Can the sublime serve a purpose in the age of the anthropocene?(used as a tool to widen an appreciation of the facts and realities of climate change?)
... humanity has been forced to a self-critical reflection on its place in the natural order. A neglected tool for understanding this is the sublime (Williston 2016)
Bearing the sublime; enduring its historical baggage, reflecting on what we understand by the term sublime? Reviewing previous iterations and definitions and moving it towards a contemporary reframing.
Understanding the implications of distance within experiences and representations of the sublime. Distances of not-belonging are signature elements of landscape’s distinction as a mode of experience, imagination and presentation…a non-coincidence of self and world. (Wylie 2016)
Examine types of distance - touching distance, digital distance, distance of alterity, infinite indifference of landscape, temporal distance (slow violences), threatening intimacy (both landscape and communication technology) which abolishes near and far (hyperobjectivity)
Reflecting upon discourses entangled with the anthropocene
Scars of the anthropocene (Haunted by remains, or environments that convey a mood or previous existence – layers of history – other trajectories, a ‘multiplicity of trajectories’)
material ecocriticism, hyperobjects, anthrobscene, ideas of terra nullius. (Tacit: where they create a desert, they call it peace - Nicholas Mirzoeff ‘Visualising the Anthropocene’ Public Culture, 26:2 (2014): 216, a ‘militarised way of capturing and seeing space’)
the allure of instinctive knowledge – of trusting the body’s responses and its power. Placing my body in the landscape, through exploration, often trying to track places down or gain access to limited locations, sites of resistance. There is an allure there… this is how I find things out, it needs to be practical, rather than theoretical, I need to see the space, find out if it registers in certain ways, tingles, beauty, fear, unknown, moods, often solitary. From that point I can go on to make linkages and test ideas.
Jussi Parikka :...Slow violence...a particular rhythm of the contemporary that does not open to immediate experience, yet forms one background of that on a very bodily level too.
Why the sublime?
Why the body?
Why the digital?
For the initial stage of my PhD, what I really want to do is to engage on a series of experiments that can broaden my practice into areas that I outlined within my initial proposal and expression of interest.
These initially comprise of working with digital tools to alter the degree of distance experienced by an audience. I initially referred to this as playing with volume loss as if tweaking a graphic equaliser to generate different qualities of immersive experience.
I am interested in the distance between and within the self to landscape – how you can feel small, insignificant, powerful, frightened, amazed, weary, refreshed. How much of this happens in the imagination, and how much is a direct physical response?
Is this nostalgia for a disappearing landscape or an imagined landscape, a landscape free of human touch?
Or do we experience this nostalgia more when one sees a trace of that human touch – an historical relic, an industrial artefact, or an absence denoting an unnatural involvement.
Haunted by remains, or environments that convey a mood or previous existence – layers of history – other trajectories, a ‘multiplicity of trajectories’? is it actually this embodied vision that appeals most strongly to us? When we imagine another human in that environment and try to summon their history and engagement with that very spot - is it that sense of déjà vu? Do we or are we able to engage with a place more if we imagine another person’s perspective on our subjective gaze? Is that why the abandoned mattress becomes a powerful totem? Why suddenly discovering a mineshaft or engineered chain link forged into the rock throws us back?
Georgics – Kathy Earnshaw – helmets and spears
Objects – Object Oriented Ontology
This is why I am drawn to the industrial sublime – these traces of human ‘scaping’ of the land.
Why the body – it is the allure of instinctive knowledge – of trusting the body’s responses and its power.
But is this just my practice? Placing my body (actually its less deliberate than that) in the landscape, through exploration, often trying to track places down or gain access to limited locations, sites of resistance. There is an allure there… this is how I find things out, it needs to be practical, rather than theoretical, I need to see the space, find out if it registers in certain ways, tingles, beauty, fear, unknown, moods, often solitary. From that point I can go on to make linkages and test ideas.
Why the sublime? transcendence, ‘being moved’ – affect, can a lowering of scepticism allow scales to be lifted? Are you more open? when one sense of yourself is diminished are others heightened?
Why the digital - partly because it allows me to process physical experiences to allow for other levels of epistemic understanding, but also because it allows me to open out the experience for others. Could this be the way that the research and practice pushes that forefront of knowledge – by creating moments that can make climate change or the Hyperobject of climate change, visible and tangible?
If experimented with, it could allow for a tweaking of volume loss, and distances of the sublime experience, between Burke and Kant.
Also because of the terrible irony of using these rare earth minerals to make work whilst at the same time illuminating the dichotomy…cloud storage, digital displays, electricity etc.
Maybe need to make a distinction between industrial and digital?
Terra Nullius? colonisation
Jussi Parrika – warfare
Sublime and Anthropocene as synonyms of each other – how does this work?