From ‘is’ to ‘if’ – generative possibility of the Anthopocene — ASN Events

From ‘is’ to ‘if’ – generative possibility of the Anthopocene (13714)

Justin Westgate 1
  1. University of Wollongong, North Wollongong, NSW, Australia
While the details are still being debated, the concept of the Anthropocene has spurred activity across many disciplines. It offers a productive moment to reconsider and reframe the human and its entanglements with nature, as well as implicated issues of scale and temporality. Importantly, it provokes us to grapple with uncertainty given the realities of novel and no-analogue material conditions, and in considering futures that appear to be decidedly ‘unnatural’. What does this mean for ideas of sustainability? What indeed are we trying to sustain, and what does this mean within non-stationary, unstable conditions? It suggests the need to rethink and reimagine how humans respond to and engage with the environment.
This paper examines the use of creative and imaginative practices as a way of moving from the ‘what is’ to the ‘what if’.  In particular it looks at experimental approaches that employ radical imagination, speculative process and performative modes of engagement. It considers the tensions and possibilities that are mobilised by such practices, not just for social sciences but in bringing a generative agency to thinking about human-nature engagement and rethinking what living in this ‘new normal’ might mean.