The first reading list in our library is Obsidian Coast director Nella Aarne’s own, capturing elements of our operative ethos, recent research and new pathways of thought that are yet to take shape. The selection enquires into maintaining life with care for its interdependencies and formulates the human subject as forever fluid and porous – as an intricate composition of microscopic lifeforms and infinite depths of the self that can never be fully known. Calling for heightened sensitivity to our own internal, social and material entanglements with boundless subject positions, histories, living beings, molecular compositions, technological apparatuses and infrastructure, these texts ask how to navigate the contemporary context within which we must live whilst protecting the life of those around us.
SAstronaut photograph of Mount Nemrut, a stratovolcano in the eastern Anatolia region of Turkey. Creator: ISS Crew Earth Observations experiment and the Image Science & Analysis Laboratory, Johnson Space Center.
Mel Y. Chen, Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect (Duke University Press, 2012)
Hélène Cixous and Catherine Clément, The Newly Born Woman (University of Minnesota Press, 1986)
Keller Easterling, Extrastatecraft: The Power of Infrastructure Space (Verso, 2014)
Isabell Lorey, State of Insecurity: Government of the Precarious (Verso, 2015)
Chantal Mouffe, Agonistics: Thinking the World Politically (Verso, 2013)
María Puig de la Bellacasa, Matters of Care: Speculative Ethics in More than Human Worlds (Duke University Press, 2014)
The Invisible Committee, To Our Friends (MIT Press, 2015)
Alexander G. Weheliye, Habeas Viscus: Racializing Assemblages, Biopolitics, and Black Feminist Theories of the Human (Duke University Press, 2014)
Nella Aarne is a curator living and working in South West England and London. She is the Co-Director of Obsidian Coast and the convener of the Of Animacy Reading Group at the ICA, London. Envisaging feminist and feminine modes of practice, her work considers collaborative learning, generative responses to anxiety-inducing neoliberal professionalism, and feminist thought engaging with the boundless agents that make up the material world. She seeks to employ democratic approaches to knowledge production and to create safe environments in which people can gather around shared concerns with care and sensitivity.