‘The climate crisis is also
a crisis of culture.’

Amitav Ghosh
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?

In English

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

12:00-13:00 Discussion

13:00-14:30 Lunch

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

16:00-17:00 Discussion

17:00-18:00 Coffee

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

19:00-20:00 Discussion

20:00 Reception


Nathan Brown
Giulia Bruno
Pierre Charbonnier
Heather Davis
Alexi Kukuljevic
Clio Nicastro
Melanie Sehgal


Organized by

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.

KV Bad Taste?

Image credit © Claudia Peppel, Noch Fragen?, 2021 (paper collage, 34,5 x 51 cm)