NEW, RARE, AND UNUSUAL. MONSTERS OF THE ANTHROPOCENE AT THE RISK OF CLASSIFICATION
Matthieu DUPERREX is a lecturer in humanities at the École nationale supérieure d’architecture de Marseille. He is the author of a thesis in visual arts devoted to the relationship between contemporary art and the Anthropocene: Arcadies altérées (2018). Artist and theoretician, artistic director of the collective Urbain, trop urbain, his work is based on field investigations of anthropised environments and crosses literature, human sciences and visual arts. In Voyages en sol incertain. Enquête dans les deltas du Rhône et du Mississippi (Wildproject 2019), he experiments with a literary narrative that meets ecological humanities and natural sciences. Bruno Latour writes about him that « with his overwhelming river studies, Duperrex manages to make sedimentation both a science of soils, and an extraordinarily labile and silent philosophy of nature. » With his latest book, La rivière et le bulldozer (Premier Parallèle 2022), Matthieu Duperrex extends his investigation into the « minerality » of Modernity, reminding us that the notion of Anthropocene refers above all to the geological essence of the human being. He thus shows how the extractivism of Western capitalist society is only one of many possible ways of materialising this essence, among many other ways of linking sediments to human history. In this article, the author introduces us to the bestiary of the Anthropocene in these terms: « A compilation, or particular natural history, must be made of all monsters and prodigious births of nature; of every thing, in short, which is new, rare, and unusual in nature. » So professed Francis Bacon in his Novum Organum (1620). What does the Bestiary of the Anthropocene published by DISNOVATION.ORG (2021) offer us if not such a compilation act? On the ground, in the air or at the bottom of the oceans, all these animal-instruments circulate, equipped, wired and equipped with probes that become cyborg sentinels of ecological monitoring or bio-extensions, more or less lethal, of the military-industrial complex. Plastiglomerates, Fordite or Trinitite, anthropic minerals, reinterpret the geological processes of petrification, by sedimentation, compression, fusion, aggregation… Robot dogs roam the Valley of the Strange. If their karma guides them there, some will be the subject of Buddhist funeral rituals. Trees are transformed into energy plants or electromagnetic wave transmitters. Artificial reefs of concrete and plastic debris serve as shelter or shells. But in the bunkers of international logistics, where cubic watermelons are stored in refrigerated containers, other feral species, exterminating fungi, viruses, creatures of empire and monsters of the Anthropocene are also housed…
Anouk DAGUIN is an artist and has been a doctoral student for three years at the Arts & Sciences Chair of the École Polytechnique de Paris-Saclay, co-directed by the Biotechnology Chair of CentraleSupelec. As an artist of encounters and gossip, she is inspired by scientific protocols or tools that become the mediators of the encounter. She explores, through participative projects, the way exchanges between humans, plants and microorganisms are woven in a defined setting, Ehpad, agricultural environments, institutional places to give birth to new narratives on the porositý of the world. Jean-Marc CHOMAZ is a physicist artist at Ladhyx, CNRS-Ecole Polytechnique, Institut Polytechnique de Paris, Université Paris Saclay and co-director of the Arts & Sciences Chair (Polytech, EnsAD & Fondation Carasso, France). Jean-Marc’s work explores the invisible space of colours, the spectrum of electromagnetic waves that travel in Time-Space and connect us to the past, to the cosmos but also to the living world, plants, animals, men, Aliens. The sepia of a photo that has been exposed to the sun for too long, or the past green of the clover that the pages of an old book flipped through absentmindedly free from their oblivion. Téléscope d’Intérieur is the result of an original art and science project carried out jointly by our two authors who summarise their intention with pragmatism and poetry as follows: « A telescope and a telescope, both equipped with a diffraction grating spectrometer, look at a constellation of plants at the other end of a room plunged into darkness where only the plants are lit. The visitor is invited to look through the eyepieces of the spectrometers to discover the scattering spectrum of the plant towards which the instrument is pointing, a rainbow of exuberant green tones. Periodically a white test pattern passes in front of the instrument, the reds and blues light up and the complete rainbow that decomposes this white light appears, contrasting with the dominant aniseed-coloured rainbow of the plant. Here, an anamorphosis has projected the outer cosmos into the intimacy of the room, and the telescope points slightly downwards at the plants of a 1950s interior as reconstructed by a survey of elderly people. The photographs, Polaroids and texts from the survey, as well as the material used during these artists’ residencies in institutions for the dependent elderly, form a second part of the exhibition. The testimonies resulting from this survey are taken up by two actresses during performances taking place in the installation. Through temporal or logical dislocations, repetitions and breaks in tone, they form a theatre of the absurd that is infinitely human and universal, a tenuous link to Time, memories and forgetting. These words transcribe an older memory of our sensitive links to plants, our companions, of their benevolence. They tell us that we belong to the living world and its cycles on scales well beyond generations, over distances that go beyond our planet, as evoked by the use of telescopes, anamorphosis between the far and the near. The survey part uses the paradox of Time-Space of the indoor telescope installation to renew the territories of the exchange, to disorientate the survey and to travel beyond the dislocated memories in their own ocean.
