A conversation on books, beings, and other becomings with Ho Tzu Nyen, Vincent Normand, Katharina Tauer, Anna-Sophie Springer & Etienne Turpin, and the SYNAPSE International Curators’ Network.
The Anthropocene thesis has become both a cultural cipher for any number of all-too-human obscenities and a collider of previously staid disciplinary concerns. While the International Commission on Stratigraphy and the International Union of Geological Sciences continue to debate the scientific merits of a geological reformation called the Anthropocene Epoch, the cultural meaning of the Anthropocene challenges artists, curators, designers, editors and writers to locate the social and ethical significance of this debate in other registers and by other means.
A Public Library will host a conversation to consider how becomings-book/animal/and Anthropocene are challenging the forms by which knowledge is embodied, shared, and relayed. The event will ask of the epoch of the anthropos: should we make books? art? exhibitions? Should we read? edit? curate? What do these practices mean and how do they transform as they encounter mass extinction and environmental collapse? The entangled becomings of books, animals, and knowledge production in the Anthropocene will serve as preliminary ways of approaching questions of cultural literacy in an era of anthropogenic devastation.
This event will also launch several recent books addressing these questions, including Heather Davis and Etienne Turpin’s edited collection Art in the Anthropocene (featuring Ho Tzu Nyen, Vincent Normand, and Anna-Sophie Springer), and Anna-Sophie Springer and Etienne Turpin’s edited exhibitions Fantasies of the Library and Land & Animal & Nonanimal, both designed by Katharina Tauer and co-published by K. Verlag and the Haus der Kulturen der Welt.
Ho Tzu Nyen is a visual artist from Singapore working on neglected histories. He is currently in Berlin on a DAAD scholarship and a contributor to Art in the Anthropocene. Charles Stankievech is an artist and co-director of K. Verlag. He teaches in the Visual Studies program at the University of Toronto, Canada. Katharina Tauer is a graphic designer and typographer based in Berlin. Vincent Normand is an art historian, writer, and curator living in Paris. He is currently MFA teacher in charge of theory and research at ECAL, Lausanne and a contributor to Art in the Anthropocene as well as to the forthcoming intercalations 5. Anna-Sophie Springer is an independent curator, editor, and co-director of K. Verlag. Etienne Turpin is a philosopher and director of anexact office, Jakarta, Indonesia.
About the books
Art in the Anthropocene: Encounters Among Politics, Aesthetics, Environments & Epistempologies brings together the work of artists, curators, art historians, and philosophers to critically engage with the Anthropocene thesis in the wake of the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who have carefully assembled the most comprehensive image to date of anthropogenic climate change and its consequences. The essays, interviews, and artistic interventions that constitute this second volume take the current environmental catastrophe of the Anthropocene as their starting point. Following the publication of Architecture in the Anthropocene, which attempted to develop design and architectural practices in relation to both climatic and geological change, we see this second volume - between the Fifth Assessment and the Sixth Extinction - as a way to expand the discourse on the geologic turn to include aesthetic, curatorial, and artistic strategies for confronting, criticizing, or otherwise engaging the Anthropocene thesis.
Contributors: Amy Balkin, Ursula Biemann, Amanda Boetzkes, Lindsay Bremner, Joshua Clover & Juliana Spahr, Heather Davis, Sara Dean, Elizabeth Ellsworth & Jamie Kruse (smudge studio), Irmgard Emmelhainz, Anselm Franke, Peter Galison, Fabien Giraud, & Ida Soulard, Laurent Gutierrez & Valérie Portefaix (MAP Office), Terike Haapoja & Laura Gustafsson, Laura Hall, Ilana Halperin, Donna Haraway, Ho Tzu Nyen, Martha Kenney, Emily Kutil, Bruno Latour, Mary Mattingly, Natasha Myers, Jean-Luc Nancy, Vincent Normand, Richard Pell, John Paul Ricco, Tomas Saraceno, Sasha Engelmann & Bronislaw Szerszynski, Ada Smailbegovic, Karolina Sobecka, Richard Streitmatter-Tran & Vi Le, Anna-Sophie Springer, Sylvère Lotringer, Peter Sloterdijk, Pinar Yoldas, Marina Zurkow, Oliver Kellhammer, Fritz Ertl & Una Chaudhuri.
Art in the Anthropocene Encounters Among Politics, Aesthetics, Environments & Epistemologies Edited by Heather Davis & Etienne Turpin Design by Sara Dean Open Humanities Press, London Published in June 2015 More information here Open access PDF
Fantasies of the Library inaugurates the intercalations: paginated exhibition series. Virtually stacked alongside Anna-Sophie Springer’s feature essay “Melancholies of the Paginated Mind” about unorthodox responses to the institutional ordering principles of book collections, the volume includes an interview with Rick Prelinger and Megan Shaw Prelinger of the Prelinger Library in San Francisco; reflections on the role of cultural memory and the archive by Hammad Nasar, Head of Research and Programmes at the Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong; a conversation with media theorist Joanna Zylinska about experiments on the intersections of curatorial practice and open source e-books; and a discussion between K’s co-director Charles Stankievech and platform developer Adam Hyde on new approaches to open source publishing in science and academia. The photo essay, “Reading Rooms Reading Machines,” presents views of unusual historical libraries next to works by artists such as Kader Attia, Andrew Beccone, Mark Dion, Rodney Graham, Katie Paterson, Veronika Spierenburg, Andrew Norman Wilson, and others.
Land & Animal & Nonanimal turns the attention from the built space of cultural repositories to the postnatural landscapes of planet Earth. In his interview about urban soils of the Anthropocene, landscape architect Seth Denizen considers a history of land use practices that is also reflected in artist Robert Zhao Renhui’s photographs of Singapore as a scenario of continuous development. Inspired by a recent visit to the environment of Wendover in the Utah desert, Richard Pell and Lauren Allen of Pittsburgh’s Center for PostNatural History make a case for a postnatural imprint upon the geologic aspects inherent in the concept of the Anthropocene. By encountering “the last snail,” environmental historian and philosopher Thom van Dooren considers the meaning of hope and care in the context of species extinction. And while curator Natasha Ginwala’s paginated series with contributions by Bianca Baldi, Arvo Leo, Axel Staschnoy, and Karthik Pandian & Andros Zins-Browne turns to cosmological and ancestral human-animal scenarios, sound artist and researcher Mitchell Akiyama explores philosophies of consciousness against the background of the phonogram in nineteenth-century simian research.