With Josh Appignanesi, Buzz Baum and Anouschka Grouse
Tuesday 12 September
Reference Point, 180 Strand, London
Reading group 18:30-19:45
In this reading group and talk, we will come together to read Gaia and Philosophy by Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan (Ignota, 2023) and explore what Gaian ideas of interdependence, collaboration and symbiosis offer for life on Earth.
After reading from the text, filmmaker Josh Appignanesi will discuss Gaia theory through the lens of activism alongside Buzz Baum from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Cell Biology and psychoanalyst and writer Anouchka Grose. Josh’s new film My Extinction asks: What does it take for us to act on the climate crisis – especially if we’re the kind of person who should already be acting?
Gaia describes a living Earth, an idea with precedents in natural science and philosophy for 2,500 years, and longer in many indigenous belief systems. If the Gaia hypothesis has provided a basis for a new ecology, connected to rich world-views, how can we effect real change for the future of our planet? What are the alternatives to failing systems underpinned by greed and short-termism?
We will read from Gaia and Philosophy together, so there is no need to read the text in advance. Copies will be available to buy and read from, or feel free to bring your own!
There will be a limited number of places for the reading group prior to the talk at 20:00
Josh Appignanesi is a writer/director whose work spans fiction, documentary and the space in-between. His six feature films were released theatrically in over thirty territories and online in over a hundred, with work gaining festival Competition slots at Tribeca, Rotterdam, Cannes/ACID, Berlin and Sheffield, awards at London, Edinburgh, Turin, Kodak and BIFA and BAFTA nominations. He directed the acclaimed features Husband (2022), Female Human Animal (2018), The New Man (2016), The Infidel (2010) and Song of Songs (2006), and co-wrote US rom-com All Roads Lead To Rome starring Sarah Jessica Parker. Most recently, feature doc My Extinction (2023) is touring 50 UK cinemas to wide acclaim and press interest, and upcoming projects are all in the ‘climate space’.
Anouchka Grose is a London-based psychoanalyst, writer and climate campaigner. Her nine published books include: Ringing for You: a Love Story With Interruptions (Harper Collins, 1999), No More Silly Love Songs: a realist’s guide to romance (Portobello, 2010), A Guide to Eco-Anxiety: how to protect the planet and your mental health (Watkins, 2020), Uneasy Listening: notes on Hearing and Being Heard (Mack, 2022) and Fashion: a Manifesto (Notting Hill Editions, 2023). She also writes about art and fashion, and has contributed to The Guardian, Granta, Harpers Bazaar, and Radio 4, as well as appearing in Josh Appignanesi’s documentary, My Extinction (2023).
Buzz Baum is a cell biologist. Buzz studied Biochemistry at the University of Oxford, obtained his PhD studying the cell division cycle with Sir Paul Nurse in London, and was a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard Medical School. Since 2001, when he returned to the UK, he has led research teams at UCL and in Cambridge. He has published >100 papers in a wide variety of journals. His work has been highlighted by the New Scientist, the Economist, the BBC, and he has given a number of media appearances, most recently on the BBC’s Language Exchange. Buzz is an EMBO member. He currently runs a lab at the MRC’s Laboratory of Molecular Biology, where his team is using archaea to explore the evolution of complex cells. Building on the work of Lynn Margulis, his team aims to put his and David Baum's 2014 “inside-out model of eukaryogenesis” to the test.