Radical Empathy Lab – The Soil Encounter

at Floating University, Berlin

As part of: Open Soil Day, 12 June 2022

Open soils are in direct contact with water bodies, the air and their subsoil, the solid rock. They are complex habitats out of organo-mineral structures and an immense diversity of living organisms in the upper soil horizons, largely unknown even to natural scientists. Analytically, their bodies cannot be determined separately from the soil, nor can the mineral processes and structures be separated from the biological ones. Although we know that all life depends on the regenerative processes in soils and they accommodate high biodiversity, soil organisms usually do not appear in environmental analyses, models, concepts, instruments and technologies. 

At our first Open Soil Day at the Floating University, we will present and discuss the results of our soil analysis for selected contaminants and offer our visitors the opportunity to connect with the different soils on site through their senses. How can we connect with them, rethink, smell, see or even taste them? And will this help us to find a fruitful way of dealing with the soils of this world on a scientific, political and economic level?

Radical Empathy Lab (REL) – The Soil Encounter

In this trans-species encounter we will experiment to create an inclusive and sensual awareness for our fellow soil microorganisms. Playfully we’ll experiment to re-awaken our innate sensing nature, to move from a human-centred towards a more earth­-bound mindfulness and presence by methods like Deep Listening, radical and feminist pedagogies. Come in comfy clothes, bring something to sit on. REL was founded as a nomadic socio-ecological research lab by artist, curator, and scholar Berit Fischer.