Lecture at University of Copenhagen, Centre Art as Forum

Critical Zones Study Group – Preparing a Thought Exhibition with Bruno Latour

The lecture will provide insights into issues raised by a research seminar conducted together with Bruno Latour. They range from the invention of the nature-culture dualism in modern Europe to the global challenges of the “new climatic regime” (Latour) and the potential of art and philosophy for a new kind of human agency in the Anthropocene. How can we describe and thus approach the living world around us – this thin layer of our planet where life resides, called the “critical zone” by earth system science – without falling into the trap of looking from a position of “culture” at a somewhat separated sphere of “nature”? Can we rather find a mode of description acknowledging that we are always part of one sphere that we share with so many lifeforms – while establishing a position of care beyond human exceptionalism?

The seminar with Bruno Latour, coordinated by Daniel Irrgang between January 2018 and November 2019, conceptually prepared the exhibition “Critical Zones – Observatories for Earthly Politics” at the ZKM | Centre for Art and Media in Karlsruhe (Germany). It is part of a series of exhibitions realised by Latour at ZKM for which he coined, together with Peter Weibel, the term “thought exhibition.”