Culture & sustainability: three days with T.J. Demos, Barcelona

Culture & sustainability:
three days with T. J. Demos (UCSC)

University of Barcelona & Fundació Antoni Tàpies. May 23-25, 2018
Coordinated by Christian Alonso (AGI, University of Barcelona)
Free of charge, registration is required via:
Further info:

1. "Arts of Living Beyond the End of the World"
Seminar with T. J. Demos

May 23, 2018. 6pm.
Sala de juntes. Faculty of Geography and History
(Montalegre 6, groundfloor), University of Barcelona.
Produced in the frame of On Mediation/5
trainning seminar on theory & curatorial practices

This seminar will address the possibilities of exhibition-making that inquire into the current prevalence and impasses of end-of-world narratives, and asking what comes next? How can experimental artistic practices offer glimpses and materializations of speculative futurity and alternative worlding during and following the collapse of current forms of life, whether owing to illiberal politics and authoritarian capitalism, world war and nuclear annihilation, and/or climate catastrophe and ecosystem breakdown? What might art exhibitions offer or restrict, catalyze or repress, in our age of apocalyptic populism, where futurity itself, according to theorists, has been slowly canceled, even colonized? What might exhibition-making be as a critical practice in the neoliberal Anthropocene, or, alternately, are art exhibitions and their conventional institutions outmoded by that new geological epoch? We will consider these and other questions in relation to select models of recent art exhibitions, including “Rights of Nature: The Art and Politics of Earth Jurisprudence.”

Suggested reading references: (1) T. J. Demos, “Rights of Nature: The Art and Politics of Earth Jurisprudence,” Rights of Nature: Art and Ecology of the Americas (Nottingham: Nottingham Contemporary, 2015), (2) Wendy Brown, “Apocalyptic populism,” Eurozine, 30 August 2017, (3)eflux

2. "Against the Anthropocene"
Lecture by T. J. Demos

May 24, 2018, 7pm
Fundació Antoni Tàpies, (Aragó 255), Barcelona
Espai Arts Combinatòries

Addressing the current upswing of attention in the sciences, arts, and humanities to the new proposal that we are in a human-driven epoch called the Anthropocene, this lecture critically surveys that thesis and points to its limitations. It analyzes contemporary visual culture—popular science websites, remote sensing and SatNav imagery, eco-activist mobilizations, and experimental artistic projects—to consider how the term proposes more than merely a description of objective geological periodization. This lecture argues that the Anthropocene terminology works ideologically in support of a neoliberal financialization of nature, anthropocentric political economy, and endorsement of geoengineering as the preferred—but likely disastrous—method of approaching climate change. To democratize decisions about the world’s near future, we urgently need to subject the Anthropocene thesis to critical scrutiny and develop creative alternatives in the present.

3. "Blackout: The Necropolitics of Extraction"
Research seminar with T. J. Demos

May 25, 2018. 10 am - 20 pm.
Seminari d’Història de l’Art, Faculty of Geography and History,
University of Barcelona,
(Montalegre 6, 5th Floor)
***Deadline for sending proposals (extended): May 11, 2018

This seminar will address extraction—a key logic of global capitalism—as well as the politics and aesthetics of emergent forms of resistance today. In view of spreading sacrifice zones given over to resource mining, abetted by exploitative international trade agreements and the finance of debt servitude, what forms do the cultural politics of resistance take, and how are artists—including Angela Melitopoulos, Allora & Calzadilla, and Ursula Biemann—materializing images and sounds of emancipation and decolonization?

We invite artists, curators, researchers, writers, art historians and other cultural producers working with ecology both on a thematic a methodological level, thinking through the material conditions of the present and exploring the significance and value of art projects to be analysed with regard to their materials, the social consequences and a reflection on the very institutional structures we inhabit and the dynamics we foster.

About T.J. Demos:

T.J. Demos writes widely on modern and contemporary art and his essays have appeared in magazines, journals, and catalogues worldwide. His published work centers broadly on the conjunction of art and politics, examining the ability of artistic practice to invent innovative and experimental strategies that challenge dominant social, political, and economic conventions. He has served on the Art Journal editorial board (2004-08), and currently is on the editorial board of Third Text, and on the advisory board of Grey Room. Demos is Director of the Center for Creative Ecologies at UC Santa Cruz.

Professor Demos’ current research focuses on contemporary art and visual culture, investigating in particular the diverse ways that artists and activists have negotiated crises associated with globalization, including the emerging conjunction of post-9/11 political sovereignty and statelessness, the hauntings of the colonial past, and the growing biopolitical conflicts around ecology and climate change. (Personal website)