Project Description

Toxic Bios, abbreviation for Toxic Autobiographies, is a Public Environmental Humanities project based at KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory in Stockholm and funded the by Seed Box, a Mistra-Formas Environmental Humanities Collaboratory.

A well-recognized genre in the US environmental writing, however almost absent as literary genre in Europe, toxic autobiography is a distinct product of marginalized groups denouncing the environmental injustice in which they feel trapped. Toxic autobiographies are a prototype of counter-history, challenging mainstream narratives on progress, common good, and science. They represent a unique blend of narrative and history, of science and politics, of personal and collective.

The project aims at co-producing with affected individuals and communities stories of contamination and resistance. To date Toxic Bios has gathered about 70 stories which are progressively going to be published in this website. The stories are currently coming from Italy, Portugal, Greece, Turkey, and Sweden, with a few more from other countries. We count to continue developing our narrative archive.

The online platform  gathers the Toxic Autobiographies generated by users through a geo-referenced interface. In order to practice the plurality of knowledge production and reproduction, the platform allows the possibility to submit Toxic Autobiographies in various formats, including videos, texts, images, audio files, etc.

We have called the methodology engineered throughout Toxic Bios “guerrilla narrative”, meaning with this expression a strategy aiming at occupying mainstream narratives with the counter-hegemonic storytelling of the embodied experiences of toxicity and wasting. Guerrilla narrative, as we see it and practice it, implies the exercise of storytelling as a deliberate counter-hegemonic strategy, with an explicit political aim.

The project will not have an ending date, on the contrary we hope it will spread, catching the attention and interest of those who believe stories are powerful tools for resistance. If you want to be part of Toxic Bios, check out the materials section of the website and watch the video call for action or read the short manual on how to tell your story!

To date Toxic Bios has built a network of collaboration among research centres, grassroots socio-environmental movements, journalists, think-tanks and culture professionals. The collaboration network has worked for the dissemination of the project and the collection of stories. Go to the hubs section to know more about them!

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