24&25/09/2021 – Summer School On Climate at the University of Gent (Belgium)

On 24 and 25 September Obiozo contributed in the second edition of the Summer School on Climate organised for students at University of Gent. How do we discuss the complex matters of climate change and environmental pollution? Which perspectives and voices can and must be part of this conversation? Together with Peter Aers (Building Conversation) and Christel Stalpaert (Performance Studies, UGent) Obiozo designed a programme around ‘Politics of Nature’ (2004) of Bruno Latour, and the ecological necessity to centralise ‘things’ as ‘objects of care’.

Together with students from a broad range of disciplines Peter and Obiozo set up a conversation called Parliament of Things, which considers the ecological harm caused by oil extraction in Nigeria, and the role of Shell therein. Through various exercises the group examined how things can attain a voice, and through performative dialogues we can start to shift our perspectives. With Hendrik Schoukens (environmental law, UGent) the Parliament of Things was brought into dialogue with the legal, evoking new questions concerning rights for ecosystems.

Taking as a starting point questions of damage and repair in relation to environmental pollution, the Parliament of Things offered an opportunity to explore these questions of (in)justice from a less anthropocentric stance than commonly assumed. By engaging in the dialogical performance its participants explored the relations between ourselves and objects, proposing that these relations may be other than dualistic and that non-human living beings, objects and entities have agency. In this conversational space a more relational, dialogical justice could be imagined.