April Writing

March was very busy and I’m hoping to get some settled writing done this month. I’m working in two opposite directions – the future and the past – and trying not to go mad with that!

I’m editing a book called The Midden with Jenni Nurmenniemi, which relates to the Frontiers in Retreat art and ecology research project. I have just returned from Helsinki and a very productive meeting with Jenni and the book designer, Serge from NODE. The book will be published in the summer and includes essays by Taru Elfving, Emma Itaranta, Jenni Nurmenniemi, Jussi Parikka, Antti Salminen and myself.

1 Annantalo
My Water Age workshop with children at Annatalo Art School, Helsinki

I’m also finalising a series of books, The Water Age, that I will self-publish, which are the culmination of my own work in the Frontiers in Retreat project. One book is a collection of my future fictions. The other two books present art and writing workshops, one for adults and the other for children. More on the publication dates for those coming soon.

And work on the final book in my historical trilogy, Conquest, published by Impress Books, is underway. The new novel, The Anarchy, is set in 12th century Europe and focuses on the Welsh princess, Nest ferch Rhys and the continuing struggles between the Welsh and the Normans. I have a couple of guest blogposts coming up this month on M.K. Tod’s A Writer of History and Mary Anne Yarde’s Myths, Legends, Books and Coffee Pots. Her first guest this month, is Tom Williams, a British writer who has written a novel about a man he describes as ‘the James Bond of the Napoleonic Wars’. If you are interested in historical fiction this sounds like a good read.

What comprises non-human life?

Photo: Nomeda Urbonas
Photo: Nomeda Urbonas

An article and extracts from my novella MEANDA have just been published on the Zooetics website. Zooetics is part of the 5 year Frontiers in Retreat art research project. With artists Nomeda & Gediminas Urbonas and curator Viktorija Siaulyte, I have been exploring radical future potentialities for interspecies relations and notions of Nature.

Inspired by JG Ballard’s fictional living plant technologies, the Zooetics team has been working with mycelium – the extraordinary mushroom roots network. In MEANDA I made water one of the protagonists in a future fiction story set on an exoplanet.

Zooetics is a word coined to gesture at poetic, artistic, fictional, playful approaches to all life. Mycelium is certainly living. Is water?

I’m currently working with HIAP curator, Jenni Nurmenniemi, to develop a seminar which will take place in Helsinki in September and consider the question of non-human life within the context of the Museum of Nonhumanity.

The role of the writer in contemporary society

141113_Zooetics_press_NEW10I did an interview in Lithuania late last year and thought it worth posting a link to it today since the interviewer, Aldona Steponavičiūtė, asked some excellent questions about writing and contemporary society:

http://www.zooetics.net/blog/tracey-warr-interview/

If that whets your appetite at all do hunt around the Zooetics website which is a rich resource on imagining future biosphere-friendly, organic technologies. There is a glossary, bibliography, links to podcasts and to the Zooetics Facebook site.

Science Fiction and Real Science

vermilion_sands250

Just posted a blog on the Zooetics website on the relationship between actual technological research and development and fictional technologies such as teleportation, telekinesis, and galactic language translators, or J.G. Ballard’s bio-engineered plants, insects, houses and clothes in Vermilion Sands. I’m compiling a list of sources for fictional technologies and future worlds relating to The Anthropocene. Your suggestions are welcome.

 

Watch Tomorrow’s Zooetics Lectures Live and Pose Questions to the Panel

141113_Zooetics_press_NEW10

Zooetics is a transdisciplinary research project unpacking, reevaluating and recombining the notions of Nature, Interspecies and Anthropocene.

 

It began last week with the first in a series of lectures and seminars at Kaunas University of Technology delivered by Christian Schwagerl, talking on The Anthropocene, and Natalie Jeremijenko on her art and engineering inventions addressing environmental and urban issues.

The second set of lectures are tomorrow, 12 December 2014, from Skylar Tibbits and Caleb Harper, both from MIT. You can watch the lectures live, or as podcasts. You can contribute questions live to our panel via Twitter. You can contribute to our online Reading Group. Details below.

Skylar Tibbits directs MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab developing self-assembly and programmable material technologies for new manufacturing, products and construction processes. Self-Assembly research will enable breakthroughs across biology, material science, software, robotics, manufacturing, transportation, infrastructure, construction, the arts, and space exploration. Skylar’s accolades include the Architectural League Prize, The Next Idea Award at Ars Electronica, the Visionary Innovation Award at the Manufacturing Leadership Summit, a TED Senior Fellowship and named as a Revolutionary Mind in SEED Magazine.

Caleb Harper directs MIT’s CityFarm and leads an anti-disciplinary group of researchers including engineers, architects, urban planners, economists and plant scientists. CityFarm is researching the potential for large-scale aeroponics and hydroponics food production, aiming to contribute to fundamental agricultural change and develop high performance urban agricultural systems. Caleb is working on an open source platform of farming data to improve the evaluation of aeroponics and other farming methods. He was a Finalist in this year’s Innovation by Design Awards.

Live stream of lectures taking place Friday 12 December 2014 4pm-6.30pm UK time

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0JXTXWPXGjQ&feature=youtu.be

You can contribute live questions to the panel via Twitter – use #Zooetics

The panel will take place 6pm-6.30pm UK time.

Or you can watch the lectures on our website later on. We invite you to interact with the project as it develops through our online Glossary and Reading Group: Zooetics