Accumulation

The Art, Architecture, and Media of Climate Change

2022

Nick Axel, Nikolaus Hirsch, Daniel Barber, and Anton Vidokle, Editors

Examines how images of accumulation help open up the climate to political mobilization

How can climate become visible, culturally and politically? The essays in Accumulation offer a response to the relative invisibility of the climate now seen as material manifestations of social behavior.

The current epoch is one of accumulation: not only of capital but also of raw, often unruly material, from plastic in the ocean and carbon in the atmosphere to people, buildings, and cities. Alongside this material growth, image-making practices embedded within the fields of art and architecture have proven to be fertile, mobile, and capacious. Images of accumulation help open up the climate to cultural inquiry and political mobilization and have formed a cultural infrastructure focused on the relationships between humans, other species, and their environments.

The essays in Accumulation address this cultural infrastructure and the methodological challenges of its analysis. They offer a response to the relative invisibility of the climate now seen as material manifestations of social behavior. Contributors outline opportunities and ambitions of visual scholarship as a means to encounter the challenges emergent in the current moment: how can climate become visible, culturally and politically? Knowledge of climatic instability can change collective behavior and offer other trajectories, counteraccumulations that draw the present into a different, more livable, future.

Contributors: Emily Apter, New York U; Hans Baumann; Amanda Boeztkes, U of Guelph; Dominic Boyer, Rice U; Lindsay Bremner, U of Westminster; Nerea Calvillo, U of Warwick; Beth Cullen, U of Westminster; T. J. Demos, U of California, Santa Cruz; Jeff Diamanti, U of Amsterdam; Jennifer Ferng, U of Sydney; Jennifer Gabrys, U of Cambridge; Ian Gray, U of California, Los Angeles; Gökçe Günel, Rice U; Orit Halpern, Concordia U; Gabrielle Hecht, Stanford U; Cymene Howe, Rice U; Wendy Hui Kyong Chun, Simon Fraser U; Robin Kelsey, Harvard U; Bruno Latour, Sciences Po, Paris; Hannah le Roux, U of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg; Stephanie LeMenager, U of Oregon; Nashin Mahtani; Kiel Moe, McGill U; Karen Pinkus, Cornell U; Stephanie Wakefield, Life U; McKenzie Wark, The New School; Kathryn Yusoff, Queen Mary U of London.

Nick Axel is deputy editor of e-flux Architecture and coeditor of Superhumanity: Design of the Self.

Daniel Barber is associate professor of architecture at the University of Pennsylvania and author of A House in the Sun: Modern Architecture and Solar Energy in the Cold War and Modern Architecture and Climate: Design before Air Conditioning.

Nikolaus Hirsch is an architect and curator in Frankfurt. He is coeditor of Superhumanity: Design of the Self.

Anton Vidokle is founder and director of e-flux.

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