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The View From Above: Whole Earth Visualities and the Anthropocene

Dr Pepe Romanillos (University of Exeter)

This seminar interrogates the ‘view from above’ as a contemporary convention of seeing, one that is invested with a series of cultural and ecological capacities: revealing the fragility of environmental relations, provoking ecological awareness, symbolising particular configurations of the social and the environmental, or visualising contemporary worldly conditions. However, rather than taking whole-earth perceptions straightforwardly as ‘obvious emblems of the Anthropocene’ (Clark, 2013), this paper explores some of the wider histories and philosophies associated with the ‘view from above’, and considers how those histories might problematize the presumed capacities of perspectives on earth to act as vehicles for ecological enlightenment.

Event details

The 2015/16 Art History and Visual Culture research seminar series, chaired by João Florêncio under the theme of “Ecopoetics,” brings together speakers from a wide variety of disciplines – from art history and visual culture to theatre and performance, geography, law, and sociology – to explore the ways in which the realm of the visual intersects with ecological debates, thus reflecting on what it might mean to build an oikos, a home or dwelling place, predicated on more ethical modes of engagement and cohabitation with the human and nonhuman other.


Queens Building N