“It matters what matters we use to think other matters with; it matters what stories we tell to tell other stories with; it matters what knots knot knots, what thoughts think thoughts, what descriptions describe descriptions, what ties tie ties. It matters what worlds make worlds, what worlds make stories” Donna Haraway
“Worlding is the unnatural art of creating an infinite game by choosing a present, storytelling its past, simulating its futures, and nurturing its changes.” Ian Cheng
Ignota hosts a series of enquiries into worlding that range across cosmograms, Indigenous storytelling, astrology, science fiction, outer space imaginaries, other worlds and philosophy, asking: What kind of world do you want to live in? What is a world?
The first three events in the programme are now available to book.
All events will take place on Zoom and begin at 7pm GMT/ 2pm EST/ 11am PST except for SKY WORLD/CLOUD WORLD, which begins at 6 pm GMT/ 1pm EST/ 10am PST. We will send you your Zoom link about one hour before the event starts. All events are 'pay what you want': we thank you for your support of independent publishing in these challenging times, and will be making a partial donation to NDN Collective, an Indigenous-led organization dedicated to building Indigenous power.
Image: Sammy Lee
Thursday 6 January
SJ Anderson – Astrology and the Architecture of Time
Astrology is a form of world-making through witnessing and interpreting the measurements of the movements of celestial bodies in the night sky. These interpretations form meaningful narratives, which can assist practitioners in making sense of their lives.
Join astrologer SJ Anderson for a discussion around astrology as the architecture of time and a guide to navigating cycles of rebirth and crisis. Collective crisis is often a necessary condition for a new world to be born: how does astrology give meaning to worlds in flux? In conversation, SJ looks ahead to the astrology of 2022 in the context of various planetary cycles, including the Barbault Planetary Cyclic Index, which predicted a pandemic in 2020, and outer planets such as Neptune.
SJ Anderson is an astrologer, tarotist, writer and yogi. He studied Hellenistic astrology, Theravada Buddhism, and Sivananda Yoga, and is a lifetime member of the International Society of Astrological Research (ISAR). He has contributed ‘The Astrology of 2022’ to the Ignota Diary 2022 and other publications.
Thursday 20 January
Amelia Winger-Bearskin – SKY WORLD/CLOUD WORLD
Artist Amelia Winger-Bearskin gives an illustrated lecture about her project SKY WORLD/CLOUD WORLD, which examines the sacred nature of our 'cloud'-based communications.
SKY WORLD/CLOUD WORLD tries to understand 'the cloud' as both a spiritual place and a vehicle for the ephemeral way in which we choose to communicate with our kin over distance and time. This concept of the cloud in web-based applications has interrupted our notion of a SKY WORLD/CLOUD WORLD which is the grand connective tissue all humans have with one another. We must maintain and honour our SKY WORLD/CLOUD WORLD, the layer of sky which protects our world, maintains our atmosphere, and which has given us the ability to communicate through invisible signals through satellites, tubes and more importantly through dreams and imagination.
Amelia Winger-Bearskin is an artist who innovates with artificial intelligence in ways that make a positive impact on our community and the environment. She is a Banks Family Preeminence Endowed Chair and Associate Professor of Artificial Intelligence and the Arts, at the Digital Worlds Institute at the University of Florida. She is the inventor of Honor Native Sky, a project for the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture: Honor Native Land Initiative. She founded Wampum.Codes which is both an award-winning podcast and an ethical framework for software development based on indigenous values of co-creation. Amelia is the founder of the stupidhackathon.com. Amelia is Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) of the Seneca-Cayuga Nation of Oklahoma, Deer Clan.
Thursday 3 February
Reza Negarestani – We do not need to be saved from a world we could have: of worlds and humans
Neither entirely philosophical nor fully science-fictional, this presentation by philosopher Reza Negarestani seeks to define what it means to live in or inhabit a world, all things considered. Its title refers to Christopher Nolan's latest movie Tenet, in which the protagonists flaunt their time-policing powers of saving us from a different world we could have.
