Interspecies | 1-4 November 2018

Zeng Bho, Pteridophilia, 2016 – ongoing, Video

Interspecies comes to close the Manifesta 12 programme of public events, presenting a final line of enquiry that looks at the uncertain future of late and post-Anthropocene eras. The multimedia and participatory events aim at taking into consideration the new and different agencies of those non-human actors – animals, environment, plants, geological domains – which share the planet with human beings and for whose destiny new forms of shared accountability are now being negotiated.

Gilles Clement’s Planetary Garden once more constitutes an inspiration, with its vision of the planet as a trans-scalar garden in which politics configures as the practice of mutual caring between different forms of nature. In the 21st Century more fragile planetary gardens are facing unprecedented challenges, threatened by potentially devastating environmental, social and climatic changes and shifts. No longer a place for dreaming or attempting the late 20th Century utopian ambition of universal harmony, but rather a battleground to experiment with new modes of coexistence. The world of today demands from human agents a higher level of awareness of and intimacy with external, non-human agents, in order to adapt to uncertain conditions and grant their own survival.

Scientists, activists, theorists, visual and performance artists are invited to come together and discuss life and resistance in the decades to come, presenting interweaving perspectives that span from botany to ecology, from philosophy to visual culture. The final segment of Manifesta 12 Public Programme hopes to define the legacy of the biennial, starting from Palermo, to unfold a path of investigation in communal practices of caring in the planetary garden of the world to come.


Interspecies configures as a constellation of smaller interventions happening over the four days of the programming.

Day 1:
1 November

Time: 15.30-17.00
Location: Botanical Garden

Multispecies Salon
Interventions, performances and readings by a group of MFA students from the University of the Arts, Zurich (ZHdK) working with M12 exhibiting artist Uriel Orlow on multi-species storytelling in the context of Palermo and the wider world.

Time: 20.30-on
Location: Teatro Garibaldi

Screening of Donna Haraway: Story Telling for Earthy Survival 
by Fabrizio Terranova

Day 2:
2 November 

Time: 15.00-17.00
Location: From Botanical Garden to Foro Italico/Porticciolo Sant’Erasmo

Cucuzze a Mare
Performance by Leone Contini
The performance will be the final act of Leone Contini’s work Foreign Farmers; the artists will guide the audience from Botanical Garden to the sea, to follow the final journey of his cucuzze. Starting with a distribution of seeds at Orto Botanico, the performance will develop into a walk to the mouth of Oreto. From here, dried up lagenaria will be thrown in the sea, to transform themselves in vessels for a mixture of seeds from different species: a diverse heritage, foreigner and Palermitan at the same time.

Time: 18.00-20.00
Location: Teatro Garibaldi

On and Below the Planetary Garden
Talk with Gilles Clément and Nerea Calvillo Gonzalez, moderated by Andrés Jaque
A conversation between French gardener and theorist Gilles Clément and Spanish scholar Nerea Calvillo, to explore past and future of the Planetary Garden

Day 3:
3 November

Time: 10.30-11.30
Location: Teatro Garibaldi

Grey, Green, Gold (and Red)
Performance Lecture by Uriel Orlow
Uriel Orlow’s performance lecture expands on themes and concerns in his project Theatrum Botanicum (2015-2018) which looks to the botanical world as a stage for history. Following human-plant entanglements, Grey, Green, Gold (and Red) explores the role played by the garden Nelson Mandela and his fellow inmates planted on Robben Island prison during their 18-year incarceration, the implications of an ongoing battle between a flower and a squirrel, as well as the fate of alien species in Europe and South Africa.

Time: 11.30-12.30
Location: Teatro Garibaldi

Global Means
Artist’s Talk by Michael Wang
Michael Wang’s work takes on global systems as both site and media, extending the legacy of systems aesthetics in the context of globalization. Speaking on a number of recent works, he will describe possibilities for making meaningful gestures out of and within the networked conditions of contemporary life. He will describe the works on view in Manifesta 12 and tease apart the biological, technological, geologic and economic systems within which the works are enmeshed.

Time: 15.00-17.30
Location: Botanical Garden

Can Nature Protest? A Programme on Non-Human Political Actions
A Public Programme by Aleppo, curated by Daniel Blanga-Gubbay
If this year is marked by the fiftieth anniversary – and a series of celebration – of 1968, this one-day public programme interrogates the possibility of protest beyond anthropocentricity and invites to reflect on the notions of discipline, control and strategy of protest through the frame of nature. Does nature protest? and is it possible to investigate its strategy to imagine a political discourse beyond the division between the human and the non-human?

With a lecture by Paris-based scholar Emanuele Coccia and performative contribution by artists Isabel Margarita Lewis and Paul Maheke.

Day 4:
4 November 

Time: 10.30-13.30
Location: Teatro Garibaldi

The Coexistence Assembly
An expanded roundtable moderated by Andrés Jaque and Chiara Cartuccia
Following the endeavour of mobilising the trans-urban context of the extended Palermo, through a series of collaborative projects, Manifesta 12 curates a panel to account for the learnings in/by this ecosystems of specific experiences, pursuits and practices. A horizontal session bringing together artists, advisors, activists, audiences, institutions, producers and curators in debating the way they interacted and the legacies that these collaborations leave open for continuities, responses, accumulation or iteration.

Time: 21.00-on
Location: Teatro Garibaldi

Black Med. Chapter III
Listening session by Invernomuto

Starting from the assumption that Palermo acts today as an ‘archipelago of the global: not a globalised city per se, but rather an incubator of different global conditions’ – the musical programme proposed by Invernomuto will rotate around this cosmopolitan idea and focus on the concept of the Black Mediterranean, first formulated by Alessandra Di Maio.

Revolving around the theory of the Black Atlantic proposed by the thinker Paul Gilroy, which tells us that a culture that is not specifically African, American, Caribbean, or British, but all of these at once — our goal is to centre the research on the Mediterranean basin and to some of the trajectories and directions that pass through this multiform area.