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Global Weirding: An Aesthetics of the Anthropocene
Abstract: Art/Literature "in the Anthropocene“ is currently a buzzword among scholars, artists, and curators. But what could an aesthetics of the Anthropocene mean, beyond mere thematic approaches to environmental degradation, climate change, or species loss? My talk proposes that we think rather about form and modes of aesthetic experience in order to address a post-natural world of "global weirding". One of the categories that reemerges in the debates about an aesthetics of the Anthropocene is Kant’s notion of the sublime. What could be a sublime attuned to the consciousness of humans transforming the Earth system? Art, I will suggest, must address the central challenges of a post-natural world: the latency of ecological transformation, the entanglement of human and non-human life-worlds, and the clash of scales involved in an understanding of the Anthropocene. The talk will discuss examples from both visual art and literature.
Eva Horn is Professor of German and Cultural Studies at the University of Vienna. She is the author of The Future as Catastrophe: Imagining Disaster in the Modern Age (Fischer 2014, English translation Columbia University Press 2018); The Secret War: Treason, Espionage and Modern Fiction (Fischer 2007, English translation Northwestern 2013), and Trauer schreiben: Die Toten im Text der Goethezeit (Writing Grief: The Dead in the Age of Goethe, Fink 1998). She has also published on literature and philosophy; the cultural history of climate; apocalypse and futurity; conspiracy theories; charisma and political subversion. She studied at the universities of Konstanz (PhD 1996), Bielefeld, and Paris, and taught at the Europa-Universität Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder (Habilitation 2004), New York University, and the University of Basel before her appointment to the chair at Vienna in 2009.