What can things do? And what do they make us do? This lecture introduces philosophical concepts and artistic works dealing with the agency and recalcitrance of things. It critiques a conception of the world in which active subjects face (supposedly) passive objects. Object-oriented philosophies have attempted to put things on equal footing with human beings but what might be the political implications of such a move? I will reflect on post-anthropocentric theories of action/agency and ponder about the new role of the human in a world in which the human being is not the measure of all things.
Martina Ruhsam is working as a choreographer, performer and writer. She studied Movement Studies & Performance in Linz and Theatre-, Film- and Mediastudies in Vienna. From October 2008 to March 2009 she was vicarious head of the theory-centre in Tanzquartier Wien. In 2011 her book Kollaborative Praxis: Choreographie was published by Turia + Kant. Her artistic work and collaborative projects were presented at various venues and festivals in Europe (e.g.: Wiener Festwochen, Tanzquartier Wien, brut, Kino Šiška, Mladi Levi Festival, Museum of Applied Arts Vienna, Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova) – predominantly in Austria and Slovenia. From 2007 until 2014 most of her performances were realised in co-authorship with the Slovene visual artist and director Vlado Gotvan Repnik. She is a member of the editorial board of Maska and has given lectures internationally. Currently she is writing a PhD at the Justus-Liebig-University in Gießen.