Postcards From The Anthropocene: Unsettling the Geopolitics of Representation
A three day conference at University of Edinburgh, School Of Architecture And Landscape Architecture
‘If the emergence of the Anthropocene implies an epistemological shift, how might this transform the way we think about representation and, more specifically, its geopolitics? What kinds of representations carry significant material, metaphorical and methodological implications for this question, and can help us to ‘situate’ ourselves – if that is a still viable term – in our new conditions of groundlessness and scalelessness?’
Mark Peter Wright‘s paper Interference Acts is on June 23 in session 6:
A shark bites an Internet cable, an eagle brings down a drone, a monkey takes a selfie, ants short circuit ventilation units: news reports of animals intervening technology are on the rise.
As physical infrastructures become increasingly obfuscated through the myth of the ‘cloud’ and ‘wireless’ computing, what do such nonhuman interventions reveal about the complexity of geopolitical networks? Can such acts be read as flares that may help illuminate the increasingly complex assemblage of technologies and environments?
Following Isabelle Stengers’ lead that the Anthropocene demands ‘the felt necessity of trying to listen to that which insists, obscurely’ (Stengers: 2015: 19), this presentation will attend to the audial-visual markers that emerge within the entanglement of infrastructures and animals. Specifically, it will explore the potential of interference as an aesthetic strategy for resistance, one that re-amplifies and re-materialises the techno-corporate drive for invisibility.
Drawing upon a range of representations from news reports, found footage and archival recordings I argue for a multi-modal postcard of times, where differing agents, scales and bodies matter, and aesthetic mediums cross-pollinate the static picture postcard notion of time and space. I will propose nonhuman actors as new epistemological witnesses to the contemporary condition and urge that we listen out for such non-representational performaces as a way of auditioning biopolitical power.