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Naturally Hypernatural III: Hypernatural Landscapes in the Anthropocene

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Edited By Sabine Flach and Gary Sherman

This third volume of Naturally Hypernatural explores contemporary concepts of landscape in the humanities and the arts in relation to the notion that our age is defined by a ‘geology of the human’ and that this reckoning constitutes a new epoch, aptly named the anthropocene.
The thesis of this volume – that there is no homogeneous concept of landscape, just as there is no uniform definition of nature or culture – was developed concurrently at a conference at the University of Graz and at a series of exhibitions centered on film, painting and photography at the Kunsthaus Graz. This thesis has been fortified by registering the simultaneity of land art, the ecological movement and the view of the earth from space.
Art since the modern period reveals how divergent ideas of landscape are intertwined with differently chanted conceptions of subjectivity, perception and space.

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Agency at the Time of the Anthropocene

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1

BRUNO LATOUR

“Et pourtant la Terre s’émeut”Michel Serres, Le contrat naturel

How are we supposed to react when faced with a piece of news like this one from Le Monde on Tuesday, May 7 , 2013: “At Mauna Loa, on Friday May 3, the concentration of CO2 was reaching 399. 29 ppm”? How can we absorb the odd novelty of the headline: “The amount of CO 2 in the air is the highest it has been for more than 2.5 million years – the threshold of 400 ppm of CO2, the main agent of global warming, is going to be crossed this year”?

Such an extension of both the span of deep history and the impact of our own collective action is made even more troubling by the subtitle in the same article, which quietly states: “The maximum permissible CO2 limit was crossed just before 1990”. So not only do we have to swallow the news that our very recent development has modified a state of affairs that is vastly older that the very existence of the human race (a diagram in the article reminds us that the oldest human tools are comparatively very recent!), but we have also to absorb the disturbing fact that the drama has been completed and that the main revolutionary event is behind us, since we have already crossed a few of the nine “planetary boundaries” considered by some scientists as the ultimate barrier not to...

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