Another reflective post on Latour’s 4th Gifford Lecture, including a nice little quote from Noel Castree.

Rain on Arrakis

In Lecture 4 of the Gifford Lectures, The myth and the destruction of the image of the globe, Latour began by affirming that pronouncements of the Anthropocene belie the “puzzling continuity” of Gaia’s metabolism, and that neither Nature nor nature, nor the human can enter the Anthropocene intact. As ever, lecture prosthetics available here.

Under what, then, can we unify during the Anthropocene? This lecture was, in essence, a restatement of Latour’s on-going multinatural democratic dream, a “thought experiment” that Noel Castree memorably called ‘as exciting and mad cap as cold fusion’. This involves at heart three steps: asking what sort of people are being called (demos); asking what entity they are being assembled under (theos); and ascertaining through what principles their agencies are distributed (nomos). It is a politics denuded of the cover of “what simply is”, a proper cosmopolitics in which the constitution…

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I wasn’t in a position to live-tweet Latour’s 4th Gifford Lecture (although I did watch it), so here’s a condensed version via Agent Swarm.


We are getting used to Latour’s rhetoric now. We know that Latour makes fun of the post-modern because “we have never been modern”. So this alolow him to rip off Lyotard by defining the secular as the absence of any universal arbiter, which is precisely Lyotard’s definition of the postmodern. So we need not be surprised by his ironic jibes at the post-humanists for failing to anticipate the “return of Anthropos”, now that we are entering the Anthropocene and that humans have become the most powerful geological, or “geostorical” force. But he is quick to notify us that Anthropos is not a “unified agent of history”. This is another unacknowledged debt to Lyotard, who made the absence of any unified subject of history another of the defining characteristics of the postmodern.

The link with the end of the last lecture is in the idea that Gaia is unlike Nature in…

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Walking the World’s Megacities (Seoul)

Another Megacities Guide via the Guardian, this time in Seoul. I’ve embedded the map of Jennifer Cox’s journey below. I seemed to have missed the previous guides to Mexico City and Shanghai, so here are links to those too. I’m a little dismayed only the New York instalment is an audio slideshow, it would’ve worked far better for all of them I think. Links to NYC and Tokyo via my previous Megacities post.

Tweets and the Streets

Another event happening today that I would’ve loved to have attended is a lecture by Paulo Gerbaudo entitled ‘Tweets and the Streets: Social Media and Contemporary Activism’ at the London College of Communication. It’s from 5-6.00pm. The lecture will be presenting ‘key themes and conclusions’ from his recent book of the same name. The lecture is hosted by the Spatial Communication Programme Group. Here is a little more from the LCC website:

Gerbaudo will argue that activists’ use of Twitter and Facebook does not fit with the image of a ‘cyberspace’ detached from physical reality but that social media is used as part of a project of re-appropriation of public space, which involves the assembling of different groups around ‘occupied’ places such as Cairo’s Tahrir Square or New York’s Zuccotti Park. Tweets and the Streets points both to the creative possibilities and to the risks of political evanescence which new media brings to the contemporary protest experience.

You can get hold of Gerbaudo’s introduction from Tweets and the Streets from his website here.

If you’re based in Manchester and looking for something to do, in 15 minutes (yeah, a little late notice) Richard Long is in conversation with Pavel Büchler at the Whitworth Art Gallery. If that’s a little too late, an exhibition of some of his work on ‘Land Art’ runs until 16th June.

Whitworth Adult Programme

Images copyright Richard Long

Join us for this talk where Richard Long will be in conversation with Pavel Büchler.

One of Britain’s most well-known artists, Richard Long established his international reputation in the 1970s with sculptures made as the result of epic walks. From 16 February two of his stone sculptures, White Onyx Line and Tideless Stones, will be shown alongside text works in our gallery.

Richard Long emphatically changed the artist’s view from that of observing the landscape to journeying through it when he made his 1967 work A Line Made by Walking. Among such artists as Robert Smithson, Walter de Maria, and Nancy Holt, Long was at the centre of the Land Art movement. Since then, the artist has made sculptures during his many walks, the art being inseparable from his movement through the landscape. Two stone sculptures are shown at the Whitworth, White Onyx…

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