[ISEA2017] Keynote: Joanna Zylinska — Nonhuman creation: images from the end of the world


Today, in the age of drone media, satellite photography and CCTV, image-making is increasingly decoupled from human agency and human vision. It can also literally show us the end of the world. The notion of “nonhuman creation” proposed in this talk will expand the human-centric idea of image-making to embrace imaging practices from which the human is absent: from the contemporary high-tech examples provided by traffic control cameras, space photography and Google Earth, through to deep-time impression-making processes such as fossilization. The Anthropocene, understood as a global ecological-economic crisis in which the human is said to have become a geological agent, will frame the analysis to highlight the interweaving of image-making processes with chemistry, minerals, fossil fuels and the sun. By examining a number of visual projects, including some from her own practice, Joanna Zylinska will argue that the Anthropocene becomes visible to us through altered light, and through the particulate matter reflected in it. In line with the theme of this ISEA symposium, she will also suggest that experimental, posthumanist image-making can allow us humans to “unsee” ourselves from our own narcissistic parochialism – and to take some steps towards envisaging new forms of biocreation and peace.

  • Joanna Zylinska, United Kingdom, is a writer, lecturer, artist and curator. She works in the areas of new technologies and new media, ethics, photography and art. She is Professor of New Media and Communications at Goldsmiths, University of London and author of five books. Zylinska combines her philosophical writings with the practice of photographic art and curatorial work. Together with Clare Birchall and Gary Hall, she runs the Living Books About Life project, which consists of a series of 20 open-access eBooks about life that provide a bridge between the humanities and the sciences. She is one of the publishers of Culture Machine, an international open access journal of culture and theory, and curator of her sister project, Photomediations Machine.   joannazylinska.net