Nordic Geographers Meeting, Trondheim, 16th-19th June 2019

Paper presentation (as film) for the strand ‘Considering art and creativity in an era of ecocide’.


Re-writing the machinic anthropocene: fiction as method – (FILM)

Charlie Tweed, Senior Lecturer in Digital Media and Culture, Bath Spa University

This paper takes the form of an experimental performative lecture which will interrogate how I have used a range of fictional strategies within my art practice as a method for bringing non-human perspectives and hidden networks into view.

I draw on my recent project Re-writing the machinic anthropocene. In the project I asked: how fictional methods could be used to expose and rewrite the relations between digital technologies and the anthropocene. Theoretical focus was drawn from Timothy Morton’s work on hyperobjects and Bruno Latour and John Law’s work on actor network theory (ANT), in order to consider the complexity of relations between digital networked technologies and the earth.

An initial mapping process was used to trace the technical hyperobject of a smartphone, and this was developed into The Signal and the Rock: Proposal for a film (2014-18), an iterative multimedia lecture that exposes and rewrites this hyperobject. From here, a large-scale audio work and gallery installation Re-writing the overcode (2017) was developed which operates as an elegy to digital technologies and their relations to the anthropocene, utilising multiple nonhuman voices in its delivery.

I outline how these works were successful in enabling me to operate as a form of ‘translation mechanism’, ‘tuning in’ to non human perspectives, exposing complex networks and critically speculating on alternative future relations between digital technologies and the earth. I also consider how these strategies might be used fruitfully within interdisciplinary research, and as modes of group fictioning, to propose new relations between human and environment.

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