Mayumo Inoue (Hitotsubashi University), Anne McKnight (Shirayuri College), Lindsay Nelson (The University of Tokyo), Christophe Thouny (The University of Tokyo), Toshiya Ueno (Wakō University), Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto (Waseda University)
How can we believe in this world, in life, in a planetary love?
The anthropocene has taken centre-stage in discussions of the human, at a time when living in a state of crisis has become the definition of our everyday, a condition of survival that drives the call for austerity, sustainability, and finitude. Politics has become necropolitics and it is now increasingly difficult to believe in this world and to practice an ethics that can be defined by an affirmative love. Love, like sex, is only timidly present in discussions of the anthropocene, barely emerging between so-called serious topics placed under the banner of danger, risk and the state. Against this logic of precarity and containment, we decided to embrace planetary love as an affirmative and critical practice of the world, experimenting on other possibilities of alliance across our realms of experience.
This question of Planetary Love emerged out of a series of workshops organized by Christophe Thouny, Ueno Toshiya and Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto in 2013 on the issue of Fukushima Japan. The main objective was then to find a way to address this tragic issue from local places of experience while avoiding closure inside a national, regional, or academic territory. In short, we tried to think local experiences as planetary experiences, and problematized Fukushima Japan in terms of a planetary love, asking ourselves, ‘how can I love my radioactive tuna?’
In this new series, we will expand discussions outside of Japan and Asia, to address recent debates in environmentalism, posthumanism, media ecologies, feminism and social design in terms of planetary reparative practices. The planetary is a space of transition and transit, a space in excess of any logic of survival and finitude that cannot be owned. Dwelling in the planetary is then a question of attachment. It calls for what Lauren Berlant calls “a shift in attachment style”, starting from our everyday local situations and discursive practices. We thus understand Planetary Love as a reparative fantasy in which it becomes possible to imagine and practice another space of the common.
The aim of this series is then to generate an open space of interactions building up toward a larger conference and a possible publication. While Planetary Love will be the main frame of discussion, each workshop will focus on a specific topic to be decided together each time. Each workshop will consist of two formal presentations of around 20 minutes, followed by a free discussion in English or Japanese with the audience. The workshops are open to anybody interested, and while discussions will follow an academic format, we will also ask the participation of artists interested in the topic.
The first workshop will be held at the University of Tokyo Komaba Campus on July 10th 2014 at 6pm in Building 9 Collaboration Room #4 with the topic of Dark Media in J-horror and literature, and drawing on recent debates in ecocriticism and media theory. Taking as a starting point Eugene Thacker’s Dark Media, ghosts of Hiroshima and Fukushima, and Kōji Shiraishi’s 2009 mockumentary/ horror movie Occult, we will discuss how planetary love can become a reparative fantasy and allow us to articulate and practice another form of realism, perhaps, a spiritual materialism. Suggested readings for the first meeting are Eugene Thacker’s In the Dust of this Planet, Toshiya Ueno new book Wolf of the Wasteland – Oshii Critique and Takuma Higashi’s Hiroshima Noir. Discussions will however focus on the presentations themselves.
We will meet every three months or so, alternatively at the University of Tokyo Komaba Campus and at Hitotsubashi University Kunitachi Campus. The tentative schedule for the 2015-16 academic year is July 10th, October 2nd, December 4th, February 5th. We are still working on the presentations themselves, and welcome anybody interested in taking an active part either as organizing member and/or presenter.