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Accepted Paper:

Methods for counting and the reconstitution of the world in ecological science  
Meredith Root-Bernstein (CNRS-MNHN)

Paper short abstract:

Ecologists use various techniques that extend perception and render discrete a continuous mix of life. They extrapolate from mini worlds to the world, and increasingly from the world to predicted worlds. Self-representation in counting protocols offers alternate metamorphic relations with the world.

Paper long abstract:

The particular aesthetic of ecological research is to find questions about the living world that can be answered numerically, by counting things. Ecological aesthetics revolve around questions of what to count, how to detect them, what their units are, and how to ensure the comparability of all the counting procedures—the latter for statistical transformations for numerical interpretation. To count, field ecologists use various techniques that extend their perception, and render discrete a continuous mix of life. The quadrat is an obvious example. Sophisticated FACE experiments create what are essentially enclosed in situ greenhouses within natural habitats in order to capture and count carbon cycling. Each such apparatus for counting forms a bud of the world that will be reconstituted and represented through statistics. As remote sensing proliferates, the entire surface of the planet, as detected by satellites with increasingly high pixel resolution, comes to serve as quadrat and enclosure. The purpose of statistics is no longer to generalize to the rest of the unsampled world but to generate alternate worlds—predictions, scenarios, simulations. What is missing is any sense that the counted things themselves have a say in counting. Crossing the ecological aesthetic with methods from anthropology and art offers new practices that engage the world in its own representation, and which anchor counting in an immanent metamorphic relation with the world rather than a control of all possible futures.

Panel P14
Controlled Environment Facilities and the Visualisation of Future Human Society
  Session 1 Thursday 9 June, 2022, -