Roundup: Hybrid Talks #41 »Nature«

The first Hybrid Talks of this still fresh year were, due to given circumstances, also the first Hybrid Talks that took place purely digitally almost a week ago. The speakers were at home in front of their laptops and Ewelina Dobrzalski, one of the two project coordinators of the Hybrid Platform, moderated the evening from her sofa.

The first speaker of this 41st Hybrid Talks on the topic "Nature" was Dr. Daniel Irrgang, who is a research associate in the research group "Inequality and Digital Sovereignty" at the Weizenbaum Institute for the Networked Society. Since January 2018, he has coordinated the research seminar "Critical Zones" with Bruno Latour at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung in Karlsruhe. The seminar for graduate and postgraduate students conceptually prepared the exhibition of the same name "Critical Zones - Horizons of a New Earth Politics", which runs until August 8 at the ZKM in Karlsruhe. Those who cannot make it to Karlsruhe this year will have the opportunity to visit and explore the exhibition "in all its diversity" on various levels online.

Already the seminar title of "Critical Zones" was based on a profound research idea, as the "Critical Zone" is also understood as the skin of our planet, the layer of the earth in which life emerges and develops.  The use of the term thus suggests that when it comes to viewing the world, we as humans cannot take an outside perspective, as we are always part of this earth and its ecosystem, and bear responsibility. In the course of his lecture, Dr. Daniel Irrgang will provide further insights into the multifaceted questions and thoughts on which the seminar was based.

The next guest to speak will be Prof. Dr. Reinhard Schomäcker, who has headed the Department of Technical Chemistry at the Technical University of Berlin for about 25 years. Here he deals with catalysis and reaction engineering for the conversion of renewable and sustainable raw materials and chemical value chains. With these topics, his department is involved in various interdisciplinary projects, such as the production and storage of hydrogen. With his lecture "Are renewable raw materials the petroleum alternative for the chemical industry?" he shows how he would like to contribute to preserve the environment and habitats for future generations and maybe even to shape them a little bit. Today, crude oil is mainly burned to generate energy. However, the energy transition is trying to produce large amounts of energy without Co2 emissions. According to Schomäcker, oils and fats from plants but also Co2 and H2O also have great potential to replace petroleum for production and industry.

Lilli Kuschel is an artist, filmmaker, cinematographer and teaches experimental film and media art at the UdK Berlin. She has been photographing and filming crows in urban spaces for three years, resulting in a total of over 50 hours of footage from Berlin and Mumbai. Currently she is working on a documentary film with the help of this material, in which crows become the subject of an experimental, artistic field research and at the same time city guides of the two very different cities. In this and the next semester Lilli Kuschel offers the seminar "New Perspectives, Animals in the City". Since this semester she is leading the seminar "New Perspectives, Animals in the City", which she presents in her lecture. The main aspect is the engagement with climate change and species extinction as new narratives to question human dominance and domination of nature.

The final speaker of the evening will be Prof. Dr. Susanne Hauser, Professor of Art and Cultural History in the Architecture program at the UdK Berlin. Her research and teaching focus on the natural history of architecture and the history and nature of the city and landscape.
According to Hauser, images of wilderness have undergone just as much change in recent decades as ideas about nature and civilization. However, one aspect has always remained stable: the wilderness, is the other and always exists only in contrast to structure or situations that would be more understandable and controllable. The relationship to the wilderness moves between love and fear, the wilderness is ambivalent.   She continues with historical reflections on the concept of wilderness, finally landing on the "conjunctures of wilderness after 1968." She chose the year 1968 because by the end of the sixties there was a shift in the understanding of wilderness due to the critique of consumer society.

Normally, after these exciting and once again perspective-rich four presentations on the topic of "nature", we would have given our guests the opportunity to exchange ideas in detail over a drink, to go into depth within personal conversations. As this is unfortunately not possible at the moment, we invited all present to a virtual room after these talks. Here, stimulating conversations took place in the "Hybrid Garden" and at the "Hybrid Bar".

- Rosa