Cambridge LASER Talks | Non/Human Animals

The Cambridge LASER talks (Leonardo Art Science Evening Rendez-vous) questions the separation and propagation of art and science as distinct categories of knowing and being. We ask: What is creativity in science and the arts? What is experimental practice in art, science, or philosophy? Where do scientific and artistic attitudes, inquiries, methods overlap? How do they differ and complement each other? Can such understanding help shape our technological, urban, economic, and environmental futures for an ecologically and socially sustainable life and wellbeing?

In this Cambridge LASER, we bring together ecologists, immunologist, and artists to discuss the preservation of biodiversity and our relations with the natural world.

Somewhere in the discussion about the preservation of biodiversity, it is essential that we start a dialogue about the false binary of human and non-human. Humans and non-human animals share the same genetic building blocks. Our basic needs are the same, as are some of the existential threats we face. Viruses and other pathogens make the jump between humans and non-human animals to devastating effect, usually through habitat encroachment, human-made climate change, and industrial animal husbandry practices. Moreover, humans have had a long and violent history of inhumanity towards other humans, based on ‘animalising’ the other, i.e. deeming them less than human. How do we move away from this unhelpful binary, and move towards an empathetic relationship with the non-human worlds?

In this session, join a conservationist, a veterinary virologist, a neuroscientist, and visual artists, in a conversation about new ways to think and talk about non-human animals.