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Ecological Futures: Contemporary Art and Anthropocene Studies

Tamas Kasas, PLanting on the Golf Course, 2012

This seminar will take as its focus attempts within both environmental thought and contemporary art to imagine the ecological future. These range from visualisations of technocratic dystopias in which all the worst predications of environmental disaster come true, to the wished for emergence of sustainable communities thriving in a new age of planetary consciousness. While some have tried to imagine a literally post-human ‘world without us’ in the geologically not so distant future, others explore the idea that in the wake of large scale anthropogenic change the natural world will never be the same again. The notion of the Anthropocene or ‘epoch of humankind’ is reshaping how we see the geologic present, but what implications does it have for the future? Is the world on the brink of a ‘good Anthropocene’ in which new technologies give humanity the power to adjust the climate at will? Or is the race intensifying between the forces of insatiable economic growth and the evolution of ecological consciousness? In the face of dire scientific predictions about climate change, mass extinction, soil degradation and rising pollution, this course also investigates the many ways in which contemporary artists have explored affirmative ecological models and
desirable future scenarios in their work.

The seminar on Ecological Futures is led by Dr. Maja Fowkes and Dr. Reuben Fowkes and organised in cooperation with the Moholy Nagy University of Art and Design Budapest (MOME) as part of Translocal Institute’s Experimental Reading Room project 2014-16. The Experimental Reading Room creates a space to interact, experiment, learn and dream our way to a new orientation towards ecological empathy in contemporary art and society. Based around a parallel program of Anthropocene Response lectures by prominent international thinkers and thematic study circles, the project is designed to engender the self-production of socially-embedded, theoretically-informed and practically-oriented knowledge in the field of art and ecology. 

Supported by:


Ecological Futures: Contemporary Art and Anthropocene Studies

Art and Ecological Crisis: Planetary Consciousness in Practice

What's Left of Nature: Reconnecting Art and Wilderness

Art in the Age of the Anthropocene



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