February 24, 2017

International colloquium: Climate Realism

[email protected]

Photo: Jeff Diamanti.

Free and open to the public
French and English interpretation services available

Climate Realism names the challenge of representing and conceptualizing climate in the era of climate change. Climate has traditionally referenced the weather it gathers, the mood it creates, and the settings it casts. In the era of the Anthropocene—the contemporary epoch in which geologic conditions and processes are overwhelmingly shaped by human activity—climate indexes not only atmospheric forces but the whole of human history: the fuels we use, the lifestyles we cultivate, the industrial infrastructures and supply chains we build, and the possible futures we may encounter. In other words, with every weather event, we have become acutely aware that the forces indexed by climate are as much social, cultural, and economic as they are environmental, natural, and physical. By starting with this fundamental insight, [email protected]’s international colloquium intervenes in the well-established political and scientific discourses of climate change by naming and exploring emergent aesthetic practices, and the conceptual project of mediating the various forces embedded in climate.

Climate change resists the mimetic tradition of representation because its effects are planetary, gradual, and irreducible to human perspective. It requires a new form of realism (or realisms) that reconsiders the relationship between art and ontology and propels experimentation in aesthetics, mediality, and materiality. Climate Realism’s main objective is to seed new thinking on the intentionally paradoxical concept of “climate realism” by assembling the work of leading, international scholars in the fields of environmental humanities, media studies, cultural studies, science and technology studies, architecture, human geography, art history, and visual studies. Organized according to three themes that constitute sites in which climate change challenges conventions of representation, the project addresses: (1) The Climate of Representation; (2) The Subject of Climate; and (3) Realism and the Critique of Climate, or, Climate and the Critique of Realism. Each section is designed to both distill and advance knowledge on the impact of climate change for different conventions of representation in the arts, sciences, and philosophy. The outcome will be a collaboratively generated theory of what climate change means for different media tasked with representing the natural world.

Keynote speakers:
Barbara Herrnstein Smith (Duke University)
Pierre Bélanger (Harvard University)

The Climate of Representation
Amanda Boetzkes (University of Guelph)
Anne-Lise François (University of California, Berkeley)
Alessandra Ponte (Université de Montréal)

The Subject of Climate
Kathryn Yusoff (Queen Mary University of London)
Nicole Starosielski (New York University)
Michelle Ty (Clemson University)

Climate and the Critique of Realism, or Realism and the Critique of Climate
Kyle Powys Whyte (Michigan State University)
Ingrid Diran (Pacific Northwest College of Art) and Antoine Traisnel (University of Michigan)
Graeme Macdonald (University of Warwick)

Information and livestream

Colloquium Programming Committee: Jeff Diamanti (McGill University), Marija Cetinić, (University of Alberta), Lynn Badia (University of Alberta), Darin Barney (McGill University), Christine Ross (McGill University)

[email protected] is a hub of research, scholarship and public outreach on issues and controversies in media, technology and culture, housed within the Department of Art History and Communication Studies at McGill University. Its activities are supported by McGill University and most notably by the Beaverbrook Fund for [email protected], created by a generous gift from the Beaverbrook Canadian Foundation:

[email protected] Colloquium Partners: Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal; Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada; McGill University – Dean of Arts Development Fund, Grierson Chair in Communication Studies, James McGill Chair in Culture and Technology, James McGill Chair in Contemporary Art History, William Dawson Scholar of Feminist Media Studies, Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy, McGill School of Environment, Institute for the Public Life of Art and Ideas (IPLAI); Media History Research Centre, Concordia University; Canada Research Chair in Cultural Studies, University of Alberta



Media@McGill international colloquium: Climate Realism

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