“The World to Come: Art, Politics & Climate Change” (Oct. 19–20, 2018)

Published: September 12th, 2018

Category: News

An interdisciplinary symposium on art, scientific fieldwork, and anthropological research in response to the greatest planetary crisis of our era.

Keynote Lecture – Friday, October 19, 6 PM

Panels and Roundtables – Saturday, October 20, 10 AM – 5 PM

Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art

University of Florida


Join us for “The World to Come: Art, Politics, and Climate Change,” an interdisciplinary symposium in conjunction with the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art exhibition The World to Come: Art in the Age of the Anthropocene (Sept. 18, 2018–Mar. 3, 2019), featuring experimental artistic practices, scientific fieldwork, and anthropological research in response to the greatest planetary crisis of our era. The symposium will include lectures, roundtable discussions, and conversations with attendees by invited guest speakers and UF faculty. Together we will confront the challenges of artistic, political and personal practice in the late Anthropocene, in search of ways forward to a more vibrant, compassionate and just future.

“The World to Come: Art, Politics, and Climate Change” is presented by the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art and Imagining Climate Change. All events during the symposium are free and open to the public.

Friday, October 19, 6 PM
Keynote Lecture: “Blackout: The Necropolitics of Extraction”

T.J. Demos, Professor of History of Art; Director the Center for Creative Ecologies, University of California, Santa Cruz

This lecture addresses extraction, as well as the politics and aesthetics of emergent forms of resistance today. In view of spreading sacrifice zones given over to resource mining, abetted by exploitative international trade agreements and the finance of debt servitude, what forms do the cultural politics of resistance take, and how are artist-activists materializing the images and sounds of emancipation and decolonization? With reference to the diverse artwork of Angela Melitopoulos, Allora & Calzadilla, and Ursula Biemann, which considers geographies of conflict in such regions as Greece, Puerto Rico, and Canada and Bangladesh, this analysis addresses a range of leading artistic approaches that adopt an aesthetics of intersectionality that reveals complex causalities and effects, offers a modeling of politico-ecological interpretation, and proposes forms of solidarity with those on the frontlines of opposition.

Reception to follow.

Saturday, October 20, 10 AM – 5 PM

10 – 10:15 AM
Welcome and Introductions
Kerry Oliver-Smith, Harn Museum Curator of Contemporary Art

10:15 – 11:15 AM
Lecture: “Runakuna, Human but Not Only” + Q+A
Marisol de la Cadena, Professor of Anthropology, University of California, Davis

11:20 AM – 12:20 PM
Roundtable Discussion + Q+A
Ellen E. Martin, Professor, UF Department of Geological Sciences; Co-Director, Florida Climate Institute; Brett Scheffers, Assistant Professor, UF Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation; Les Thiele, Professor, UF Department of Political Science; Director of Sustainability Studies and the Center for Adaptive Innovation, Resilience, Ethics and Science. Moderator: Terry Harpold, Associate Professor, UF Department of English; Director, Imagining Climate Change

12:30 – 1:30 PM
Lunch (on your own)

1:45 – 2:45 PM
Lecture: “Rooting into the Planthroposcene” + Q+A
Natasha Myers, Associate Professor of Anthropology, York University

2:50 – 3:50 PM
Lecture: “Parallel Futures: Images, Friends” + Q+A
Pedro Neves Marques, Visual artist, writer and editor

4 – 5 PM
Panel Discussion
All speakers

5 PM
Closing Remarks

Reception to follow.

About the Speakers

Marisol de la Cadena is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Davis. Her work includes the study of politics (including ontological politics), multispecies, indigeneity, history and the ahistorical world, world anthropologies and the anthropologies of worlds. De la Cadena is interested in the perspectives and interface of science and the humanities, encompassing humans, animals, and “things.” She also focuses on life-and-death conditions of ecological and political change in a time of extreme droughts, floods, and war. Her books include Earth Beings: Ecologies of Practice across Andean Worlds (2015); Cultures of Race and Hybridity in Latin America (2011); Formaciones de indianidad: Articulaciones raciales, mestizaje, y nacion en America Latina (2008); and Indigenous Mestizos: The Politics of Race and Culture in Cuzco, Peru (1910–1991) (2000). De la Cadena was a recipient of the John E. Sawyer Mellon-Sawyer Seminar on the Comparative Study of Cultures (2012–16), and she received the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Research Fellowship (2008).

T. J . Demos is Professor in the Department of the History of Art and Visual Culture, University of California, Santa Cruz, and founder and director of its Center for Creative Ecologies. He writes widely on the intersection of contemporary art, global politics, and ecology and is the author of numerous books, including Against the Anthropocene: Visual Culture and Environment Today (2017); Decolonizing Nature: Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology (2016); The Migrant Image: The Art and Politics of Documentary During Global Crisis (2013)—winner of the College Art Association’s 2014 Frank Jewett Mather Award—and Return to the Postcolony: Spectres of Colonialism in Contemporary Art (2013). Demos cocurated Rights of Nature: Art and Ecology in the Americas at Nottingham Contemporary in January 2015, and organized Specters: A Ciné- Politics of Haunting at the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid in 2014.

