The Concept of Nature in Contemporary Art

Sophie Publig
Peter Weibel-Research Institute for Digital Cultures, Peter Weibel-Research Institute for Digital Cultures
2020W, scientific seminar (SEW), 4.0 ECTS, 2.0 semester hours, course number S03421

Description

The sum of planetary crises has led us to re-evaluate the Western binary opposition of nature and culture, often subsumed under the notion of the Post-anthropocene. Which approaches, strategies, and possible solutions can be found in contemporary art?
The notion of the Anthropocene or the first geological era caused by human behaviour was already coined in 2002. Since then, many theorists like Donna Haraway, Elizabeth Povinelli or Kyle Powys Whyte as well as film and game makers came up with different ways of thinking and storytelling in this new era. In this course, we will examine contemporary artistic practices dealing with new ideas on how to think nature. We will cover various approaches including biotechnological utopias and cyborgism, ecofeminism, and indigenous knowledge.

Recommended readings

- T. J. Demos, Decolonizing Nature. Contemporary Art and the Politics of Ecology, Berlin 2016. (First chapter can be found here: https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/sites.ucsc.edu/dist/0/196/files/2016/09/Demos-Decolonizing-Nature-Intro-2016.compressed.pdf.
- Donna Haraway, Staying with the Trouble. Making Kin in the Chthulucene, Durham 2016.
- Jeffrey Kastner [ed.], Nature, Cambridge/US 2012.
- Jason W. Moore, The Rise of Cheap Nature, in: Jason W. Moore [ed.], Anthropocene or Capitalocene? Nature, History, and the Crisis of Capitalism, Oakland 2016, URL: https://orb.binghamton.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1001&context=sociology_fac
- Elizabeth Povinelli, Acts of Life, in: Artforum International, Summer 2017, URL: https://www.artforum.com/print/201706/acts-of-life-ecology-and-power-68689.
- Zoe Todd, Indigenizing the Anthropocene, in: H. Davis, E. Turpin [eds.], Art in the Anthropocene, London 2016, URL: https://law.unimelb.edu.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0005/3118244/7-Todd,-Zoe,-Indigenizing-the-Anthropocene.pdf 
- Kyle Powys Whyte, Just forward. Tribes, climate adaptation, and resposibility, in: Climate Change, #120 Vol. 3, URL: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Kyle_Whyte/publication/256056469_Justice_Forward_Tribes_Climate_Adaptation_and_Responsibility/links/556a659a08aec22683035eef/Justice-Forward-Tribes-Climate-Adaptation-and-Responsibility.pdf 

Recommended films & games

- Alex Garland, Annihilation, USA/UK 2018.
- Bong Joon-ho, Okja, SKR/US 2017.
- James Whale, Frankenstein, US 1931.
- Horizon: Zero Dawn, PS4, US 2017.
- The Last of Us, PS3, US 2013 & The Last of Us II, PS4, US 2020.

Examination Modalities

The aim of this course is to critically engage with the literature to create arguments that strengthen your own point of view. We will do so by reading and discussing together, analyzing films, and hopefully going on field trips & to exhibitions together.

You are expected to engage with the readings and participate in discussions, to hold a presentation on a topic of your choice that fits the framework of this course and to write a paper on it. Detailed instructions and the syllabus will be handed out in the first lesson.

Key Words

Anthropocene, contemporary art, art history, media theory, nature/culture

Dates

13 October 2020, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 2
20 October 2020, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 2
27 October 2020, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 2
03 November 2020, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 2
10 November 2020, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 2
17 November 2020, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 2
24 November 2020, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 2
01 December 2020, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 2
15 December 2020, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 2
12 January 2021, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 2
19 January 2021, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 2
26 January 2021, 15:30–17:00 Seminar Room 2

Course Enrolment

From 01 September 2020, 00:00 to 08 October 2020, 23:59
Via online registration

co-registration: possible

Art Education: subject kkp (Bachelor): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: Lehrveranstaltungen nach Wahl aus Wissenschaftliche Praxis

Art Education: subject kkp (Master): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: Lehrveranstaltung nach Wahl aus wissenschaftlicher Praxis, SE

Art Education: subject kkp (Enhancements study): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: Lehrveranstaltungen nach Wahl aus Wissenschaftliche Praxis

Art Education: subject tex (Bachelor): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: Lehrveranstaltungen nach Wahl aus Wissenschaftliche Praxis

Art Education: subject tex (Master): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: Lehrveranstaltung nach Wahl aus wissenschaftlicher Praxis, SE

Art Education: subject tex (Enhancements study): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: Lehrveranstaltungen nach Wahl aus Wissenschaftliche Praxis

Art Education: subject dae (Bachelor): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: Lehrveranstaltungen nach Wahl aus Wissenschaftliche Praxis

Art Education: subject dae (Master): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: Lehrveranstaltung nach Wahl aus wissenschaftlicher Praxis, SE

Art Education: subject dae (Enhancements study): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: Lehrveranstaltungen nach Wahl aus Wissenschaftliche Praxis

Art Education: subject dex (Bachelor): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: Lehrveranstaltungen nach Wahl aus Wissenschaftliche Praxis

Art Education: subject dex (Master): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: Lehrveranstaltung nach Wahl aus wissenschaftlicher Praxis, SE

Art Education: subject dex (Enhancements study): Wissenschaftliche Praxis: FOR: Lehrveranstaltungen nach Wahl aus Wissenschaftliche Praxis

TransArts - Transdisciplinary Arts (Bachelor): Theoretical foundations: Theoretical foundations

Design: Specialisation in Graphic Design (2. Section): Theoretical Basics: Humanities

Design: Specialisation in Graphics and Advertising (2. Section): Methodological and Theoretical Basics: Humanities

subject Fine Arts / Art and Communication Practices (1. Section): Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften: Aus Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften (2.5 ECTS)

subject Fine Arts / Art and Communication Practices (2. Section): Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften: Aus Kunst und Kulturwissenschaften, (davon min. 4 SSt SE) (2.5 ECTS)

subject Handicrafts / Design, Architecture and Environment (1. Section): Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften: Aus Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften (2.0 ECTS)

subject Handicrafts / Design, Architecture and Environment (2. Section): Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften: Aus Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften, (min. 4 SSt SE) (2.5 ECTS)

subject Textile Design / Textiles - Art, Design, Styles (1. Section): Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften: Aus Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften (2.0 ECTS)

subject Textile Design / Textiles - Art, Design, Styles (2. Section): Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften: Aus Kunst- und Kulturwissenschaften (mind. 4 SSt SE) (2.5 ECTS)

Fine Arts (2. Section): Scientific and Research Practice: Media Theory,Art&Knowledge Transfer,Th. of Architecture,Th. and Hist. of Design

Fine Arts (2. Section): Scientific and Research Practice: Free Electives out of Scientific and Research Practice

Design: Specialisation in Applied Photography and Time-based Media (2. Section): Methodological and Theoretical Basics: Humanities

Individual courses: possible