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Of tree nurseries, and other possible forms of phenomenotechnical geoengineering

Post-doc project investigates alternative phenomenotechnics to global warming.

This postdoctoral work surveys the ‘tree nursery’ as potential form of support and display to more-than-human (re)mediations. Through decolonial art methodologies often associated to geopoetics, geo-aesthetics, and inhuman geography, the survey will stem from post-cataclysm reforestation and riparian zone repair, looking to depose the traumatic technological history and development of geoengineering.

Head of project

Luis Berríos-Negrón
Associate professor

Project overview

Project period:

Start date: 2023-01-01

Participating departments and units at Umeå University

UmArts, Umeå School of Architecture

Research area

Architecture, Fine arts

Project description

Geoengineering today refers to vast, scaleless solutions for global warming mitigation (Crutzen 2002). Its history and current development points to unwitting exacerbations of the necropolitics (Mbembe 2019) of colonial memory (Berríos-Negrón 2019) and of climate injustice (TJ Demos 2017, Kolbert 2021), while ignoring the imperative of biodiversity (Isbell 2015).

From that context, this postdoctoral project aims to depose geoengineering by investigating proportionate, decolonial alternatives to reforestation and environmental remediation. Remediation here is an index to multiple, transdisciplinary meanings; pointing to conserving, nurturing, and questioning assumed knowledges and mediations. This index of meanings is to be largely defined by decolonial art methods stemming from Caribbean and Black notions of landscape that culturally and scientifically question racialised enframings of geology and geography (Yusoff 2018) through forms of hydrofeminism (Neimanis 2017), of geopoetics (Magrane et al 2018), of geoaesthetics (LaCour 2022).

These methods are mobilised by sculptural and performative probing of what may loosely be referred to as 'tree nurseries'. These time-based, alternative, proportionate forms of tree nursing will be contrasted—at least in context—to the scaleless character of geoengineering. The tree nursery will not just be explored in its historical form as greenhouse subset, but expanded as cultural and sculptural specimen, medium, and display - as a phenomenotechnic that challenges 'observation' itself as colonial form. As such, tree nurseries will be less of a building and more of an encounter that makes-visible the trauma of hemispheric disparities, of altenative manners in which to enact site-specific biodiversities, while supporting the proportions of direct human-non-human interaction as potential, affirmative form to environmental remediation.

The postdoctoral work stems from a recent research residency with at the national post-hurricane reforestation project in my home island of Puerto Rico (Para La Naturaleza, 2021-22), from a two-part research seminar I conducted at the Research Focus Transdisciplinarity programme in ZHdK (CH) titled Deposing Geoengineering (field sessions in Zurich, Fall 2021 / field session in Västerbotten, Spring 2022), and from my PhD dissertation titled Breathtaking Greenhouse Parastructures (Konstfack Collection 2020). From those materials and experiences, the postdoc affords me a chance to explore and talk about manners and processes that are not driven by problem-solving, situating moments for intersectional notions of observation, of form, and of display that prioritise the life-affirming capacity of research as artform.


Luis Berríos-Negrón is a Puerto Rican environmental artist and experimental architect working with the forms and forces of global warming. He has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Parsons New School for Design (2000-03), a Master of Architecture from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2003-06), and a PhD in Art, Technology & Design from Konstfack / Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (2015-20).

Related works include “Estratas, Viveros y Entrañas” [Strata, Nurseries & Entrails] at Las Lunas, Puerto Rico (2021-22); Sin Título (Billonarios) / Untitled (Billionaires) at POST, Houston (2022); “Agropoetics: Soil is an Inscribed Body” at Savvy Contemporary Berlin (2018-19); MFA research focus course “Impasse Finesse Neverness” at Konstfack with an exhibition at the Museum of Archaeology of Bahia Brasil (2016-17); “Nonsphere XIV: Earthscore Specularium” at Färgfabriken in Stockholm (2015); “Nonspheres XIII: Looming Greenhouse” at the 3rd Biennial of Art of Bahia, Brasil (2014); “Anarquivo Negantrópico” [Neganthropic Anarchive] at Gammelgaard Art and Culture Centre in Herlev, Denmark (2019), among others.

Latest update: 2023-04-04