Pedro Neves Marques is a writer, visual artist, and filmmaker. He has exhibited in art venues such as the Tate Modern, London; Anthology Film Archives, New York; V-A-C Foundation, Venice; Museu Colecçã Berardo, Lisbon; Contour Biennale 8, Mechelen, Belgium; PAV, Turin; Sursock Art Museum, Beirut; Kadist Art Foundation,  Paris; e-flux, New York; Casa do Povo, São Paulo, Brazil; 12th Cuenca Biennial, Cuenca, Ecuador; Sculpture Center, New York; Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, New York; EDP Foundation, Lisbon; Serralves  Museum for Contemporary Art, Porto, Portugal; as well as in art galleries such as Galleria Umberto di Marino, Naples, Pedro Cera, Lisbon; and Gallerie Martin Janda, Vienna. His first short-fiction film, Semente Exterminadora [Exterminator Seed], premiered at the IndieLisboa Film Festival in 2017. His short-film essay Where to Sit at the Dinner Table? premiered at DocLisboa International Film Festival in 2013. With fellow artist Mariana Silva he runs www.inhaitants-tv.org, an online channel for exploratory video and documentary reporting.

Ellen Martin is a Professor in the Department of Geological Sciences, University of Florida, and Co-Director of the Florida Climate Institute. Her research on paleoceanography and paleoclimatology uses the geochemistry of deep sea sediment to reconstruct past climate conditions and understand climate sensitivity. She is particularly interested in the relationship between ocean circulation patterns and climate, as well as the glacial history of Greenland. She is a University of Florida Term Professor and a Fellow of the Geological Society of America.

Natasha Myers is an anthropologist of art, science, and ecology based at York University, where she directs the Plant Studies Collaboratory, convenes the Politics of Evidence Working Group, and coorganizes the Toronto Technoscience Salon. Her first book, Rendering Life Molecular (2015), is an ethnography of an interdisciplinary group of scientists who make living substance come to matter at the molecular scale. The book received the 2016 Robert K. Merton Award from the Science, Knowledge, and Technology Section of the American Sociological Association. Her current projects span investigations of the arts and sciences of vegetal sensing and sentience, the politics and aesthetics of garden enclosures in a time of climate change, and, most recently, she has launched a long-term ethnography experimenting with the arts of ecological attention in an ancient oak savannah in a large urban park in Toronto. “Becoming Sensor,” her research-collaboration with award-winning dancer and filmmaker Ayelen Liberona can be viewed at http://becomingsensor.com. Links to her various projects, publications, actions, and events can be found at http://natashamyers.org.

Brett Scheffers is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Wildlife Ecology and Conservation, University of Florida. His research focuses on how human disturbances such as habitat loss and climate change impact the ecology of a diversity of animals such as birds, frogs, lizards, ants, and butterflies, and spans tropical ecosystems in Central and South America, East Africa, and Australasia. His research has been published in academic journals such as Science, Proceedings of the Royal Society, and Trends in Ecology and Evolution and his work has been covered by news outlets such as as The Economist, Huffington Post, and Bloomberg News. He is an advisory member of the Climate Change Specialist group under the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which provides guidelines for assessing species vulnerability to climate change. He is a Florida Climate Institute 2018 Faculty Fellow and served as an organizing committee member for “Species on the Move,” an international conference focused on the redistribution of species as a result of climate change. His outreach efforts include popular writing in online news outlets such as The Conversation, merging art with science to improve learning, and communicating climate and conservation science to public audiences.

Leslie Paul Thiele is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Political Science, University of Florida. He teaches political theory and sustainability studies, and serves as Director of the Sustainability Studies program and the Center for Adaptive Innovation, Resilience, Ethics and Science (UF CAIRES).  His interdisciplinary research focuses on political thought, sustainability, technology, and the intersection of political philosophy and the natural sciences.  His central concerns are the responsibilities of citizenship and the opportunities for leadership in a world of rapid technological, social, and ecological change. His books include Friedrich Nietzsche and the Politics of the Soul (Princeton 1990); Timely Meditations: Martin Heidegger and Postmodern Politics (Princeton 1995); Environmentalism for a New Millennium (Oxford 1999); Thinking Politics (2nd edition, CQ Press 2003); The Heart of Judgment: Practical Wisdom, Neuroscience, and Narrative (Cambridge 2006); Indra’s Net and the Midas Touch: Living Sustainably in a Connected World (MIT, 2011); Sustainability (Polity, 2nd edition, 2016), and The Art and Craft of Political Theory (2019).

Support for the symposium is from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Andy Warhol Foundation, UF Center for Humanities & the Public Sphere (Rothman Endowment), Harn Eminent Scholar Chair in Art History Lecture Series (keynote), UF Imagining Climate Change, UF Office of Research, and the generosity of several private donors.

Check out the Facebook event.

Image: Allan Sekula, Shipwreck and Worker, Istanbul, 1998−2000, Cibachrome, Harn Museum of Art collection, Museum purchase, gift of Michael A. Singer 2002.


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