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DALL·E 2023-05-30 11.06.26 - a photo of a hand holding a smartphone that has plants and an

Research & Initiatives

  Online on-screen “realities,” digital representations (cyberscenes) and narratives (cyberdiscourses) have quickly and effectively transformed identities and substituted the value of actual bodies and living habitats in the Cybercene. Practices and systems of value, attention, care and connection towards embodied ecocultural systems have waned accordingly. Indeed, the Cybercene is characterized by a renewed vigor in the corrosive and unsustainable patterns and practices of the Anthropocene/Capitalocene/Wasteocene that are causing a multispecies planetary crisis of habitability. 

We suggest that the underlying reasons behind these corrosive Cybercene ecocultural practices are not technological per se, but cultural, epistemic and psychic. If so, then it follows that effective solutions to the era's complex problems will be partial or ineffective unless they focus on these humanistic-and culture-centric processes.


The Cybercene Lab's potential initiatives mentioned below are our points of departure for the creation of a fertile, truly interdisciplinary ecosystem of thought and collaboration, that locates pathways to healing and habitability once again.

                  Cluster 1: Pathways in "Cybercene Studies"





        In 2022, while conceptualizing his forthcoming book and this lab, Vetri Nathan sought a new term that would function as a gathering principal to describe our new digitally connected era and explore ecocultural solutions to its most damaging consequences. He found it in the "Cybercene." The Cybercene Studies cluster examines the hidden, intimate yet powerful cause-and-effect relationships between mediatic "worlds"/representations and our actual, living. embodied world:

Screen Studies in the Cybercene: How and why are our relationships with cybercontent, as displayed on our all-ubiquitous screens, so powerful? What are the ecocultural consequences of these new and powerful relationships?

Multispecies Studies in the Cybercene: How have our entanglements with other species (plants, animals, microbes) changed in the digital era? How do people in the Cybercene experience and interface with actual natural habitats, spaces and landscapes?

Cybercene Disinformation and Eco/cultural Damage: How does cybercene mediatic content influence the othering and wasting of lives, landscapes and ecoystems?

Racial (in)justice in the Cybercene: How have discourses and cultural processes of racialization and stereotyping changed in the Cybercene? How and why are they effective?

Cybercene Bio/Ecocultural Politics: How has digital media changed the way in which biopolitical and ecopolitical discourses are deployed, organized, managed?

Artificial Intelligence and Culture: What are the ways in which Cybercene mediatic ecosystems are already deeply entangled within our ecosystems of knowledge-creation, i.e. the ways in which we understand and act upon the world around us?

Food Culture, Travel/Tourism Culture and the Cybercene: How has our understanding of cultural spaces, identities, places and food changed in the digital era? How do Cybercene media influence our consumption of cultural places and foods?



                 Cluster 2: Pathways in "Multispecies Healing and Habitability"












        Donna Haraway, in an alternative vision to the human-centric Anthropocene, suggests that the pathway towards healing and habitability lies within the realization of the "Chthulucene" - an era “made up of ongoing multispecies stories and practices of becoming-with” (Haraway, 2016). Marco Armiero calls for a renewed "sense of the commons": "because, as much as wasting relationships produce profit from exploitation and othering, communing relationships, instead, produce well-being through care and inclusion. (Armiero, 2021).


    One of the primary goals of this lab is to create a gathering space for a decolonial and intersectional coalition of thinkers and ecocultural practitioners to foster restorative pathways. These experts include Environmental Humanities intellectuals and practitioners that have often been under-recognized by mainstream thought--they often hark from biopoliticized groups such as women, queer and BIPOC (black, indigenous, persons of color)--ironically, the very communities that have extensive experience in these matters. Diverse global ecocultural practices studied via this lab demonstrate that the way out of the othering practices of the Cybercene lie in the creation of relationship-based rather than resource-based connections. This approach is inspired by Indigenous studies scholars such as Dwayne Donald, who calls for a renewed sense of ethical relationality that is deeply embedded in many forms of Indigenous thought and practice. (Donald, 2009). In his forthcoming book, Nathan also suggests how and why multispecies communing, relationship- and kin-building can only happen in the Cybercene via a renewed importance of embodied connections.


Keeping in mind the possibilities of such multi-species, multi-kind sense of the commons to approach the world though an embodied, relationship-based rather than resource-based approach, The Cybercene Lab is currently exploring the following questions:

Multispecies Solutions: How and why are effective solutions to cybercene ecocultural damage essentially multispecies solutions? Why are human, more-than-human and other-than-human entities all crucial to healing and habitability?


Restoring Value to Embodied Life: How are communities and individuals restoring care, value and attention to actual lives, bodies, landscapes and ecosystems? 


Indigenous Peoples and Habitability: What are some of the ecocultural best practices that can be learned from the stories and experiences of indigenous and other such marginalized peoples and knowledges? 

Global Black Survivance: The incredible diversity of Black cultures can be mapped both historically and spatially.  What can be learned via the survivance of these communities and cultures, despite continued impediments?


Queering the Cybercene: What lessons can be learned from non-heteronormative relationalities and from such forms of being, belonging, creativity, questioning and solidarity?


Culture, Media and Healing: How are literature, art and other practices of cultural expression questioning the corrosive and othering practices of virtual and screen realities? How are Cybercene mediatic tools used to combat Cybercene otherings?

Food, Culture and Sustainability: How can wasteful, unbalanced and extractive food ecosystems and practices can be transformed and made sustainable, healthy and culturally inclusive? 

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DALL·E 2023-05-30 10.47.14 - photo of a child starting deeply at a smartphone picture of a
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