GENERAL HUMANITY LAB, stands for a “general ethology”, a science of conviviality in a shared world. It is a transdisciplinary lab of knowledges, practices and encounters and is shaped by its very activity. With each iteration, its experimental workshops/operas implicate a new ensemble of researchers from the academic and the artistic worlds to co-create a “sympoietic” performance together with the audience.1
GENERAL HUMANITY LAB considers itself a Planet Mars of theory, poetry, performance and activism beyond the ideologies of naturalism (all is physis) and rationalism (abstract thought and free will). A planet Mars from which to deconstruct the ontological map of colonialism (of which we Westerners are the very first victims) and civilisationism (the domestication of affects through religious and civil law; the domestication of plants and animals). A planet from which to recontruct mutually beneficially relations among the a/biotic community.
GENERAL HUMANITY LAB’s point of departure is the double finding that academic and artistic research remain prisoners of codes and rules that turn them into self-recursive and sterile practices.2 Facing a situation of disintegration (ecological, economic and political), both are called upon to reinvent a rapport with the world we are a part of. Instead of the deep paranoia of a hostile world and the obsession of control and exploitation of late capitalism we need a deep relation of inventive co-habitation and mutual play of influence; instead of intra- and interspecies competition (survival of the fittest) we need a transspecies co-creation and co-evolution (survival of the best related).3 For this purpose, General Humanity proposes to extend the concept of humanity to all beings that are part of the a/biotic community Earth – not as a doubtful anthropomorphism but in acknowledgement of the manifold social and political relations that characterize it de facto; humanity, then, is no longer the name of a (dominant) species but of a way of (mutual) relating. Bringing together heterogeneous thoughts and practices in a performative melting pot, the lab’s members coming from different disciplinary and cultural backgrounds try to find the exact molecular combination capable of fracturing the constraints of a disciplinary and anthropocentric feedback loop and to project us in a “beyond” (Mario Tronti, 2019): an “otherworld” where thought, feeling, communication and action is shared across species borders and the life/nonlife divide.4
1This is a reference to Donna Haraway who opposes of sympoiesis to autopoiesis, stressing that nothing can emerge by itself. We could also use John Dewey’s term of “transactional here” which carries the same mutualist import.
3I am referring here to Baptiste Morizot’s re-reading of Darwin’s notion of the “survival of the fittest” in the sense of a “survival of the best related” to the a/biotic community – conducted as part of his “animal diplomacy” approach developed in his Les Diplomates. Cohabiter avec les loups sur une autre carte du vivant (Wildproject 2016).
4« Sans m’identifier aux formes théologiques que prend cet au-delà, j’y trouve, et j’utilise, une forme de penser, et une forme de parler, de dimension politique, qui métaphoriquement, ou allégoriquement, fait allusion à quelque chose d’autre qu’ici, à quelque chose d’autre que cela. » Mario Tronti , « Disperate speranze » (novembre 2019), Infiniti mondi. French translation by Michel Valensi published in Lundi Matin no. 225, 17 January 2020, https://lundi.am/Esperances-desesperees.