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LIFE IN THE MAKING COLLECTIVE

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Life on Earth has been evolving for at least 3.5 billion years. That happens at various scales: that of the molecule, the cell, the organ, the individual and the ecosystem. Through random events and selection under constraints, life engenders a diversity of living beings that interact with but also transform their respective environments. In history, this ‘natural’ exploration of possibilities has been expanded by a range of human techniques and manipulations. Humans have invented novel ways of interacting with living systems and are nowadays capable of intervening directly in evolutionary processes. The evolution of life and the link between human action and the state of the terrestrial biosphere are therefore related questions that can only be tackled in conjunction. Beyond the physical limits imposed on the evolution of living systems, what are the limits that humans can or must set in their interactions with their environment? What influence do norms and values (moral, legal, religious, economic, aesthetic) have on these interactions in fields such as agriculture, animal husbandry or medicine? In the light of the emergence of ever more sophisticated biotechnologies these questions are pressing. There is an urgent need to reflect on the ways in which we, humans, can live with other living beings.

That is why we founded the ‘Life in the Making’ collective — a group that includes natural scientists, scholars in the (environmental) humanities and social sciences as well as artists and artistic researchers. We have very different backgrounds but what unites us is a shared fascination for the newly emerging connections between living and technical systems. The members of the collective seek to develop conceptually creative yet scientifically sound approaches to better apprehend the opportunities and the uncertainties that arise from the unprecedented ways in which humans are entangled with the wider living environment. Our starting point is that this conceptual elaboration cannot be done without exploring the affects, imaginations and representations that play a role in the construction of these entanglements. Our collective plans to organise colloquia, round-table discussions, film-debates, exhibitions and performances. We also plan to publish essays, books and a richly illustrated La vie à l’oeuvre catalogue. We explicitly aim to share our knowledge and approaches with a broad audience, beyond purely academic circles.

Puissance du végétal et cinéma animiste

1 September 2020

A transdisciplinary study of the representation of plants and their powers to think about the question of animation, cinema, photography and more broadly, that of the image, in the era of the Anthropocene and in the context of the “plant turn” at work in the field of human sciences as well as contemporary art.

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We are pleased to share an extract of "La vie en fragments" ("Fragments of Life"), our interdisciplinary exhibition project. Elaborated by artists and scientists, this exhibition wishes to offer fundamental insights on life and on the consequences of biotechnologies on the organisation of human societies.

Dowlnoad the booklet

Do not hesitate to contact us if you would like more information about this project.

PAST ACTIONS

OUR RESEARCH PROGRAMS

Anthropologie de la vie

Anthropology of life

Drawing on the achievements of the anthropology of nature, the work of this team seeks to document the variations, in space and time, of the conceptions that humans have of life and the living through the actions they exert on vital processes. In particular, the aim is to explore the diversity of intellectual and practical devices through which humans objectify vital processes - for example, growth, reproduction, regeneration or senescence - in order to influence or control them. Whether it integrates data from biology into its ethnographic investigations or explores conceptions of the living that have developed independently of Western science, this collective reflection aims, from an epistemological perspective, to articulate the approaches to the living produced by anthropology.

OCAV-long

OCAV

Origines et Conditions d'Apparition de la Vie

Origins and Conditions of Appearance of Life

The question of the conditions of the appearance of life or the presence of life in the universe, long considered to belong to the speculative domain, is becoming an active field of research. This affects many scientific fields of astronomy and astrophysics (with the discovery of extrasolar planets and our better knowledge of the solar system thanks to space probes), physico-chemistry and biology (with our advances concerning the pre-biotic world, the emergence of living matter, and the key stages of evolution). This reflection is also accompanied by a questioning of our way of thinking about the frontiers between the living and the non-living and how we represent them. With the project IRIS Origins and conditions of appearance of life, PSL wishes to contribute in a unique way to this theme.

 

OCAV-long

SYVIE

Systèmes clos et modélisation de la vie

Closed Systems and Modelling of Life

The SYVIE project proposes to reflect, from an interdisciplinary perspective, on how to build technical systems that keep living systems alive while being as closed/isolated as possible. It is an interdisciplinary research that brings together anthropologists, ecologists, chemists and biologists, geochemists, and via an international network, space and planets specialists, engineers, architects and experts in robotics and artificial intelligence.

OCAV-long

IMOVIE

Imitation des êtres vivants et modélisation de la vie

Imitation of living beings and modeling of life

Biomimicry is often presented as a solution to the ecological crisis that human societies are going through. For its advocates, this approach could establish, or restore, a less destructive relationship with the environment, by adopting approaches and manufacturing processes that imitate nature.

But as we sketch out the guiding ideas for new models of individual and collective action, we need to reflect on the conceptions of nature, life and technology associated with these practices, and not only in Western societies. Rather than considering the imitation of nature and life as a universal mechanism, it is crucial to reflect on the anthropological foundations of biomimicry or - to emphasize the diversity of practices - "biomimicry".

OCAV-long

DFV

Domestication et Fabrication du Vivant

Domestication and manufacture of the living

Domestication and fabrication of life is an action supported by the Mission Interdisciplinarite du CNRS (Pépinière de site CNRSPSL) engages in interdisciplinary reflection involving the natural sciences (biology, chemistry, physics,...), the human sciences (anthropology, epistemology, philosophy, sociology,...) and technologies (robotics,...) in order to question the boundaries and definitions of the living and the non-living.

Who are we?

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Joffrey Becker

Anthropologist
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Teresa Castro

Film Studies scholar

Sorbonne Nouvelle University

Biography

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Elie Danziger

Anthropologist
CNRS/ Collège de France - PSL
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Nicolas Desprat

Physicist

University of Paris (UP)

Biography

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Salvatore D’Onofrio

Anthropologist

Université de Palerme, EHESS, Collège de France

Biography

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Emmanuel Ferrand

Mathematician

Sorbonne Université

Biography

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Lia Giraud

Artist and photography scholar

ESADMM

Biography

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François Guyot

Chemist and geologist

MNHN - IMPMC -IUF

Biography

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Leopoldo Iribarren

Philologist and philosopher
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Cyrille Jeancolas

Biochemist and anthropologist

ESPCI - Collège de France

Biography

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Ludovic Jullien

Chemist

Sorbonne Université - ENS

Biography

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Lauren Kamili

Anthropologist

EHESS/LAS/ADEME

Biography

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Émilie Letouzey

Anthropologist
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Philippe Nghe

Physicist

ESPCI

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Dominique Peysson

Visual artist and researcher
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Perig Pitrou

Anthropologist

CNRS-Collège de France/PSL

Biography

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Istvan Praet

Anthroplogist

University of Roehampton, London

Biography

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Fabien Provost

Anthropologist

King's College London

Biography

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Carlos Emanuel Sautchuk

Anthropologist

University of Brasilia, Brazil

Biography

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Catherine Villard

Biophysicist
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Stéphane Vuilleumier

Microbiologist

Strasbourg University

Biography