THE PERSONHOOD OF NATURE Marjetica Potrč in Conversation with Nitin Bathla, Santiago Del Hierro, Laura Turley, Anna Wienhues, and Special Guests.Sessions on Territory ETH Zürich

The 2021 referendum on water rights in Slovenia pointed to a shift in attitudes towards nature in contemporary culture: from a society of owners to a society of caretakers. In the eyes of a caretaker, a river is not an object but a subject. As a subject, its rights will eventually be recognized by law, which, no longer human-centred, will acknowledge the agency of nature. Who, then, is a river as a person, and what is our dialogue with it? Can a river own itself? What does a river want? Marjetica Potrč explored these issues in a project for the 23rd Sydney Biennale (2022), in which she collaborated with the Wiradjuri elder Ray Woods, a caretaker of the Lachlan River in New South Wales. She will discuss Woods’s knowledge and practices and their similarity to positions taken by today’s environmentalists.