CultureLab • Seminar

X-Centric Futures – Debate #1

Collective Claire Fontaine: The Method of Magic Materialism

In the first session of the X-Centric Futures Debates at Carpintarias de São Lázaro, the collective Claire Fontaine presents their Method of Magic Materialism developed to regroup a set of skills that have been discredited for political reasons. It is a materialism that derives from feminism, and its principal aim is to restore subjectivity for those creatures, who have been objectified by patriarchy – women, gender non-conforming persons, people of colour, children, and the natural world. Claire Fontaine’s method values reproductive work as much as productive work, it sees reproduction as a re-creation of one’s own subjectivity and collective relation space, it sees the body not as an exploitable mechanism but as a site of revolutionary potential and a battleground.

The X-Centric Futures Monthly Debates Program is a collaboration of the X-Centric Futures research seminar of the CultureLab of the NOVA Institute Of Philosophy and the Cultural Centre Carpintarias de São Lázaro.

This collaborative effort aims to change the generally installed perception that the future is an inescapable and threatening age of social disruption and ecological catastrophes.
It seeks to develop rigorous critical practices and create an open platform for a dialogue between different perspectives in the redefinition of thinking in a planetary age.
Throughout the program of debates we start from the assumption that there is no humanity to come, but rather a multitude of different humanities with different futures and different pasts, whose exploration implies the development of new theoretical and practical frameworks and categories.

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The X-Centric Futures research seminar, coordinated by Giovanbattista Tusa, aims to extend critical thought in the humanities and social sciences beyond the traditional Euro-centric focus. The mission of the group is to deepen and broaden the understanding of critical theories that arise in the different spaces and times that engender the world we inhabit, challenging well-established assumptions of research and the methodologies used for analysis, and to privilege critical approaches to thinking that have generally not yet entered into academic discussions.

The fundamental assumption for our investigations is that there is no humanity to come, but rather a multitude of different humanities with different futures, as well as with different pasts, whose exploration implies the development of new theoretical frameworks and categories.

The X-Centric Futures’ research seeks to develop rigorous critical practices that move beyond academic interdisciplinarity. A hub for the creation and the clustering of transnational networks of artists, thinkers, scholars from different backgrounds, the Critical Futures’ key areas of research go from critical marxisms to postcolonial studies, to visual and sensorial cultures and feminisms, as well as ecologies and aesthetics. All these different perspectives concur in the redefinition of critical thinking in a planetary age.

The main objectives of the X-Centric Futures research are:

– To design and promote innovative programs that integrate emerging theories with a planetary perspective using new political frameworks and thinking categories.

– Help individuals and communities think through the implications of change and facilitate visioning processes for long-range planning and action.

– To promote the growth of research projects on social movements and social protests, ecologies, visual studies, political constellations, and future x-centric communities.

Research and dissemination activities include the ADVANCED PROGRAMME IN X-CENTRIC FUTURE STUDIES, a series of public seminars and workshops that will take place in both presential and remote format, giving the chance to people distributed in different locations to connect and join the discussions, and a student-led reading group in Lisbon. This phase of the research seminar will start in October 2021 and will run until June 2022.

At the end of the biennial period (2021-2023) Giovanbattista Tusa and Bartholomew Ryan will edit a collection of essays with the title “X-Centric Futures”, which will present the different interventions, reflections and praxis that emerged during the process of research.