IAM Weekend 19

March 21 – 23, 2019. Barcelona

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Theme

The Quantumness of Archipelagos

We’re excited to announce IAM’s research theme for 2019: The Quantumness of Archipelagos, a ‘what if?’ remix of ideas coming from philosophy, geography, queer theory and quantum physics, shaped as an experimental thinking tool to deal with the complexity of our realities and a lens through which we can imagine alternatives, collectively.

Quantumness refers to the idea that particles can be in many places at the same time, leading to multiple unfixed realities full of interesting contradictions. This means that, in the quantum way of seeing, plurality is necessarily embedded into our conception of reality. When applying this idea in other contexts, such as understanding sexuality and gender in non-binary ways, we find in quantum field theory a powerful tool to go beyond divisive dualisms.

Archipelagos refers to an invitation to see the world as many small interconnected islands that can only exist as a whole. A notion that invokes the Caribbean poet and philosopher Édouard Glissant and his concept of mondialité or ‘worldmentality’, which reformulates being a ‘citizen of the world’ as a state of mind that recalibrates our existence as at the same level as animals, plants and the Planet as a whole.

In this mode of thinking, the ‘difference’ between humans and ‘the others’ is redefined as a relationship of “fluid frontiers” that positively embraces the mixing of people and cultures which ultimately lead to the formation of new identities, instead of borders that create territories to be discovered or conquered.

In short, the concept of archipelagos, in words of Glissant, invite us to “look at difference, differently”, developing nationalism-free identities, looking at the world as interconnected islands that only works as a whole, where the connections between the islands is the most important thing.

“look at difference, differently”

— Édouard Glissant

Juxtaposing the ideas together as The Quantumness of Archipelagos provides a singular lens that can be used to decolonise pluralistic realities, embed climate justice within them, and reveal their underlying technological infrastructure and power dynamics. Let’s imagine, collectively, for a moment: what if we spoke of our Planet and its multiple organisms, objects and organisations as an archipelago, or even an archipelago of archipelagos, full of quantum states of being and cultures? Isn’t this far more interesting and promising than distinct, fictional narratives of nation states with divisive borders and competing imaginaries?

At its heart,The Quantumness of Archipelagos is therefore a call for a more critical way of thinking and acting, starting from a new language that is both decolonised and decolonising allowing us to interrogate our realities — from the internet(s) and digital technologies to our feeds and minds — in order to interconnect our collective imaginations with the Planet.