Week 2: Immunosilence in a World of Hyperconnectivity & the Global Plantation
KINSHIP: World as Archipelago Online Event with Maureen Penjueli, Anna Arabindan-Kesson
This is Week 2 of advaya’s course: KINSHIP: World as Archipelago curated by Hannah Close.
Immunosilence in a World of Hyperconnectivity, with Maureen Penjueli#
In 2021, after 5 years of expedition on floating labs in Kiribati’s largest protected area the Phoenix Islands, 3,000 meters below the ocean surface, scientists discover a novel microbe. A microbe so foreign to humans that our immune cells can’t register they exist. The bacteria triggered no response from our innate immune system: an immuno-silence! The discovery excited the scientific world as it dispelled the long-held belief of universal immunity, that our cells can recognise any foreign bacteria they interact with.
Across the world in another kind of lab, a market in Wuhan, believed to be the epicentre of Covid, scientists are trying to understand how the virus jumped to people from live animals sold at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale market on two occasions in 2019. How this tiny virus, naked to the human eye, spread through the air we breathe and within two years touched every corner of the globe, wreaking havoc as it passed from breath to breath, until, in many cases, there was no breath left.
What does a novel bacteria and a virus have to teach us humans about our notions of the other: foreigner, of the alien, notions of universal connectedness and kinship? Join me as we take a deep dive into the world of viruses and bacteria to see what lessons they hold in store for humanity.
The Global Plantation, with Anna Arabindan-Kesson#
My talk will be drawn from current work I am doing on the global plantation in the British Empire. Like the ship that carried people between spaces of empire, the plantation is also a space that moved, that moves, and connects people and places across multiple oceans. It is also a framework, a way of organizing relations, whose inheritances live with us still. Both enclosed yet mobile, plantations were spaces of entanglement and extraction, where forms of kinship and alienation existed simultaneously. This seminar will focus on the visual cultures of the plantation, historically and in the work of contemporary artists, the interaction and entanglements that existed within and between plantation spaces, and the different kinds of mobilities and movements that sustained its formation.
KINSHIP: World as Archipelago
Maureen Penjueli #
Maureen was born on the island of Rotuma but spent most of her schooling life in Lautoka, Fiji. She undertook the Foundation in Science Programme at the University of the South Pacific and gained a Degree in Australian Environmental Science at Griffith University in Brisbane. She is a dedicated activist, having pursued environmental, social and economic justice issues for over 20 years. She is Coordinator for the Pacific Network on Globalisation. PANG’s work involves research, lobbying, and advocacy with and on behalf of civil society groups, faith-based organizations, and communities.
Anna Arabindan-Kesson #
Anna is an Associate Professor of Black Diasporic art at Princeton University. Anna focuses on African American, Caribbean, and British Art, with an emphasis on histories of race, empire, medicine, and transatlantic visual culture in the long 19th century. Her first book is called Black Bodies White Gold: Art, Cotton and Commerce in the Atlantic World (Duke University Press, 2021). She is the 2022 Terra Foundation Rome Prize Fellow, a Senior Research Fellow of the Art Gallery of Western Australia, and the director of the digital humanities project Art Hx: Visual and Medical Legacies of British Colonialism.