The Wild and the Cultivated

Mar 07 2024 Thursday
04:30 PM - 06:00 PM
Diriyah Riyadh - Auditorium get directions
Age Group Adults
Add to Calendar 03/07/2024 04:30 PM 03/07/2024 06:00 PM Asia/Riyadh The Wild and the Cultivated

Inspired by Philippe Descola’s Beyond Nature and Culture (2005), the conversation will be focused on the induced separation between the ‘cultivated’ and the ‘wild’, and where it has led us. We will explore how Western colonial thought has shaped the nature-culture divide, and how we could be rethinking the relationships between humans and other-than-human agents by erasing the distinctions between them. Why do we need to reconnect the ‘wild’ and the ‘cultivated’ back together to survive? 

A conversation between microbiologist and anthropologist César E. Giraldo Herrera and visual artist, writer, and founder of The Migrant Ecologies Project Lucy Davis. Moderated by program creator Anna Kirikova. 


OTHER MINDS is a cross-disciplinary program centered around the ways of thinking and seeing in more-than-human ways. It has been created in response to the curatorial vision of Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale 2024, After Rain, which embodies revitalization and renewal. It situates itself within a wider narrative of the co-existence of humans and non-humans.

Neuroscience has proved that the human brain cannot grasp the world as it is. If the objective world exists, how can we even come close to discovering it? 

The scientific and culturological tools developed to date allow for an experience of the “other”, or alternative ways of perceiving the world. With OTHER MINDS, we have assembled an array of scientists, thinkers, and artists to elaborate on plant-animal-microorganism-human relations through the new findings in neurosciences, biology, and anthropology, as well as through the metaphorical findings of the artworks presented at the Biennale. 

We will look closer at how non-human beings interact with reality, communicate, and create fascinating entanglements through their relationship with others, including humans. By receiving theoretical and practical insights from the program’s contributors, we might probably be able to see the world around us a bit closer to what it is — a world where all life is thoughtful life. 

The program was created in collaboration with Anna Kirikova and Daria Ozerskaya.

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César Enrique Giraldo Herrera

César Enrique Giraldo Herrera (Ph.D.) is an anthropologist, biologist, and author. His work explores skilled relations with the ocean, perception, relations with more-than-humans, microbes, the history of science, technology, medicine, shamanism, and dreaming. He has been a Senior Scientist with the Development and Knowledge Sociology Working Group at the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research (ZMT) and a stipendiary Junior Research Fellow at Somerville College, affiliated with the Institute for Science Innovation and Society (InSIS), School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography (SAME), University of Oxford. Currently, he is a researcher affiliated with Ilia State University in Tbilisi, Georgia. César E. Giraldo H. is the author of Microbes and Other Shamanic Beings (Palgrave 2018) and Ecos en el arrullo del mar, las artes de la marinería en el Pacífico y su mimesis en la música y la danza (Uniandes, 2009).

Lucy Davis

Lucy Davis is a visual artist, art writer and founder of The Migrant Ecologies Project, who lived most of her life in Singapore. Her practice encircles ecologies, animal and plant studies, art and visual culture, materiality, and memory — primarily but not exclusively in Southeast Asia. Migrant Ecologies collaborations have been featured and won awards in Film Festivals and Biennales worldwide.

Lucy is currently an Associate Professor in the Visual Cultures, Curating and Contemporary Art (VICCA) Programme at Aalto University, Finland. During the Diriyah Biennale, Migrant Ecologies Projects are featured with a single screen film work {if your bait can sing the wild one will come} Like Shadows Through Leaves (2021), which part of a larger, decade-long project called Railtrack Songmaps, about people and birds in a contested zone of Singapore, which also extends into in the Research section of the Biennale.

Anna Kirikova

Anna Kirikova is an independent curator and cultural projects developer based in Paris. Between 2018 and 2022, she was the Director of the International Programme at The Manege Central Exhibition Hall in St. Petersburg, where she commissioned and organised programming for exhibitions and other cultural events. Her most notable projects at The Manege include Éspirits by Christian Boltanski, Utopia Saved by Lee Bul, As They See Us in collaboration with Magnum Photos, and NEW NOW – a research project delving into ideas of the present moment and exploring potential scenarios for our shared future. As a result of the collaboration with the Diriyah Biennale Foundation, Anna has created and is co-presenting a major public programme, Other Minds, at the 2024 Diriyah Contemporary Art Biennale.


Image Copyright: Native Indians in the Amazon view humans and non-humans, like this giant tree, in the same way © Lou Dematteis: REDUX-REA