SCALED (IN)FINITUDE - Problems of the Ecological Turn – Tagung

Kathi Siebenhandl

Diese internationale Tagung ist ein Kooperationsprojekt zwischen NYU und UdK. Sie untersucht die erkenntnistheoretischen Bedingungen einer politisierten Ökologie, ausgehend von der Frage der Maßstäbe (räumlich, zeitlich, medial).

scaled (in)finitude
Problems of the Ecological Turn

Dates: June 22 and 23rd, 2023

Location: NYU Paris, 57 Boulevard Saint-Germain, 75005 Paris

Organized by: Pierre Schwarzer (NYU), Marcus Quent (Berlin University of the Arts), Jeanne Etelain (NYU)

Ecology has become a central political question of our times. It presents us with two strands of finitude: that of modernity as a project in the present, and that of the planet as such in the figure of ecocide. In the humanities, environments have begun to be understood as media, the philosophy of nature has been revived to rethink the infrastructural character of technics and address climate change. Many of these convergences were productive but brought about problems of translation: between a planetary understanding of ecological transformation and its lived experience. We feel the impact of climate change on our ways of life, we sense its effects, but only through particular and partial catastrophes. Climate change as a whole, the prognosis of ecocide as such remain barred from experience. Our knowledge is confronted with seemingly infinite variables and the difficulty to delineate its objects which, at times, exceed any scale. Critical vocabularies have become symptomatically incompatible. Methods and diagnoses have entered an unruly concurrence. Within these tensions, the concept of scale functions as implicit mediator for both experience and action. If scale determines the delineation of its objects, the ecological turn not only presents us with new objects, but also linkages indiscernible prior to its advent. We aim to examine scale on three levels: (1) temporally (colliding historiographies and imaginaries of doom), (2) spatially (geopolitics and conceptions of the world), and (3) technically (models, the role of data, non-human actors). How can one step out of the symptomatic concurrence of critical frameworks? What are the epistemic conditions of a politicized ecology? What are the limits of its (in)finitudes, the dangers of its new temporal slips?

Funding provided by the NYU Center for Humanities and the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK)


Thursday, June 22nd 2023

14:00 – 14:30 Welcome & Introduction
14:30 – 16:30 "Planetary Spatiality" – Alyne Costa, Jeanne Etelain, Patrice Maniglier
16:30 – 17:00 Coffee Break 
17:00 – 19:00 "Historiography in Crisis" – Julie Beauté, Valentin Husson, Zoltán Boldizsár Simon

Friday, June 23, 2023

14:00 – 16:00 "Post-Media Ecology" – Emily Apter, Alexander Galloway, Pierre Schwarzer
16:00 – 16:30 Coffee Break 
16:30 – 18:30 "Finitude(s): The Scale of Catastrophe" – Alexander García Düttmann, Catherine Malabou, Marcus Quent
18:45 Reception

Conference Details:  

Thursday, June 22 2023
1. Planetary Spatiality
Alyne Costa: One Planet, but not only: Speculative Connections between Earths and Worlds
Jeanne Etelain: A Planetary Nomos of the Earth: A Critical Reading of Carl Schmitt for the Anthropocene
Patrice Maniglier: Gaia, How Many Divisions?
(Chair: Pierre Schwarzer)

2. Historiography in Crisis
Julie Beauté: More than Human Stories: How Narration Questions from Below the Historical Scales of the Ecological Crisis
Valentin Husson: The Ecology of History
Zoltán Boldizsár Simon: Anthropocene Historiography and the Concepts of Earth System Science
(Chair: Marcus Quent)

Friday, June 23 2023
3. Post-Media Ecology
Emily Apter: Les trois écos: Ecosophy, Ecopoiesis, Ecocide
Alexander Galloway: Good Infinity
Pierre Schwarzer: Invasions of the Past: On a Crisis of Scale
(Chair: Jeanne Etelain)

4. Finitude(s): The Scale of Catastrophe
Alexander García Düttmann: Gaining Time as Catastrophe Looms
Catherine Malabou: Who or What is the Anthropos of the Anthropocene?
Marcus Quent: Beyond all Scale: Self-Extinction and the Realization of Reason
(Chair: Pierre Schwarzer)


Dr. Marcus Quent