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What are different aspects of the sixth mass extinction?

The international conference "Traces of Extinction: Species Loss, Solastalgia, and Semiotics of Recovery" held on 5–7 June 2024 at the University of Tartu Oecologicum (J. Liivi 2, Tartu) sheds light on the various aspects of biodiversity loss and discusses cultural, subjective, and semiotic approaches to understanding species extinction. 

“Soon, the only way to experience wildlife will be through web videos,” states Australian researcher and artist Linda Knight considering the acceleration of biodiversity loss. As she proclaims, critical discussions are crucial now, as well as various strategies for action to grapple with ecological degradation. 

Besides keynote talks by David B. Rothenberg from the New Jersey Institute of Technology, USA on "Sonic Species Memory. Extinction in a world beyond mechanical reproduction" and Linda Knight from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Australia on "Mapping the Multispecies Cosmopolitics of Extinction", the conference promises insightful presentations by international researchers from various fields such as semiotics, philosophy, and literature. We invite you to follow presentations and take part in discussions surrounding the emotional, social, and political dimensions of extinction, and explore ways of representing species loss in literature and art. 

See the detailed conference programme

The conference is connected with the Creative Nature Festival and the social programme includes screening of the two documentaries with roundtable discussions at Elektriteater. On 6 June at 17:00 there is a screening of the Oscar-nominated film “All That Breathes” preceded by a discussion in English (registration at Eletriteater's website), and on 7 June “Vertical Money” (“Vara Küps”) with English subtitles and a discussion in Estonian. There are also captivating art exhibitions connected with the conference “Unknown” at the UT Natural History Museum and “Poetics of Survival” at Philosophicum hall gallery (Jakobi 2). The conference concludes with a musical performance by David B. Rothenberg at the UT Botanical Garden on 7 June at 21:00.

The conference is funded by the Estonian Research Council’s grant PRG1504 “Meanings of endangered species in culture: ecology, semiotic modelling and reception”. The conference is part of the Creative Nature Festival programme organised by the UT Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden, and partners. The festival belongs to the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 programme.

The conference is organised by the Department of Semiotics of the University of Tartu in cooperation with the EU Cost Action “CA20134 – Traces as Research Agenda for Climate Change, Technology Studies, and Social Justice (TRACTS)” and the Nordic-Baltic Transdisciplinary Research-Creation Network. 

Conference website

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