The phrase ‘queer waste’ evokes a volley of disparate themes and images, ranging from queerness’ potential anti-reproductivity, to aesthetics that might be understood as trashy or campy, to panics about changes in gender or sex caused by the presence within ecosystems of toxicity and pollutants. More broadly, ‘queer waste’ indexes the entwinement of waste as pollution with the lives of queer people—a relation often coded by the afterlives of industrial colonialism perpetuated by global capital. In this way, ‘queer waste’ suggests a geographical orientation through which both queer bodies and lived environments cast a light on racial and carceral capital. The diverse mechanisms through which this manifests range from the corralling of underprivileged communities into so-called ‘cancer alleys’—areas in which plants emit hazardous chemicals posing heightened risk to residents’ health—to the revaluation and repurposing of electronic waste—rapidly piling-up discarded electric equipment—in certain Global South areas including in India, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire.

This symposium brings together scholars, artists, and members of the public to explore how such entanglements play out and are resisted and reimagined in both theoretical and fictional worlds, via film, the visual arts, literature, and scholarship.

In English

18:00 – 21:00
Screening of Neptune Frost (Saul Williams und Anisia Uzeyman, 2021, 105 min)

14:00 – 15:45
The Queer Ecologies of Waste
Seminar led by Ted Junior Östervall

15:45 – 16:15 Coffee Break

16:15 – 18:15
Artist Jean-Ulrick Désert in conversation with Renan Laru-an

18:15 – 19:00 Coffee Break

19:00 – 21:00
Death as Queer Possibility:
Waste and the Normativity of Life in Postcolonial Ghana
Keynote Lecture by Kwame Edwin Otu
Moderated by Ruth Ramsden-Karelse

Organized by

Mark Anthony Cayanan, Maria Dębińska, Moritz Gansen, Ruth Ramsden-Karelse, and Ben Woodard

An ICI Event in cooperation with diffrakt | centre for theoretical periphery

External Venue

9 June 2024, 18:00 – 21:00 (no pre-registration required)
Venue: diffrakt | centre for theoretical periphery
Crellestraße 22
10827 Berlin

How to Attend

At diffrakt (9 June):

  • No pre-registration required.

At the ICI Berlin (10 June):

  • To attend the seminar (14:00-15:45), please register via email to
  • To attend the conversation and keynote lecture (16:15-21:00), please register using the form below.

The audience is presumed to consent to a possible recording on the part of the ICI Berlin.
If you would like to attend the event yet might require assistance, please contact Event Management.

Image credit: Herman Rhoids /

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