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Ecocidal Development and Atmospheric Warfare – Guest Lecture by David Muñoz Alcántara, 18.3.

Frontier colonization of the Usumacinta River and the genocide in Petén. Weaponized Infrastructures, Red Forest (2022). Image from the 1960s US and Guatemala military joint road development project in the Lacandón jungle.

This lecture presents a reading of ecocidal development and atmospheric warfare through the dialectics of extractivism and capitalist realism. 

Guest Lecturer: David Muñoz-Alcántara, Date: 18.3.2024, Time: 16.30 – 18.00 EET, K-350, Mylly – Academy of Fine Arts. The lecture will also be held online on Zoom: https://uniarts.zoom.us/j/65345338861

The first part proposes capitalism as an energy system signaling a key contradiction in its so-called “natural-progression” paradigm. While the expansion of capitalist economic growth is tied to the exhaustion of energy surplus to remain competitive, it is simultaneously bound to an ever-growing energy dependency. An ecocidal development cycle that imposes the erosion of the social dimension of energy, to equate life as a commodity. Following this proposition, the lecture presents a few keys to unfold an imperialist historical drive in the politics of transformation. 

The second part will introduce the concept of atmospheric warfare from an aesthetic perspective, presenting the friction between extractivism and subjectivity as a form of eco-political conflict. This reading links media perspectives into the study of environmental racism, climate colonialism, and fossil-fascism, which are at the core of economic, epistemic, and ontological extraction. It will present a few examples that discuss how these combinatory manifestations of violence are articulated as tactical enclosures to produce colonial ecosystems, operating as mediated extensions of political intervention and extractive fluidity.

David Muñoz-Alcántara’s work intersects art, architecture, philosophy, and research merged in collective constructions of autonomy. They focus on the revolutionary poetics of art grounded in liberation struggles and eco-social dignity, insurgent communalism, fugitive power, and indigenous futurity in defense of life. Contributing to understanding art as a class struggle in the imagination and aesthetic praxis grounded in peoples’ liberation. Their ongoing research addresses the social dimension of energy. They combine art, social sciences, history, and philosophy producing experimental sound, conceptual and installation works weaving collective study and translation as processes of transformative politics. 

David Muñoz-Alcántara is Guest Professor at the Media Faculty of Karlsruhe University of the Arts and Design; a post-doctoral researcher at the Social Sciences Faculty of Helsinki University (2023-2025); previously a research fellow at BAK-Basis voor Actuele Kunst Utrecht (2019-2020); and visiting researcher at Goldsmiths University of London (2016-2017). Doctor of Arts from Aalto University and Architect from the National Autonomous University of México. Since 2020, they co-convene the internationalist research constellation Red Forest (2020-YTD); co-curated the German Pavilion at the 23rd Milano Triennale (2022); co-curated the International Biennial-Residency VeiculoSUR (2019-2021); contributor of Rab-Rab Press (2014-YTD); member of Another Roadmap for Art and Education Network (2012-YTD); and co-founded the Nomad Agency/Archive of Emergent Studies (2011-YTD).

Listening materials:




Ecological Thinking

This is the course blog for K-JI-11-23A – Ecological Thinking. In 2023-24, we explore “Vertical Ecologies” by visual arts, film and performance. The course is co-organized by Giovanna Esposito Yussif and Samir Bhowmik. Previously, in 2022-23, we organized a year-long collaborative research studio with Aarhus University, DK, Research Pavilion 2023 and Helsinki Biennial 2023 on the themes of environmental data, sensing and contamination.

Header image credit: Abelardo Gil-Fournier and Jussi Parikka / Seed, Image, Ground (2020)- With permission from the authors.

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