Panel: New Environmental Art Practices on Landscapes of the Polar Regions; Politics, Emotion and Culture (FARFIELD 1)
Climate change presents us with one of the great narratives to emerge over the last twenty years. The related universal discourse raises an apocalyptic storm that embraces every place, everyone and everything. It surrounds us on a global scale that is so intractable and is so exceedingly hard to represent, because it cries out for a myriad of responses and change at all levels of existence. Given the enormous scale of climate change encompassing the entire earth one of the tasks of this paper is to question the way climate change is represented at the polar regions and to point out the ways it is perceived so that new definitions of related art, science and politics can be formed and put to more effective use. Focusing on the work of contemporary artists, I question the un-representable of climate change not only because many of the effects of climate change are invisible but also because the climate controversy itself has made clear that many entangled interests impact its representation. The struggle to put an image on climate change often happens in spite of and sometimes against various government controls, oil and gas industry pressure and varied popular representations. In the context of this political controversy, I ask what are the modes of representation of climate change. How can climate change be represented? How should it be represented? What kinds of ethical questions should we consider in the representation of climate change? What and whose experience is represented? This paper discusses a shift in representation of the polar regions from the older aesthetic tradition of the sublime as pure heroic wilderness to the aesthetic of the contemporary sublime wherein categories of both nature and civilization are undone because extreme nature is disappearing. By focusing on the work of three artists-Edward Burtynsky, Anne Noble and Connie Samaras-this talk asks: What new stories and images are being produced through recent attempts to re-visualize the Arctic and Antarctic? What impact have the genres of literary fiction, science fiction and horror, as well as the older aesthetic traditions of the sublime and the contemporary sublime, had on their work? All three artists interrogate landscape practices and the role of photography and new media in the construction of visual knowledge and understanding of Antarctica.
- Lisa E. Bloom‘s interdisciplinary research and pedagogical interests cut across numerous fields including critical gender studies, visual culture, art history, science studies, photography, and cultural studies. She is the author of Gender on Ice: American Ideologies of Polar Expeditions (University of Minnesota Press, 1993), which is the first critical book to date on the Arctic and Antarctic written from a feminist perspective, and an edited anthology entitled With Other Eyes: Looking at Race and Gender in Visual Culture (University of Minnesota Press, 1999) that was also translated into Japanese. Her third book, entitled Jewish Identities in U.S. Feminist Art: Ghosts of Ethnicity (Routledge, London, 2006) explores the place of Jewishness in feminist art in the United States. Her more recent articles include a review of the Istanbul Biennial 2009 for a British International Feminist Art Journal, n.?paradoxa that was co-written with Betti-Sue Hertz of the Yerba Buena Center, and Disappearing Ice and Missing Data: Visual Culture of the Polar Regions and Climate Change, that was co-written with Elena Glasberg that will be published in Far Fields: Digital Culture, Climate Change, and the Poles (edited by Andrea Polli and Jane Marsching) forthcoming 2011. Lisa E. Bloom’s essays have appeared in The Scholar and the Feminist, n.?paradoxa, and Configurations; exhibition catalogues on Isaac Julien and Eleanor Antin, and anthologies including The Visual Culture Reader, Performing the Body/Performing the Text, Jewish Identity and Art History, Jews and Sex, Writing Science, and Everyday eBay, Collecting and Desiring. She has both an M.F.A. from the Visual Studies Workshop and Rochester Institute of Technology (1985) and a Ph. D. from the History of Consciousness Board at the University of California, Santa Cruz (1990). She currently teaches in the Visual Arts Department at the University of California, San Diego (US). lisabloom.net or lisaebloom.com
Full text (PDF) p. 222-227 [different title!]