The Anthropocene has been embraced by the humanities, social sciences, and visual arts as a new geologic epoch that captures the planetary dimension of the long-term human impact on the environment. This talk will instead propose to approach the Anthropocene as the epistemic scene constructed by the scenario methods of Earth system scientists and engineers of the global environment. Introduced and popularized by planetary management research programmes, the Anthropocene is the crime scene of energy megaprojects, the stage for the scenario thinking and socio-ecological modelling of supranational organizations. Marcel Duchamp’s Étant donnés and other artistic crime scenes suggest strategies for delinking from the ecocolonization of the Earth’s future and imagining alternative relations with the environment.
Federico Luisetti is Associate Professor of Italian Culture and Society at the University of St. Gallen. His publications include The Anomie of the Earth: Philosophy, Politics, and Autonomy in Europe and the Americas (edited with J. Pickles and W. Kaiser, 2015) and Una vita. Pensiero selvaggio e filosofia dell’intensità(2011). He is currently writing a monograph on the Anthropocene as the state of nature of neoliberalism.
The lecture is part of the current ICI Lecture Series ERRANS, environ/s. There is hardly a discipline, field, or discourse within the natural and social sciences nor the humanities that hasn’t long been touched and transformed by the notions of milieu, environment, or Umwelt. The recent revival and proliferation of ecological discourses can be understood, at least in part, as a response to the increasingly complete immersion in technologically in-formed environments.
The transdisciplinary impact of these new concepts has not yet been captured, nor is it clear that it can be captured, but while the life sciences play a prominent role in them (having adopted, in the 19th century, concepts from physics and transgressed into the social sciences, for example, as racist discourses and social Darwinism), they don’t operate as the leading science in this transformation. Instead, this process appears to be a multidirectional, non-hierarchizable, and errant movement, itself constituting a complex ecology of knowledge.
ERRANS environ/s contemplates aspects of this frequently divergent, potentially errant, and certainly ongoing transformation of not only the sciences or cultures of knowledge, but also cultural and artistic production at large. It will investigate the ways in which an attention to environments can have the effect of dissolving boundaries or making them permeable, questioning clear-cut distinctions, undermining naive ontologies, decentring the subject, folding nature and culture, and producing complex political ecologies attuned to far-reaching entanglements.
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