THE OBLIQUE VIEW – MAJOR EPISTEMOLOGICAL KEY
Peggy LARRIEU is a lecturer in private law and criminal sciences at the University of Aix-Marseille. Her research is interdisciplinary, and more specifically transdisciplinary. After a thesis on La vie politique saisie par le droit privé (2006), she became interested in the relationship between law and the sciences of thought (neurosciences, psychiatry, psychoanalysis) but also, and as a counterpoint, in the relationship between law and the products of the imaginary (myths, tales, literature). She is the author of several essays, including Neurosciences et droit pénal, Le cerveau dans le prétoire (L’Harmattan, 2015); Mythes grecs et droit, Retour sur la fonction anthropologique du droit (PU Laval, 2017); La dangereuse utopie d’un monde sans ombre (L’Harmattan, 2022). She has directed various collective works, such as Vivre sans, Que reste-t-il de notre monde? (Erès, 2020); Transhumanisme, Approche pluridisciplinaire d’une nouvelle utopie (Eska, 2018) and written numerous articles on these issues. In this essay, she takes a sharp artistic and epistemological look at the oblique. Used in the artistic field to decipher anamorphosis, the technique of the oblique gaze can indeed be extended to all fields of research. This technique, which can be called ‘obliquity’, is particularly fruitful. It requires the values of distance and diversions to be endorsed (forcing oneself to look elsewhere for new leads), the values of incompetence (enlisting the cooperation of people who know nothing about the field being explored), and even the values of insolence (favouring mental travelling, the disconcerting or the absurd).
FUTURE GLOBAL EXODUS TO THE METASPHERE ENABLING MASS MIGRATION OF HUMANITY TO A COGNITIVE FRONTIER
Anthony JUDGE (Australia) is the instigator of the Union of Imaginative Associations (www.un-imagine.org) following his retirement in May 2007 as Director of Communications and Research at the Union of International Associations (UIA) (www.uia.org) based in Brussels for the century since its founding in 1907. His continuing responsibility, dating from 1972, had been the development of interlinked databases on these international organizations, their meetings, their strategies, the problems on which these focus, and their values, together with associated databases on modes of human development, bibliographical data, and biographical profiles. Over that period he was specifically responsible for publication of this information in a range of reference media including the Yearbook of International Organizations, the International Congress Calendar – and on enabling web access to their hyperlinked content. In particular, with the financial assistance of Mankind 2000 of which he became Executive Director, he developed the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential for the UIA from 1972 through to its current online integration with these other databases. As a development of these knowledge management initiatives, and their associated learnings, he has authored a collection of over 1,600 documents on information and knowledge organization of relevance to governance and strategy-making, network organisations, transdisciplinary studies and sustainability (see Richer Metaphors for Our Future Survival: Narrative autobiography as a futurist, 1996 and the future of dialogue and sustainable community). The subject of his contribution to PLASTIR (see also the or original version including animated pictures in the author’s website Laetusinpraesens and previous publications of Antony Judge in PLASTIR n° 10, 17, 19, 25, 36, 39 & 50) is relative to the metasphere. He summarises it in the following terms : « Any framing of « metaverse » in relation to the « universe » of human communication, information and knowledge can be understood as confusing — given the confusion associated with the immensity of the physical universe with its billions of galaxies. Any assumptions regarding the possibilities for humans of travelling freely within it from galaxy to galaxy are indeed appropriately cultivated through imaginative science fiction.The suggestion here is that the intensively studied articulation of atmospheric physics — most obviously by climate scientists – is potentially indicative of a set of metaphors of value to distinguishing cognitive processes in a global psychosocial system. A degree of credibility for the suggestion is already evident in the manner in which « atmosphere » is borrowed to describe the conditions of psychosocial « weather » and « climate » — as with « temperature » in references to « heated debate ». Framed in this way, the question is in what manner a global exodus from an increasingly « uninhabitable » planet is to be envisaged — and facilitated. Rather than the deceptive distraction of a physical exodus — essentially impractical for the many — this is explored as a form of cognitive migration, more appropriately understood as a form of cognitive home-coming. Such a transformation notably has implications for a more fruitful engagement with climate change ».