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University of Sussex: Envisioning planetary futures through ethnography and multiple media 
Mariagiulia Grassilli (University of Sussex)
Raminder Kaur (University of Sussex)
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Partner Event
Wednesday 8 March, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

The ecological threats from environmental disasters, climate change and war are challenged by contemporary artists imagining alternative futures. This may be through sensorial, experimental, visual arts, comics, animation, performance and the moving image.

Long Abstract:

How do people imagine and envision different planetary threats around the world through different media? And what is the role of a multimodal anthropology in exploring the spectra of utopia and dystopia in such planetary futures?

Afro-, Indo- and indigenous futurism among others present multiple worlds, whereby different cosmologies, ideologies and aesthetics are engaged to comment on the past, present and future in a blend of time-spaces. For instance, reclaiming film and photographic archives, artists John Akomfrah and the Otolith Group create new modes of visual representations across identities, histories and spaces, unfolding the cinematic entanglements of racial capitalism with current environmental threats. Olafur Eliasson’s Ice Watch - a glacier ice installation in the streets, surrounded by ordinary residents - reminds us of global warming, but also the separateness between the natural and urban world. Meanwhile, in the anthropocene or capitalocene, mortality, loss, displacement and fragmentation are framed through poetic visuals by eco-visionaries, climate justice projects or superheroes rising against / from the nuclear and other apocalyptic scenarios. Superheroic imaginaries have offered alternatives to nuclearised lives - from Parmanu in India to Godzilla and King Kong in Japan - whilst projecting potential environmental destruction in a post-human society.

This panel invites contributions that explore how visual anthropology engages and analyses the creative practices that reflect on environmental or apocalyptic threats in the past and the present through varied cultural perspectives on imagined futures.

Accepted contributions:

Session 1 Wednesday 8 March, 2023, -
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