Socialist Anthropocene in the Visual Arts (SAVA)
The SAVA project sets out to radically transform current debates on the Anthropocene, addressing the major lacuna in existing accounts by establishing the Socialist Anthropocene as a novel conceptual framework that asserts the constitutive role of the twentieth century environmental histories of Socialism in the formation of the new geological age. It is the first large-scale interdisciplinary research project that institutes the Socialist Anthropocene as a new field of study within the critical corpus concerned with challenging and decentring the West-centric discourses of the Anthropocene. The research is organised around five thematic streams through which the distinctiveness, epistemologies, relationalities and potentialities of the Socialist Anthropocene will be analysed, namely: the socialist praxis of extractivism, infrastructures of the socialist system, transformation of the countryside, species under socialism and cultures of the Socialist Anthropocene. The groundbreaking approach of the project is to reconstruct the histories of the Socialist Anthropocene through visual arts led interdisciplinary research, which entails analysing historical artworks and engaging with contemporary art practices that act as a catalyst to integrate the insights of multiple disciplines and as a critical agent to pose ambitious and expansive questions, challenging assumptions and engendering new cross-disciplinary paradigms to illuminate the specificities of the Socialist Anthropocene. SAVA also incorporates the insights of environmental history, the history of science and beyond-human anthropology, fields that are highly generative of critical reassessments of the Anthropocene, while drawing on global studies of historical socialisms to go beyond regionalism and formulate the Socialist Anthropocene as a globally relevant concept.
The Socialist Anthropocene is an interdisciplinary research project led by Dr. Maja Fowkes , based at the Postsocialist Art Centre (PACT) at UCL Institute of Advanced Studies and supported by a Horizon Europe ERC Consolidator / UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) grant.