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SCARF: Dr Gabriella Calchi Novati

Monday, 25 March 2019, 12 – 1pm

SCARF: Dr Gabriella Calchi Novati

A discussion led by Dr Gabriella Calchi Novati (TCD) as part of the School of Creative Arts Research Forum.

‘Anthropocenic Subjugated Knowledge(s)’: A Plea to Perform Politically, and Ethically Otherwise

‘After all, the insurrection of knowledge depends on a certain sort of
person who is either ethically otherwise and seeks to persevere in
being so or who seeks to be ethically otherwise and acts on this desire.’
– Elisabeth Povinelli 1

In the age of the so-called Anthropocene, in which ‘humans have become geological agents, [interacting with] the most basic physical processes of the earth’, the arts and humanities are presented with a tremendous challenge, for ‘the climate crisis is also a crisis of culture, and thus of imagination.’2 Climate change, global warming and the sixth mass extinction are proving peculiarly resistant to artistic practices. That said, Dr Novati firmly believes that the arts and humanities have the political and ethical obligation to engage with anthropocenic matters. It is our duty, as scholars, teachers and artists, to explore innovative channels to effectively address the contemporary planetary emergency. In this lecture, Novati elaborates on these issues by instigating a philosophical dialogue between two artworks: Olafur Eliasson’s UK installation Ice Watch (2018) and the award-winning documentary Chasing Ice (2014). Both pieces perform a “translation” of global warming, presenting the viewers with the following critical concern, namely who is and what is “a life” in the Anthropocene. In analysing the ways in which these artworks fail or succeed in performing what Michel Foucault calls ‘the insurrection of subjugated knowledge’.3 Dr Novati will show that they ultimately present us with an alternative imagination and understanding of limiting concepts such as ‘time, bodies and life’4. She concludes the lecture with an open plea for action. For if it is true that art can help us to gain access to what I would call “anthropocenic subjugated knowledge(s)” (i.e. ice and water), then what should we do once the insurrection of these knowledge(s) has occurred? I feel that we are faced with a clear choice. We can either keep on living our lives, as if it were “business as usual”, or we could dare to consciously step outside our capitalist comfort zone, to move closer - firstly within ourselves, then with others - to ‘that certain sort of person who seeks to be ethically otherwise and acts on such desire’, as Povinelli would say.

Dr Gabriella Calchi Novati works at the intersections of performance studies, biopolitics and psychoanalytic theory. Her essays on digital cultures, film, theatre, contemporary art, activism and
politics have been published in peer-reviewed journals such as Theatre Research International, Performance Research, Performance Paradigm, About Performance, and edited collections. She regularly lectures at international symposia, conferences and institutions. She is a member of 'The Anthropocene Atlas of Geneva' (TAAG) Advisory Research Group:… and a member of the organising and scientific committee of the international and interdisciplinary
academic-artistic network "Terror on Tour". She earned her PhD from Trinity College Dublin in 2012, and is currently a psychoanalyst in training at the C.G. Jung Institute, Zurich. See also.

1 Elisabeth Povinelli, “The Will to Be Otherwise/ The Effort of Endurance,” The South Atlantic Quarterly 111,
no. 3 (Summer 2012), 453-475: 455.
2 Amitav Gosh, The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (Chicago; London: University of
Chicago Press, 2016), 9-10.
3 Michel Foucault, “Society Must be Defended,” in "Society Must Be Defended": Lectures at the Collège de France,
1975-1976, 239-264 (New York: Picador, 2003): 6-7.
4 Michel Foucault: ibid.
About the series
The School of Creative Arts Research Forum meets weekly in the Neill Theatre, Long Room Hub on Mondays at 12-1. It aims to providea space for School researchers, both staff and postgraduate students, to share their ideas in an informal, supportive environment. It is also an opportunity for the School to hear about the research of colleagues both from within TCD and outside who share our research interests. In line with the research agenda of the School, talks will encompass traditional research and practice-based research. It also offers special sessions on research funding. Each talk lasts around 20 mins and is followed by a Q & A.

See full schedule here

Campus LocationTrinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute
Accessibility: Yes
Research Theme: Creative Arts Practice, Digital Humanities
Event Category: Alumni, Arts and Culture, Lectures and Seminars, Public, Workshops and Training
Type of Event: One-time event
Audience: Postgrad, Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Public
Cost: Free

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