Postcards from the Anthropocene

Event Start Date:
June 22, 2017
Event End Date:
June 24, 2017
Event Venue:
Edinburgh

Unsettling the Geopolitics of Representation

University of Edinburgh, School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture 22—24 June 2017

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?

This symposium proposes to explore this through the motif of ‘Postcards from the Anthropocene’.  The postcards that we imagine are documentary space-time snapshots, which convey complex assemblages of dynamic, non-linear, unpredictable, ad-hoc networks between interdependent and trans-scalar actants. They may raise questions about the ethical and political challenges of the dominant modes of technoscientific production in the Anthropocene, modes that are constituted through existing power relationships, subject positions, differences and inequalities. On the other hand, they might open up new streams of speculative and creative geopolitical imaginaries and forms of collective subjectivities that recalibrate existing value systems and indicate alternatives.

For this symposium we are seeking presentations that deploy different formats to reflect upon new kinds of reciprocity between geopolitics and representation through a found, described, designed or imagined postcard from the Anthropocene.  We anticipate that this proliferation of anthropocenic representations will reveal and encourage transformations in practices of scrutinizing, strategizing, mediating and assembling, which are in turn animated in complex ways by operations that range from positioning, scaling, scripting, and weathering to fabricating, mining, reframing and recalibrating.

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