Christoph Walter Solstreif-Pirker (2019), Being-Together-With the World-Without-Us: Performative Investigations Into the Traumatized Planetary Space, Institute of Contemporary Art; 1st reviewer: Milica Tomić, 2nd reviewer: Henk Slager; 220 pages, English.
The field of study of this dissertation builds on an encounter with the vast planetary reality. Such an encounter reveals that this planet cannot be understood as a static entity, but is constantly permeated and transformed by manifold agencies, forces, and conditions. However, in the epoch of the Anthropocene, a homocentric-colonizing, creationist will becomes apparent within these multiplicities, leading to a more and more precarious ecological trauma. The dissertation does not negate this matter of concern, but proclaims an investigative proximity to this traumatized planetary space, which allows to question subjectivities and practices in a world-without-us.
With a tripartite research question, the dissertation explores the specificity of the ecological trauma and its manifold dimensions. This is a discursive being-together-with that understands the intensities of anthropocenic spaces as origins of alternative epistemologies. The research question investigates these complex spatial dimensions in an artistic and scientific approach that follows a methodological (how?), temporal (when?) and processual (where to?) path. The research question finds its answers in the process of questioning and in the affirmative response to the unknown Other: it unfolds a topologically understood and inclusive theory of mutual relationships.
Methodologically, the dissertation sees itself as extending qualitative research approaches and moves towards a praxis-based methodology. Here, the investigative and performative encounter with the traumatized planetary space becomes the main object of research. Based on the theories of Bergson, Simondon and Laruelle, the dissertation’s methodology allows the formation of a situated research approach that occurs in time and embraces both the practices of individuation, intuition, and immanence. The methodology of this dissertation is no longer teleologically oriented, but rather a transductive one, which leads from the traumatized ecological strata towards an atmosphere of planetary vibrancy.
Conceived as a cumulative dissertation, the research results of the dissertation are summarized in three chapters that reflect the immediate and artistic research encounter with three exemplary milieus. Understood as spatial densifications within the anthropocenic environment, the milieus are closely interwoven with the warlike transformation of the planet and point, in their fluid scale, to the all-encompassing extent of the ecological trauma. The research results present the encounter with the Other as dimensional events wherein ossified identities dissolve and hybrid subjectivities emerge for a collaborative, sensible, and co-performative community.
Finally, the scientific contribution of the dissertation answers the question of how the immediate encounter with three milieus of anthropocenic complexity can formulate an inclusive and spatially understood knowledge praxis. The dissertation sees itself both as the documentation of an artistic and investigative research process and as an active tool for conveying and applying scientific sensibility. The dissertation proposes alternative, co-poietical practices of being-together-with posthuman discourses, less oriented to being-towards-death than to an ethically motivated and carrying being-towards-birth. This finally transforms the role of the researcher, who experiences the vibrancy of the investigative moment in an exploratory way, and, at the same time, departs for previously unknown epistemic strata. The dissertation acts as a call for a collectively-formed, discursive interplay within the dimensions of (post-)anthropocenic complexity.