I am pleased to be convening this panel with Pip Newling at Aesthetics, Politics and Histories: The Social Context of Art, the 2018 annual conference of the Art Association of Australia and New Zealand, December 5-8, RMIT Melbourne.
More-than-human Social Relations in the Anthropocene: Art, Extinction and nonhuman futures at home and abroad
The work of art in the Anthropocene is under interrogation by contemporary artists, theorists, historians and curators. New collaborations across the emerging open-field of the postconventional humanities and arts are creating alternative critical frameworks to engage with: the human is more-than-human and the social is an ecosocial domain in this age of extinction and climate change.
In the past forty years, as scientists and environmental humanists have recently documented, the abundance of thousands of monitored animal species on the planet more than halved. In Australia this year, a new scientific assessment of imperilled fauna warns of a coming wave of bird and mammal extinctions in the next two decades if there is no change to cultural business as usual. This adds to entangled histories of colonisation and species extinctions regionally, most notably of Australian mammals and New Zealand birds.
Art has long been a site of experimentation, debate and speculation, nuanced translation, and active intervention. We ask: What is the work of art and art history in confronting extinction now? How are contemporary artists in Oceania engaging with transformed and precarious naturecultures or Country? What is the role of art historians, theorists and curators in this conversation? Can new perspectives be gained from socially engaged and participatory art methodologies alongside exhibition practices and scholarship? How can art communicate, intervene or create alternative frameworks for more capacious nonhuman futures? We invite papers and presentations on practices, case studies, collaborative projects, and alternative pathways that engage with the new age of extinction at home and abroad.