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Of Animacy Reading Group: Cosmoecological Sheep
Institute of Contemporary Arts

Morag Keil, Reap What You Sow, 2014. Courtesy the artist and Project Native Informant

This month, the Of Animacy Reading Group reconvenes to discuss Vinciane Despret and Michel Meuret’s ‘Cosmoecological Sheep and the Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet’.

In this 2016 essay, Despret and Meuret discuss the recent re-emergence of traditional sheep herding practices in the South of France. When shepherds graze their sheep by way of seasonal movement between pastures – instead of industrially confined feeding systems – they begin to jointly navigate their expanded habitat, transforming the landscape along the way. In their essay, Despret and Meuret describe this process as ‘cosmoecology’, a mode of existence in which multiple beings respond to each other’s existence in attunement with their local environment. Despret and Meuret argue that these connections between humans and non-humans can encourage us to craft new ways to help life flourish on a damaged planet.

This session will offer an environment in which to collectively explore, critique and come to understand the argument for cosmoecology.

Under discussion:

Vinciane Despret & Michel Meuret, ‘Cosmoecological Sheep and the Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet’, Environmental Humanities, Vol. 8, Issue 1 (May 2016), pp. 24 – 36.

Further reading: 

Vinciane Despret, ‘The Body We Care for: Figures of Anthropo-zoo-genesis’, Body & Society, Vol. 10, Issue 2 – 3, pp. 111 – 134.

For access to the text and further information on the reading group, please email
Led by curator Nella Aarne, this monthly reading group thinks through feminist engagements with human and non-human agents in the material world, spanning philosophy and science. The texts and discussions meander through a multiplicity of concepts and ways of thinking, developing into a vibrant web of ideas – the shape and character of which will organically unfold over time.

Of Animacy fosters learning through open discussion in a democratic space, with an aim to recognise vital alliances for our daily life and political thought. Reading the selected text in advance is recommended but not necessary. Printed copies will be available at the gathering and excerpts of the text will be read together to support open discussion. Of Animacy meets every month at the ICA and is always open to all.
07:00 pm
Tue, 19 Mar 2019

Free, booking required.

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