Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Slow Seminar no. 25

Excerpts of forthcoming Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet

2016.08.26 | Mia Korsbæk

Date Tue 13 Sep
Time 15:30 17:30
Location Bioscience, building 1540, room K33 (in the basement). Ny Munkegade 114, 8000 Aarhus

Dear friends of AURA


On September 13 from 15:30-17:30 at the Department of Bioscience, Ny Munkegade 114, 8000 Aarhus C, building 1540, room K33 (basement) AURA will have our next slow seminar.  We will be reading excerpts from the forthcoming book Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet,  edited by Heather Swanson, Elaine Gan, Nils Bubandt, and yours truly.  This book emerged from the first AURA conference in spring 2014 at Santa Cruz; a good number of you were there.  Now it is about to be published by the University of Minnesota Press.  For the slow seminar, we would like to discuss the two introductions by the editors in addition to three papers by Nils Bubandt, Lesley Stern, and Ingrid Parker, respectively.  These readings are attached to this email.


The editors have designed an unconventional volume format.  Following the tete-beche or “two cover” style, we will have two parts of the book, each of which will be accessed by turning over the book.  Rather than a Part I and a Part II, then, the volume has two doors to enter, one on each side.  We have called these parts “Ghosts” and “Monsters” respectively.  Our ghosts are landscapes full of pasts.  Our monsters are "bodies tumbled into bodies,” that is, interspecies relations within the making of bodies.  These have each been foci of AURA discussion, and we hope you will enjoy the editors’ navigation of these issues.  


The three papers we offer introduce some of the flavor of the volume, which combines contributions by natural scientists, social scientists, humanists, and artists.  Lesley Stern is a writer and critic who has extended the possibilities of nature writing by bringing social history, personal memoire, and landscape ecology into the same essays. In her piece for our book, she explores dichotomous sides of the same canyon on each side of the US-Mexico border, showing their terrors and possibilities.  Nils has offered us his essay on spirits and stones that emerge from the possibly-anthropogenic mud volcano that devasted a region of Java.  I hope Nils’ essay can get us started on a long-awaited agenda for AURA: a discussion of non-secular interpretations of Anthropocene landscapes and the possibilities for interdisciplinary acknowledgement of the ghosts and monsters in the landscapes we know.  Finally, biologist Ingrid Parker offers a view of landscape in relation to missing elements: what losses haunt our landscapes?


If you enjoy these readings, don’t forget to spread the word about our book to your colleagues.  See you in September.