Spaces of the Anthropocene? Photography’s representations of environmental degradation and some progressive developments

Peck, Julia ORCID: 0000-0001-5134-2471 (2019) Spaces of the Anthropocene? Photography’s representations of environmental degradation and some progressive developments. In: Beyond Green: Rethinking Nature in Urban Public Spaces, 12th June 2019, University of Gloucestershire. (Unpublished)

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The geological epoch of the Anthropocene has its persuasive detractors, and critiques of the concept include questions about the unequal ways that the human global population have contributed to climate change and environmental degradation. In addition to that the very term the ‘Anthropocene,’ whilst aiming to bring to consciousness the myriad ways that humans have contributed to the changing environment, keeps anthropocentric concerns firmly at the fore. Many argue, including Donna Haraway and T.J. Demos, that this is a time when we need alternative ways of thinking and being that facilitate understanding of, and engagements with, the non-human and non-living; such approaches also encourage future-thinking and imagining. The Anthropocene has become an important concept for photographic practitioners, not least those concerned with large-scale environmental degradation. Such photography, however, risks perpetuating both anthropocentric and defeatist depictions of degraded landscapes and acts of mourning. This paper, then, undertakes a brief analysis of some current landscape practices, including Edward Burtynsky’s Anthropocene (2018) and Marcus Coates’ Dawn Chorus (2007). This short paper argues that Coates’ Dawn Chorus more rightly belongs to the Chthulucene: a multispecies and unfinished process that emphasises the connected and the contingent, the material and agentic in the name of creative survival.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Edward Burtynsky; Marcus Coates; Anthropocene; Chuthulucene
Subjects: N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
N Fine Arts > NX Arts in general
T Technology > TR Photography
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Research Priority Areas: Culture, Continuity, and Transformation
Creative Practice and Theory
Depositing User: Julia Peck
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2019 09:10
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 09:22

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