Artistic Visions of the Anthropocene North: Climate Change and Nature in Art – edited by Gry Hedin and myself – has just been published as a part of the Routledge series Advances in Art and Visual Studies.
The articles featured in this book span centuries of art history and changing theories of the Humanities and the natural sciences. The media used by the artists discussed here are also diverse and include music videos, oil paintings, photography, maps and field notes. They are all concerned with questions of how humans and environment are connected – how such connections are experienced and how they can be understood.
“In 1828, Danish painters were encouraged to attend lectures in geology. Week after week, they were seated in front of Danish geologist Georg Forchhammer as they lis- tened to him lecture on mineral chemistry. We do not know exactly what they were told, but Forchhammer was the rst to write a geohistory of Denmark, and he also wrote on the chemical composition of paint. Thus, it is an alluring possibility that the artists were lectured on both the geohistory of their country and the components of their paints – and what an odd combination!
One wonders how they combined the two subjects in their imagination. When they were told how to paint with materials from nature in the most enduring way, did they envision themselves working in the tradition of ancient artists, inscribing messages for posterity the way we humans in the Anthropocene collectively inscribe messages upon our planet for our remote descendants to come across one day? Or did they see themselves as small-scale scientists listening to good advice from one colleague to another on how to grind chunks of the famously-old chalk cliffs of Møn into primers for their canvases?
In either case, painters’ awareness of geology can enrich artworks with meaning, and both artists and geologists work with materiality as well as visions. In the era of the Anthropocene, this takes on a particular meaning.” (from the introduction)
Abstracts can be viewed at the taylorfrancis website.
The volume falls into three thematic sections:
I) In the first section Interaction between Art and Science Gry Hedin and Eva La Cour look at the ways both 19th century Danish art and contemporary video art is in a dialogue with methods from the natural sciences.
II) In the second section Changing Narratives of the Anthropocene and the North Mark A. Cheetham and Norman Vorano present indigenous and non-indigenous interpretations of Canadian landscapes – and in Cheetham’s case also the concept of “North”.
III) In the book’s third section Media and Blurred Boundaries between Nature and the Human Katarina Wadstein MacLeod, Synnøve Vil and I deal with contemporary art that points at mediation itself as a means to questions the way humans interact with the environment (including other bodies).
In the era of the Anthropocene, artists and scientists are facing a new paradigm in their attempts to represent nature. Seven chapters, which focus on art from 1780 to the present that engages with Nordic landscapes, argue that a number of artists in this period work in the intersection between art, science, and media technologies to examine the human impact on these landscapes and question the blurred boundaries between nature and the human. Canadian artists such as Lawren Harris and Geronimo Inutiq are considered alongside artists from Scandinavia and Iceland such as J.C. Dahl, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Toril Johannessen, and Björk.
Here you can have a sneak peak at the content of the volume:
Introduction: Artistic Visions of the Anthropocene North: Climate Change and Nature in Art, GRY HEDIN & ANN-SOFIE N. GREMAUD
PART I: Interaction between Art and Science
1 Anthropocene Beginnings: Entanglements of Art and Science in Danish Art and Archaeology 1780– 1840, GRY HEDIN
2 A Montage of Notes from Svalbard: Mediating the Arctic through Artistic Research, EVA LA COUR
PART II: Changing Narratives of the Anthropocene and the North
3 Northern Landscape and the Anthropocene: A Long View, MARK A. CHEETHAM
4 “We All Have to Live By What We Know”: Activating Memoryscapes in the North Baffin Inuit Drawing Collection to Understand Arctic Environmental Change, NORMAN VORANO
PART III: Media and Blurred Boundaries between Nature and the Human
5 Conversations between Body, Tree and Camera in the work of Eija-Liisa Ahtila, KATARINA WADSTEIN MACLEOD
6 Toril Johannessen’s In Search of Iceland Spar: Truth and Illusion in the Anthropocene , SYNNØVE MARIE VIK
7 From within the Porous Body: Modes of Engagement in Björk’s Biophilia Album, ANN-SOFIE N. GREMAUD
The volume can be ordered through the Routledge website.