TJ Demos in conversation with Julia Bryan-Wilson, and Gopal Dayaneni
Wednesday, January 17, 2018, 7:00 p.m., City Lights Booksellers, 261 Columbus Avenue, San Francisco
TJ Demos in conversation with Julia Bryan-Wilson and Gopal Dayaneni
discussing the new book by TJ Demos
Against the Anthropocene: Visual Culture and Environment Today
from Sternberg Press
Addressing the current upswing of attention in the sciences, arts, and humanities to the new proposal that we are in a human-driven epoch called the Anthropocene, this book critically surveys that thesis and points to its limitations. It analyzes contemporary visual culture—popular science websites, remote sensing and SatNav imagery, eco-activist mobilizations, and experimental artistic projects—to consider how the term proposes more than merely a description of objective geological periodization. This book argues that the Anthropocene terminology works ideologically in support of a neoliberal financialization of nature, anthropocentric political economy, and endorsement of geoengineering as the preferred—but likely disastrous—method of approaching climate change. To democratize decisions about the world's near future, we urgently need to subject the Anthropocene thesis to critical scrutiny and develop creative alternatives in the present.
"Against the Anthropocene is much more than simply 'against.' In this short, accessible, and fiercely written book, T. J. Demos shows how visual culture is implicated in the Anthropocene's occlusions as well as a resource for conceptualizing—and mobilizing for—emancipatory alternatives. Deftly weaving together environmental accounts, scholarly arguments, and activist mobilizations, Demos makes an impassioned argument for new modes of thinking and representing the global environmental crisis that refuse the old fictions of the 'social’ and the 'natural.’ It is a book that shows how visual culture matters in our struggle for a just and livable future."
“In this indispensable survey of visual culture’s intersection with the ongoing catastrophe of climate change, T. J. Demos makes its political stakes visible in new and exciting ways.”
T.J. Demos is an art historian and cultural critic who's work explores contemporary art and visual culture in relation to globalization, politics, migration and ecology. His essays have appeared in magazines, journals, and catalogues worldwide. His published work centers broadly on the conjunction of art and politics, examining the ability of artistic practice to invent innovative and experimental strategies that challenge dominant social, political, and economic conventions. He has served on the Art Journal editorial board (2004-08), and currently is on the editorial board of Third Text, and on the advisory board of Grey Room. Demos is Director of the forthcoming Center for Creative Ecologies at UC Santa Cruz.