Distinguished Lecture mit Laura Watts (05.06.2024)

Solarpunk Futures: Making wild green energy worlds from virtual seeds

Am 05. Juni 2024 hält Laura Watts in unserer Distinguished Lecture Series im Sonderforschungsbereich 1567 „Virtuelle Lebenswelten“ den Vortrag „Solarpunk Futures: Making wild green energy worlds from virtual seeds“. Laura Watts ist zur Zeit Gastprofessorin für Technology and Social Change am Department Thematic Studies (TEMAT) der Linköpings Universität, Schweden. Die Lecture beginnt um 18 Uhr im Beckmannshof, Raum Shanghai.

08. Mai 2024
DLS: Laura Watts

Green energy is the future; low carbon energy is the future. But where are the green electrons in a length of electricity grid cable? There are, in physical terms, no electrons wearing green hats; there is no measurable difference between an electron generated by a wind turbine and another generated by a fossil fuel power station. Green energy is virtual and immeasurable; its units are given in the equivalence to a mass of carbon dioxide emitted per kilowatt hour. So how to make gritty and embodied, liveable worlds from virtual green power?

Informed by fieldwork around North Sea energy islands and drawing on Speculative Fabulation from theorist Donna Haraway this talk will explore a method for virtual green energy to become the seed for liveable worlds that grow wild out of energy infrastructures rooted in their place and people. It will be a guide to making futures that are hopeful, enduring, and phototropic–turning always towards the light.

Collaborative Energy Futures – A Workshop in Solarpunk Speculation | 06.06.2024, 9.00–12.00h

Workshop with Laura Watts

This workshop aims to build a collaborative, speculative energy future from participants own research objects. It offers an opportunity to re-think participants’ research objects in terms of energy, and to contemplate on the relation between energy and virtuality. It will be a space for speculative thinking and energetic methods.
Each participant should choose an ‘energy’ object from their research. It can be animate, inanimate, living, sentient, virtual, or otherwise. Participants should be prepared to say something about what and where this energy is.

‘Energy’ is broadly construed and understood in a physical sense: it is not just electrical energy, but also includes chemical energy, potential energy, electromagnetic energy etc. For example, an algorithm, as an object, is data stored in 1s and 0s as electromagnetic energy in a data center or on a hard drive; living creatures are made of chemical energy in the molecular bonds that bind them as well as heat energy from movement; smartphones, as objects, connect to basestations that require electrical energy to transmit cellular signal. Energy is central to virtual worlds’ existence.

We will start the workshop by making a map of where these energy objects are located. Then we will explore the infrastructural connections between these energy objects. Finally, we will speculate on what energy futures could be for these relational energetic objects.

The Distinguished Lecture Series is a regular event of the Collaborative Research Center 1567 „Virtual Lifeworlds“. We invite international scholars to situate their own research in the context of virtuality research in the humanities and social sciences and to engage in interdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary discussions.