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war-weather continuum

Sara Mameni

The title for this series of videos, “war-weather continuum,” is borrowed from Brian Massumi. As a term, it alerts us to the entanglements of climate change and political conflict within contemporary global relations. The notion of the Anthropocene, first proposed by climate scientists in the early 2000s, suggests that the human species has become a geological force. The term urges us to collectivize the human (into a species) and consider our combined effect on the planet across time. Artists and scholars in the humanities have approached the Anthropocene from various aesthetic and conceptual angles. Their interventions have critiqued the centrality of the “Anthropos” within the scientific discourse. Who is the “Anthropos” of the Anthropocene? Can it be extended to those bodies that have never gained such an ontological status in the first place? The videos I have gathered here focus on one strand of this debate. Each engages with the slipperiness of the “Anthropos” within regions of the world under militarized governance. How can the notion of the Anthropocene be understood in such regions where the land and its multispecies inhabitants do not reach the status of the “Human” but are instead subjected to necropolitical destruction?

“war-weather continuum” comprises five theoretical conversations with two artworks and one sound piece so as to tackle the question from various semantic and affective angles. The first set of videos builds a conversation around the politics of the Anthropocene in contemporary contexts (Nabil Ahmed, Renisa Mawani) and historical frameworks (Ayesha Hameed) while thinking through the cognitive (Catherine Malabou) and habitual (Brian Massumi) ways that our bodies respond to the blurring borders between the ecologies of war and weather. The second set of videos consists of creative responses to the political striations of the earth (Larissa Sansour), desertification (Sophia Al-Maria), and the sonic space of battlefields (Fatima Al-Qadiri).

—Sara Mameni

Sara Mameni is faculty in the School of Critical Studies and director of Aesthetics and Politics program at California Institute of the Arts. She received her PhD in Art History from University of California, San Diego in 2015 and was a University of California President’s Postdoctoral Fellow in Feminist Studies at University of California, Santa Cruz in 2016–17. Her specialization is contemporary art in SWANA region with a focus on queer of color theory. Her current research explores biopolitics, racial discourse in the Anthropocene, post-humanist aesthetics, and the geo-ecological age of petroleum.

July 12, 2019