After Man: Alterhuman Ethics and Poetics at the Climate Change Tipping Point

Image courtesy of micha cárdenas

An Art, Technology, and Culture Colloquium Lecture, presented as part of BCNM's Latinx & Latin American Media Ecologies program, co-sponsored by the Center for Science, Technology, Medicine, and Society (CSTMS) with micha cárdenas, an associate professor, Critical Race & Ethnic Studies and Performance, Play & Design, University of California, Santa Cruz

This talk takes a systemic, global approach to respond to the challenges facing humanity, following Sylvia Wynter in asking if humanity is coming to an end, or if it has already ended, if it ever was. Looking at contemporary art and global art exhibitions in the time of Covid-19 and accelerating climate catastrophe, this talk asks what the role is for art and the humanities in a time in which many have asked if we are seeing the horizon of humanity. What emerges is a clearer picture of the stakes of socially engaged art that is decolonial and in dialogue with activist movements. Using a practice-based approach that considers exhibitions from the perspective of an artist, combined with algorithmic analysis that focuses on process, operations, and ritual, this talk proposes poetic and aesthetic strategies for working towards sustainable, livable futures beyond colonial conceptions of man. Learning from Wynter, Donna Haraway, and Maria Puig de la Bellacasa, cárdenas proposes the term alterhuman. She will discuss her book Atoms Never Touch, as well as her newer artworks Sin Sol, Oceanic, and The Probability Engine, which she is currently creating with the Critical Realities Studio.

About micha cárdenas

micha cárdenas, PhD, MFA, is an artist, and Associate Professor of Critical Race & Ethnic Studies and Performance, Play & Design, at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where she directs the Critical Realities Studio. Her book Poetic Operations (Duke UP 2022) won the Gloria Anzaldúa Book Prize in 2022 from the National Women’s Studies Association. She is a first generation Colombian American. cárdenas is an artist/theorist who was the winner of the 2022 Anonymous Was a Woman artist award, the 2020 Impact Award at the Indiecade Festival and the 2016 Creative Award from the Gender Justice League. Her solo and collaborative artworks have been presented in museums, galleries, and biennials including Outfest Fusion (2023), Tangled Arts + Disability in Toronto (2022), Transmediale in Berlin (2021), the alt_cph Copenhagen Biennial (2020); the Stamps Gallery (2020) in Ann Arbor; the Thessaloniki Biennial (2019).

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