Three Thinkers Talking

Imagining New Multispecies Communities

16 Jun 2023

Eva Meijer and Mediamatic invite experts and creatives to discuss the role of imagination in forming new Multispecies Communities. Humans share the world with many different beings. In order to develop more sustainable forms of living together, humans must reconsider their relationships with the fellow inhabitants of our planet. In this seminar we will discuss the role of imagination in forming new multispecies communities from the perspective of philosophy and art.



Sluisdeurenloods during Symposium - This event was held during the Japanese Knotweed - Justin Knelange

With: Jip Santen

Friday 16th of June

The talk consists of three different speakers who will unpack how art and imagination can help humans, and perhaps other animals too, to envision new multispecies communities and pathways towards change that include the perspectives of other beings. 

We will start with an introduction by Eva Meijer

Speakers' talks:

Animal performance / Animalizing performance

Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca 

When we talk about "animal performance" in the Western context, we may most likely think of trained animals performing for human entertainment, such as in circuses or on stage. But what happens when we consider performance from the animal point of view? How might ideas and practices of performance be transformed if nonhuman animals are included on their own terms: whether as collaborators or audiences? This talk will explore how animal performance can create new relationships between species, and more specifically how such practices can help humans become more sensitive to animal life. Lastly, we will examine how animals perform for themselves and each other, challenging the idea that performance is solely a human domain.


Understanding the animal's perspective 

Bernice Bovenkerk

New research suggests that animals possess many of the same capabilities once thought to be exclusively human, such as subjectivity, language, a sense of justice, reasoning, culture, and agency. In this presentation, animal ethicist Bernice Bovenkerk will focus on animal agency, defined as the ability to influence the world based on self-desires and will. To coexist with animals justly, we must take their agency seriously and understand their perspective on their own life. However, traditional perspectives and research methods often hinder our ability to do so. How can we overcome these traditional views, while at the same time acknowledge there is much we still don’t know – and may never know - about animals?

Q&A and discussion


Eva Meijer has written fourteen books, which includes, but is not limited to Dierentalen (2016), a popular scientific book about the languages of non-human animals and the question of what language actually is. In November 2019, her first price-winning academic book, When animals speak: Towards an interspecies democracy, was published. Meijer's philosophical work focuses on language (including silence) and social justice, madness, animals and politics. 

Laura Cull Ó Maoilearca is Lector of the Academy of Theatre and Dance and Head of DAS Graduate School. She has published widely on the topic of animal performance (Cull 2012; 2015; 2019; 2022) and is currently completing the volume Interspecies Performance co-edited with Florence Fitzgerald Allsopp to be published in November 2023. Recent projects include Performance Philosophy & Animals: Towards a Radical Equality funded by the UKRI involving interspecies performance collaborations with arts companies Fevered Sleep and Every house has a door and her own expanded publication project, An [Interrupted] Bestiary exploring questions of endangerment, extinction and grief.

Bernice Bovenkerk is an associate professor at Wageningen University. Her research interests include animal and environmental ethics, political philosophy, animal agency, animal domestication, and climate ethics. She recently received a VIDI grant from the Netherlands Organization of Scientific Research on a project titled ‘Anthropocene Ethics: taking animal agency seriously’. 


Multispecies Community Building

At Mediamatic we like to challenge ourselves to break out of the human centered worldview. This will contribute to a larger appreciation of the richness and interconnectedness of all indivual species in our ecosystem. This seminar is part of a series of events about the dog, which are all related to this philosophy. If you are curious, you can check out the other events like the dog dinners, as well as the kids' events Hondenverhalen and the cookie baking workshop 'Brokken Maken'. 


Full price: €7,50 

Get your tickets here