Digimag 76 – Summer 2017

Curated by Marco Mancuso – Silvia Bertolotti – Anna Gorchakovskaya

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Marco Mancuso

 Silvia Bertolotti, Anna Gorchakovskaya, Marco Mancuso

 Alice Smits, Andreco, Anna Gorchakovskaya, Chiara Scarpitti, Ioana Mischie, John Patrick Ayson, Leonardo Caffo, Semiconductor, Vanina Saracino, Viola Arduini

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Already in 2005 the American environmentalist (and 350.org founder) Bill McKibben pointed out the lack of awareness about climate change and other environmental issues, while addressing a specific call for action to arts: “Oddly, though we know about it, we don’t know about it. It hasn’t registered in our gut; it isn’t part of our culture. Where are the books? The poems? The plays? The goddamn operas?”.

We cannot deny the vital role arts and creativity have to play within the energy and environmental field, especially in the current Anthropocene age, where the human impact on climate and nature is dominant and undisputed. Like Josef Koudelka‘s photographs of lands dominated by head frames, waste heaps, factory stacks and dried-up lakes freezed showing: “consequences of the industrial revolution that facilitated an unprecedented upsurge of the living standards but at the cost of irreversible changes in nature”, Jussi Parikka’s recent theories included in his book “The Anthrobscene” (2015) also alert we’re now living in an “environmental wasteland, where media never die. A toxic scenario in which corporate and human desires as a geophysical force”.

Diverse are the ways in which artists can contribute to address and deepen public understanding of environmental topics as climate change, alternative energy sources etc. In particular networked technologies are more and more active in the space between local and global, so they can maybe represent a real opportunity for the environmental crisis we are living, instead of being a threat factor. In this sense, also the materiality of media and digital tools themselves urge to a serious questioning about their molecular compositions, connecting them to deeper analysis on earth substrata.

If the Anthropocene Working Group suggests that the first nuclear test at Los Alamos in 1945 should be considered the milestone for this contemporary epoch in which modern mechanised industry and the use of fossil fuels have become the dominant force for changes in our atmosphere, seas and land, what is the status of the current discussions about environmental issues and their direct impact on a social, cultural and economic level?

What kind of artistic narratives are proven to be compelling and effective in raising ecological awareness? What is the challenge for arts and culture within this scenario? What are the main contributions to the media theories for the Anthropocene?