By virtue of living in a world, one has, also, the wherewithal to think about what else could have happened. Eventually, one arrives at an ethical and communist responsibility to travel to the past to postulate and exemplify what sort of worlds and humans we could have, and of which the time cops’ narratives deprive us.
Reza Negarestani is a philosopher and writer. Since the early 2000s, he has contributed extensively to journals and anthologies and lectured at numerous international universities and institutes. Negarestani’s writings have been translated into more than twelve languages, including Russian. His latest philosophical work, Intelligence and Spirit (Urbanomic/Sequence Press/MIT, 2018), is an inquiry into the meaning of intelligence at the intersection of artificial intelligence, philosophy of mind, theory of computation, and the philosophy of German Idealism. Negarestani’s most recent project focuses on worldmaking and the question of what it means to inhabit a world as what Wittgenstein would have called a lifeform.
Thursday 17 February
John Tresch – Cosmograms, or How To Do Things with Worlds
All cultures have composed and deployed representations of everything that is – cosmograms – to convey the fundamental entities, relations and processes that make up the universe. Studying cosmograms as pictures, sculptures, books, rituals, buildings, cities and so on is a way to compare worlds – their components, histories, aesthetics and modes of being – as they are proposed, debated and imposed: as they come together and fall apart.
In this talk, John Tresch draws from a forthcoming book looking at the creation and impact of scientific cosmograms alongside those of religion, myth and art.
John Tresch is professor of history of art, science, and folk practice at the Warburg Institute, University of London. He’s the author of The Reason for the Darkness of the Night: Edgar Allan Poe and the Forging of American Science and The Romantic Machine: Utopian Science and Technology after Napoleon, and an editor of the History of Anthropology Review.
Thursday 3 March
Alice Bucknell — Aquaform, Terraform, Aeroform: Worlding the Interplanetary
For millennia, Mars has saturated public imagination with alternative worlds, fantastical ecosystems home to high-tech canal cities, cephalopod dwellers, and communist utopias. But as our image of the Red Planet pivots increasingly towards that of a site for human habitation and resource extraction – with billionaire tech despots at the helm – how can worlding help us envision the many possible futures for Mars, as a host for both human and nonhuman life? What are the legal, political, ecological, and existential frameworks in which these worlds could take shape?
Drawing on speculative fiction strategies, as well as materials science, linguistics, space law, and prophetic applications of AI, artist Alice Bucknell explores a trifecta of possible Martian worlds, from a bio-infrastructure business vending clean water and air back to Earth, to a mystic cult of plant worshippers auguring ancient polyglot ecologies on the Red Planet. Bucknell takes us behind the scenes of interplanetary worlding processes, including collaborations with space lawyers, arctic researchers, Scottish drone pilots, NLP specialists, and the Language AI GPT-3.
Alice Bucknell is an artist and writer based in London. Working primarily through game engines, she explores interconnections of architecture, ecology, magic, and nonhuman and machine intelligence. She is the organiser of New Mystics, a platform exploring magic, mysticism, ritual, and technology.
What are other worlds? How is the invisible made visible, felt and sensed? Why has humanity throughout history been drawn to divine otherworldly realms and experiences? And what forms and shapes can the divine take in the contemporary context? In conversation through the form of a visual essay, Flavie Audi and Aliya Say explore tools and approaches that have been used to access, visualise and narrate spirit realms by artists such as Hilma af Klint, and in their own speculative practices looking towards the future and more than human ontologies.
Flavie Audi explores otherworlds in relation to her practice, working with the manipulation of glass. For the artist, glass provides a point of departure for making visible the invisible, highlighting the concrescence between physical and immaterial worlds. Audi presents her work, which contemplates a speculative world of cosmic fragments and new types of landscape formations.
Aliya Say is an art writer, strategist and researcher based in London. She is writing her PhD on botanical abstraction in the work of twentieth-century artist-mystics, and the parallels between vegetal ontology and mystical states.