Of Animacy Reading Group: Minerals

Image Credit: Sam Smith, Nearness (2019)

Stourhead House, Stourton, Warminster, Wiltshire BA12 6QD

[email protected]

Wednesday 28 August 2019
Opening Hours: 9am -6pm
Booking recommended
Contact Nella: [email protected]

Of Animacy Reading Group, led by curator Nella Aarne, gathers at Stourhead over the summer months in conjunction with artist Sam Smith’s exhibition Nearness. The reading group is always open to all and does not require prior knowledge of the subjects discussed.

Resonating with Smith’s new video project, produced in direct response to the ecosystems of Stourhead, Of Animacy presents a selection of texts that encourage us to think through, and think with, the boundless array of beings that sustain life on earth. The four gatherings, each dedicated to the collective reading of a specific text, focus on material components that contribute to ecological processes: water, minerals, plants and animals.

Of Animacy’s August discussion at Stourhead focuses on anthropologist Nils Bubandt’s research into the world’s largest mud volcano Lusi in East Java, Indonesia. While activists and scientists debate whether Lusi was triggered by an earthquake or oil drilling, displaced locals scour the mud for magical stones, gifts from an ancient spirit, hoping to change their fortune. For Bubandt, Lusi captures the essence of the Anthropocene, our geological era in which humans’ actions are becoming increasingly indistinguishable from other forces of nature.


Nils Bubandt, ‘Haunted Geologies: Spirits, Stones and the Necropolitics of the Anthropocene’, Arts of Living on a Damanged Planet (University of Minnesota Press, 2017), pp. 121-141

Excerpts of the text will be read together during the session to support open discussion

For access to and further information on the readings, please email [email protected]


Of Animacy fosters learning through open discussion in a democratic space, with an aim to recognise vital alliances for our daily life and political thought.

Reading the selected text in advance is recommended but not necessary. Printed copies will be available at the gathering and excerpts of the text will be read together to support open discussion.

For access to and further information on the monthly readings, please email [email protected]

Of Animacy Reading Group was first convened by curator Nella Aarne at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London in 2017. The gatherings focus on feminist writings on human and non-human agents in the material world, spanning philosophy and natural and human sciences.

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