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What's Left of Nature: Art and Wilderness in the Anthropocene

Experimental Reading Room
Translocal Institute of Contemporary Art
Spring 2015

At a time in which nature appears thoroughly exploited, subjugated and managed, reflecting an anthropocene era in which humans have usurped planetary processes and used technology to turn their dreams of mastery over nature into a nightmarish prospect, a counter urge to reconnect with what is left of wild nature is beginning to emerge. Challenging the supremacy of science over the study of nature, drawing on the insights of both the new transdisciplinary field of the posthumanities and the non-anthropocentric knowledge of indigenous peoples, and unlocking the radicalism of the ecological paradigm, contemporary art and theory are on the lookout for avenues to where wilderness remains. The lack of progress in tackling ecological crisis in recent years has brought an accelerated urgency to efforts from outside the mainstream to question the reliance on technocratic and legalistic solutions to issues such as climate change, deforestation and species extinction, while experiments in rewilding and research in multispecies ethnographies open up new vistas for ecological transformation. This course focuses on the work of theorists and artists who explore the possibilities of post-humanist, de-centred and empathic approaches to nature through the pursuit of experiential knowledge and immersion in what remains of the natural world.