In 2017, the Laboratory Planet collective proposed a manifesto of the “recombinant commons” by the Aliens In Green. Makery republishes it.
Re-qualifying the laboratory
Aliens in Green are agents from a planet-turned-laboratory. The laboratory is the place where that which does not yet exist comes into existence and materialises. On this laboratory-planet, the biosphere has been transformed into a laboratory, affecting what we, species from the Cenozoic (i.e. the Age of Mammals, from 66 million years ago until today) have known until now.
This future has not yet been created, but the images coming from it, are materialising in various ways. Some of these images show a xeno-power that elicits the emergence of radically new things and creatures, entities that force the evolution of living beings into divergent paths between species.
In this xeno-laboratory, we are witnessing and anticipating the emergence of systems of our future subordination or extermination based on our own alienation. Against this xeno-laboratory, Aliens in Green position the idea of a non-alien laboratory.This laboratory commons, a place where interspecific communities meet and form, continues, rather than breaks with, the community of beings we have experienced throughout the Cenozoic. This laboratory is a place-in-becoming, a place where the combination of living forms, their composition and articulation, is elaborated, a place that the present ruling ontologies would like to curtail.
Cultivating an art of combinations
The art of combinations is aimed primarily at recomposing the commons in an odd world. The art of combinations is an art of symbiosis, a common thrust towardsphusis, or the “self-giving-of-a-common-form”. Genetic recombination as well as genetic, hormonal and chemical communication between species is multi-facetted and ongoing. Whereas control over sexual reproduction was part of traditional politics, and connect individuals and populations as well as citizens and states, the non-genealogical and lateral transfer of genes, molecules, signals, will perhaps enable us to understand the making of new biological-political connections – between persons and licenses, between human and non-human user communities, between polymorphisms and policies. These recombinations, which are inherent in society, must emancipate themselves from the specific standards of the bio-, chemo-industrial complex. This is why a critique of xeno-hormones, xeno-molecules, xeno-genes and xeno-(eco- or bio)systems, and a critique of the xeno-powers that define their present and future orientation need to complement a policy of recombinant commons.
Cultivating an art of composition
A non-anthropomorphic approach to intelligence opens up new spaces of social composition. If we leave behind the anthropomorphic conception of intelligence and acknowledge that intelligence is distributed across all biotic flows, across all plant, animal, fungal and bacterial species, then social and political compositions will change radically. This post-species-oriented approach reconfigures our modes of operation by aiming to connect the reflexivity and theoretical models inherited from Western anthropoid culture with concrete modes of action generated by other species and flows.
Reflexivity, through its ability to ‘render alien’ and to create distance, can subvert the process of meaning and enable us to represent the unrepresentable. The non-anthropomorphic approach of affects conversely allows us to rethink the mediations between bodies and signifiers beyond identities and species, and to understand the flow of affects that interconnects and co-constitutes bodies of different kinds.
Cultivating an art of articulation
Articulation is a key concept for addressing the laboratorisation of the living and the capitalist ecosystem, if we do not want to limit our critique to economics and class relations. The concepts of becoming-alien and becoming-non-alien enable us to articulate worlds in a way that neutralizes their potential antagonisms. Their aim is to articulate or coordinate various narratives revealing the anti-terrestrial spirit of capitalism and to create a biospheric commons.
In short, the concepts of becoming-alien and becoming-non-alien allow us to build counter-hegemonic narratives and devices, as well as trans-specific solidarities, that are simultaneously political, epistemological, technical and strategic, and which enable anti-systemic struggles to converge.
The Aliens in Green is a project by The Laboratory Planet collective. In 2023-2024 The Laboratory Planet collective is commissioned by Makery for the More-Than-Planet program, co-funded by the European Union.
Read our previous tribune by The Laboratory Planet.