Claire Pentecost, the conference RETURN TO EARTH, WITH THE BIRDS by Vinciane Despret is the second event of COMP(H)OST, a project that deals with the transdisciplinary themes of hospitality, exchange and coexistence, cooperation and cohabitation, transformation and fertility, via artistic productions, seminars, workshops, conferences, panel discussions, conversations, and live performances at the Castello di Rivoli and in different locations throughout the city of Turin.
Linked to authors such as Isabelle Stengers and Bruno Latour, Despret has focused her analysis on the relationship with science, on the animal world and the relationship between human psychology and ethology, through which she explores “the political consequences of our theoretical choices”.
During COMP(H)OST, she will discuss her most recent research on the subject of the territory. As she herself explains: “In many texts we nd the idea that we humans are ‘instinctively territorial’. Could this instinct, inherited from our animal ancestors, explain our idea of private property, territory, frontier and lastly of nation? This would mean forgetting that these concepts are recent and historically positioned. Making animals into small bourgeois owners, eager for exclusivity, is not only a serious anachronism from the point of view of the history of evolution, but it also means neglecting the inventiveness and the great diversity in the ways of living, of sharing spaces and of being alone that is found among territorial beings”.
In particular the conference will look at the many researches conducted by ornithologists regarding birds. Why birds? Because they are the first to have aroused the curiosity of observers, both amateurs and scientists, on the question of territories. Then, during these researches, increasingly complex ways of organization were discovered. The territories become places of artistic performance, of inventive forms of socialization; issues of composition and partition emerge. And the work of researchers, since then, has no longer been to seek a theory or an explanation, but to honor these ways of organizing life together.
RETURN TO EARTH, WITH THE BIRDS by Vinciane Despret takes place on the occasion of GDC15 QUINDICESIMA GIORNATA DEL CONTEMPORANEO promoted by AMACI Associazione dei Musei d’Arte Contemporanea Italiani. The conference is in French with simultaneous translation in Italian, with free admission subject to availability.
Vinciane Despret (Anderlecht, 1959) is a Belgian philosopher and psychologist, associate professor at the University of Liège, where she lives and works. Her entire career has focused on the relationship between human psychology and ethology. She worked for approximately twenty years mainly on the understanding of animals, a field of research in which she has published a number of essays and various books, including some that have been translated into Italian: What Would Animals Say If We Asked the Right Questions? (2016), Hans, le cheval qui savait compter [Hans, the Horse That Could Count] (2004), Quand le loup habitera avec l’agneau [When the Wolf Shall Dwell with the Lamb] (2002). In 2008 she also curated the exhibition Bêtes et hommes at the Grande Halle de La Villette in Paris. She has won important prizes, including the “Humanités scienti ques” award from SciencesPo and the “Wernaers International Fund for Research and Dissemination of Knowledge” award.
COMP(H)OST is curated by a.titolo, NERO and the Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, in collaboration with the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art in Rotterdam, and is supported by Compagnia di San Paolo as part of the call “ORA! Produzioni di Cultura Contemporanea”, with the hospitality of Duparc Contemporary Suites and the collaboration of Film Commission Torino Piemonte.
COMP(H)OST is based on an idea from Marianna Vecellio and Sofía Hernández Chong Cuy, and is curated by Francesca Comisso and Luisa Perlo for a.titolo, Marianna Vecellio for the Castello di Rivoli, Lorenzo Gigotti, Valerio Mannucci and Valerio Mattioli for NERO.