Sensing the Anthropocene

In a time of unprecedented climate catastrophe and ecological genocide we are in desperate need of robust and creative responses to global warming. In addition to technological innovation and political and economic reorganization, social and cultural shifts are needed that help us move beyond our toxic ways of doing life under petro-capitalism. Artistic practices and forms have a role to play in achieving these goals. Art seeds the critical and speculative imaginations needed to trouble our current ways of living and dying. What art contributes at this critical historical moment is skill in creating aesthetic and affective spaces within which we not only reflect on what is so but to work on imagining and modelling things otherwise in ways that both integrative, in terms of transforming the materiality of daily life, and excessive, in terms of reaching beyond what we currently know to be possible. Instead of outputs that draw on textual and site research but are solely artistic in form, or ones that draw on artistic practice but result in only a published paper, Sensing the Anthropocene works responsively across practice-theory lines with academic, artistic, and curatorial outputs. Grounded in a distinction between art on ecology and art that is formed ecologically, this project explores four artistic methods, each of which will result in a scholarly book chapter and a performance-based daily-practice project: durational performance; deep listening; soundwalking; and Fluxus instruction scores. In addition to describing these practices in terms of both history and form, this talk makes a claim for their importance as practices of aesthetic micro-political reattunement, generating affective resilience in the face of the denialism or despair that too often accompanies a topic of such scope as the we are facing with global climate change today.