FLOWERS & CONCRETE is an audiovisual research platform and production space founded by Lukas Brasiskis for creative engagement with the relationship between human-made infrastructures and natural environments. In the face of growing environmental crisis, the works and curated events initiated on the platform critically explore how natural environments are often forced to acquire anthropocentric forms of desire and fantasy and pushed to take on fetish-like aspects. By tracing the elemental and contingent penetrating the constructed and planned, these works call into question the divide between nature and culture, challenge the privileged space histories of colonialism and imperialism assigned to the human, and queer the conventional ways of mediating the environment.
Lukas Brasiskis is an audiovisual researcher, curator, and Adjunct Professor at NYU and Brooklyn College/CUNY interested in limits and potentialities of mediation and animation of the non-human in regard to different cultural understandings of nature.
HANNA Arendt begins The Human Condition (1958) not with a story about humans, but with an example of a human made object: Sputnik, launched into the space October 4, 1957. The success of Sputnik, the first artificial satellite to orbit earth, intensified the Cold War, prompted nation-states to revamp their science programs, and provoked what soon became known as the space race. Arendt herself leaves the satellite unnamed. “In 1957”, her prologue begins, “an earth-born object made by man was launched into the universe…”
As Bill Brown puts it, though Arendt casts the artificial satellite as an event of the the enormous importance, she nonetheless recognizes that it was the "first atomic explosions" that created "this modern world" (6). According to Arendt, the nuclear technology has already undone the relation between world and earth, and that between earth and cosmos (150). For "instead of carefully surrounding the human artifice with defenses against nature’s elementary forces, keeping them as far as possible outside the man-made world, we have channeled those forces, along with their elementary power, into the world itself” (150). And this has meant concocting—on earth—“forces such as occur only outside the earth,” “energy processes that ordinarily go on only in the sun”; it adumbrates a “future technology [that] may yet consist of channeling the universal forces of the cosmos around us into the nature of the earth,” and thus in fact altering what any of us could ever mean by earth (150, 262, 150).
Presented with this case, as with the case of Sputnik, Arendt discloses her basic experiment in political ontology: the effort to determine whether the distinctions marked by natural and artificial, earth and world can still be heard to characterize human existence—and thus to summon humanity back to its existence. Or whether her “description of the fundamental articulations of the vita activa”—derived from the Western tradition, and singularly from ancient Greece—has simply become anachronistic.“ (Brown, 160-161).
BRIAN Larkin in his article "The Politics and Poetics of Infrastructure" (2013) writes that "[a]lthough massive infrastructural projects can be used to represent state power to its citizens, the political effects of these projects cannot be simply read off from their surfaces. They generate complicated emotional investments that induce a range of sometimes counterintuitive responses and distinct, if ephemeral sensibilities. [. . . ] It is worth pausing to consider under what conditions this statement is possible, especially when it runs counter to accepted narratives of modernization and its victims. It vivifies the complicated admixture of desire, fantasy, and pride that ethnography can open up. And it forcibly reminds us that the deeply affectual relation people have to infrastructures—the senses of awe and fascination they stimulate—is an important part of their political effect." (Larkin, 135)
Teresa Castro on eco-queer and film
On Emanuele's Cocia's book The Life of Plants
Emanuele Cocia interview on the book and plants
Brian Larkin on politics and poetics of infrastructure
Sukhdev Sandhu: "Infrastructure on Film"