Event Title

Ecological Aesthetics: Potential, Politics, and Movement

Mentor 1

Nathaniel Stern, Ph.D.

Location

Union Wisconsin Room

Start Date

24-4-2015 2:30 PM

End Date

24-4-2015 3:45 PM

Description

Introduction: Ecological Aesthetics: potential, politics, and movement is a new book project currently in progress with Dr. Nathaniel Stern, which explores contemporary artworks that manifest a politics of movement, potential and composition outside standard human perception. The book project, for which I am acting as the core researcher, is art-centric, and it exercises a thinking-with specific works across a broad range of disciplines and media, from print to installation to bio-art. Each of the sections narrativizes, through a single artwork or series of works, our experience and practice of complex systems and forces. / / Methods: In the process of writing Ecological Aesthetics: potential, politics, and movement, we are studying, thinking-with, and weaving together research regarding process ontology and the more-than human (Brian Massumi and Erin Manning), aesthetics (Jacques Ranciere and John Dewey), spatial practices (Michel de Certeau), materialism and vibrant matter (Jane Bennett), anthropology (Eduardo Kohn), and political and environmental ecologies (Gregory Bateson and Félix Guattari), among others. The goal is to present an “ecological aesthetics” that focuses on implementation and impact. Each short section of the book examines one work or series of works by an artist in depth. The first chapter explores Sean Slemon’s tree-based artwork Goods for Me and introduces several of the concepts that will be woven throughout the book. Jennifer Dalton, William Powhida, and Edward Winkleman’s art events #class and #rank are discussed, which show the art world as a complex ecology of people, places, things and concepts, where anyone can influence change. Other projects to be examined include Yevgeniya Kaganovich’s communal work Grow, Malcolm Levy’s other-frames series, Doung Anwar Jahangeer’s performative City Walks, and Kathy High’s bio-art project Blood Wars, among others. A glossary at the end of the book will start to cultivate a common vocabulary for discussing ecological art. We have conducted interviews and done site visits with several of the artists to learn more about their work and their practice. Our goal is to have a draft of the book submitted to editors by early 2016. / / Results: This research argues that an “ecological aesthetics” is surfacing in contemporary art. The best of art frames and amplifies who and how we are – matter, people, things, ideas, all together – and more importantly how we could be in and with and as those relations. This work can and should be experienced, practiced, and studied through the ecologies at play in and around that frame, be they material, conceptual, environmental, personal, social, economic, and/or otherwise. / / Conclusion: While the everyday notion of ecology refers either to the relationships between biological organisms, or political movements that seek to protect the environment, its contemporary philosophical meanings are much richer. Here people and peoples are continuously emergent with their conceptual and material environments, are part of intricate, complex and ongoing assemblages. Art can intensify and frame this experience. The artists and projects examined in Ecological Aesthetics ultimately ask us to take more accountability in how we engage with the habitats we are always already a part of.

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Apr 24th, 2:30 PM Apr 24th, 3:45 PM

Ecological Aesthetics: Potential, Politics, and Movement

Union Wisconsin Room

Introduction: Ecological Aesthetics: potential, politics, and movement is a new book project currently in progress with Dr. Nathaniel Stern, which explores contemporary artworks that manifest a politics of movement, potential and composition outside standard human perception. The book project, for which I am acting as the core researcher, is art-centric, and it exercises a thinking-with specific works across a broad range of disciplines and media, from print to installation to bio-art. Each of the sections narrativizes, through a single artwork or series of works, our experience and practice of complex systems and forces. / / Methods: In the process of writing Ecological Aesthetics: potential, politics, and movement, we are studying, thinking-with, and weaving together research regarding process ontology and the more-than human (Brian Massumi and Erin Manning), aesthetics (Jacques Ranciere and John Dewey), spatial practices (Michel de Certeau), materialism and vibrant matter (Jane Bennett), anthropology (Eduardo Kohn), and political and environmental ecologies (Gregory Bateson and Félix Guattari), among others. The goal is to present an “ecological aesthetics” that focuses on implementation and impact. Each short section of the book examines one work or series of works by an artist in depth. The first chapter explores Sean Slemon’s tree-based artwork Goods for Me and introduces several of the concepts that will be woven throughout the book. Jennifer Dalton, William Powhida, and Edward Winkleman’s art events #class and #rank are discussed, which show the art world as a complex ecology of people, places, things and concepts, where anyone can influence change. Other projects to be examined include Yevgeniya Kaganovich’s communal work Grow, Malcolm Levy’s other-frames series, Doung Anwar Jahangeer’s performative City Walks, and Kathy High’s bio-art project Blood Wars, among others. A glossary at the end of the book will start to cultivate a common vocabulary for discussing ecological art. We have conducted interviews and done site visits with several of the artists to learn more about their work and their practice. Our goal is to have a draft of the book submitted to editors by early 2016. / / Results: This research argues that an “ecological aesthetics” is surfacing in contemporary art. The best of art frames and amplifies who and how we are – matter, people, things, ideas, all together – and more importantly how we could be in and with and as those relations. This work can and should be experienced, practiced, and studied through the ecologies at play in and around that frame, be they material, conceptual, environmental, personal, social, economic, and/or otherwise. / / Conclusion: While the everyday notion of ecology refers either to the relationships between biological organisms, or political movements that seek to protect the environment, its contemporary philosophical meanings are much richer. Here people and peoples are continuously emergent with their conceptual and material environments, are part of intricate, complex and ongoing assemblages. Art can intensify and frame this experience. The artists and projects examined in Ecological Aesthetics ultimately ask us to take more accountability in how we engage with the habitats we are always already a part of.