Talk: Astrida Neimanis

Under conditions of anthropogenic climate change, colonialism, militarism, and global capitalism, the oceans are seriously distressed. This includes populations of cetaceans worldwide, caught in fishing gear, led astray by acoustic pollution, or otherwise stranded outside of their natural habitats. Cetacean bodies, dying or already dead, wash up on human shores, and ask of us some kind of response. In some cases, dead animals will come into the care of scientists, who perform necropsy or virtopsy. Drawing on preliminary research undertaken with international artist Patty Chang and wildlife pathologist Aleksija Neimanis, this talk considers care for the dead in a time of endings. What can the dead teach us about their often inaccessible worlds, about scientific practice as ritual and spiritual connection, and about caretaking as proxy kinship? What might we learn from cetaceans about endings, at a time when so many beings are stranded, far from the times, places or conditions that they had come to know as home? What can we, the living, give back?

This event is part of the 2021 Critical Poetics Summer School, organised by the Critical Poetics Research Group at Nottingham Trent University in partnership with Nottingham Contemporary and Curated & Created at NTU.