|Edward Burtynsky's paintings of quarries: |
images of anthroturbation or scarring of the earth
Leila Nadir and Cary Peppermint lead workshops on fermentation as part of their Edible Ecologies project. Here is a world you can eat and it becomes you and you become it: a "collaborative hack," Nadir says, between fruits, vegetables, microbes, and humans.
The problem of invisibility came up in several talks, such as Erin Wiegand's, mentioned above, and Julie Koppel Maldonado's presentation "Resisting the Forces of the Anthropocene: The Transformation of Places, Communities, and Lifeways." Like the creators of Invisible-5, Maldonado collects oral histories, this time in tribal communities in coastal Louisiana whose land, once it's under water--that is, once it's invisible--becomes the property of the state.
Yukihisa Isobe has marked the old course of the Shinano River with yellow flags, showing how it's been altered by dams and other human interventions. This installation, called "Where Has the River Gone?", was discussed in Brad Monsma's talk "Distributed Agency and the Echigo-Tsumari Art Triennale."
|very absent and also present|
|very dead and also alive|
In her talk "Doing Philosophy: Art as Ethical Testing Ground for the Anthropocene," Kayla Anderson argued that while some artists express awareness of the Anthropocene with what she calls "destructive narratives," which simulate action, others adopt "constructive narratives," which stimulate thinking. Among the latter is Jae Rhim Lee, whose Mushroom Death Suit is pictured here. Anderson was on the same panel as Nadir and Peppermint, and the Mushroom Death Suit, like the Edible Ecologies project, could be called a collaborative hack between the human and the nonhuman. Basically, a death hack. There was a relaxed, chummy attitude toward death at this conference. "When you see solutions in our work, it's a poetic gesture," Nadir said. "We actually don't think we're going to survive."
There was also a lot of discussion about thinking and doing and what art is for. At one point Anderson used the term "thinktivist." The role of art in the Anthropocene, she said, is to conduct experiments, raise questions, and "provoke dark discussions" in order to enliven critical thinking. Leila Nadir quoted Ricardo Dominguez on the difference between activism and art: that activism tends to break the law, while art creates a disturbance in the law. It's the difference between the effective and the affective, Dominguez says in this completely amazing interview conducted by Nadir in 2012.
I leave you with this still from Nadir and Peppermint's video project "Late Anthropocene." In their talk it had the subtitle "A Geologic Feeling." This describes our state when we left the conference--mine, anyway. Very geologic. Very feeling.