‘The climate crisis is also
a crisis of culture.’
The Great Derangement
This symposium takes the planetary ecological crisis as an urgent occasion to reflect on the history and politics of taste. Talk of taste today is considered outmoded, if not suspect. But is this not itself suspect in the ongoing Great Acceleration, a period defined since the 1950s by excesses of consumption and corresponding disruptions to the earth? In the context of the contemporary ecological crisis, examination of the implicit relation between taste and consumption seems all the more pressing. To what extent has the Great Acceleration been propelled by taste? What might such a question contribute to understanding these twin crises of climate and culture?
Attending to taste in the Great Acceleration involves analyzing the proliferation and the allure of certain aesthetic forms, materials, and attitudes – as well as the obfuscation of the associated production of waste. And it means revisiting historical debates since the 1950s in aesthetic theory and culture critique for their blindspots and evasions as much as for their insights. Might reflection on the politics of taste indicate an intersection of affective embodied experience with the ostensibly more abstract categories of cosmopolitan politics, the global economy, and planetary ecology? Is there an alternative sensus communis to the rampant consumerism that has driven the Great Acceleration and that can no longer be dismissed as mere bad taste?
10:00 Coffee & Welcome
Panel 1 Climate Crisis as a Crisis of Culture
Moderator: Caroline Lillian Schopp (UdK Berlin)
10:30 Benjamin Lewis Robinson (LMU Munich)
Introduction – Culture and Consumption in the Great Acceleration
11:00 Melanie Sehgal (Uni Wuppertal)
The Arts of a New Climatic Regime: Rethinking Aesthetics in Times of Ecocide
11:30 Pierre Charbonnier (CNRS Sciences Po Paris)
A Material History of Freedom: Postwar Politics of Productivity and the Environment
Panel 2 Bad Taste?
Moderator: Sofia Varino (Uni Potsdam)
14:30 Caroline Lillian Schopp (UdK Berlin)
Aberrations of Taste: Avant-Garde and Kitsch in the Great Acceleration
15:00 Nathan Brown (Concordia University Montreal)
Metamorphosen: On the Transfiguration of Politics by Aesthetic Experience
15:30 Alexi Kukuljevic (Die Angewandte Vienna)
Ugh! On Acquiring a Distaste for the Species
Panel 3 Times of Disorder and Repair
Moderator: Jordan Troeller (FU Berlin)
18:00 Giulia Bruno (Berlin) and Clio Nicastro (ICI Berlin)
Dysmorphic Temporalities of Eating Disorders
18:30 Heather Davis (The New School New York)
Ambivalent Repair: Mediating Environmental Loss
Benjamin Lewis Robinson and Caroline Lillian Schopp
An ICI Event in cooperation with LMU Munich, this project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 101025546.
Image credit © Claudia Peppel, Noch Fragen?, 2021 (paper collage, 34,5 x 51 cm)