Reading in the Anthropocene

Critical Writing
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Abstract (in English): 

The cultural use of the concept of the Anthropocene usually includes the problem that the climate, unlike the weather, is not organized in an event-like manner and not directly perceptible, so the human imagination is facing a serious challenge when it tries to think about climate change.

This problem most often leads to questions that ask about the possibilities and performances of the art (what kind of works of art can adequately mediate the hard-to-conceive era of the Anthropocene?), which questions are complemented in this article by the question of the reception, especially reading. This addition is motivated by the recognition that the understanding of our world is traditionally associated with its “readability,” but such a metaphor of reading — precisely in the absence of perceptibility and eventuality — may no longer be able to describe our relationship to the culture and the world.

Therefore, the list of the practices presented in the article ranges from non-institutionalized and less familiar ways of reading to the operations that no longer read and interpret texts in a traditional sense. I will introduce practices that operates with contextualizing combinatorics, where the complexity of the interpretations stems from the large number of relationships created on the surface of the texts; as well as the cultural techniques of the data analyzing and diagrammatic reasoning. I will argue that in the literary and cultural studies the traditional reading methods should be complemented by the interpretations of graphs too.

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Cecilie Klingenberg