While the Anthropocene thesis has recently received significant attention in both the news media and academic scholarship—certainly drifting well beyond its original loci of consideration within the meetings of the International Commission on Stratigraphy and the International Union of Geological Sciences—there remains a fundamental ambivalence about the value of the concept from the point of view of both cultural theory and design practice. Is the Anthropocene not just another assertion, typical of European society, of the ascendancy of man over nature? Is the Anthropocene, when read through the lens of cultural criticism, not just another appropriation of a properly scientific nomenclature for the purposes of provoking aesthetic or moral shock? Is the Anthropocene not an apolitical, even fatalistic idea, given that it implicates all humanity equally in the production of a geophysical stratigraphy that is, and has been—since the “beginning” of the era, which is also a matter of debate—asymmetrically produced according to divisions of class, race, gender and ability? Is there really any role for the theoretical humanities after the division between nature and culture is erased by a geological reformation?
The present collection of essays, conversations, and design projects and proposals responds to these questions by problematizing the very terms of their address. While each of the contributions in this volume operates on the Anthropocene thesis through the specificity of its own particular considerations and concerns, several important premises might first be summarized here. Regardless of the eventual conclusion arrived at by the geo-scientific community of experts considering the merit of this new era, the concept of the Anthropocene affords contemporary scholars, activists, and designers a unique opportunity to reevaluate the terms of theory and practice which have been inherited from modernity. Not least among these inheritances is the assumption of an ontological distinction between human culture and nature.
Book year: 2013
Book pages: 264
Book language: en
File size: 12.19 MB
File type: pdf
Published: 20 April 2022 - 13:00