Can we again devise bots, in the tradition of Nigel Leck's AI_AGW, capable of staving off environmental disaster and saving humanity from its own stupidity? Twitter has censored this particular bot that Leck created ¨with the singular mission of hunting down false claims made by climate change deniers, calling them out, and correcting them with information linked from peer-reviewed essays in scientific research journals.¨ With this interview, ebr and our Natural Media co-editors celebrate and memorialize this noble, though brief realization of the critical and creative potential of community built digital media.
Toward a more expansive standard of botanical, graphical, ecosystemic and (not least) digital realism.
Parallel and Soft Representations of Climate Change: A Review of Astrid Bracke’s Climate Crisis and the 21st Century British Novel
Elizabeth Callaway reviews Astrid Bracke's Climate Crisis and the 21st Century British Novel, which she uses as a jumping off point to explore the possibilities of a "soft" representation of climate in realist literary fiction, in particular Zadie Smith's NW.
With Gaia theorist Lynn Margulis and posthumanist Bruce Clarke, Diana Leong argues against the fetishizing of genes and seeks an alternative to the modern synthesis of Darwinian natural selection and Mendelian inheritance. These amodern, posthumanist approaches instead offer a gradual accumulation and transmission of mutations, and a coevolutionary embeddedness within diverse environments and the socio-political structures responsible for them.
Smaller than anything the human eye can see, yet not so small as the elementary waves and dark matter known to modern science: the particle is an appropriate figure for our present, intermedial ¨shuttling between entities at different scales.¨
A slightly different version of this work originally appeared as part of a longer article, "The Architectural History of Disappearance: Rebuilding Memory Sites in the Southern Cone," in the December 2014 issue of the Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians. I am grateful to the University of California Press for permission to reproduce portions of that work here.
Exploring the interaction of poetics and language with the discourse of the Anthropocene (through etymologies of various ecological ages, or notions of the “survival of the fittest” and embodiment), Retallack combines poetry and prose to occasionally suspend the essay genre into a reflective and creative endeavour, attempting to encompass the larger cultural efforts of “poets, scientists, philosophers, visual and performance artists, composers of every kind [who are] working on an interconnected project” of ecopoetics.
This reprinted essay, first published in Angela Hume and Gillian Osborne's edited collection Ecopoetics: Essays in the Field (Iowa UP, 2018), addresses the major themes of – and suggests the possibility of a vital conversation between – two forthcoming ebr gatherings: 'Essayism', edited by Jason Childs and Joseph Tabbi, and 'Natural Media', edited by Lisa Swanstrom and Eric Dean Rasmussen.
Image: Ship of Fools in Flames, c. 1450; possibly Jheronimus Bosch.
Clarke opens with a biographical account of his own early encounters with the Gaia concept - and a skepticism he shared with the evolutionary thinker Lynn Margulis, Gaia's second author after the British scientist James Lovelock. Neither an organism nor a single cell, and not really an organic or vitalistic entity, Gaia is better understood, according to Margulis, as "an emergent property of interaction among organisms, the spherical planet on which they reside, and an energy source, the sun." The move away from metaphors and New Age vitalisms tethers Gaia theory more tightly to the sciences. Margulis’s work brings Gaia in line with the autopoietic systems theory of Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela introduced in the 1970s.
This essay is drawn from a preliminary version of several sections from Clarke’s forthcoming book presently entitled Partial Earth: Lynn Margulis, Systems Theory, and the Evolution of Gaia (Fall 2020) and appears here by permission of the University of Minnesota Press.
Rettberg's and Jackson's interview, and their creative work's direct engagement with environments anticipate the themes in a forthcoming ebr gathering by Eric Rasmussen and Lisa Swanstrom, titled Natural Media. More than just an articulation of environmental 'issues,' the creative work of Jackson and Rettberg actively integrates snowfall in Brooklyn, tattooed skin on bodies, pollutants in Jersey City and New Orleans (post-2012), and other particles and particulars that are touched by natural and medial ecologies.
This conversation is published as the fourth in a series of texts centered around the publication of The Metainterface by Søren Pold and Christian Ulrik Andersen. Other essays in the series include: The Metainterface of the Clouds, Always Inside, Always Enfolded into The Metainterface: A Roundtable Discussion. and Voices from Troubled Shores: Toxi•City: a Climate Change Narrative.
This discussion is adapted from a presentation by Roderick Coover and Scott Rettberg of Toxi•City and other CRchange projects at the Arts Santa Mònica museum in Barcelona on March 3, 2016.Toxi•City was exhibited there as part of the “Paraules Pixelades” exhibition.
This conversation is published as the third in a series of texts centered around the publication of The Metainterface by Søren Pold and Christian Ulrik Andersen. Other essays in the series include: The Metainterface of the Clouds, Always Inside, Always Enfolded into The Metainterface: A Roundtable Discussion. and Room for So Much World: A Conversation with Shelley Jackson.