Around the Pluriverse in 9 Objects

Around the Pluriverse in 9 Objects: Cosmological Compositions for Critical Zones

Wed 13th February 2019 | 4.30-6.30pm 

Margaret Macmillan Building (MMB) 220
Goldsmiths, University of London
London SE14 6NW

Part of the Pluralistic Variations Lecture Series
Organised by Dr Martin Savransky (Sociology)

This talk presents brief episodes of a history of the cosmos. Its immediate prompt is an exhibit planned by Bruno Latour at the Center for Arts and Media (ZKM) in Karlsruhe, Germany, called “Critical Zones.” Geoscientists apply this term to the space that sets the conditions of possibility for life as we know it— a few hundred feet below and above the surface of the earth. The impact of pollution and climate change on the complicated relations within the Critical Zone among soil, geology, meteorology, and biology, as well as the commitments and policies driving industry and land use, call out for new orientations—aesthetic, political, epistemological— toward the cosmos. My contribution to the exhibit is to plan a Hall of Cosmograms— representations of the universe– highlighting the interplay between “naturalist” approaches to the earth and alternatives, pointing out some of the conflicts and constraints involved in mobilizing representations of the universe. It’s a question of how to do things with worlds. This talk shows some possibilities.

John Tresch is Mellon Chair and Professor of History of Art, Science, and Folk Practice at the Warburg Institute at the University of London. He is the author of The Romantic Machine: Utopian Science and Technology after Napoleon (Chicago, 2012)and co-editor of Aesthetics of Universal Knowledge (Palgrave, 2016), Bibliotechnica: Humanist Practice in Digital Times (Fondazione Cini, 2018), and A/V, Audio/Visual (Grey Room Quarterly, 2009). He studied anthropology, philosophy, and history of science in Chicago, Cambridge, and Paris, and taught at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia before moving to London last year.