Our planet is collapsing and humanity is the biggest threat to itself and all earthly species. We are living in the Anthropocene, a geo-logical epoch in which human beings have irreversibly altered Earth. What comes next?
How should we react to the continually dissolving boundaries between humans, nature and technology? How can we depart from our human-centric perspective to build a truly non-anthropocentric world? Interspecies Future responds to these questions. It is the beginning of a civilisational journey to reevaluate and deepen our relationship with all living entities.
Interspecies Future is a movement dedicated to advancing the rights and opportunities of nonhuman life on Earth. Emphasising the essential role of cross-disciplinary work, it convenes researchers and organisations from biology, life and computer science, ethics and policy, animal rights, Indigenous perspectives and creative practice. Research confirms that technology will play a fundamental role alongside these disciplines, in promoting Interspecies empathy. Artificial Intelligence and planetary-scale computing have allowed human beings to envision Earth as an interconnected entity. Through such interdisciplinary processes, Interspecies thought will be implemented in policy and sociopolitical organisation.
‘The entire project of progress relies on expressing ideas that are themselves saturated in the very biases that we are trying to push against. And that inherent contradiction in progress is something AI brings us face to face with.’
– Blaise Agüera y Arcas
Since being founded in 2016, LAS has sought to advance a collective understanding of humanity’s role in the world, by commissioning hybrid experiences of art, technology and science. We aim to help shape Interspecies discourse by providing the movement’s critical creative dimension. Embracing a panoramic view of technological possibilities, we want to positively influence the trajectory of art and emergent technology, for the benefit of all species.
As one strand of our programme, we are exploring Interspecies Future. Next Spring we will realise the first international edition of British artist Alexandra Daisy Ginsberg’s Pollinator Pathmaker. Merging art, ecological science and activism, this piece consists of an international network of Edition Gardens designed using advanced algorithmic technology to serve the needs of pollinating insects. Each Edition Garden is created using a plant palette tailored to the conditions of its host region, in collaboration with local ecosystem experts. These palettes are subsequently released online, allowing the gardens can be planted in local communities. In this way, Daisy Ginsberg’s Pollinator Pathmaker extends an Interspecies ethos of artmaking beyond the boundaries of individual artistic agency and art institutions.
Sometimes the development of Interspecies Futures requires delving into historical time. It was in this spirit that Jakob Kudsk Steensen undertook his LAS-commissioned exhibition Berl Berl (2021), a multimedia incantation of Berlin Brandenburg’s historical wetlands. Using state-of-the-art macro photogrammetry, the Danish artist researched and documented this little understood ecosystem, which formed 10,000 years ago as a glacial valley. Kudsk Steensen then used the Unreal video game engine to transform his photographic findings into a kaleidoscopic audiovisual installation. Enveloping viewers in shapeshifting projections of the region’s flora and fauna, Berl-Berl was an embodied encounter with the wetlands’ ecological past – a real-time experience of a truly Interspecies relationship with our non-human world.
‘When we put things in terms of economic incentives, maybe think about what that means, into what end, and for who those incentives are needed. Maybe it's not about an immediate form of revenue within one generation, but understanding how to be the custodians of something for many generations to come.’
– Amelia Winger-Bearskin
An integral part of our engagement-oriented programme, LAS’s Interspecies Future podcast builds upon our recent IF symposium. Episode one investigates the objectives and principles of Interspecies work. In Episode two we delve into the challenge of establishing rights for nonhuman species. These tasks require a deepened sensitivity to non-human life. Episode three discusses how robotics, and satellite and molecular sensing can be used to translate and map non-human worlds. This endeavor will necessarily be guided by a deep understanding of how AI has been used throughout history to simulate and model nature. Episode four illuminates this central topic in greater depth. Together with these collaborators, we’re thrilled to foray into our Interspecies Future. This journey into a more empathetic world is just beginning.